By Maria Dellanina
As a nutrition major and lover of all things health and wellness, I keep myself pretty healthy throughout the year. I eat clean about 80 percent of the time and splurge about 20 percent of the time.
My motto is similar to what I can assume is also the average grandmother’s motto: “everything in moderation!” Unlike the average grandmother, however, I do not use this motto as an excuse to force-feed others with every baked good imaginable.
When it comes to trends such as juicing, detoxing and the Atkins Diet, count me out. I do not have the patience or willingness to stay on a strict diet. However, when I came back from a trip over winter break, my mom asked me if I would do a cleanse with her as a part of our consistent resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle. My mom eats very healthily but she loves a good cleanse about twice a year. Try as I might, I could not understand her desire to cleanse. My education in anatomy has taught me that the body has an amazing self-cleansing system. But, I still wonder if our bodies are really that good at detoxing on their own, why do some people feel so much better post-cleanse?
I took a look at the Orenda cleanse program. It’s three main claims are, “Orenda Clean assists in nourishing the body with nutrients that support the body’s natural detoxifying process…helps reduce occasional bloating…supports detoxification and regularity.”
I won’t bore you with all of the details of the cleanse, but after further review I concluded that it was actually one of the healthiest cleanses I had ever heard of. The troopers who decided to do this cleanse were instructed to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables and have adequate amounts of protein in their diets. My only critique would be the lack of carbohydrates in the meal plan, but this is a feature of many cleanses—to give the body a break from simple sugars and unhealthy carbs. So, I decided I would join my mom on this cleanse in order to assess the benefits and drawbacks.
From the minute I woke up on day one until the moment I went to bed, I was a rockstar detoxer. Aside from the nagging headache and the many thoughts of chocolate, I was doing well. Come day two, as I headed back to Dominican for the spring semester and reunited with my roommates, things changed. I needed Oreos. The weird part is that I never craved Oreos during my regular diet. I wanted foods I had never wanted before. Suddenly, Easy Mac, fried foods and frosted animal crackers were on my mind all the time.
I caved, as so many do. My ten-day cleanse turned out to be a one-day cleanse followed by nine days of junk food splurges. Thankfully, I discovered something about myself with this experience. When I am told that I cannot have something, my cravings for them become that much stronger. I admited I was not a rockstar detoxer and I was okay with that. I needed to go back to my old lifestyle as soon as possible.
My mom, on the other hand, completed her ten-day challenge with a few headaches at the beginning but an overall weight loss of five pounds, a much less bloated belly and a positive and clear mind. She felt so good she decided to continue on to the 30-day cleanse, which incorporates more food into the diet.
My main point is that cleanses are not for everyone but may be beneficial for others. If you choose to try any diet, cleanse, or detox program, always be aware of how your body is feeling and what your body needs. I am well aware that my body does not run well without carbs. Fogginess due to depletion and a horrible mood is much worse than ripped abs are “hot.”
Maintaining a healthy diet is certainly not easy but it’s also not difficult. The choices we make now are the decisions we are making for our future selves. We must focus on eating healthy and using the “everything in moderation” motto to prevent future problems. The American healthcare system is based on curative medicine rather than prevention. Be the change in your life before you fall victim to prescription medicines. Small swaps, like replacing one can of pop each day with water, can go a long way! Remember that everyone’s body is different and the diet your best friend is on may not be the fit for you. Not all of us need a cleanse to feel great. Eat more vegetables, drink more water and fit physical activity into your day for a healthy, happy and well-balanced life.