Can you imagine living off juice and tea for 10 days? That sounds dreadful, and it is. Most diets, including the 10 day lemon detox diet, often fail because they are too restrictive and leave dieters feeling deprived.
The good news is that you can still reap the benefits of detox through healthy eating. To successfully rid your body of harmful chemicals while keeping your metabolism revved up and your taste buds happy, you have to commit to changing your eating habits completely.
So, here’s a version of the detox diet that’s focused on what foods to avoid, what to eat, and how you can create healthy eating habits after completing the detox diet.
Does Your Body Need A Detox?
You’ve considered the detox diet because you’ve not been feeling that great lately. Fatigue, sluggishness, bloat, dry skin, and overall discomfort can lead you to think that your body is full of toxins that need to be eliminated. Is this true?
Well, not exactly. It’s true that your body can accumulate toxins from additives like artificial sweeteners, synthetic colors, and flavors, nitrates found in meat products, pollutants from cosmetics and perfume, pesticides from non-organic produce or processed foods (18).
However, your body has an efficient detoxification system that doesn’t quite rely on green juice or herbal tea to function. Your skin, liver, kidneys, lungs, digestive system, and lymphatic system are constantly eliminating waste (7).
Cue the 10 day detox diet. Over the next 10 days, you’ll focus on healthy eating to ensure that you’re not taking in any more toxins than you should. Eating well also ensures your body has all the nutrients it needs to perform waste elimination and other functions (9). Remember that anything “detox”-related is mostly a marketing strategy to make you follow a trend or buy unnecessary products, since your body doesn’t need any additional work to “detoxify” itself.
Read More: The Salt Water Detox: Does It Work?
What Is The 10-Day Detox Diet?
There are many versions of the detox diet. This one is all about making good choices, practicing moderation, and being consistent. Here’s how it works.
A Day In The 10-Day Detox Diet
Having healthy eating habits is the most precious gift you can make to your body. How much you eat and exercise depends on your goals. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight as well you want to be in a calorie deficit. That means eating 500 to 1000 calories less than you usually do.
A typical detox diet menu might look like this:
- Breakfast: A smoothie made with almond milk, a banana and berries. The smoothie is topped off with coconut oil.
- Snack: Celery and carrot slices with hummus.
- Lunch: Salmon served over spinach. You’ll want to bake the fish instead of frying it to remove any additional oils. Add some olive oil and lemon juice for flavoring!
- Snack: Apple slices with organic peanut butter.
- Dinner: Chicken soup prepared with veggies like carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. A slice of whole wheat bread on the side.
- Drinks: 2-4 liters of water throughout the day.
Foods To Avoid
Leave these foods out of your 10 day detox diet menu. Some can be enjoyed in moderation but it’s best to avoid them entirely:
They’re full of unhealthy fats, sodium, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. Processed foods also have a high glycemic index (GI) which spikes blood sugars levels and leads to energy crashes in the afternoon and evening time. Studies link consumption of processed foods to a higher risk of diabetes hypertension and cardiovascular diseases (19).
Refined Grains (Bread, Pasta, Etc.)
The refining process removes almost all fiber from whole grains leaving starch that’s digested into sugar quickly causing spikes in blood sugars levels as well as digestive discomfort. Choose whole grains instead like brown and wild rice or quinoa.
Alcohol is a toxin that the body has to process and eliminate. When you consume it, your energy goes towards breaking down alcohol instead of eliminating waste build-up (1). It’s also dehydrating and high in sugar. If you do drink alcohol, try to keep it under 7 drinks a week if not just avoid it completely.
Sodas, Fruit Juice, Sports Drinks
These are prime sources of sugar and artificial ingredients. They dehydrate the body and provide little to no nutritional value. They can also cause spikes in blood glucose levels and energy swings throughout the day (8). Sugar spikes are to blame for fatigue as well as food cravings later on in the day.
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These are found in processed foods like french fries and popcorn as well as baked goods. Trans fats promote inflammation in the body which leads to joint pain, digestive discomfort, fatigue, and weight gain – not what you want when you are trying to improve your eating habits (6).
Sodium (Salt And Salted Processed Meats Such As Canned Tuna, Salami, Corned Beef)
Try replacing table salt with sea salt for an ocean-fresh taste that’s less processed. Limit your sodium intake overall since excess causes fluid retention, bloating, or water retention.
Fish With High Mercury Levels (Such As Mackerel, Swordfish)
Choose fish that are low in mercury such as salmon, sardines, tilapia, and cod. They’re also higher in protein than other forms of meat so keep them on hand while following this detox diet.
You’re probably wondering, “Why can’t you have coffee on the 10 day detox diet?” Because in excess it dehydrates the body as it has a diuretic effect (3). If you can’t avoid it, keep your intake at 3 cups a day or less – more than that increases cortisol levels which may lead to insomnia.
These have been linked to increased appetite, digestive discomfort, and increased blood sugar levels. It’s best to avoid or consume only in moderation so you don’t find yourself craving sugary foods later on in the day.
Cured Foods (Smoked Meats, Salamis)
They contain nitrites that are converted by bacteria into carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds that may play a role in causing cancer (12). The same effect can also be triggered by eating charred meat or when grilling meat over a gas flame.
Foods To Eat
Your 10 day detox diet recipes will be powered by these healthy, and delicious foods:
Lean Protein (Salmon, Tuna, Tilapia)
Remember when choosing fish, go with those lower in mercury such as salmon or sardines instead of swordfish for example. Fish is rich in protein which helps build muscle and preserve healthy muscle during weight loss so keep it on hand while following this detox diet (14).
If you’re not a fan of seafood, lean beef and skinless poultry are both great alternatives.
