Health & Wellness

Colorado Health & Wellness | Spring 2016

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Health and Wellness Magazine • 47 Garner, who already worked out regularly but suspected food sensitivities might be holding her back, dropped 20 pounds and 20 inches after following a structured five-week protocol. Most foods were nixed, other than fruits, vegetables and lean meats, the first two weeks, and her trainer (also a nutritionist) helped her choose a "gut-support" supplement that Garner drank 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner. Eventually, healthful foods were added back into her diet, once every three days. "Rice Chex never tasted so good," says Garner, whose goal was less about her new 5'-5", 135-pound frame and more about the way she felt. "My energy level was high — I was giving my body what it needed to be healthy and strong." Garner, who ran half- marathons before and after the "cleanse," also saw a difference in her athletic performance, trimming 20 minutes off her time. For Garner, a mother of two, joining the growing "detox" fad was about a lasting lifestyle change, not a quick fix. And that, says Suzanne Farrell, registered dietitian with Cherry Creek Nutrition, is the key to success. "Whole foods — grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables — are tried and true in terms of disease prevention as well as healthier body weights," Farrell says. "I like to have a plan that incorporates those foods on a regular basis." Scientific backing lags: Cleanses range from simple and balanced to restrictive and extreme — such as the liquid-only, 10-day "Master" cleanse sometimes referred to as "The Beyoncé Diet" after the celebrity used it to rapidly lose weight in preparation for her "Dreamgirls" role. Most cleanses purport to help with weight loss and clear toxins, though Farrell notes that there are no "evidence-based, peer-reviewed clinical trials" that support weight-loss claims and "scant research" to back detoxification claims. Not all are bad: Experts agree there are good and bad "cleanses," which Farrell prefers to refer to as "a detoxification of bad habits." Some cleanses will bump up the body's ability to burn fat, but others won't, says Dr. Cate Shanahan of the Englewood-based Fat Burn Factory and author of "Deep Nutrition." "Those (the bad ones) are pretty easy to identify, because you're drinking sugar water all day," Shanahan says, referring to the popular juice cleanses. "In my view, most 'cleanses' that have any beneficial effects, that force the body to burn fat, are a form of intermittent fasting," says Shanahan, adding that anyone attempting a fast should be in an already-well-nourished state and follow up the fast with a sustainable and healthy diet. Beware the extreme: Do not try anything too drastic without a physician's care, especially if that level of restrictiveness goes on for more than a few days, Farrell says. "You have to look at the medications a person takes, their blood sugar levels, any electrolyte imbalance that can result from an overly restrictive cleanse." Also ensure "experts" guiding cleanses or backing products have credentials, she says. "If you try something along the lines of a celebrity- endorsed cleanse, you're your own guinea pig." Focus on life change: Garner, who has continued to do what she calls occasional "simple cleanses" to help her stay focused, also cautions against anything that seems like a quick fix. "Lots of people, when they finish a cleanse and go back to their former eating habits, just put the weight back on, and the cycle continues." Both Farrell and Shanahan agree that a safe cleanse, followed by a sustainable, well-balanced diet, can be a psychological jumping-off point to a healthier lifestyle and weight. "For some people, doing something that's a little bit larger of a change all at once is motivating and helpful," Farrell says. C L E A N S E F O R L I F E Focus on Lifestyle Change, Not Quick Fix, Triggers 'Detox' Success for Some by Kris Scott When Denver resident Ann Garner decided to try a dietary cleanse, she wanted to do it the right way. Rather than blindly jumping on a fad juice diet or adding an odd drink concoction to her daily routine, she enlisted the help of her personal trainer for a total lifestyle overhaul. The results were dramatic. (left) Ann Garner October 2010 before starting a dietary cleanse. (right) Ann with her husband, Robert, at the finish line of the Colfax half marathon, May 2013. Health and Wellness Magazine • 47

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