Everyone has been detoxing this month. Detoxing from alcohol, social media, caffeine, sugar, Netflix, you name it. We're all downing dark green concoctions, swapping digital for candlelight, yoga for hot yoga. Great, awesome, good for you...but seriously? I'm so over it.
I love it that people want to juice everything in the house, be healthier, more in tune with their bodies and connected with those around them than with a pinging contraption. But honestly, when did it all get so extreme?
My issue with the whole detox concept isn't that people want to cleanse and purify. The world we live is hyper and hyperreal. We are connected 24/7, opportunities to actually taste your food, let alone ensure it hasn't been blitzed by chemicals or grown by an evil warlord, are scarce. My issue with detoxing, be it diet or digital, is that for the majority of people it's a fad. It's a short-term solution no different from the Atkins or vibrating platforms.
Where's the sustainability in detoxing? Leading a healthy lifestyle, be it in terms of what you eat and drink, how much you exercise or like things on Facebook, is all relative. Alcohol, social media and chocolate are not evil elements to binge on and periodically purge from your system. Let's get it into our heads, once and for all, that it's all about, shock horror, balance and moderation. (Note: this clearly does not apply to cigarettes, Class A drugs or toxic relationships. Purge, purge, PURGE those mofos like there's no tomorrow.)
In her article for The Guardian, Emma Sexton argues that if you've signed up for one of those trendy digital detoxes as part of your New Year's resolutions you're wasting your time. You know, the kind of detox where you head to a gorgeous retreat and trade your iPhone in for yoga, mindfulness and, that's right, more juicing.
That's all very nice, but are we perhaps over-complicating things? Instead of trying to live without technology, Sexton puts forward the revolutionary argument of learning to live with it and crafting strategies to manage your addiction if you are over-enthusiastic with the Retweets. Turning off notification alerts, setting 'do not disturb' settings during mealtimes or just leaving your phone in your pocket when having a non-digital conversation with another human being are some of the simple tactics Sexton lays out.
Sexton's strategies are as applicable to the dietary realm as they are to the digital. As far as I'm concerned, detox diets are not a long-term solution, the ultimate proof being that most people pile the pounds back on once the detox is, thank God, is over. For anyone who isn't morbidly obese or struggling with serious addiction, please don't veto the things you love (Leffe, House of Cards, Milka.) Moderate and factor them into your life so that they become sources of pleasure in lieu of heinous 'toxins'.
Your body may well be a temple. However, I am perfectly content with mine being a beautiful, well-stocked wine cellar. Or a cosy Italian restaurant. Either is fine by me.