-By Soraya Joseph
When it comes to fancy detox teas, please sip with caution.
After putting my health at risk not once but twice with detox teas, I decided to share my horrific tale. 2017 is right around the corner and I know there are a few people looking to shed some pounds and get their body tight as part of their new year resolution. With “Instagram Tea Companies” promoting their end-of-the-year sales by way of some of your celeb faves, I must advise you that the journey to get slim quick is not as glamorous as one might think.
So with that said, let’s get to it.
Detox teas put the die in diet. Almost. At least for me, anyway.
It all started out at the top of the year when I ordered a very popular detox tea that I saw promoted heavily on Instagram. I’d seen this product advertised by just about every pretty face and snatched body in the industry. I read no real complaints, however, when I went to the company’s website, I did notice a few customer reviews warning new drinkers to steep their tea for less than the recommended time. Basically, the instructions said to steep for four minutes, but some suggested only steeping one to two minutes max. Ladies also warned that bad cramping was inevitable, but I thought, as a grown woman, what cramp have I not experienced by now?
Overall, a lot of customers said they would purchase again because the tea was effective in ridding tummy bloat, taking inches off their the mid-section and increasing regularity. So yes, I was sold.
When my tea arrived in the mail, I was hyped. Clearly, packaging is a major key for fancy weight loss teas. I purchased the cutesy infuser that I needed to steep loose-leaf tea, along with a tumbler that allowed for on-the-go steeping. I got a 30-day detox package which included 15 nighttime teas, which you’re supposed to drink every other night and 30 gentler daily teas you drink in the mornings.
I drank one nighttime tea and went to bed as I normally do.
The next morning, I had a bagel and one daily tea, as instructed. I felt my stomach become uneasy as most stomachs do when they’re working their “digestive magic.” Suddenly, the worst cramp of my life hit me out of nowhere. It was the sharpest PANG I’ve ever felt as it made its way from my stomach to my chest. As a reflex, I jumped up. That’s when I felt another wave of pain and swiftly made my way to the restroom.
By this point, I was scared and confused. These were not regular cramps. They almost felt artificial and forcefully induced. These cramps didn’t feel like something my body would ever do naturally. I didn’t even have to use the loo, but I made my way over anyway because I expected that I’d have to soon.
Once on the toilet, I continued to be hit with these cramps as my body began to get cold. My hands and feet became clammy and I was shaking. I had goosebumps allover. I tried to use the restroom but my heart did this thing where I could feel it flutter. Everything around me got quiet, deafening, and all I could hear was my heartbeat. It was an out-of-body experience. I felt hollow, chilly, still, and petrified.
I have a high tolerance for pain, so understand this really took me by surprise and is by no means an exaggeration. Anyway, I managed to pull my pants up and go to the hallway to get my father. “Call 911,” I croaked before fainting. I heard my dad scream my name but it sounded so distant as I hit the floor.
When I woke up, I was in my dad’s arms. I woke up to the smell of Isopropyl Alcohol. The pungent smell brought me back to consciousness. My body felt like jelly and my ears were ringing. By now, EMT had arrived. As my senses made their way back to me, the clammy, jelly sensation of my skin turned to pins and needles, which was oddly calming. It felt good to feel my skin again, to feel warmth after experiencing that weird, chilling cold. I knew then, I was going to be okay.
According to the EMT, I had experienced the side effects of a Valsalva Maneuver. A Valsalva Maneuver is a forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway. I had tried to force a push during one of those painful pangs I felt earlier. This caused an internal strain, resulting in a drop of my heart rate. The pain of the cramps had knocked the wind out of me. Had I been older and/or had a history of heart disease, I could have died. Common? No. Possible? Absolutely.
For the rest of the day, I resumed normal activity. So, I succeeded at a 24 hour detox and possibly losing an inch off my waist, but only at the risk of putting myself within inches of death.
Six months later, I’m ashamed to admit, I tried it again.
I never told anyone this, and by now, you’re probably thinking I’m a fool. But can I just say that I actually thought if I followed the commenters (about how long to steep) that I’d be ok? Man, listen. The same thing happened again. Exactly as it happened before, except it actually made me vomit! Thank God ever since the first incident, I keep alcohol in my medicine cabinet and I always take my phone to the restroom. I sniffed it quick as I felt a blackout coming on. The smell allowed me to hang on to the edge of consciousness. However, with only enough strength to pull the Emergency Call screen up on my phone, I thought for sure that I was going to go out in the bathroom, Elvis Presely style. Was this my punishment for being so vain?
Luckily for me, I was able to slowly regain consciousness and bodily strength by doing labor-like, respiratory exercises.
After all this, I did some research on these detox teas. The main ingredient that gives that cramp-inducing pain is “senna,” an ingredient found in most laxatives. Although FDA-approved, senna consumption can be dangerous.
Senna is not only dehydrating, it causes fluid and electrolyte loss, which is what gives you the impression of a flatter stomach within a couple days (surprise- it’s just water weight!)
Aside from that, there isn’t much research out there on detox teas, but consumer reviews around the web will at least tell you what paid, Instagram #Ad captions do not.
A few things I do suggest if you are looking to rid your trying to lose weight quickly:
1. Dieting vs. Detoxing
Basically, tea time may not be for you. I know we all want “quick results,” but instead a gradual change in diet is best. Since my last tea scare, I’ve actually gotten accustomed to simply eating better. Stuff like eliminating dairy has helped with my “fupa” (lower belly pudge), and overall bloat. Limiting my red meat intake has also helped. Leaner meats like turkey, chicken breast and egg whites have helped me keep inches off and feel more energized.
2. A Gentler Alternative
Like Magnesium Citrate. I know plenty people who swear by this stuff. I also used it when I was younger. I haven’t taken it as of late because honestly, my diet has helped enough. But, it is very gentle according to the majority of reviews. Just be advised that you will have to keep your schedule clear for a 24 + hours while it works through you.
3. Regular Tea
So with that said, beware if you dare to drink fancy detox teas. And I hope I saved a life with my truth!
We all get a little vain sometimes, but being honest about it is a major key. Check out comedian Michelle Buteau speak on plastic surgery.