With the holiday season over and a new year begun, all of the food sites I normally visit are clogged with detox recipes. Lots of detox salads, detox smoothies, detox soups, even detox waters (which, as far as I can tell, are made of regular water with salad inside of it). Of course, someone who is committed to detoxifying their polluted body isn’t going to listen to what I have to say, not least because I consider the cheese ball I made yesterday to have been a perfectly acceptable dinner. But in the interest of this being my blog and the food sites I visit being full of garbage at the moment, I’ll say it, anyway.
Detox is bullshit.
People, do you know what your body does on a constant, second-by-second basis? It detoxes itself. You may not remember sophomore year biology but I do, and I know all about the lymphatic system, the immune system, and all of the unlovely ways in which the body can get rid of things it doesn’t want (ahem, poop). Basically, your body is a detox machine. That’s what it does to stay alive. It detoxes itself automatically and on a constant basis, and all of these salad waters you keep pouring down your gullet aren’t doing much but keeping you hydrated.
Which you should be doing, anyway, just not for the purposes of post-holiday detoxification.
If you’re really concerned about flushing the extra garbage out of your body, maybe don’t consume that much garbage to begin with. I mean, I overeat and overdrink during the holidays (or, um, periods of unemployment) just like the next person, but even in my younger days, I never consumed so much bad stuff that I felt the urge to pulse seaweed, psyllium husks, and other evacuation aids together and put it into my body. A hangover doesn’t last forever unless you’re an alcoholic, and if that’s the case, then I think you need more help than a detox meal can provide. If you’re experiencing a regular hangover, you don’t need to detox. You need to handle it like a fucking adult.
Here’s what I suggest for your post-holiday hangover. First, don’t eat and drink shit for the month and a half preceding. I know I’m sort of suggesting time travel, but you’re going to feel a lot better overall if you’re not a giant pig (and, if you’re over 30, you should really be thinking about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and general mortality anyway). Second, if you drink a ton of booze, be sure to drink a big glass of water before you go to bed. Like, twenty ounces. Yep, just like those bottles of soda that are now considered normal-sized. Third, when you wake up, take some ibuprofen, drink another glass of water, and eat some protein and antioxidants. I’ve found that leftover pizza will do, and please know that I mean homemade pizza, which I usually make with homemade sauce, spinach, bell pepper, onion, lean sausage, and not nearly as much cheese as any pizza place would use. There’s grease, yes, but there are also vitamins, and the protein will help you feel normal again while the lycopene in the tomato sauce will jump start your body’s recovery process. That’s not detox, it’s just decent food in an appealing format.
Fourth, walk to the store and get one of those Naked, Odwalla, or Bolthouse juice drinks. They’re expensive and full of sugar, but it’s not the high fructose corn syrup kind and every time I drink one of those after a rough night, my body shudders like it’s thanking me. Fifth, walk back home and drink more water. If you feel like it, take a nap. Then wake up and take a monster shit, and then dance around the house like you’re about eight pounds lighter.
Then congratulate yourself, because your body has just detoxed on its own and you didn’t have to follow a recipe or buy some crazy ass diet plan or look like an asshole for treating your body badly and then apologizing to it with something it never needed in the first place.
I just caved into the infomercial and bought one of those “revolutionary” cyclonic NutriBullet machines that, unlike juicers, extracts nutrients, retains the fiber, and pulverizes the vitamin-enriched fruit and vegetable pulp into a near-DayGlo-colored swampy green froth. Depending on what you put into it, it actually tastes pretty darned good and gives me some kind of natural health buzz rush. I hate sweet smoothies, so I’m focusing my NutriBullet concoctions on veggies and the more tart fruits. Right now, a full glass of this stuff seems like overkill. Instead, I just drink NutriBullet “shots” from a small glass to wash down my daily vitamins and as a late-day pick-me-up.. Already I notice these drinks have cut my cravings for salt, bad carbs, and sugar. We’ll see how it goes.
I still love my juicer. Knowing that even with a small glass (or you could make small shots of the pulp and FREEZE them for future smoothies), you’re ingesting a shitload of good stuff is pretty great.