Your microbes are trashed.

Illness, antibiotics or even a long holiday junk food binge decimated your gut balance.

First, know that a “cleanse” is not necessary. The good stuff can compete and will crowd out the pathogens if eaten in large numbers. Yet these cleanses continue to be popular.

Last year in Los Angeles I ran into a young couple who were trying to stave off hunger pangs with a float in a hot tub.

“Yes, we are hungry,” they admitted. The “cleanse” was delivered to their door every morning for five days. The calorie load per day was coming in at fewer than 600 calories, hardly enough to spare protein from being used as fuel instead of growth and repair as needed.
No matter, they said, they were committed to finishing the course of pricy smoothies which cost nearly $200 for each person. Yikes: They could have had giant Maine lobsters delivered from the other coast!

While such rigor can indeed kick start a healthier diet, the more likely scenario is that it will backfire.

Why the cleanse can fail miserably

  • Eating habits are NOT changed.
  • Insufficient calories could push their metabolisms into fasting states, which lower metabolism ergo energy output  to protect the body. Once regular eating resumes, the body sponges up calories like never before.
  • Inadequate protein may harm the immune system and break down muscle tissue.

The solution?

Embark on a lifetime of healthier eating, one food at a time.
That means:

  • 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Beans–lots of all kinds
  • Nuts, fish and occasional eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Yogurt and other fermented dairy or beverages for probiotic goodness

It’s really very simple: Eat like peasants.

You’ll be richer for it.