People get stuck in cleanse-binge cycles because they think they are eating “healthy” but they are actually starving themselves!
By and large, people who come to me and tell me they already eating a “healthy” diet have equated healthy with misery, restriction, and an ideology of “purity” and “cleansing”. This is not sustainable! No organism is able to deprive themselves for very long. People inevitably fall off the wagon and start “bingeing”. This sets people up for a vicious cycle where they are vacillating back and forth between eating a high carbohydrate, low nutrient diet standard american diet and a low fat, low protein, plant based “cleanse”.
In reality, a sustainable and healthy diet is a NOURISHING diet. A truly nourishing diet will not lead you to major processed food and sugar cravings and is manageable long term.
The low fat craze of the 70’s through the 90’s was detrimental to most people’s idea of a healthy diet. People feel guilty eating steak, eggs and butter but don’t feel guilty eating fruit salad, whole grain pasta, or salads. This has become an ideology of seeing animal based foods as somehow dirty or heavy, where as plant based foods are seen as clean and light, and the path to health.
Plant based foods can certainly have a cleansing effect on the body. This is because from a nutritional stand point, a low fat and low protein diet is a modified fast. Short term fasts or plant based “cleanses” may be appropriate for some people at some times. In fact, in many religious traditions, terms like “fasting” and “cleansing” are used to describe short term, plant based diets! These diets should always be time limited- generally less than a week, certainly less than a month. However, after you finish with this “cleanse”, you don’t need to start bingeing on processed and sugary foods- you need to go back to high fat, high protein, animal based foods to truly nourish and refeed you!
When you start feeling unfulfilled with your food, it is a sign that your body is trying to rebuild, and needs key nutrients to make this happen. Otherwise we go into “rabbit starvation”- a long known phenomenon avoided at all costs by traditional cultures. This is what a lot of people in modern western society are experiencing while trying to “eat healthy”!
Key nutrients our bodies need to rebuild are found in:
Suet (the fat around the kidneys)
Fatty cuts of beef, pork and lamb
These include bio available (easily absorbed) B vitamins, amino acids, saturated fats and fat soluble vitamins necessary for the body to repair and rebuild itself!
Give yourself credit! You are probably not “failing” at a healthy diet. If you are stuck in a cleanse-binge cycle, it is probably because you are missing key nutrients in your “healthy” diet and misreading your body’s cravings when it is telling you it is not getting what it needs. Try reframing what you think of as “healthy” and focus on getting nutrient dense, high fat and high protein animal foods as the priority of your long term, sustainable, nourishing diet!