So, I was out sick with the flu all last week and in-between my 3:00am Siberian freezing sessions and daytime shirtless Sahara sweating sessions, I was too incapacitated to do any real work. But I did do a lot of thinking. And one of the random thoughts that popped into my mind that I thought I’d share with you is this: do you know what the best detox diet is of all time?
The Stomach Flu
I know, I know, let the hate mail and comments section below fill up with verbal abuse, but hear me out. When you think about it, outside of the jokes that health professionals like to make about how you have a liver and two kidneys to detoxify your body, there is no other programmed bodily response/mechanism that will clean out your body any better.
All flus are bad but the people that get the worst of the flu are those that vomit AND have diarrhea, the proverbial, “it’s coming out of both ends”. Vomiting cleans out the stomach and proximal (first) part of the small intestine, while diarrhea will help clean out the remainder of the small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.
At the same time, you’re not going to consume any food or drink for at least 24 - 36 hours and when you do start back, it’s usually a very elemental, chicken soup type diet. Furthermore, there’s likely never a time where your body and its appetite feel more “reset”. You really do feel like you’re starting over with eating.
Now, with all that being said, no one in their right state of mind would ever consider voluntarily giving themselves the flu! Not even Dr. Oz and Gwyneth Paltrow’s lovechild would consider doing something so radical.......or would they (cough, clear throat, ah hum... placenta eating).
In our extremist health and wellness culture it is fascinating to think about where the lines are drawn for being extreme and then being too extreme. Eating your placenta, oh yeah, that’s cool don’t worry about it, but giving yourself the stomach flu? Are you crazy, who in their right mind would do such a thing?
And yet, I don’t really see that much difference between these two examples. If I had millions of marketing dollars and celebrity status I bet I could convince more than a few nit wits out there to voluntarily give themselves the stomach flu. Only we couldn’t call it the stomach flu, we’d have to rebrand it, giving it some special name like REJUVENZA (rejuvenate and influenza).
Once a year, and maybe more often (if you’re hardcore) you schedule some time to “detoxify, reset, and rejuvenate your body and mind with rejuvenza”.........only this will never happen. People will do all kinds of crazy things, THAT ARE EASY, and because many (but not all) of them don’t necessarily do any good but they also don’t do any harm or cause any pain.
For me, I guess the bottom line is this, for anyone wanting to “detox” their bodies, do your best to shift your dietary patterns towards a whole foods, plant based diet and try to get 30 - 60 minutes of exercise each day. If you work towards these two things, you’ll never need a detox. If, on the other hand, you’d like to follow the foolish advice of some celebrity profiting off your foolishness, then forget the cayenne pepper and lemon juice, man up and go to the best detox there is, the stomach flu.
Todd M. Weber PhD, RD