I came across this article on CBC while having lunch and it really reflected my point of view on cleansing, colonics and other methods of ridding your body of toxins. I have a many friends in Vancouver who have attempted cleanses and a few who even will go through elaborate programs once or twice a year to "clean" their bodies. Personally, I just don't buy it.
The human body was created to self regulate and while we are probably today exposed to more toxins than our ancestors were, we still have livers and kidneys to filter out the damaging substances we ingest over time. I'm not naive to the point of believing that our bodies are able to get rid of everything bad they come across, as studies conducted recently have reveled that our bodies tend to store some toxic chemicals such phthalates, mercury and bisphenol A (remember your old Nalgene bottle?). However, I don't think a cleanse will help the body get rid of those chemicals.
Friends who tried cleanses told me that they felt great afterwards, that their skin was glowing and that they lost a bit of weight. Well, since most cleanses involve changing your diet to cut out alcohol, red meat, coffee, processed foods and white sugar, I'm not surprised by the results. If you go back to eating and drinking all that stuff after the cleanse, was there really a point? I did a little personal experiment and cut alcohol completely from my diet for a month (ending May 22). Honestly, I don't see a difference, maybe a small increase in the amount of water I drink (instead of wine) which is obviously healthy. And then there are all these cleanse products you can purchase at health food stores (expensive products), necessary, according to the vendors, because of the vitamins and minerals you will need during the cleanse as you cut out so many different types of food. That's kind of a given no? I read about the Master Cleanse, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper drinks as your sole intake for days. No kidding you'd lose weight on that one. On the other hand, that same recipe (replace the maple syrup with honey) as a warm drink is wonderful to help you sleep when you're sick (home-made Neo Citran). But would you do a Neo Citran diet and call that healthy? I didn't think so.
As for the colonics, there are medical arguments against them in healthy people, so my position there is a resounding "no way". To quote a nicely referenced article in Wikipedia: "The benefits anecdotally attributed to colon cleansing are vague and the claims made by manufacturers and practitioners, in addition to being based on a flawed understanding of the body, have never been scientifically validated."
It goes back to the basics. Eating healthy, nutritious and fresh food that you prepare yourself (as much as possible), sleeping well, exercising every day (even if it's just to walk to work) and going easy on the alcohol and the coffee. To that I would also add eating local, because local food is also better for the environment and, in many cases, fresher and more nutritious.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.