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Stay Healthy Without the Drama: Avoiding Toxic Wellness Trends


Have you ever gotten sucked into a fad diet, an extreme fitness challenge, or a juice cleanse that has gone on too long? 

While we are all about making changes in our lives to enhance our well-being or to promote our health in new ways, sometimes wellness trends take it too far. Some practices meant to make us healthier just aren’t realistic, may not be effective, and can sometimes even be harmful to our health!

You don’t need to go to extreme measures to attain or maintain health. 

In fact, if it is truly holistic, a remedy or technique should be able to be incorporated into your daily habits and shouldn’t require a drastic disruption to your way of life in order to support your health. 

We understand that sometimes you need to make big changes all at once, and that approach really works for some people. Just make sure that what you are doing is aligned with long-term wellness and not simply the latest trend that might not actually serve your health as you’d hoped. 

What Is Toxic Wellness?

Sure, we’ve all been inspired by a new wellness craze or jumped to try an invigorating health hack, but where do we draw the line? When does trying to “better ourselves” become a mentally and sometimes physically toxic game we can’t win? 

Sometimes in an effort to improve our health or make better choices, we can begin to live in a realm of self-blame and self-criticism where we never measure up to ever-increasing standards. When our strategies are more focused on perfectionism than wholesome, realistic changes, it not only damages our sense of self-worth, but it can damage our bodies as well.

When we start thinking we are not good enough until we eat cleaner, exercise more, constantly detox, get thinner, meditate every single day, or never have a negative thought, being who we are will never measure up. It’s not the goals that are toxic; it’s when we begin to glorify purity and perfection, become obsessed with what we eat, or live our lives based on competition and comparison that wellness goes from healthy to hazardous.

juice cleanse trends

Common Toxic Wellness Trends

Juice Cleanses

We love a good fresh-pressed juice as much as anyone, but relying on juices as your main source of nourishment is not as healthy as it sounds

Spending a day or two prioritizing healthy juices, along with eating some healthy solid foods, can be really beneficial if you do it right, but long-term, restrictive juice cleanses can leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and at risk for blood sugar and electrolyte imbalances. 

With most juice blends being made with high amounts of fruit or carbohydrate-rich veggies such as beets and carrots, you end up getting a lot of sugar in your system without the fiber that is usually there to balance it out. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps you digest carbohydrates at a slower rate and helps you feel full and satisfied. 

Most juice cleanse programs don’t provide enough calories or enough protein for our bodies to perform important activities such as providing healthy immune responses or keeping up with the everyday repair of cells and tissues. 

Usually used as a strategy to lose weight or detox, extreme juice cleanses can actually be counterproductive, sending the body into starvation mode, which slows down metabolism and often results in increased food cravings. These cleanses can leave you feeling hungry and tired, and it’s common to have difficulty focusing and keeping up with normal activities. 

This is not to say that juices aren’t good for you! They are nutrient-dense substances that can have a lot of potential health benefits. You just don’t need to try to survive on them completely, and it is not necessary to restrict yourself from eating other foods to gain the benefits that juices can provide.


It may be appealing to have the fresh start and improved health that detoxes promise, but most detox kits and cleansing methods are highly ineffective and are based on misleading information. Detox enthusiasts reinforce the mistaken idea that our bodies are dirty or polluted and must be purged of all of the toxic elements. 

Detox products and protocols promise a quick fix to getting rid of all the toxins we come in contact with from our food and environment. The thing is, our bodies know how to detoxify all on their own. While certain foods and herbs can help support those functions in really important ways, it’s not necessary to go to great lengths in order for your body to detoxify.

extreme workout

There are many detox methods out there, including the juice cleanses already mentioned, as well as special kits, teas, colon cleansing supplements, the use of laxatives and enemas, dietary restrictions, intense exercise, and other methods that promise to help you lose weight and rid yourself of various chronic symptoms. 

Not only do most detox methods not work, but they can also be really stressful for our bodies and can reinforce unhealthy fixations on the purity of food and the idea that we are somehow contaminated. 

A more effective strategy is to support ongoing detoxification with your food and lifestyle choices. Eating whole foods and including supportive herbs that benefit the health of your colon, kidneys, and liver (such as milk thistle or reishi mushrooms!) will be much more effective than a short-lived cleanse that doesn’t address the needs of the organs responsible for detoxifying your system. 

Extreme Diets

Trying to eat healthier is great, but when diets go extreme, they can do more harm than good. 

Restricting entire food groups or reducing overall food intake is not a good health or weight management strategy. 

