To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse… And a Handy Alternative
Let me preface this by saying that juice cleanses are *not* recommended by dietitians and that they will *not* help you lose real weight or make you “skinny.” You might lose a couple pounds of water weight, but as soon as you eat again, that’ll change. In fact, fasting and restricting food actually decreases your metabolism. Why, then, are juice cleanses even a thing? Well, I can tell you why you might cleanse or not cleanse—and offer a handy alternative.
The Role of the Cleanse
No matter how healthy you are, your body takes in a lot of junk. Everyone has their moments and no one is immune to eating junk now and then. Even healthy packaged foods are still packaged foods, and even if you are 100% clean, eating whole, natural foods, you’re still breathing. As long as you’re breathing, you’re building up yucky free radicals in the body.
Oxygen causes the build-up of free radicals. It’s a craaazy long process that takes place in the mitochondria (oh yeah, taking it back to high school bio!), and while I cannot wait to have the time to write about the ins and outs of the whole thing, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Ready? It basically goes like this:
oxygen → free radicals → aging, cancer and other diseases…the list goes on.
Put another way, if the human body were a bicycle, oxygen is the rust.
So, before I get too far off track, let’s answer this: what does this have to do with a cleanse? Well, antioxidants are pretty much free radical killers. You all know berries and other foods have antioxidants, but I bet you didn’t know that your body naturally makes really powerful antioxidants without food. They’re called superoxide dismutase-2, and we’ll call them SOD2 for short. Here’s the thing—the process of eating and metabolizing food turns off these little guys, which further adds to the free radicals running wild in your system.
When you’re on a cleanse, whether it’s juice based or calorie restricted, you’re giving your body, and particularly your liver and other organs, a breather. Yes, technically, your organs don’t really need this, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. But the bigger benefit of the cleanse is the time it gives your body to build up its store of natural antioxidants (primarily SOD2) to alleviate the build-up of free radicals. These natural antioxidants are associated with slower rates of aging and fewer incidences of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and so many other diseases.
So… Cleanse or No Cleanse?
I personally don’t like the idea of starvation and strict juice cleanses. If you don’t calorie restrict, I highly recommend a cleanse every month or few months. Not to lose weight, not to look thin, not to avoid dieting, but rather to build up the body’s natural defenses to fight disease and encourage healthy aging. You’ll thank me when you’re a healthy, active old man or lady!
But if you’re not on the cleanse train or even at the station, here’s another, far more enjoyable option. Bumpin Blends smoothies are made with 100%, real, organic, antioxidant-rich foods, and sipping one on is a downright delicious way to fight the good fight against free radicals while also reducing the amount of processed junk in your body. Note that we are specifically calling out Bumpin Blends here, because not all smoothies are created equal. If you see anything along the lines of “dehydrated vegetable blends,” run, don’t walk, as far away as you can.
Here’s the big takeaway if your goal with a cleanse is to reset your body: opting for a Bumpin Blends smoothie in place of full meals a few times per week can actually help your body produce SOD2, which is the entire goal of a cleanse! So, you know, it’s the best of both worlds. Build your blends now, and your body will thank you later.