full body cleanse detox
December 5, 2010 12:16 PM   Subscribe

I have two weeks off for christmas and I would like to use that time to do a very effective liver, colon, kidney cleanse. Can someone please give me a detailed plan including which order to do the cleanses; I've heard to do kidneys before liver so you can properly flush. I'm interested in what my meals should look like (juice fast, master cleanse, raw foods) as well as what supplements are helpful to expel crap from my guts. My goal is not weightloss. I tend to breakout in rashes after meals and I plan to slowly reintroduce foods after the cleanse to gauge what foods I have negative reactions to. It might be relevant to mention that I eat fish and eggs and cheese but no other animal products. Thanks for all your help.
posted by madmamasmith to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It is a myth that your insides are full with leftover disgusting stuff and need cleansing. I don't remember the link from a doctor on why, but it was in another metafilter thread.
posted by meepmeow at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2010 [14 favorites]

Your intestine, colon, and bodily organs are not designed to be 'cleansed'. There are loads of helpful bacteria that are necessary to digestion living in your body. You really don't want to mess with those.
posted by zug at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

There is no evidence that there are "toxins" in your liver, colon, or kidney that can be expelled by a "detox" or "cleansing" program. That idea is rubbish pushed by people who are hoping to make money by misleading people.
posted by grouse at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2010 [15 favorites]

I think this is the comment meepmeow's referring to. I was sort of intrigued by the idea of cleansing my colon until I read that.

Sorry that's not the answer you're looking for. But what if, instead, you spent those two weeks doing something else interesting and healthy, like eating only foods you've cooked yourself from fresh ingredients, or picking up a new physical activity? It'll give you the same mental satisfaction as doing a cleanse, but with more tangible physical benefits.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:31 PM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]

All you'd really need to do is maybe a two or three day juice fast, then very slowly start adding foods in. That would help you figure out what is triggering your rashes. As to the rest I agree with the first two posters.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:31 PM on December 5, 2010

See a doctor about your rashes.
posted by fire&wings at 12:33 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I am not hoping to pass colon boogers or anything I just wanna take a food break. And I am asking for supplements etc such as probiotics that help build up good bacteria. I was also recently on antibiotics.
posted by madmamasmith at 12:36 PM on December 5, 2010

The point is that there's no such thing as a "cleanse." You can't "flush" your organs, and there is no "crap in your guts" to "expel." It's all junk science. If you're worried about food intolerances, what you want to do is go on an elimination diet. I would suggest seeing either an allergist or a nutritionist to figure out which specific foods, if any, are making you ill. If, however, you just want to eat different foods than you do now because you think that a different diet would make you healthier or happier, you should just do that. There is no medical or physical benefit to taking a "food break" before starting a new diet.
posted by decathecting at 12:42 PM on December 5, 2010 [8 favorites]

I just wanna take a food break.

If that's all you want, then just do what you feel like. But there's no reason to prefer a plan that claims to "flush" kidneys before liver, because these plans aren't actually flushing anything out of your kidneys or liver. If you want to change your eating habits even for just two weeks in a way that will make you healthier, Metroid Baby has a better idea.

You should call the physician that prescribed the antibiotics on the telephone and ask what they suggest to restore your normal flora after the antibiotics. The problem with probiotic supplements, like most dietary supplements, is that since they are much less regulated than ordinary drugs, there is little way to be sure that they will contain what they claim or that they will meet health claims made about them.

You should really talk to a physician about the rashes. You don't want to hide something else that might be more serious by trying to deal with it on your own.
posted by grouse at 12:44 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I also think you want an elimination diet. I did a modified version (no protien shakes) of this once, and while I didn't lose weight or any of those other fabulous things, I did stop getting rashes from certain foods. I doubt there's anything special about that particular diet - any one that eliminates foods that commonly cause allergies or intolerances and then slowly adds them back in would probably be fine.

And though I agree with everyone who said the whole cleanse/detox thing is just marketing, I also don't see anything wrong with taking a few days to just have juice or clear soup or whatever, if it makes you feel better. Assuming you're reasonably healthy to start with, of course.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 1:02 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I tend to breakout in rashes after meals and I plan to slowly reintroduce foods after the cleanse to gauge what foods I have negative reactions to.

So talk to an allergist or a dietician (note: not a "nutritionist" but a proper Registered Dietician). Elimination diets need to be done under supervision to be done correctly and you need medical help to diagnose your problem. Keeping a food diary before you go is also a good idea, but it only works if you track your normal diet rather than start to mess around with stuff yourself.

Cleanses are unadulterated bullshit. I study the health benefits of food compounds, there is no 'cleanse' anything anywhere which has any scientific merit. Just messing around with your diet yourself is also unlikely to give you any health benefits or change anything, and following any kind of cleanse or other fad diet has the potential to actively harm you. If you have a medical problem, and rashes are a medical problem, then you need qualified medical care not bullshit, woo, or random internet advice.

