REMINDER: Cleanses Are Just Expensive Diarrhea
In recent years, many among us have likely had a friend or acquaintance that we’ve watched choke down a bottle of lemon juice and cayenne pepper, or some other similarly faux-medicinal mixture. In fact, if you have ever had a friend that’s been doing a “cleanse”, it’s almost a certainty that you heard about it in extreme detail, whether you wanted to or not. It seems that people on them, perhaps to distract from their hunger pangs, feel very driven to lay out all of the rules and regulations to anyone who will listen, in bursts of their cajun lemonade breath. Chief among the “wellness” brands that have championed these starvation diets masked as witch medicine is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
Well, this week a past employee of Goop posted on her Instagram, relating some of her thoughts on cleanses, and the damage they may cause. This isn’t just any schmoe, either, but Elise Loehnen, who was the former Chief Content Officer, and second person ever hired. In the post, she describes her relationship with cleanses while at Goop with all the hindsight of a deprogrammed cult member. To be honest, a lot of what she says lines up with everything the friend with raised eyebrows was probably thinking while watching a friend tremble their way through 300 calories of spicewater a day.
She relates a feeling that dependence on cleanses was a form of self-imposed punishment, and reflective of perhaps “ideas of what my body should look like as a 42-year-old who has had two kids.” Which certainly does ring true with at least SOME of the intentions of cleanse lovers. I can tell you from my personal experience that some of these “wellness strategies” have resulted in me watching someone rubberband between benders and fasting in a diet that would make a method actor wince.
She continues to say that a conversation with a doctor friend, she was “reminded that wellness culture can be toxic AND that eating an abundance of overly processed foods can also be toxic.” Which sounds like perfect common sense. This, I think, is sort of the problem that enables the popularity of fad diets of every kind: the solution has been the same forever, and the solution is extremely boring. I say this as someone who is absolutely in less than stellar shape, with knees that can only dream of a young man’s abundance of cartilage, but also as someone who knows EXACTLY why this is true, and is currently looking at an empty Popeyes box.
The research is there for anyone who cares to look it up, that these detoxes have zero scientific basis. An easy tip to know when you’re receiving a weapons-grade load of nonsense is when somebody says the word “toxins.” Unless you work at a chemical lab or some sort of snake bite hospital, shut both ears immediately. Honestly, “toxins” feels like the “humours” of the new millennium, and we just swapped out leeches for activated charcoal, which, by the way, can neutralize actual, scientific medication like anti-depressants you may need. Oh, and it’s $350 dollars. Of course.
So, spend your workday chugging liquid curry rub if you think it’ll make you feel better, but keep in mind it’s likely a placebo effect, and is the dietary equivalent of self-flagellation.