Over the past month I made the decision to take a well-needed break from Clarke and Wedgewood. With Christmas comes lots of fun, social events and love but that comes hand-in-hand with late nights, stressful evenings of wrapping presents and pressures financially. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas and I couldn’t get more wrapped up in it, but I do find that by the time New Year’s rolls around I’m totally exhausted and need some time for myself. So not to put any pressure on the blog I decided to step back and focus on spending time with loved ones, making memories and taking lots of silly selfies with a plan to get back on my A game when January struck.
Selfish? Perhaps. Necessary? Definitely.
I like everyone else enter the new year filled with goals to achieve and this year it’s no different. With a long-term foot injury and poorly chest going to the gym is no longer viable for me so I’m taking matters into my own hands and making a conscious effort to get my diet back on track (and cut out all of the cookies, After Eight’s, chunks of cheese… that have become all too frequent as of late!) and that’s brought me to The Lemon Detox. If you had asked me 12 months ago what I thought of detoxes like this I would have laughed in your face and told you that things like this have short-term results but if you’re looking for long-term changes you need to live a healthier lifestyle in all aspects of your life through diet, exercise and positive mental wellbeing. Having lost a load of weight this summer following Slimming World – that I have now managed to rediscover across my hips, thighs and stomach – I know how to lose weight effectively, but I figured this would be a great way to try something new to kick start a healthy start to 2018 that if effective could be a great choice for any bride-to-be looking for a programme to follow in the build up to her big day.
The Lemon Detox Diet is actually really easy to follow; with no need of counting syns or weighing foods it is easy to understand why Beyonce and Gigi Hadid followed the scheme and anything that is good enough for Queen B is good enough for me!
So what are the benefits of following the lemon detox? According to the pamphlet that comes with the tin of syrup you can expect the following:
- Cleansing the body of toxins
- Weight loss if overweight
- Increased energy and vitality
- Shinier hair and stronger nails
- Clearer skin and eyes
- Better digestion
- Greater sense of wellbeing
When I saw this I thought it sounded perfect as I know I can lose weight on Slimming World and plan to pick that back up once we’ve got through all of the Christmas chocolate we received but more energy, better digestion, clearer skin and a greater sense of wellbeing sounded like just what I needed to get in the best frame of mind for a healthier 2018. Weight loss is a natural side effect of detoxing the body but the focus should be on cleansing yourself of toxins and this natural approach is gentle on the body yet still packed with all of the nutrients you need to take a break from solid food for a short period of time.
Now I admit, I am a big lover of food so I was dubious of anything that suggests taking a break from solid foods but the idea is that by replacing meals with this lemon syrup drink you retrain your appetite for healthier living. Although the lemon detox is over 30 years old, it’s been refined by a number of Swiss doctors, naturopaths, homeopaths and ayurvedic doctors which made me trust the lemon detox a little more and although is still a little bit out there for my taste (but I’m a person who refrains from taking paracetamol unless nearing death) I figured hey, it’s not forever so it’s worth a shot. What I do for Clarke and Wedgewood, hey?
When the lemon detox arrived it came with a pamphlet that makes it simple to understand exactly how to follow the detox and what to expect, but if you have the time it’s definitely worth reading the book that comes with it too as it walks you through every step of the process and even offers alternative versions that may be easier for you to follow if you want to take a gentler approach to the detox. I chose to try the ‘Relaxed Diet’ programme as there’s just no way that I can totally give up food and I know it’s probably the point, but I know I just wouldn’t be satisfied only drinking throughout the day as there’s something about the actual act of putting food in my mouth and chewing it that I enjoy (yes that sounds weird reading it back but I hope you know what I’m getting at and it’s not just me who feels this way!), and the relaxed approach allows you to still eat a healthy lunch when having 2-3 glasses of the lemon syrup at breakfast and lunch over a period of two weeks. If you’re stronger than me then the lemon detox recommends drinking 7-10 glasses over a 5-7 day period without eating any meals, alongside at least 2 litres of water as a part of their ‘Total Detox’ programme.
