Challenge: the lemon detox diet — 7 day fast

The Lemon Detox Diet, aka the Master Cleanse or the Lemonade Diet, is a liquid-only detox. It’s a journey of self-discipline that claims to reboot the body, mind and soul.

7 day lemon diet
Challenge: the lemon detox diet — 7 day fast

So, at the beginning of the year, I voluntarily chose to stop eating for 7 days. I gave up solid foods as part of the Lemon Detox Diet.

It all started with Stanley Burroughs’s book,  There are many variations of the cleanse, but the claim is simple;  ‘Give it 10 days (or more) and you’ll drop pounds‘.

Losing weight was not my main goal, and this was my first endeavour in fasting so I set my sights on 7 days. Weight loss aside, the detox has been used since the 1940s to heal various health problems with great success.

The Lemon Detox drink consists of four things:

  • lemon juice
  • maple syrup
  • chilli powder
  • water

So why am I fasting? Well, firstly I love a challenge. I have two friends who recently completed similar fasts with successful results. And secondly, being able to press reset on old eating patterns and start a new relationship with healthier food excited me.

There’s a long list of health benefits to fasting, here are just some of those benefits;

  1. improves your eating habits
  2. improves the immune system
  3. aids weight loss
  4. increases the body’s resistance to stress
  5. contributes to self-enlightenment

What did my detox look like?

I drank between 6 to 10 glasses of the lemon drink per day. That’s roughly 1 every couple hours, or when I ever I felt like it. On top of that, I drank a lot of mineral water.

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My detox drink consisted of:

  • 8oz water
  • ½ lemon (squeezed)
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons of maple syrup

Leading up to the cleanse I started on a low carb diet for 1 month. I cut out all refined carbs and sugars, only giving in to a couple of cheat days of pizza and sushi.

I was in Thailand staying at a guesthouse whilst detoxing. There was no restaurant on site and I had no food in my room. It would have been a lot harder in a house with a kitchen, and people eating around me.

The isolation worked to my advantage.

My last meal was excessive. I stuffed my face at a buffet. I’d read somewhere that you’re meant to ease yourself into the fast. I completely ignored that advice.

Day 1

I got my first hunger pain around 11 am then again around 2 pm. For the rest of the afternoon, I had a mild headache. I drank the lemon drink as prescribed. Hunger came and went.

Day 2

I slept well and woke feeling chipper. I didn’t feel hungry. The headaches had gone. I was thinking less and less about food. It’s all in the mind. Once I’d told my stomach it wasn’t getting food for 7 days, it shut up and dealt with it.

Day 3

It was hard getting out of bed this morning. I felt hungry and lethargic. Day 3 is meant to be the toughest day of any fast. My eyes were wide. My pupils dilated. I felt wild. Boredom crept in. I was experiencing true hunger.

Day 4

I felt great. My mind was off food. My stomach felt less bloated. As the day progressed I started to feel hyperaware, alert and present. I was flying to Bangkok that day and was dreading being around people eating at the airport.

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Day 5

I woke up feeling hungover. I didn’t drink enough water the day before. My stomach had now forgotten that it used to digest two or three meals per day. However, my mind was bored.

Day 6

I felt great this morning. Before I started detoxing, I didn’t realize how much time I spent eating. It’s amazing how fasting opens up your day to be more productive. I swam twenty lengths in the swimming pool, ten minutes of HIIT and a 4km walk to buy more lemons.

Day 7

The final countdown. I went to a local market to stretch my legs. Hunger was now a feeling of the past. I’m sure I could have kept going to 10 days but I decided enough was enough. If I had of kept going my re-feeding phase would have overlapped with a long-haul flight and aeroplane food is no way to start a new relationship with healthy food.

Breaking the fast

I broke my fast with fresh coconut water. Soon after, I drank freshly pressed pineapple juice and a banana smoothie. Food glorious food! I spent the next two days easing myself back into solid food with vegetable broths, juices and salads.


Fasting is an insightful adventure into the mind. Through experience, you find answers to questions; What happens if I don’t eat for 3 days, will I die? How much do I actually need to eat? – thankfully ‘no’, and ‘not a lot’.

I definitely lost weight and my stomach line felt slimmer. Fasting also gives you perspective on habitual eating. I’m going to be much more conscious of my food choices in the future.

Would I do it again? Yes. No question. I came out of the fast feeling healthy, balanced, and in tune with myself. Not to mention looking great. Maybe next year I’ll try fasting for 10 days.

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About the Author: Tung Chi