What’s the Best Way to Cleanse? A Guide to Detoxing in 2019

The Best Detox Cleanses for 2019 From Bone Broth to Infrared Sauna Sweat Sessions
Photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Vogue, April 1975

As January commences, let today mark the first check-in with your efforts for a “new year, new me.” Feeling the urge to help things along is only natural, which is why a next-level culture of cleansing is rising to meet the demand in 2019. Is the otherworldly wellness movement of the moment found inside a neon-lit, warm wooden booth or at the bottom of a pill jar of probiotics? Can a colon cleanse detoxify your body to its purist form? Is it really time to put down the juice?

Here, a cheater’s guide to pressing reset.

Pair Probiotics With a Healthy Diet
The recent uptick of the term “probiotic” in the world of wellness is the result of evidence suggesting that a balanced gut is the route to better skin, better mood, weight reduction (and regulation), and an all-around cleaner bill of health. Probiotics are meant to encourage diversity in the microbiota populating the intestine, which helps to process the nutrients in food. The healthier the diet, the healthier the microbiota, in other words, and the better the digestive system can function.

According to Dr. David A. Relman, MD, professor of medicine and microbiology at Stanford and chief of infectious diseases at the VA Palo Alto, generally speaking, an over-the-counter pill is not guaranteed to improve your digestive tract alone. “The organisms that you and I have [in our gut] were selected and have adapted over many generations of being passed from your ancestors down to you, and my ancestors down to me,” explains Relman of the thumbprint-like individuality of microorganisms that are further tailored by what you most often eat. “We know that diet affects the kind of organisms in your gut,” which is to say that a personal food pyramid of pizza and fro-yo could create an unhealthy microbiome that won’t know what to do when encountered with, say, a stalk of raw broccoli.

Probiotics are a good idea, continues Relman, but because they’re not personally tailored to each individual’s unique microbiome, lasting results reside in coupling them with a consistent change in diet and behavior. And while nutritional needs vary person to person, as a general rule of thumb, Relman’s prescription is this: “Seriously diminish sugar and fat and increase fiber. Those are things that we believe are almost always good."

Soup Is the New Juice
Usually low in its glycemic index, soup—the heartier and much warmer alternative to juicing—has garnered the attention of the cleansing community, getting everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kate Hudson on board. Leaving cold-pressed fruit in the past, soup offers a savory take on fiber-rich vegetable and bone-broth-based recipes for light, nutritionally impactful meals. Companies including Soupelina and Splendid Spoon have gained so much attention that even juice companies like Juice Press are now stocking their own versions of soup cleanses. Among the standouts: The Los Angeles–based organic Soupure offers a seven-day regimen that includes the Metabolic Reset, featuring vegetable and bone-broth formulas spiked with healing herbs and spices designed by Dr. Nada Milosavljevic, director and founder of the Integrative Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Trade Colonics for a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil
The colonic craze has seemingly reached an all-time high. While many holistic practitioners praise the bowel-irrigating treatment with detoxification of the body, preventing constipation, and promoting weight loss, many doctors believe it can do more harm than good. According to Dr. Christine L. Frissora, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at New York’s Weill Medical College of Cornell University, the benefits of colonics are “a myth.” She notes that, “Operating rooms pay thousands of dollars to sterilize that equipment—the colon is full of bacteria”; anything less can contribute to the spread of diseases including HIV.

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Beyond its questionable safety, Frissora is dismissive of colonic cleansing. “There’s a myth that toxins line the colon and GI [gastrointestinal] tract and need to be cleared out, but that really isn’t true. A normal colon empties in three days.” For an alternative digestive aid, she suggests adding natural stimulants like acorn squash or a tablespoon of coconut oil to your daily diet. Others swear by celery juice.

Step Into an Infrared Sauna
There’s a reason your Instagram feed has been flooded with models, actors, and singers (namely Kendall Jenner and Lady Gaga) wrapped in metallic blankets and bathed in neon lights. The infrared sauna has become a must in the wellness community and physical therapy practices alike. Utilizing heaters that emit infrared light waves to heat the body instead of the room, infrared sauna-goers sweat more than they would in a classic sauna while enjoying a more temperate climate—while also reaping the cortisol-lowering, metabolic-boosting, and injury-recovery benefits of infrared light. Studios are popping up from coast to coast: Los Angeles has Shape House; Manhattan has Higher Dose. Factor in its reported mood-enhancing and muscle-relaxing properties and it’s no wonder the practice has been anecdotally linked to the ultimate one-two punch for 2019: a better complexion and quiet mind.