As a traveler and active in different disciplines, I occasionally take up challenges like this lemon detox diet. These help me break stereotypes (in my mind) and explore the knowledge we accumulate through the years or through media and how that knowledge affects our everyday life (good or bad).
So, in this case, it was time to take a different kind of physical challenge (yes, I thought it was just a physical one). Not one of lifting weights or twisting the body, but detoxing the body through a well-known diet.
The Lemon Diet was introduced to me through a discussion in the Yoga school I attend in Athens. It started as an exciting discussion about one month ago and became a goal about 20 days ago. Three people decided to do it: Eleni, Aris and me. Aris had done it before. He seemed to be relatively healthy, so I said.. why not?
Of course, I did that, having in mind that I am responsible for my decision, and if I were about to feel weird or weak or anything not-normal, I would stop it. I did not stop it, by the way.
In this article, I will describe the things I noticed.
Ingredients & usage of the Lemon Detox Diet
Here are the things you need for ten days of detox:
- Lemons (lots and organic ones). Around three medium lemons give you a serving for every 1.5 liters of total “juice.”
- Organic maple syrup, Grade B (according to the recipe)
- Unprocessed sea salt
- Cayenne Pepper
- Bottled mineral water or filtered tap water
- Laxative tea
Notice: There are similarly named ones, but that’s the one I did. Everything is there, plus how you prepare and exit this detox diet. It is in Kindle format (desktop/tablet app and Kindle devices) and hard-copy. I have the analytical instructions too.
The protocol (in short) is this and is “simple” in its concept:
- The night before day 1, you drink a cup of laxative tea. You do that every single night after that, up to the end.
- On the morning of day one and every day until the tenth one, you do these:
- You take one spoon soup of salt and mix it in a large glass of water (for everything, there are exact measurements). You drink it. Then you make another one, and you drink that too.
- Then your (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks) are this: A mixture of maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. You must drink at least 2 of these “juices” daily. Mix them in 1.5 liters of water (removing the equal amount of water from the bottle first), and this is one dose. So, “juice” will be its name from now on.
No other food is allowed. Not coffee, etc.
Be prepared to use the toilet quickly, especially after the salted water. You perform internal flushing!
What this Lemon Detox diet is about:
As mentioned in the book.
- To dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in any part of the body.
- To cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system.
- To purify the glands and cells throughout the entire body.
- To eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles.
- To relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries, and blood vessels.
- To build a healthy bloodstream.
- To keep youth and elasticity regardless of our years.
When to use it?
- When sickness has developed—for all acute and chronic conditions.
- When the digestive system needs rest and a cleansing.
- When overweight has become a problem.
- When better assimilation and building of body tissue are needed.
The book provides specific instructions for people with diabetes, explanations of the what/how/why, etc.
Why did I the Lemon Detox Diet?
Since I did a detox thing for myself some years ago, and I already knew how great you feel after the first couple of days, I decided to do it based on that experience. Of course, I was eating too while I had just this “juice.” So, this was a challenge through a “fasting”/detox case.
But why go through such a process? Curiosity, detoxification, and the challenge were good enough, along with “why not lose a couple of kilograms” along the process. We must listen to our bodies, which ask for things like these from time to time.
So, the challenge was set. It has finished, and here are some findings:
What I noticed through the Lemon Detox Diet
1. Your mind is your enemy and controls you; make it your friend and embrace the process
On Day 1, I had to drink the first two glasses of saltwater. I was thinking… OK, I swim; I have accidentally swallowed seawater. I know how it feels. Yeah, right.
This was the worst thing I have put inside me, voluntarily. The trick to drinking it is with big gulps. But this was not enough. I had to do it every day. Through day 1, I was always thinking: How will I do much for ten days? It is not possible!
On day 1, I overdid it with the cayenne pepper, and the first 1.5 liters of the juice were uncomfortably intense. Lesson learned I didn’t repeat it.
On Day 2, I had intense headaches. They started from late day 1. This is possibly due to not drinking coffee (though I don’t drink more than two days, many times just one). I couldn’t concentrate and wondered if this would be like that for ten days. I was assured that it won’t. At the end of day 2, I thought about the same thing: The salted water of the next day. This was subtle during day one but increased on day 2.
So, I decided right there to forget about it because The process of making and drinking the salted water was no more than 1.5-2 minutes of the day (remember the big gulps). A day consists of 1440 minutes, so what was I doing? Thinking and troubled about something I didn’t like that would last for a couple of minutes, for just ten days?
