Should You Try a "Mommy Cleanse"?

Sure, celeb moms like Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Jessica Parker do "cleanses" -- restrictive, mostly liquid diets that claim to detoxify your system, improve your health, and, let's face it, offer a speedy slim-down. But lately we've been hearing the moms at drop-off complaining that they're cranky because they've traded in their usual fare of leftover kid waffles and birthday party pizza for a cleanse of their very own.

Yes, pricey celeb cleanses are becoming popular among moms, who may not have time to get to a gym and are looking for a quick way to shed a few pounds before hitting the beach or to kick-start a plan that will hopefully get rid of the baby weight once and for all. And these plans claim to deliver a whole lot more than good health for frazzled, sleep-deprived mamas.

The BluePrintCleanse (shown above) -- which includes numbered bottles of juices like Pineapple Mint or Spicy Lemonade that come in three levels of cleansing intensity (one level allows you to still eat a vegetarian/raw dinner) -- supposedly will "rid your body of impurities, regain an alkaline balance, and normalize digestion and metabolism." It costs $325 for a three-day regimen, though you can make your own if you buy the BluePrint book.) Another popular choice, Organic Avenue, costs $250 for a three-day cleanse of options like cucumber soup and pomegranate juice and promises a whole range of benefits from "bright eyes," a "clear complexion," and "perfect weight," to "feeling grounded and balanced," and having "positive thoughts."
Even if those claims are true, is an all-liquid diet really a good idea? As an RN, I worry about moms using cleanses as a short-cut to weight loss because they don’t exactly lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise. Sure, you’ll survive for a few days on juice alone, but the kidney, liver and colon already handle detox-ing your body. (Restricting calories during breastfeeding, however, is a dangerous idea since it can affect your milk supply. To their credit, both of these companies state that nursing is not the time for a cleanse.) A healthier (and cheaper) option might be to cut out processed foods in favor of fruits, veggies, lean meats and whole grains. Lifelong health and weight management is based on realistic habits that can be maintained over time -- something that, unfortunately, can't be bottled and sold.

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