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Who're You Calling Toxic?

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Who're You Calling Toxic?

Whenever I hear the words "cleanse" or "detox," it reminds me of an old friend. This friend enthusiastically and diligently undertook an intense program of cleansing and near-fasting for a full 14 days.

Whenever I hear the words “cleanse” or “detox,” it reminds me of an old friend. This friend enthusiastically and diligently undertook an intense program of cleansing and near-fasting for a full 14 days.

A slight fellow at the best of times, by the end of the second week, he looked tired. I told him I was relieved that he’d soon be eating again.

As I understood it, for the first few days post-cleanse, he was to consume only juices and broths and then gradually reintroduce solid foods like brown rice and fruit. So imagine my surprise when he showed up at a mutual friends’ birthday party that same night at a Chinese buffet restaurant and ate himself silly!

Later, as I held his coat for him while he threw it all back up in the bushes behind the restaurant, I remember thinking, “If this is detox, I’ll skip it, thanks.”

This month’s theme is indeed cleansing, and for those of you who undertake a cleanse, fast, or detox program this spring, I salute you. Just don’t ask me to join in. It’s not that I don’t think such things are laudable; it’s just that for me, taking a week or two off from my usual naughtiness would be a bit like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm.

My habits aren’t really that bad. But the older I get, the more I realize what I’ve gotten away with–and now it’s time for my body to pay back for those carefree years, with interest. I’m just not certain that a week of milk thistle and raw veggies is going to undo a lifetime’s worth of accumulated damage.

The other problem is my highly addictive personality. I’ll admit it; I’m not good with denial. The minute I decide that I can’t have sugar, or bread, or whatever else I need to get rid of, then I can’t stop thinking about it. I might not even eat the forbidden food that often, but suddenly, I’ll absolutely die without it. Eventually I give in, and then wind up feeling guilty. That’s no way to approach anything, especially one’s own health.

For me, the long-term solution is not to focus on the things that I can’t have, but instead to try and incorporate more of the things I can. When I focus on eating whole grains, organic produce, and lean protein, there just isn’t a lot of room left over in my life (or my tummy) for croissants and candy. I know this little reframing technique is just a way of “tricking” myself into doing the things that I should, but whatever works, right?

So cleanse and detox away, and know that I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines. Just don’t ask me to go for Chinese afterwards…

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