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'I tried a teatox.' Little effort, lots of cramps - but do they actually work?

About a year ago, my mind was abducted by aliens. That is the only rational explanation I have for why I decided to do a 14-day ‘teatox’.

I was feeling chubby and just generally crappy (read: insecure). Tim tams are fine, but I needed a different kind of quick fix.

So what is a teatox, exactly?

Teatox is short for tea detox. Various companies boast different teas to cure all manner of ailments, from bad skin to bloating and stomach fat. Mine involved simply drinking a cup of tea in the morning, and every second day drinking a special ‘colon blend’ at night (WHY WERE THE ALARM BELLS NOT ALREADY RINGING?) and voila! Cue bangin’ bod, with no effort involved.

Teatox
What exactly is a teatox? Image via iStock

I was sold, particularly on the zero-effort part. I figured this teatox was going to help me lose weight and make me a goddess of health. It wasn’t like all those other phony detoxes, no sir! This was natural!

And so my teatox began. The instructions warned me not to brew the colon-cleanse any longer than 1 minute, as the effects would be extremely potent. Nothing in that that was alarming at all (and here, I should remind you of the aliens).

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I had my colon cleansing tea 30 minutes before bed. In the middle of the night I woke up with terrible cramps. Then, it started.

My friends, I’m sorry for the disturbing mental images, but let me just say that it flowed out of me like lava. ‘It’ being poo. So much poo.

I expected this. The colon tea was described as ‘improving digestive health’. What I didn’t expect was for this and the cramps to continue for TWO DAYS. I conceded defeat, deciding that I didn’t actually enjoy diarrhoea enough to endure it on a daily basis, but stuck to my morning tea.

At the end of the 14 days, having had only the morning tea for 12 days, I took a photo of myself and compared it with the photo I had taken 14 days earlier. What did I see?

Nothing. ZILCH.

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Was I surprised? Not exactly. After further investigation, many of the ‘success stories’ on the site, and others, attributed their weight loss to a healthy diet and exercise along with the tea. Hmm. Things were now falling into place (or rather, the aliens had kindly returned my brain).

Funnily enough a healthy diet aids the teatox. Image via iStock

The site also recommended I follow their diet plan while teatoxing. They advised cutting out meat, dairy, wheat and basically everything except vegetables. Um… great?

This was the final straw. If the site was recommending a ‘clean eating plan’ and regular exercise, why did I need the tea?!

I believe in the benefits of herbal teas. They are full of antioxidants and other little beauties. Can they improve your health and wellbeing? To a degree, yes. Can they give you the body of Miranda Kerr, make your skin flawless or ‘detox’ you completely? Uh, no.

Many of these weight loss, ‘fit’ and detox teas use an ingredient called senna, which is a herb that irritates the bowel and causes a laxative effect. The short term effects? Most definitely weight loss, as you’ll be losing a few, er, unwanted kilos you were previously carrying around.

Skinny me tea is one of the most popular teatox's'

The long term effects? Dehydration, dizzyness, and in the long term the bowel could become reliant on this type of laxative in order to work.

Scary stuff, isn’t it?

In theory, using a detox tea could seem like a great way to lose weight and de-bloat. But what happens when you stop using the tea? Like any other ‘quick fix’, it simply isn’t as effective as a healthy diet and exercise.

My teatoxing experience was a good reminder of the fact that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And that I need to shut up and accept that I’m fabulous just the way I am.

Take my (and my bowel’s) advice. Steer clear and stick to the Earl Grey.

Have you ever tried a teatox, or any other bizarre detox diet? Tell us more…

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Tags: body-image , diet , exercise-and-fitness , health
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