While cutting out processed foods or trying to eat healthier is wonderful, when we start to label foods as “good” or “bad,” it can be harmful to our mental health and lead to disordered eating habits.

Diet trends come and go, and while it can be tempting to hop on the bandwagon of the latest fad, no single diet is right for everyone, and sometimes they are based on false ideas or misinformation. 

Let’s take a look back and remember the fat-free craze. The idea that all fats are bad was once believed to be true, but now we know better. We know fats don’t make you fat, and you need them to be healthy. Don’t restrict yourself just because a food group has been given a negative label.

Health is really all about balance, and when you cut out entire categories of foods, you are going to miss out on something. 

It’s ok to try to make healthy changes and better choices, but when it’s done with rigidity, or you stop listening to what your body needs, it gets harmful. Don’t choose a diet just because you saw it on social media or your favorite celebrity promotes it. Instead, tune in to what your body needs and try to be flexible with your diet. Have compassion for your cravings, and remember that you are not a failure just because you ate that slice of birthday cake! 


Supplements with Exaggerated Claims

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

While we believe supplements can be extremely beneficial in ensuring you are getting all the nutrients you need, some marketing tactics supplement companies use are sleazy and misleading. Supplements are there to support health, and along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, they can provide tremendous benefits, but they don’t fix all of your problems with one magic capsule. 

With influencers repping various products on social media and celebrities boasting about their favorites, it can get confusing about who to trust. 

It’s ok to buy into the message of your favorite influencer, just do a little research first to help you decide what’s right for you. While some products and supplements can truly be life-changing, use caution and proceed with a healthy dose of skepticism before putting your trust in a product that someone promotes as a magic weight-loss solution or a cure for disorders or diseases.

Excessive Exercise or Fitness Challenges

While movement is incredibly important and exercise is essential for good health, more is not always better! 

When people start to value their self-worth on how hard they train, it can set them up for unjust feelings of failure or shame. Fitness challenges can be a great way to get motivated or try a new exercise routine, but when they promise unrealistic results, it can leave people disappointed or damage their self-esteem.

Some people love the intensity of extreme workouts and seek out the endorphin rush that gets released from strenuous activity, but when you push past your limits, it can be challenging for your body to recover, repair, and rebuild. 

Most exercise would be considered a good kind of stress on the body. Still, when it is taken too far, it can start to have negative effects on your structure and deplete your energy stores, resulting in possible injury or exhaustion. Going full throttle without proper recovery time is unhealthy, even for hardcore athletes. 

If you love to run marathons, feel powerful from strength training, or are working toward climbing Mt. Everest, more power to you! Just make sure you are gradually increasing your endurance, giving yourself plenty of downtime between workouts, and don’t get stuck in the “go hard or go home” or “no pain, no gain” mentality. 

athlete resting

Tips for Spotting Toxic Wellness Trends

As the wellness landscape changes quickly and new trends are always on the rise, learning how to spot methods or ideologies that may be misleading or harmful is a great way to protect yourself from traveling down the wrong path. 

Red flags to look out for include: 

♦ Lack of scientific evidence or support
♦ Quick fix or miracle cure promises
♦ Products that are overpriced or have hidden costs
♦ Pushy marketing tactics or pressure to buy
♦ Messaging that something is “wrong with you” or that you somehow need to be “fixed.”
♦ It makes you feel shamed or bad about yourself
♦ It makes you feel stressed
♦ It makes you feel isolated (not able to eat at social gatherings, etc.)

How to Avoid Toxic Wellness Trends

♦ Consult with a healthcare professional.
♦ Look for reliable sources of health information.
♦ Evaluate claims with a skeptical eye. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
♦ Research possible side effects of supplements or complementary therapies.
♦ Take a deeper look into the company that makes a product or the person promoting it.
♦ Focus on self-care practices that prioritize mental and physical well-being over the long term rather than go for quick fixes or crash diets.
♦ Surround yourself with a supportive community that encourages you to prioritize health in a balanced and sustainable way.

Waking up to Wellness

We love to encourage people to move toward a greater sense of wellness in their lives. We believe you can do that with simple, everyday rituals that add up to create a lifestyle that supports overall wellness, one step at a time. 

Let go of the need to completely change yourself to reach some imaginary version of who you think you need to be. It’s great to have health goals, but don’t buy into the suggestion that you have to “fix” yourself to become whole. 

Life is messy, and no one is perfect. Leave yourself space to be who you are and incorporate that into your wellness pursuits. Learning to tune into the needs of your body and mind is the greatest wellness tool you can find. While we may depend on others to help guide us in the right direction, we alone have to choose what path we will take and what goals are worth pursuing.