I used to be a avid believer in detox teas, I mean a few years ago when I was younger, anything that claimed it could make me skinnier or lead me to my “health and wellness” goals quickly, which seemed to always be associated with weight loss, was something that I would be willing to try in an instance.
I remember ordering my first packet of detox tea, I waited in anticipation for it’s arrival – constantly checking my tracking email, I think I even ended up paying an additional $20 or so for express postage, because hey, my “health and wellness” just couldn’t wait.
Finally the day arrived, I got home from work, checked the mailbox and was excited to see the Australia Post package waiting there for me. I grabbed it, ran inside and ripped it open. The packaging of the tea was all shiny and pretty, you know the type of packing that would make any 23 yr. old all warm and fuzzy inside. Along with my two packets of detox tea, the morning cleanse and the night cleanse – I had an inspirational quote card, instructions and a signed letter from the company, with it’s positive mission statement, which went along the lines of “helping people like you achieve their wellness goals”.
At that stage, I was pretty naive and had little interest as to what actually went into these teas and how they worked. Like many, the pretty packing blinded me; the quick fix weight loss approach disguised as “health and wellness”, the transformation photos on their instagram page, the inspirational quote card and of course, the most important selling point – these teas were FULL of antioxidants.
So without much knowledge, I tried it out that night, followed the instructions to a tee, I went to bed but could barely sleep because I was so excited as I waited in anticipation for the next morning to see my flat stomach and to be bursting with energy like the tea claimed.
Well, my fantasy was short lived. It got to around 4am and I remember waking up drenched, I was sweating profusely, I had a headache, I felt so incredibly nauseous and as I sat up, I quickly found myself hunching right back over, arms wrapped around my stomach, trying to ease the gut wrenching stomach cramps.
It’s safe to say that I just made it to the toilet in time; after around 15minutes of being hunched over in extreme pain, it all came to an end. I couldn’t believe it and what I had experienced felt all too familiar, it was like I had overdosed on laxatives again.
Back then; I didn’t really think much of it, I thought that this is what it meant for my body to “detox” because this is what both the company and tea claimed it would do. So I just continued to subject myself to the effects of this tea and to be entirely honest, for the most part it did what it claimed to do, my stomach was flatter, however I didn’t have much energy because the constant cramping, sweating and nausea. After 14 days, I was exhausted but despite the horrific side effects, I kept justifying it, because this was disguised as health and wellness and at that time, that’s all I knew and all I wanted.
A few years later, with a much healthier view, I started to do some research, and I found that most detox teas contain Senna or herbs that are equivalent, and it’s main purpose is to produce a laxative effect. Now Senna is FDA approved, however when you do a little more digging, its main purpose is to treat constipation, IBS and in high levels it is administered before diagnostic tests such as a colonoscopy. Yet we’re selling this as “Detoxifying”, “Health” and “Wellness”.
I’m gob smacked at the fact that these companies still exist, are allowed to claim health and wellness and that there is an increasing rise of detox teas on the market. In fact, I typed into Google detox teas and the search totaled to 10.500.000. The things that concern me the most about these companies, is firstly they disguise themselves as health and wellness, and secondly they are all over social media. Especially that of instagram and they intentionally infiltrate safe online spaces or hashtags such as body love, self love and self care and promote these teas just that to make a quick dollar.
For some of you this information won’t be new, but I know that there are a lot of impressionable young women out there who unintentionally fall for this crap, simply for a “flatter stomach” and to “beat the bloat” and “detox”.
Sweating profusely, feeling nauseous, stomach cramps and uncontrollable bowel movements is not health and wellness. Having to make sure you are close to a toilet while being on these teas is not health and wellness. Having to ensure that you stay hydrated due to the loss of electrolytes caused by these teas is not health and wellness. Inducing pretty painful and uncontrollable bowel movements against your bodies’ natural ability is not health and wellness. Going through all of this for a “flatter stomach”, to “beat the bloat” and “detox” is not health and wellness, and it’s not body love.
We need to proceed with caution and be incredibly mindful of such companies that try to sell us extreme forms of detoxification and weight loss by using the “health and wellness” and “love your body” message.