Now this all sounds okay (if not a little terrifying, I admit) but it’s important to understand some of the side effects that will occur during the lemon detox. As your body is ridding itself of toxins those toxins have to go somewhere, and as they circulate through the blood stream before being eliminated you could experience headaches, worsening of existing chronic skin conditions, and peppermint tea is recommended to neutralise odours caused by the body during detoxification. To make things even easier for your body cut out sugar-y food and drinks a couple of days before you begin the lemon detox to give your body time to acclimatise and make the process a little gentler.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE LEMON DETOX
Honestly? It wasn’t for me. I was willing it to be, and it is not necessarily any reflection on the lemon detox itself but there were two big downers for me. The first was the taste – for me to be willing to give up proper, wholesome meals it needed to take at least drinkable and although I’m a big fan of lemon flavours the Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup was just too overpowering and the addition of cayenne pepper didn’t help much either. Had I been more motivated or had an event to work towards such as a wedding or bridal party I may have been able to overlook the taste but as this was intended for a way to start a healthier mentality into the new year I found it impossible to keep drinking. It isn’t a synthetic taste nor is it thick in it’s texture, but I found it very sweet and sometimes hard to swallow when I would much rather have grabbed a diet lemonade or a piece of fruit.
Secondly, I found it really quite unsociable. It’s one thing going out for drinks or meals with people who only pick salads or fruit juices but being that person who can’t come to anything as it doesn’t fit with the lemon detox is a bit rubbish. Could I have been stricter with myself? Of course I could, but doing it for two weeks at this time of year proved impossible for me, but had I a more specific goal to work towards I think I would have been able to back out of a couple of weeks of socialising for the sake of the lemon detox. That being said, it is how easy I dropped out of it that makes me question how successful this would be for me in the future as knowing what I’m like I think I would always find a social event as an excuse to not follow it through – you can’t dip into this now and again, you know!
I did notice myself feeling generally healthier in myself although there were no signs of clearer skin or shinier hair but this is probably due to the fact I didn’t follow it for long enough. You need to give your body plenty of time to rid itself of the toxins and I don’t think I stuck with it enough to witness many of the benefits it sells itself on. I feel that because this is such an intense detox you really have to be in the right frame of mind to power through this one but if you manage it the results sound incredible and perfect to feel at your best before your wedding day. Perhaps I should have tried the shorter burst of 5-7 days and sacrificed lunch to see if that was easier?
Helen Gent from Elle Magazine followed the programme and had the following to say, making me think that I probably need to try this again at another time of year and stick with it for the full duration:
‘We tried it and it works! Giving your body a break from, well, everything; leaves it tighter and feeling cleansed’
And Dr Janine Leach, BSc PhD ND DO Hon MFPHM added:
‘I have tested it myself and am now introducing it in practice. I can vouch that it tastes good, is easy to sustain, gives a rapid detox and is suitable for a wide variety of patients’
Am I a fair person to pass judgement on the lemon detox? Probably not, but does my inability to follow it for the required length of time suggest that some others may struggle too? I think it probably does! This is one for those really dedicated to the cause but I think I’ll stick to simpler methods for now. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’d totally rule this one out in the future, but I think if weight loss is your goal there are kinder methods for your body to go through with longer-lasting results than a detox, and there are definitely more enjoyable ways of getting yourself into a healthier frame of mind before the big day that doesn’t involve you denying yourself a healthy but flavoursome meal at the end of a tough day. Why not try getting a good night’s sleep or book yourself in for some pre-wedding glamping to take a break from it all?
Now, pass me that box of Celebrations… hey, I’ve got to rid myself of temptation before I begin the weight loss project and I’m a firm believer in minimising waste!
*The Lemon Detox was kindly sent to me for review but all opinions as always are honest and unbiased, and I tried the detox during December in preparation for a healthier start for January which may have contributed to some of the difficulties I encountered when following the lemon detox. If you’re unsure whether this is for you then please speak to a health practitioner, but it is not recommended you follow the lemon detox if you are under 18, diabetic, pregnant, breastfeeding or have previously suffered from eating disorders. Similarly, if you are taking any medication please also speak to your doctor about whether following this detox is recommended for you.