The moment I realized that, I noticed that my headache was radically decreased. I mean a lot. After less than an hour, it became a slight annoyance.
On the morning of day 3, I jumped out of bed full of energy, with no headache, and a prominent mind!
WooooooW…! That was something! I made the two glasses of salted water, looked at them, smiled, and had a drink. Then I drank a nice one from the “juice,” and the salty taste disappeared!
What a mind-boggling thing, right?
So, every morning after that, I made the salted water, I knew I didn’t like it, but that was OK! I just did it and forgot it. It still tasted terrible, but that was OK. It just did.
2. The pangs and fangs of hunger and the mind
The “problem” was not with the first two days as I felt relatively dizzy, with the headache (though symptoms vary, depending on the person), and didn’t realize it much.
The “problem” started when I did not have a headache anymore.
I drank two bottles (total 3 liters) from the “juice daily.” I didn’t need more, though the protocol says “as much as you can up to…”, etc.
The “juice” had this unique effect. The moment I swallowed a glass of it, hunger was no more. The cravings for some specific foods were there but as a craving only. I noticed that I was thinking about if I wanted to eat that now, and I felt like I would eat it, yes, but I do not “really need” it. So, it passed. Again… the mind.
So, after day 3, I went into a routine. The whole process didn’t feel strange or weird. It didn’t produce any discomfort, and even though with the “juice,” I was taking around 1500-1700 calories per day, I was losing weight. In the end, I lost about 4 kilograms of fat, and my muscle percentage increased by 1% (I have a scale measuring like that). Others lost from 4 and above. Perhaps due to their different physiology or/and due to extended daily activity.
That week, I had some family issues, I attended fewer yoga classes than usual, but I did practice. At the same time, I sat for Zazen (at home) almost all of the day.
During the evenings of days 9 and 10, I had food dreams! Yes…, I was dreaming that I was eating food! That was very strange since I don’t remember having such before, and I remembered them the day after while noticing what triggers them (except not eating solid food, of course).
My taste was weird. I decided to reduce the maple syrup dose (also mentioned in the instructions if you want to reduce fat further) and see what happens. It worked, but I had more hunger signals since maple syrup provides most calories. To cope with that, I just had more “juice.” Yet, I consumed less than 3 liters per day and had to drink it on purpose and without really needing it, as I was not feeling hungry with less “juice.” I kept it like that until the end.
Exciting things happened when I served kids dinner, and Maria cooked well. I noticed that I was looking at the food and thinking: Wow! How great it smells!
Yet, the next thing was to implant a thought saying: It looks and smells great, but that’s that. You will eat when you finish the detox. And, of course, getting out of the kitchen helped too.
During these ten days, my mind pointed to the foods I used to eat in the house. I thought about how “conditioned” I am and how a “habit” works. There I was, not hungry (drinking the “juice” all the time), yet my mind told me to open the fridge and make a toast with turkey and cheese. It was not just a thought but some impulse to open the fridge and make one. Like someone was thinking instead of me.
To extend that, my mind prioritized toasts and cereal bars, i.e., banana or an apple. Yet, I like toast, and I like fruits too.
I caught myself laughing at this weirdness. It troubled me also.
3. Pondering hunger
Food is… food. We eat food to have the energy to act. When we get hungry, our body says: I have no fuel, urgently bring power. We provide the fuel. That is all. Good fuel gives you energy. Wrong fuel causes problems.
Yet, what are cravings? Why do we crave specific foods? Mind conditioning? Actual and desperate crying of our bodies for energy? That seems interesting to observe too.
I was also thinking about the blessing I have to do this detox while other people fast during to lack of food. This also made me think.
4. Physical endurance
Though (as mentioned) I attended fewer yoga sessions during the detox week, I felt my body leaner, with more energy (while not eating solid food) and more flexibility. I was sweating less and had a better feeling in my muscles while walking, working, and exercising.
I think these are enough to write about.
It was an exciting challenge. Aris and Eleni also completed the lemon detox diet with even more success, and one other person started it.
I am not a doctor, and this article is not, of course, a diet from a professional but something provided in a book. I couldn’t find nasty comments or reviews while searching online for this lemon detox diet, which helped in the decision to do it.
If someone has an overactive daily life, perhaps it is not best to do it.
What do I enjoy most? Well, the whole process, but mostly the mind-related things I noticed. Oh, and writing this article for you to read it too.
Have fun. Also, read Life Is Too Short To Be Unhappy: 10 Lessons.