Why a Detox Should Address More Than Just Food


The Clarity Cleanse
Photo: Grand Central LifeMost people go on a cleanse with one mission in mind: to flush out all the inflammation-causing toxins and impurities. The idea is that downing green juices and lemon water or sticking to a restricted diet will give the digestive system a chance to reset. But according to Dr. Habib Sadeghi, DO—whose new book, The Clarity Cleanse, is out now—the problem with the typical cleanse is that it only addresses half the problem. What should we be focusing on instead? Our emotions.

Dr. Sadeghi, an osteopathic specialist, co-founded the Be Hive of Healing Integrative Medical Center in Agoura Hills, CA, a mecca for Hollywood celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, who wrote the foreword for his book. He believes that our physical problems—say recurring headaches, chronic digestive issues, or extra weight—are often a manifestation of painful emotions that we have not faced and are storing, like waste, in our psyches. In other words, sometimes it really is all in your head.

"Instead of just cleansing your body, it's important to also clean out the negative energy from our minds and spirits," Dr. Sadeghi says, a practice he calls "psycho-spiritual hygiene." (You knew it would have a fabulous woo-woo name, right?)

What exactly does this look like? Part of the plan—which Anne Hathaway, Demi Moore, and Tracy Anderson are fans of—is sticking to a four-day "monodiet" that is heavy on three foods: apples, brown rice, and sardines. Yep, sardines. The reasoning is that they are all high in B vitamins, which allows for greater "mental plasticity" and are easy on the digestive system. There's plenty of other food on the plan, too. Poultry, fish, egg whites, vegetables and fresh fruit are all permitted, but you'll have to go without dairy, nuts, legumes, alcohol, and caffeine.

On the mindset front, Dr. Sadeghi recommends 12 minutes of emotional writing a day—a way to purge the mind of all those toxic thoughts. In this way, the body and mind are working together to detox.

Although the food on the cleanse is restrictive, Dr. Sadeghi doesn’t believe that any one food is bad and that it’s the feelings or the energy we are holding while we eat that is far more important than the nutritional content of the food we consume. “How we choose to relate to food is important," he says. "In life, it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we relate to what happens to us that matters.”

Want proof that you can still have delicious food while sticking to the Clarity Cleanse? Keep reading for a recipe.

The Clarity Cleanse recipe
Photo: Stocksy/Darren Muir

Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 2 

To make the slow roasted tomatoes
6 organic vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in half horizontally
1 Tbsp olive oil

To make the pistou
2/3 cup chopped basil
1/3 cup arugula or parsley leaves
1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil

To make the eggplant
1 medium eggplant
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

To make the salad
1 large handful of arugula
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Begin by roasting the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 275°F, toss halved tomatoes with olive oil, and arrange cut-side up in a small roasting tray. Roast tomatoes in the oven for two hours.

2. While the tomatoes roast, make the pistou. Combine all pistou ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

3. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch slices, season generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill until tender (about five minutes per side).

4. Just before serving, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Divide arugula between two plates, layer one slice of eggplant and top with one tablespoon pistou and two roasted tomato halves. Repeat twice more layering eggplant, pistou, and roasted tomatoes.

Recipe excerpted from the book The Clarity Cleanse by Habib Sadeghi, DO. Copyright © 2017 by Habib Sadeghi, DO. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.

This post was originally published on December 26, 2017; updated on July 31, 2020.

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