Fuck your detox/teatox.
Pardon my french.
But if I see just one more MLM or network marketing rep on social media touting their “miracle” products that contain 48 trillion nutrients that completely transform your body and heal your liver and overcome all the self-diagnosed pancreatic issues that they’ve applied to you I think I’m going to backflip out of my chair and scissor kick them right in the jugular.
Let’s get one thing straight here, beauties: de/teatoxes for the sake of getting thinner are a load of crap.
Horse shit. Snake oil. Really psychologically devious placebos.
Call them what you will, their end result on improving your health is the same… non-existent.
And unless you’re being treated by actual medical professionals as opposed to your local teatox rep who slides into your DM’s 6 times a week, your detox/teatox is not beneficial and the ‘results’ highly temporary (if not bordering on dangerous).
Cucumber in the water. Drinking only juice for 7 days. Eating only white foods… whatever your MLM rep has told you, it’s a scam. It’s pseudo-science at best, and willing deception, lies and misinformation designed to prey on your fears (and create new ones) purely to sell you stuff and advance them to the next highest level of their company so they can be part of the 2% of company reps who get to go on the all-expenses-paid trip to The Caribbean.
“There are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t. The respectable one is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions or illnesses.The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated. The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak. There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
– Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University.
A 2009 study compiled by a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The study included products ranging from supplements to smoothies and even beauty products. And funnily enough, when the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification. And not one single company could actually name the toxins that their products were claiming to “detoxify” consumers of.
The only toxins they’ll detoxify you of are:
(You know the friends I mean – you have my permission to go ahead and delete them. You don’t need that crap.)
“The idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous. Most people think that you should restrict or pay particular attention to certain food groups, but this is totally not the case. The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet.”
– Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George’s Hospital.
So why do we do it?
Why do otherwise healthy, functioning people with no major organ diseases that require attention feel drawn to detoxes like moths to a flame?
Part of this may be able to be attributed to what we call “sympathetic magic”, a system codified by the anthropologist Sir James Fraser around the turn of the last century in his opus, The Golden Bough. Fraser identifies two core principles of sympathetic magic. The first is the Law of Similarity, which says that “like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause”. The second is the Law of Contagion, which says the “things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.”
Over the centuries as human’s knowledge of biology grew, our fears shifted away from religion but still maintained a sense of morality, manifesting as fears of “autointoxication”. Theories long have been floating about that if you clean out your bowels, you can cure any illness.
By the 1900’s we’d gained a better sense of physiology and the true causes of diseases, but the bowel clearing theories still remain popular among some alternative practitioners despite what hard science actually tells us.
Modern day autointoxication aims to convince us that we’re poisoning ourselves with any combination of gluten, sugar, salt, meat, fluoride, GMOs, drugs, vaccines, food additives… the list goes on.
Label anything a “toxin” for long enough with some dramatic music and before/after shots of customers who claim to feel 10 years younger after healing their liver with a magical combination of substances over a week of smoothies, and we’ll start to believe that we too are impure and in need of cleansing ourselves.
It’s pseudo-scientific belief 101.
“Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws. You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on. The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.”
– Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist
Reality check time: anyone who claims that a detox/teatox is the best way to “cleanse” your organs has no fucking idea about basic toxicology… let alone physiology or metabolism.
There’s a reason why medical professionals undergo extensive training, and not just a 2-hour seminar with a slick salesman in an oversized suit professing how you too can sign up 35 new recruits a week if you prey on their fears that they don’t know how to have a body.
Basic toxicology tells us that many “natural” substances can actually be hugely toxic depending on dosage, individual variables such as lifestyle and genetics and even how the ingredients were prepared. As a result of this, the (functioning) human body has evolved to have an amazing network of mechanisms and defences to rid itself of unwanted elements. We have an in-built detoxification comprising of the kidneys, lymphatic system, gastrointestinal tract and skin. It’s a sophisticated system, and it really doesn’t need the help of a $49 smoothie. Great if you wanna drink the $49 smoothie, but it’s absolutely not necessary to reaching ‘health’.
When it comes to poisoning ourselves, it’s all about the dose. Even water, for instance, can be toxic when consumed excessively.
Now your fancy MLM rep will probably say, “BUT WAIT, THE LIVER AND KIDNEY ARE FILTERS! THEY NEED TO BE CLEANED OUT REGULARLY, JUST LIKE YOU’D CLEAN YOUR CAR’S AIR FILTER!”
And to that, I say, “Yeah, nah… sorry homie but that’s not actually how the liver or kidneys work. Try googling your claims next time, kay?”
Because here’s the thing that those sneaky salesmen and women don’t want you to know… presuming that you’ve never been diagnosed with any liver/kidney disorders, the liver is self-cleansing, and the kidney is pretty happy to excrete its waste into your urine.
Don’t even get me started on the ‘results’ photos that MLM reps will show you.
I’ve spoken about this extensively before, so I’ll keep this brief: it’s insanely easy to look like you’ve lost weight when you change the lighting and clothes in your before/after photos.
And it’s even easier to make it look like you’ve lost weight when you’ve starved yourself for a week. It’s nothing to do with toxins and everything to do with you literally starving your body because you’ve been further convinced that eating is sinful and killing your organs, but an expensive cleanse can help you repent.
Having now said all of this… I actually want to ask you to do a detox.
A detox of your negative thoughts.
Freaked you out for a second there, didn’t I?
Because you don’t need miracle pills and 7-days worth of smoothie sachets.
You absolutely do, 100%, hand-on-heart need self-love and self-acceptance, though.
And in order to get that, you need to “cleanse” yourself of the toxins in your life that are preventing you of having that. Here’s what I want you to do:
#1. Unfriend (or at the very least, hide all posts from) anyone on your friends list who routinely contacts you to pitch you their crap. I know this kinda sucks but can I tell you something? If they’re viewing you more as a sales target than they are as a friend, they don’t really care about you. Notice the dollar signs in their eyes when they look at you, then feel no guilt as you kick them the hell outta your social media feeds.
#2. Ask yourself a couple of questions to help you become an informed consumer. The next time you see a detox advertisement, ask yourself: What are they actually trying to sell me here? Are their claims specific? What do they have to gain from me taking this detox? Is it really necessary? Do I have a clear enough picture of my health as informed by doctors to feel confident that I need this product? How ethical is the way that they’re going about advertising this?
#3. The next time you have a negative body image thought, dig deep. Ask yourself where it comes from. What are you really wanting to do? For instance, many people who want to lose weight really seek to feel validated, worthy, attractive and respected (regardless of their starting weight or whether they physically would benefit from losing weight). Trace back those insecurities, and evaluate whether applying a Band-Aid solution of a “detox” or other marketing crap is actually going to fill that void vs. merely cover it up and secretly make it deeper.
Knowledge is power, friends! And the more we know about our bodies and about ourselves, the better we’re able to call out marketing bullshit when we see it and build a bulletproof shield of resilience.
So the next time anyone tries to pitch their detox/teatox brand to you without having any knowledge of your health or any medical training of their own and the situational context where it’s appropriate to discuss your organ function with you, here’s what you say to them (say it with me folks):
Down with bogus detoxes and cleanses and ‘booty teas’ (whatever the hell that even means)…. up with self-esteem, self-love and Fearless Body Confidence!
Are you with me?