There are times in the evolution of a culture when a word or expression no longer defines something it once strongly represented. Gradually it slips from the people’s vocabulary to be replaced by a more relevant phenomenon that basically says the same thing. In this instance the word “diet,” as in “I am going on a diet,” has been replaced with “detox,” as in “I am detoxing my body.” Why the change and what does it really mean for you and the rest of the world?
As a young woman I experienced the dieting craze beginning in the 1960′s when returning home from boarding school, with a few extra pounds on my young derriere, was met with the disapproving eye of my mother. “What happened to you?” was all she needed to say to plunge me into a lifestyle of chronic dieting. At the time there was a huge surge of publicity for the “lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks” diet books and really not much has changed to this day.
What I hated most about dieting was the sudden plunge into a strict regimen of deprivation with nothing to eat except carrot sticks and cottage cheese. All I really wanted was to feel better in my body, about my body and about myself. And for those few magical days after losing those same reappearing 10 pounds I was one with the rest of dieting America. In those days I was escaping the effects of Wonder bread, refined sugar, Velveeta cheese and Cream of Campbell’s soups. Hell, what did I know or any of us know about how the new processed foods could affect our bodies and our health.
By the time Frances Moore Lappe’s book, Diet For a Small Planet, was published in 1971 America had already slipped deep into a SAD menu of processed foods high in fat, sodium, sugar and artificial additives. There were also toxic chemicals spreading through our food supply like a dark dusting of poison seeping into the blood streams of Americans. Next thing we knew those 10 pounds of body fat became the holding tank for all the chemicals our organs could not eliminate naturally. Need I list even a few of the evil bad boys? Alright, but just to stun you with the depth of their migration into our every day lives: heavy metals mercury, dioxin, cadmium, lead, pharmaceutical drugs, recreational drugs, nicotine, formaldehyde, PCB’s, DDT, Pesticides, Herbicides, Plasticizers, Diethylstilbestrol (DES).
Suddenly going on a “diet” became something more than giving up Wonder bread and cheese, it became a matter of survival. The 2-week low calorie, low carb weight loss diet has been replaced by the 7-Day Detox plan, which in my mind is a cruel and torturous punishment to a body that has served you well. Still, people just want to feel good. They want to find the physical and mental vitality they lost, to feel less bloated, lighter, more clear in the head, I mean, to at least remember where they left the car keys.
When you overload an organic, living organism with inorganic chemicals, expose it to a consistent barrage of radiation from cell phones, computers, wireless toys and feed it a steady diet of dead micro-waved food you cannot expect that organism to function at its optimal best. Yet this is what we have done to ourselves as adults and to our children, who suffer the most from the effects. Nor can you expect immediate results with sudden fasting and laxative use. After 7 days of suffering it is no wonder people say they feel better.
I prefer to guide people through a slow process of raising the quality of the foods they eat. “Detox” is the new word for “diet” because when done properly by eating unprocessed, organic, locally grown, home cooked, nutrient rich foods your body will take care of detoxing itself, thank you very much. If you need some deeper level of detoxification due to heavy-metal poisoning, chemical exposure, or parasite infestation, then you should contact a medical practitioner who specializes in treating these conditions. Even then, remember that the quality of the foods you eat are what will naturally “detox” your body so you will never have to “diet” again. Bon Appetite!
Does Detox Really Work?