I was recently asked by someone interested in my new book, The Body Tune-up, if the food-based cleanse in the book would be okay for her given I also suggested she increase her protein intake. She had assumed the Body Tune-up was a plant-based approach with less protein. I responded "of course you can do the cleanse!" because my food-based approach includes a special emphasis on protein (especially animal protein) to help maintain muscle, stabilize blood sugar, improve neurotransmitter and hormone production and balance the immune system. In her case, it would be an ideal tool to use in overcoming a sugar addiction. I thought her question was valid and timely as many others may wonder about the apparent contradiction between eating protein and cleansing.
Historically, food-based cleanses promoted by naturopathic doctors excluded protein because it was believed that it was "hard" on the kidneys and liver to process or had negative affects for the colon. When I first began teaching the Body Tune-up fifteen years ago, I held this belief. Over the years, I began to modify the cleansing template to include more protein and animal foods to serve the needs of clients. I found the average person wanting to do the cleanse either had been or was currently under stress, struggling with energy levels or hormonal shifts and blood sugar control. I found adding high quality protein and nutrient-dense foods to the cleansing process improved peoples' outcomes and made it easier to maintain in the long run. The scientific community as well as wellness communities also have growing evidence that high-quality proteins (as well as fat) are critical for overcoming chronic health issues, such as inflammation, in modern times. If you want to do a cleanse to lose weight, maintaining adequate protein will help ensure you lose fat and not valuable muscle. This will help keep your metabolism healthy during fat loss.
The Body Tune-up is a guide that helps establish healthy meals based on protein, fat and vegetables with a few additions. This food-based approach supports the innate ability of the body to support the three phases of detoxification. In fact, high-protein foods like meat and seafood provide key nutrients such as sulfur, creatine and glycine that support one of the body's natural detoxification pathways. Special nutrients and enzymes in vegetables similarly support other vital pathways. If you want to help detoxify your body, eating the right foods is critical to success. I write about a comprehensive approach that includes animal and plant-based foods based on fifteen years of experience.