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Ask Lisa

This is the first of a new series called Ask Lisa. I'm sure you've figured it out, but it's my answers to your questions! While I am touted as a fitness "expert", realize that I am first a real mom who struggles with many of the same issues that you do! I'm an open book and am happy to share my challenges, insights and solutions with you!

With the New Year still fresh, we have had lot's of questions about cleanses and what do I think of them.

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of a cleanse. Detox diets or cleanses are all the rage right now, and that scares me!

Do I think we eat too much processed food? Yes.

Do I think we drink too much alcohol? Yes.

Do I think we eat too much sugar? Yes.

Ok, you get the picture. I think that we should reduce our intake of these items and increase our intake of water, fruits and vegetables, but that does not constitute a cleanse. I have studied weight management since my Master's Thesis from many years ago. My research has led to very strong opinions that diets don't work and that elimination of any food groups are a recipe for failure. Here are 5 reasons that I don't like juice cleanses:

1) The food is not the problem. Your mind is. And if you feel deprived, it will backfire on you.

2) You will slow down your metabolism.

3) Many detox diets are poor in fiber and nutrients.

4) It's not sustainable! Why do you think you can go weeks on just juices but you can't eat healthy daily?

5) This is not a good model of healthy eating for your kids! We don't want them raise on crazy diets.

I will be honest with you and tell you that I recently did an "elimination" diet. My husband has some health issues that are not being helped with traditional medicine. So, I wanted to see if any foods were to blame. This was the first time since my teen years that I went on any kind of food restriction. We eliminated caffeine, gluten, alcohol, dairy and processed sugar for 21 days. Realize, we ate real food. I didn't deprive myself of calories. The first 10 days were brutal but we both ended up feeling amazing by the end. Duh! We would all feel better with more whole foods and less junk! I slept so much better without my glass of wine at night! We then slowly added one food group back at a time to see what caused issues. I personally didn't have any strong reaction to any particular food. However, we felt so good that we are sticking to that regime I would say 80% of the time. Basically, we are just eating clean, whole foods. And yes, I do drink lot's of veggie juice, but it's a snack not a meal replacement.

Our reality is that we are killing ourselves with food. Between GMO's, pesticides, processed foods and the such, it is hard to fuel your body. But you won't benefit yourself from going on a roller coaster of cleanses followed by unhealthy eating. Don't tell me that making healthy choices is hard. Trust me, cleanses are much harder. So, feel free to "cleanse" yourself of the junk in your diet and to choose healthier replacements. But don't deprive yourself of real food, total nutrition and a nice piece of dark chocolate once in awhile!

Tell me what you think of cleanses. And please comment on what you would like me to answer in a future Ask Lisa segment.