Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let's Talk About Cleansing, mmk?

A friend said to me yesterday, "I heard about this cleanse, like a juice fast, where you lose like 10 lbs. in a week or something. I'm totes gonna do it.". *FACE PALM*. And so it was written, or would be written, that this is my topic this week. 

I live in Los Angeles. I live 30 minutes away from Hollywood. It is literally IMPOSSIBLE not to hear about celebrity diet fads, cleanses, fasts, diets etc. We Californians are a funny breed of people. We think (myself formerly included) that if a celebrity says something, it's obviously true, I mean come on, why would they lie to us? So yes, Jessica Simpson is TOTALLY "sexual napalm" in the bedroom, thanks John Mayer for clearing that one up. Anyways, cleansing. I once read that Beyonce lost something around 30 pounds for her role in "Dream Girls". She did this by doing the...drum roll please...*MASTER CLEANSE*

Now for those of you who have never heard of or attempted the Master Cleanse, let me give you a brief summary. You, for at *least* 10 days, (Beyonce did something like 4 weeks), eat nothing. Absolutely nothing. And instead, drinking this concoction of-
-Lemon juice
-Cayenne pepper
-Grade B maple syrup

If you think that it sounds disgusting, you have no idea. It is the worst thing ever. Yes, I have attempted the Master Cleanse twice before in the past. Key word being attempted. The first time I was 17 and lasted 4 hours and the second time I was 19 and lasted 11 hours. I figured it didn't work because I didn't do it for long enough, and dropped the notion that I could live off of such a disgusting "lemonade". 

A few months ago, my lovely mother made me watch a documentary called, "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead". Reader's Digest Version: It's about an obese Australian man who goes on a juice fast for 60 days. He lost a TON of weight, his health issues were resolved, and he lived happily ever after. My mother now thought SHE should do a juice fast too. 

"Mom, you are not obese and don't have health issues." Most people are baffled when they hear about how much weight another person has lost on a cleanse/fast. How are you baffled? Calories in Vs. Calories out. So obviously if you're not putting anything in, your body is going to flip out. Having said that, I DO think that juicing is awesome and if you can, you should incorporate it INTO your diet, not make it your diet. Now, let me tell you something else, one of my FAVORITE recovery mantras:

"Easy off, easy on"

Ahhhh so simple, no? So true! When you fast, your metabolic rate slows after about 50 hours. So like two days. Once your metabolic rate slows, anything you put into your body will be stored as fat. Even if it's healthy. Sucks. So not worth it. Now, if you're like I was and fast while working out, I am sorry to inform you that you are working out for absolutely nothing. Any muscle you are trying to build is being eaten by your body for protein.You need to consume protein for your body’s needs. If you don’t eat protein, your body starts to break down your muscle (which is protein) in order to get the necessary amino acids (the building blocks of protein). The result? A nice skinny/fat. Soft and skinny. 

Mmmm sexy. 

There is NO scientific evidence that fasting detoxes the body. Our bodies are already pretty self-sufficient. The liver is the body’s natural detox center. Other organs, including the lungs, the kidneys, and the skin, also remove impurities and toxins from the body. If we were meant to fast, we would. Our bodies are amazing. A fast may give the perception of “cleaning out” your body’s impurities, but that’s not what happens. While some people reportedly feel great after fasting, others feel sluggish, tired, achy, and unfocused. That’s because they’re often not getting sufficient calories. 

"But Claudia, 'so and so' got SO skinny on this fast!". 

Well duh. Again, going back to my post about carbs, lack of carbs=lack of water. Lack of water=loss of weight. Also, if you're only drinking and not eating, you will frequently be on the toilet urinating, losing even more water.  But again, this won’t help you lose weight. You’re only depleting your body of fluids, which may make it seem like you’re actually losing weight. Of course, if you eat few calories, you will lose weight quickly, but that doesn’t mean you will keep it off. Again, as the saying goes: easy off; easy on. It's worth saying again. 

If you REALLY feel like your body needs to be *cleansed*, eat REAL food. Oatmeal, fruit, eggs, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, whole wheat bread, plain milk, water water water, etc. Nothing processed. No caffeine, no alcohol, no soda, no juice. Eating clean for a few days will do WONDERS for you, and it'll last. Your metabolism won't die, you won't have low blood sugar, and you can sustain on this clean eating plan forever with the occasional treat (I have one every day because I just gotta). Now for some food porn, how could you want to fast when you could get BETTER results eating this yummy stuff?

Bottom Line: If you consume fewer calories, you will lose weight. But fasting to lose weight quickly can put metabolic stress on your body. After fasting for a few days, you risk damaging your body. Losing muscle mass is very unhealthy. Plus, any weight you lose quickly, you will put back on just as easily.


  1. claudia i loved this! i tried the master cleanse a few years back and lost my mind. and yes just eating raw IS the way. im so glad you posted some real honesty!

    a great source of protein: hulled hemp seed. its really yummy and packed with way more protein than a soy bean; nonetheless far more healthier than soy too. i had hulled hempseed today mixed with some "heaven mountain" goji berries.

    1. I will definitely have to try that! I'm trying to eat less soy anyways, that sounds amazing. :)

  2. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. So true. I just want to shout it from the rooftops. I can't tell you how many people I know who are doing these "juice cleanses" and I almost gave in too. I am a nutrition freak and a new fan of your blog. Keep it up!!!