Got your attention? Good, let's talk. I love that so many people want to be healthy and are taking steps to live better. With chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, various autoimmune disorders on the rise it's imperative that we all do whatever we can to keep our mind, body, and spirit functioning optimally but herein lies the (potential) problem. I often get asked my opinion of this plan or that especially the ones that promise to detox your body, help you lose weight, or keep your pH at a perfect 7 (not possible). In our haste to bear witness to the next big health revolution, we sometimes forget to consider the not so small details. For example, it seems everybody has hopped on the green smoothie bandwagon and that's not necessarily a bad thing if you happen to like a green smoothie but if you have to drown it in a sea of maple syrup just to get it down, my guess is you probably don't like it much. I personally don't enjoy the taste of spinach, kale, broccoli, or cabbage in my drink but served on a plate with a zesty vinaigrette or gently sautéed with garlic and shallots in coconut oil, I am in heaven.
My issue with the "green smoothie" or any plan for that matter has more to do with the reasoning behind it than its perceived health benefits. Why are you following "XYZ" plan and what will it do for you specifically? You are a unique individual with specific dietary needs and following a plan that is not a good fit for you will lead to overall frustration at best and at worst, unanticipated health complications. Maybe you don't need to cut carbs to 0 grams, eat a bacon only diet, or be completely vegan. Maybe your moderation is somewhere in the middle of all that. Whatever the case, here are just a few key things to think about before you sign up for the next "however many days" challenge.
1- Whose plan is this?
What are the credentials of the person whose plan you are following? Are they real (credentials) or self-proclaimed? Is he or she licensed, a medical doctor, or some other professional? What kind of experience does this person have? I encourage you to work with someone who is trained to help you with whatever your health needs are. He or she has to be more than a "fitness buff" or a "beauty guru". As a licensed, certified, and degreed professional across multiple disciplines, I have seen way too many blog posts from well-intentioned people who offer beauty tips, nutrition tips, lifestyle strategies, and diagnoses without having any education or training of any kind in that particular field of study. Just because they healed themselves doesn't mean they can cure you. That is not to say they don't have valuable information to share, but you really want to heed the advice of someone with the knowledge and training regarding your specific issue(s). Everything else is anecdotal and you should "take it with a grain of salt".
2- Where's the research...(and who did it)?
What science (if any) is this plan based on? What are the qualitative and quantitative results associated with it? It has to be based on more than some celebrity who lost her baby weight in 5 weeks and is now able to fit into her pre-baby skinny jeans. What is the reasoning behind the plan? In other words, how is it designed to work? You want to know and understand how eating this food, drinking this tea, or engaging in this activity will affect you physiologically. What bodily processes are affected that will allow you to suddenly lose the extra 50 pounds, lower your blood pressure, cure your thyroid disease, and have the best sex of your life? If it doesn't make sense it probably won't work (at least for you).
3- One size does not fit most.
What works for others may not work for you and again, it should make sense to you. You also have to know your body and be able to discern what its "rejection" looks like. You shouldn't just feel crappy the entire time you are detoxing. And don't let anybody tell you that red, itchy rash on your chest is just par for the course- your body eliminating built up toxins. Finally, ask yourself if your chosen plan is feasible, convenient, affordable, and sustainable for you. I can't tell you how many "cleanses" I have done that did little more than drain my wallet and left me literally starving. So if you have to milk a Mongolian goat every morning for your green smoothie I would say that is not going to be a sustainable, (feasible or convenient) practice. Likewise, if you spend a month's salary on specialty foods, exotic ingredients, or needless supplements for a 2-week detox...that, my friends, would fall under the "not affordable" category.
4- What's the "post plan" plan?
What happens after your 30 days are up? How do you maintain the benefits you worked so hard for? Consider the steps you will need to take to ease back into your normal way of life. What foods can you eat? What foods should you avoid? What can you expect to feel- physically and emotionally as you get back to your normal routine? I think the one thing most of us don't think about when we start various health plans is the lifestyle component and that we can't "detox" then return to a corn chips and hot fries diet. In order to reap any long lasting rewards (providing all the other three sections I covered are addressed) we have to surrender to the notion that a mindset change leads to a lifestyle change. Until we shift our thinking we may as well get used to a long merry-go-round ride around the mountain.
Hopefully whatever you decide to do to improve your being, is a well thought out, scientifically/physiologically sound, feasible, affordable, convenient, sustainable option...for you. If it is not, do not be afraid to pass on it in favor of a more suitable alternative. In the end if it's not right for you then it's just not right for you and that's okay. Still, I know it can be difficult to ignore your best friend's, mother's, co-worker's, pastor's, wife's daily email blast on healthy living especially when said people constantly bombard you with questions about what you are doing to fix what is wrong with you. Knowing what I do for a living, I still have people who try to give me health advice based off so-and-so's blog. It's always funny to me that the very people who can give you advice can't seem to help themselves. But I just listen and sip (iced) tea because I hate green smoothies.
©2016 by Tasha D. Manigo-Bizzell