Ahh, January. A lot like December. Except colder, less festive and those last-minute Christmas shopping emails have been replaced by gym membership and detox offers.
I'm not personally a New Years resolution-maker but totally understand the appeal (and benefit, if you stick to them) of using a fresh, new year to make positive changes in your life. Especially with the rise in obesity, any commitment to being a bit healthier can only be a good thing.
Except for one thing. The detox.
Dry January? Sure. Less alcohol is always a good thing after the booze-fest that is Christmas (though, really, cold-turkey non-boozing? Could be a shock to my system. I'm going to play it safe and wean myself off... And by wean I mean anything less than a bottle to myself in an evening is a win after so much December 'training'!).
But juice 'detoxes'? Might as well slap a 'magic pill' label on them for the good they do (according to lots and lots of actual scientific research and people with way more degrees and smarts than me) versus what they claim.
I don't know where this idea that your body is full of toxins that your organs can't process came from but it's sure made a lot of non-medical professionals a lot of money selling overpriced juice. This is a great article from the Guardian about the whole detoxing 'thing' and I particularly like the following quote:
“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.”
It's short. It's punchy. And he's not charging you £300 for nine bottles of that advice.
I'm not against juice or smoothies--I LOVE a green smoothie and am totally a sucker for new, cold-pressed juice flavours in Whole Foods (do they have a Whole Foods Anonymous yet? Can you guys let me know when that happens, please? Not for me... It's for a friend. Yeah...). But I'm not under any illusions that my smoothies and juices are somehow magically making me healthier by cleaning out my insides. They help me get more of my five a day in a super tasty way, which is awesome and about all I'm looking for in something that costs me less than a fiver. I don't need magic liquid spinach that claims to make my spleen sparkle. And I do love sparkles.
As with anything health and fitness related, sadly there are no magic cures or shortcuts. You know what, though? Although it's frustrating and I totally can't understand what scientists have been doing with their time when we don't have a) transporters and b) a magic weight loss pill in the year 2016, I'm starting to be more and more okay with the idea that the effort is worth it. Sure, I wish I was a little less squishy in the middle but I also like the fact that, in working towards that goal, I feel totally empowered by what I can do and achieve as I try to improve my healthiness day-to-day, from running to spin to lifting to resisting the urge for that last piece of cake! As much as having a magic potion would be awesome, I doubt that it could make me feel the same way as post-workout endorphins and the sense of accomplishment.
So what am I saying? Well, detoxes definitely aren't for me. Maybe the juices or smoothies that are part of them are a convenient way to get some extra veggies and vitamins in your diet and maybe they tick some boxes on the short-term weight loss check-list. But more importantly, you can buy a whole lot of salad and fresh fruit (probably enough for all of January AND February, to make good on that resolution) for the price of a detox pack and save the leftover money to do something way more fun!
Have you made any resolutions? What have you been up to for the first few days of 2016?