I thought I’d write a brief primer about these “detox cleanses” or “juice cleanses” that seem to be so popular these days. Full disclosure: I’ve tried juicing. It’s great as a nutrient supplement, but I didn’t really see any value in consuming nothing but vegetable/fruit juice for extended periods of time. To be clear, what I mean by that is: I don’t recommend juicing as a replacement for eating solid food for any longer than a few hours. Basically, I think most of these cleanses are a waste of your valuable time and money. There are ways to accomplish the perceived benefits of these cleanses without forsaking food and without spending, in some cases, $10 per bottle for some fancy organic juice.
The purpose of this post is to serve as an apology of sorts to my readers (all 17 of you) and to provide an explanation as to why I’ve been pretty silent lately.
I moved cross country from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of this summer! That was stressful and time-consuming. Then I took a contract position for a law firm for a few weeks shortly after moving. And a couple weeks ago, I started studying at The Institute of Transformational Nutrition. I’m also in the process of re-designing this site and writing a book. So I’ve been a bit busy. I’ve also been preoccupied with designing a nutrition and supplement plan to cure my acne and digestive issues. I’ve been reading and absorbing a lot of really great information from other people’s blogs and books. So here’s the stuff I’ve been thinking about and some recommended reading:
One of the objections that I have to life in the United States of America is that I am forced to live among so many religious fanatics. We seem to have more than our fair share here. No offense if you happen to be a religious person, but when you are an atheist/humanist, as I am, sometimes life in a nation as traditionally religious as ours, can feel a bit oppressive. The United States is the most religious country of all the western nations. It is part of our history. Protestant settlers came from Europe in search of religious freedom. Instead they managed to build what is essentially an American Protestant Empire. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines religion as “the service and worship of God or the supernatural” or “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices.” Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, had some interesting thoughts on the purpose of religion:
The main business of religion is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and elusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.
What does he mean by “taste for well-being”? I think he means Fun. Joy. Excitement. So is it any wonder that a country that is so obsessed with moral restraint at a time when most people have more freedom and access to modern luxuries and experiences than ever, is the very nation where dieting is the most popular? I would like to state unequivocally that “dieting” is in itself a form of religion.
Here’s a great video from Kelly McGonigal about how stress can actually be good for you.
Gloria Swanson was no fan of sugar. She was a vegetarian who ate only organic food. She is one of the first actors in Hollywood to take up the grand cause of lecturing others on the dangers of their eating habits:
Why do people treat their bodies like garbage pails? I sound like a broken record. Actually, now I just tell people to go ahead and eat ground glass if they want. See if I care.
Hippies in the 1960s and 1970s were eating tofu and brown rice before it was cool. Like Ms. Swanson, many were vegetarians. Michael Pollen, the new hero of this 21st century natural food movement embraced by a growing number of people, has written extensively on these changes in the food landscape. He and others warn of various toxins and certain industrial foods that can adversely affect human health. Many celebrities are very interested in natural health. Some for reasons of environmental sustainability and others merely because it is believed that a diet that is good for the planet is good for the body as well and will help them preserve their good looks, thereby extending their careers.
Yes, we are in the midst of a Natural Health “Revolution”, complete with many leaders, celebrities and soldiers on the ground trumpeting the cause. In many ways this is great. As a person who writes about my own health and food choices, anything that creates awareness of how food affects human health is good. However, like any movement, things can go sour very quickly.