Also your body has pretty good mechanisms in place for replenishing it's own bacterial flora. Probiotics are unlikely to make any difference as any colonisation of bacteria from them is transient at best. If you're having ongoing problems as a result of the antibiotics(things like post-infection IBS do exist) then that, again, is a medical condition you need to talk to a doctor about, not something to treat with supplements or other home remedies. If you aren't having any specific symptoms then there is nothing to treat, your flora is just fine.
posted by shelleycat at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you can do a "cleanse" without eliminating intestinal flora, there's nonetheless a good psychological boost to be had. My non-cleanse cleanse involves drinking some psyllium fiber, going to a sauna, going for long walks for some fresh air, and eating well.
posted by holterbarbour at 3:11 PM on December 5, 2010

If you have a true allergy (rather than something like lactose intolerance) that's an immune issue and doesn't really have anything to do with your liver, kidneys or intestines. A food journal (and maybe an allergist) is the way to go.

Intestinal bacteria reproduce rapidly and you keep adding new ones all the time (no matter how fastidious you might be). The current best theory on where babies get there's is on the way out of mom followed by a lifestyle of interacting with the world by putting it in their mouths. I'm not suggesting you walk around licking random objects, but it's worked for me just that this is not something that was part of someone's business model for 249,950 years of human evolution.

Your organs don't really get a break, no matter what you do. For example, one of the things your liver does is get rid of dead hemoglobin. This is the first thing you'd notice if your liver decided to take a day off (jaundice). Short of replacing all of your blood with some kind of oxygen carrying perfluorocarbon compound (which is serious walk all over the Nuremberg Code in golf shoes mad scientist shit) your liver is going to be doing that no matter what you eat.

You are the sum total of a hundred systems like this. They don't typically break down quickly (if you start drinking antifreeze - that's different) but rather succumb to low level abuse over the long term. You can't really do much for them in a week or two. If you're worried about long term health (fatty deposits in the liver = bad, etc.), you should spend your time trying to move towards a balanced diet with a healthy level of fats and sugar, drinking enough water, exercise and all that other stuff our doctors keep telling us to do and we ignore.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:52 PM on December 5, 2010

Cut out all the common allergens and eat a very simple and ascetic diet rather than engaging in a useless cleanse. Here's a list of things that could be cut out for the purposes of the diet: soy, dairy, grains/gluten, nightshades, alcohol, sugar and concentrated sweeteners (e.g. honey, agave), beans and legumes, shellfish. That leaves you with eggs, sustainable seafood, some vegetables, and fruit. Be aware of the cooking oil you're using: try coconut or olive oil instead of canola or soybean. Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and fish -- don't just load up on broccoli and cans of tuna. Take this opportunity to learn about new vegetables that you've never tried and to make friends with a local fishmonger.

Good luck.
posted by telegraph at 4:33 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think the thing that would be most beneficial for you, as some folks have suggested above, is an elimination diet. This will help you find out if you are allergic to something and in fact is the very best way to do so.

If what you want to do is poop really weird things, than I hear that the Master Cleanse is good for that, even if you do a cheater-version of it and only drink the lemon-maple-syrup concoction for two days.

If what you want is to take a break from food and drink liquids all day for a while, then my advice is to pick the most delicious one that you can afford. Even better, if you can afford a Vitamix blender, get one of those and make yourself smoothies with vegetables and fruits.
posted by Tesseractive at 6:42 PM on December 5, 2010

In choosing a probiotic, get one that has a lot of different bacteria (at least 5), and huge numbers of them per pill. There's a huge range out there in price and effectiveness, but I've found the ones that are in the refrigerated case and only kind of expensive ($~20 US) to be good. I had another friend who found one that said it was time-release so that more of it would make it through the stomach to the small intestine, and he really liked it.

My food co-op had something like "My First Cleanse" that was very gentle. I tried it, but didn't really notice much of a difference. I also tried Isagenix, and found that very helpful, but I don't know how much of that was the products, and how much of that was eating mostly veggies/fruits and protein for the better part of a few months. That said, I really did feel much healthier after ~3 weeks.

I agree with others that an elimination diet can be very helpful, and would add that you might not want to do a simple juice cleanse if you feel your intestinal flora are at all off from the anti-biotics. Living on simple sugars for a few days can be hard on your intestinal flora.
posted by ldthomps at 7:07 PM on December 5, 2010

If you want to get bad stuff out of your system:

1) Make sure you're drinking enough water
2) Make sure you're eating enough fiber
3) Exercise.

So far, everything else I've seen that's claimed to "cleanse" toxins, either involved a) drinking ridiculous amounts of oil (which you later shit out in solid pellets, "Oh, look at all the stuff I'm cleansing!"), b) eat stuff that hardens in your intestinal tract and comes out solid ("Oh, look at all the stuff I'm cleansing!"), c) eating/drinking nearly nothing such that you start engaging in ketosis as your body burns fat to stay alive ("Hey, all the stinkiness coming out of me means I'm cleansing toxins!").

Your body is really good at detoxifying on a regular basis. It uses movement to help pump things around, including lymph, dumps stuff out through sweat and the normal processes, and all it really asks for is water and a healthy diet.
posted by yeloson at 9:57 PM on December 5, 2010

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