I just read this great post by Yoni Freedhoff on the ludicrous detox diets that abound and thought I’d add a couple of points from the social/psych side around my thoughts on why people are sold on the promise of detox.
I think it all starts from the threat of contamination – that somehow we are ‘supposed’ to be pure, clean, non-toxic beings. As I see it this belief comes from a misunderstanding of the relationship between the human body and the environment within which it exists. Essentially because we have this physical boundary (skin and clothes and more insidiously – ‘mind’) it seems that we are separate from the environment. But we are not, the environment is in us and we are in it – so our bodies evolved the ability to deal with (most of) the supposed toxins we deal with – hence the function of our internal organs, which is why Yoni Freedhoff says don’t believe detox unless you are in the ER – because if you are in the ER your body is probably not dealing with a toxin or two and you need medical help.
So this is fairly simple medical science, why on earth is there such a massive market for detox systems? Here we can turn to look at the psychosocial conditions of western life – and particularly the sanitisation that is now rampant in all life – air conditioning, humidity regulation, packaging etc… this exacerbates the idea you can eradicate contamination from toxins and reinstate your ‘pure’ body. This is pure fantasy! So my advice, like Yoni’s is to ignore the detox lunacy in favour of scientific rationality – good luck 🙂