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Detox versus cleanse

Updated: Aug 12, 2023




Detox or Cleanse…what’s the difference?

“Detox” is a verb, not a noun.


When we use the word “detox”, we are referring to the body’s natural processes of elimination and excavation. Depending on your health needs at that moment, the goal may be to help your body when it’s overburdened or just fortify what it’s already doing for you.


So, this would be like taking a bath, flossing your teeth, or using a neti pot to irrigate your nasal passage. On the inside, it’s your digestive and inflammatory systems that should be supported so that your body can handle waste removal. The focus would also be on blood sugar, sleep, and poop. These are all functions that help your body to get rid of waste. So, the goal here may be to eliminate some dietary items that may slow you down, clog your sinuses, cause gas and discomfort, and make you feel bloated, tired, or foggy.


Sometimes the things we’re addressing are foods or other things that we consume, and sometimes they’re behaviors or beliefs, patterns, and habits that are holding us back. The goal is to help your body to do what it naturally does for you!


So, detox” is a verb (and something that your body does for you, that can be enhanced with some support and practice.


OK, so if that’s detox, then what’s a cleanse?


A “cleanse” tends to be thought of as a noun; something that you go on.


A cleanse is not for everyone. It should be carefully assessed and evaluated. In a cleanse, substances are temporarily removed. There is a deeper dive inside, delving into a certain organ of detoxification and working to give it a little extra scrub so it can function better.


Let’s look at your colon as an example…

Your colon (or large intestine) is working constantly to gather what the body needs and expel what it doesn’t. A healthy colon clears any toxins, debris, or non-beneficial bacteria from your body and removes them so that the body can stay vibrant, strong, and without undue pressure from unnecessary waste build-up.


The health of the colon is reflected in your overall health. What this means is that if you have diarrhea or constipation, you can likely link some of your other ailments to those signs of imbalance. And an imbalance is not an imperfection or something that needs a “fix”. It’s something that calls your attention to that area of your body. It’s asking for support.


Colon support can come in many different forms, depending on the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. Three of my top favorite ways to love my colon are:

  • drink more water (hydration is the key to both elimination and detoxification!)

  • increase your fiber intake (remember to ‘start low and go slow’ if you are newer to eating fiber)

  • feed your microbiome

I hope this helps you to know the difference between these two words. It’s important to understand these two concepts so that you can make the distinction that will help you to make the appropriate investment of your time and resources to reach optimal health goals that will support your body in its natural functions.













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