Leafy Greens (Spinach, Romaine Lettuce)
They’re one of the most nutrient-dense forms of vegetables available so they should be in every diet. Spinach is best for detox diets because it’s high in magnesium (16). You can buy organic spinach from a local market or grow your own if you have enough space to do so. Always wash your greens thoroughly before eating them.
Fiber-Rich Vegetables (Artichoke, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts)
They’re full of fiber that help lower cholesterol levels as well as sugar cravings later on in the day. Fiber also keeps digestion regular, preventing constipation or diarrhea that can occur when you’ve been eating too much junk and processed foods (17).
Berries (Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries)
Your 10 day detox diet shopping list is not complete without these nutrient-packed fruits. Blueberries, for example, are known to contain anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and anthocyanins that protect the heart and blood vessels (15). They also prevent chronic disease so keep them on hand at all times.
Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower)
They’re full of fiber as well as vitamins C and E which help detoxify harmful chemicals like pesticides from the body. They also have sulfur-containing compounds that act as anti-inflammatories (4).
Whole Grains (Oats, Quinoa, Barley & Brown Rice)
Oats are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber while barley contains an insoluble form that helps with sugar cravings and weight gain. Whole grains in general have the added benefit of containing phytochemicals that could slow down or prevent cancer cell growth (20).
Healthy Unsaturated Oils (Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil)
There’s no need to fear eating too much fat since it can actually help you lose weight. So long as it’s the right kind (unsaturated fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) that come from plant based sources such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil among others. They’re a better option than trans fatty acids found in processed foods which have been linked to heart disease and diabetes (6). Keep in mind that coconut oil is mostly made of saturated fat, which is considered as an unhealthy fat, even if it is also technically a plant-based oil.
Fruits (Oranges, Grapefruits)
They give your immune system a boost while providing energy. You should choose organic oranges to prevent consuming high concentrations of pesticides which may put you at risk for cancers like breast and colon cancer. Grapefruit could help lower cholesterol levels so include them both during your detox diet if possible.
If you’ve wondered, “What can you drink on the 10 day detox diet?” The answer is green tea. It contains catechins that help promote heart health along with antioxidants that prevent cancer (2). It also contains caffeine which is a stimulant and may help keep the lymph nodes from becoming swollen due to excess water retention that may occur during this detox diet!
Nuts, Seeds, And Legumes (Almonds, Walnuts, Lentils)
These are high in fiber and Vitamin E which provide healthy skin as well as keeping you feeling full throughout the day due to their high protein content (10). They’re delicious on salads or can be added to your green smoothies for an added crunchy flavor.
Spices & Herbs (Basil, Fresh Ginger, Turmeric)
They’re natural antioxidants that have been shown to boost immunity in clinical studies. Turmeric is also known to reduce joint pain while basil has antioxidant activity so include them in your diet regularly if you suffer from any medical conditions associated with inflammation.
Among other 10 day detox diet supplements, those with fish oil are a must-have. They contain omega-3 fatty acids that improve your cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure while reducing inflammation along with cholesterol levels (13).
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How To Create Healthy Eating Habits?
Along with your 10 day detox diet menu plan, you need to create some habits that will improve what, when, and how much you eat. Here are some tips:
Don’t get too wrapped up in weighing food, counting calories, or even counting macros. This can make the detox diet frustrating and harder to stick to, especially if it’s your first time. Try out the hand portion sizes to ensure you’re getting the right quantities of each food.
Learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you feel satisfied. This is the basis of intuitive eating, which supports a healthy weight due to better nutrient intake and improved digestion. It also stops emotional eating by making you more aware of hunger signals and what makes you feel satisfied (11).
For example, keeping almonds on hand at work will make you more likely to snack on them instead of a bag of chips. When your sweet tooth is making you crave some candy, have some fruit instead.
This applies to your 10 day detox diet menu plan and what you can eat. There’s no one meal that will make you lose weight overnight or a specific time when you should be eating it. You can eat whenever you feel hungry and can have a balanced meal that includes protein, fat, and carbs. This ensures you get all the nutrients your body needs to maintain proper weight (5). Plus, no starving for hours and bingeing when you get a chance.
This is the biggest key to successful, healthy weight loss. If you have healthy meals ready ahead of time, you’re less likely to order takeout when life gets busy. It also makes it easier for your family members to eat healthy if there are no processed foods lying around the house. Placing all ingredients on a table and cooking everything in one pan means less time in the kitchen and more time doing what matters.
The Bottom Line
You don’t need to go on a restrictive 10 day detox diet to lose weight and improve your overall health. By making small adjustments to what, when, and how you eat, it becomes easier than ever before. From serving the right portions of healthy food to eating mindfully instead of stuffing your face and regretting it after, these tips will help you create sustainable changes to help you improve your quality of life!
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Caffeine ingestion and lower urinary tract symptoms in healthy volunteers (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetables (2012, sciencedirect.com)
- Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women 1, 2, 3 (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Emunctorology: Synthesising Traditional Naturopathic Practice with Modern Science (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Focus: Nutrition and Food Science: Importance of Nutrients and Nutrient Metabolism on Human Health (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health Benefits of Nut Consumption (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Learning to eat intuitively: A qualitative exploration of the experience of mid-age women (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nitrates/Nitrites in Food—Risk for Nitrosative Stress and Benefits (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Consumer Fact Sheet (2021, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins (2020, academic.oup.com)
- The bioavailability of magnesium in spinach and the effect of oxalic acid on magnesium utilization examined in diets of magnesium-deficient rats (1995, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The health benefits of dietary fiber: beyond the usual suspects of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Toxins: Naturally Occurring Food Toxins (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ultra-Processed Foods and Health Outcomes: A Narrative Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Whole grain phytochemicals and health (2007, sciencedirect.com)