Detox? Or Not-To-Tox? Part 1: The Detox Treadmill

detox_cycleIndulge … Gain weight … Feel crap … DETOX … Feel good …Indulge …
Gain weight … Feel crap … DETOX … again … again …

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been on the ‘detox treadmill’. How many of us are just about to jump back on again?

It goes like this …


I’m thinking New Year’s Resolutions!  On January 1, the past year’s excesses become next year’s penance and we get fitted for the annual hair shirt and halo.


OUT GO THE DEMONS – alcohol, sugar (puddings, pies, cakes, chocs), fats (butter, cream, cheese).


And we’re ready – with special water, special vitamin and mineral supplements, lots of special green juices and special detox formulas.

The fridge is rammed with plenty of especially expensive leaves – and very little else.

Finally, products to aid ..err .. ’elimination’ are on hand.

And, for a week or so, our halo shines brightly and the hair shirt doesn’t itch too much.  We’re losing weight and we’re feeling great!  We tell our Facebook friends “Yay, come and join me!  I’m bouncing around with energy and back in my fave jeans!”

And because, we’re going to eat ‘healthy’ – all year – we stock up on whole grains, buy only lean meats (and certainly not RED meat!), oily fish, a vast selection of green veggies, ‘safe’ starches (sweet potatoes, white rice) and ‘good’ fats (avocados, olive oil).  And butter?  Well … maybe a little!

We polish up the halo as we say ‘no thanks’ to treats and refuse a cheeky glass of wine.


But now it’s cold, dark and wet.  We’re feeling flat.  And hungry.  We’re craving comfort and telling ourselves that we deserve a treat – we’ve done so well this last couple of months!  But we trudge on …


We’ve reached the top of the slippery slope. Our ‘treats’ are now a daily guilty pleasure.  As Saturday night’s ‘blow out’ merges into Sunday’s afternoon tea and cake, we pledge to get back on track.  Tomorrow.


Well, Easter = eggs.  Chocolate eggs.  Or any chocolate really.  But we will get back on track. After Easter.


Now we’re thinking holidays, but this year’s excesses have already crept around our middles.

So here we go again …

OUT GO THE DEMONS – alcohol, sugar (puddings, pies, cakes, chocs) fats (butter, cream and cheese).


But we’re ready … with special water, special vitamin and mineral supplements, lots of special green juices and special detox formulas. The fridge is rammed with plenty of leaves yada .. yada .. yada..

Yes folks, welcome back onto the DETOX TREADMILL!

Detox or Not-to-Tox? That IS the question!

The ‘detox’ industry is BIG business. But the big question is whether detoxing, cleansing, clearing – call it what you will – is beneficial, or even necessary.

Detox therapies are typically promoted as ‘natural’.  Products like body wraps, foot pads, juices, other formulations and whole detox ‘kits’ claim to remove harmful toxins from the body (and thus to help protect against, or prevent, or treat illnesses and diseases).

All this can be compelling – especially when we hit the cycle of feeling tired, stressed, life-less and, well…fat!

On the other hand, detox therapies have been called “potentially harmful, pseudoscience.  All of the mechanisms for “toxin” removal are implausible”.

Let’s be clear” says Ezard Ernst emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.”

The respectable one, says Prof Ernst, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions.

The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.

Phew! The Prof pulls no punches – but is he actually right?

There is a school of thought which holds that if we eat right, our body looks after itself.  If we want to ‘detoxify’ the best thing that we can do is eat foods that are low in toxins in the first place – like those traditional ‘nutrient-dense’ foods our grandparents used to eat. (Just a thought: how many of our grans and great-grans ‘detoxed’?)

So, before we put our pennies in ‘BIG DETOX’S’ piggy-bank and stock up on what is often a mega expensive battery of detox and ‘cleansing’ products – let’s stop to think about what this school has to say about the whole concept of ‘detoxing’ – and what we can do about it!

Next time…..

In Part 2 of this series ‘De-Tox De-Bunked’ I’ll take a look at how our bodies do actually ‘detox’ and how it’s so important – whatever else we do – not to exclude the vital nutrients the liver needs to do it’s job properly!


Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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6 Responses

  1. March 17, 2018

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  2. March 17, 2019

    […] Read PART 1 here: Part 1: ‘The Detox Treadmill!’ […]

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    […] you’ll know from our ‘Detox? or Not-to-Tox series’ the human body has an amazing capacity to rid itself of unwanted substances.  Unfortunately, […]

  5. February 11, 2020

    […] Read PART 1 here: Part 1: ‘The Detox Treadmill!’ […]

  6. June 11, 2020

    […] My ‘Detox’ series explains more about how we can ‘detox’ and de-stress our lifestyle… […]

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