Who needs a detox? Or, to go with the easier question, who doesn’t need a detox? “If you’re underweight or nursing, a detox could actually cut out the fat and protein your body needs,” says Dr. Elson Haas. And, as always, check with your physician before setting out on any kind of detox program. “But, if you have headaches, sinus congestion, fatigue, allergies, acne, joint pain or depression, you might benefit,” says Dr. Haas, who is also widely known as Dr. Detox.
“This is all very individual,” Dr. Haas says. “I recommend to patients that they see what works for them.” For example, if you were to start out by eliminating refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat and dairy for a few weeks and you feel better – but you really miss that morning cup of coffee, “Then reintroduce the coffee and see how you feel. If the symptoms – for example, digestive issues – come back, then reevaluate,” says Dr. Haas.
“Detoxing is a treat. It’s a vacation for the body, and especially for the digestive tract,” says Dr. Haas, who has been promoting detox diets in his medical practice for 35 years. “It will leave you feeling lighter and younger. It will cause you to think about food differently, and to look at your emotional connection to food. Ultimately, it’s about reprogramming the mind about food and emotional well-being.”
Because of this reprogramming, detoxing can pave the way for changes that go well beyond food – because, when you look closely at your relationship to food, other habits tend to surface. Do you eat when you’re stressed? Do you eat when you’re sad? Do you drink to feel socially accepted? And the list goes on. “It’s about eliminating destructive habits,” says Dr. Haas. “And that means dealing openly with emotions.”