Natural Foods Merchandiser
NFM Secret Shopper: How do I choose a detox kit?

NFM Secret Shopper: How do I choose a detox kit?

Each month, NFM’s secret shopper heads incognito into a natural products store with a question. The employee’s answer—and our expert’s evaluation of the response—is reported here. Our aim: to help you improve your store’s customer service.

Natural products co-op in the Midwest

NFM: How do I choose a detox kit? I haven’t done much research.

Store: No problem. I can tell you about the [small selection of] kits we carry to give you an idea of how they differ. All of these are herbal blends that contain both soluble and insoluble fibers to help toxins move through your system. A few also include a laxative herb to speed elimination, but some people don’t like that—it all depends on your regularity. This kit here is specifically directed at eliminating parasites, whereas this one is a more general, whole-body cleanse that helps flush all kinds of toxins from your fat cells. The kit on the far right also includes probiotics to balance your gut and build up your body’s natural defenses.

NFM: Great. Are they all meant for the same duration?

Store: No, they differ, and each box will tell you the length of that cleanse. See here? This one says it’s for 10 days.

NFM: Do I also need to eat a special diet while cleansing?

Store: Generally, it’s recommended that you stick to whole foods and lots of raw fruits and vegetables, but that may be too big of a shock to your system, depending on your normal diet. There are some small books here [right next to the products] that cover more about diet and cleansing if you’d like to look through them.

How did this retailer do?

Our expert educator: Seth Braun, industry consultant, health coach and author of the cookbook Healthy, Fast and Cheap (Rock, 2006)

The retailer offered generally safe advice. I like that she suggested books to support cleansing and told the shopper how too much change at once can shock the body. I suggest retailers also discuss the following three things with anyone considering a detox.

Remember, it’s all about the liver. When choosing a cleanse, look for products that list herbs known for liver support high up in the ingredients list. Milk thistle and dandelion are two of my favorites.  

Beware of eliminating herbs. This retailer did a great job discussing the laxative effects of some cleanse kits. Unless the shopper is specifically looking for elimination support, I recommend avoiding harsh herbs such as senna and cascara sagrada. A better option would be a fiber supplement made with pectin, psyllium or ground flax that also includes probiotics and prebiotics. 

Include protein. Protein is often overlooked, but it should play a role in any detox. Clean proteins such as organic whey and soy repair tissue and also help maintain blood sugar levels, which assists in fat reduction.

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