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When Life Gives You Lemons…

CountrytimelemonadeEvery so often I have severe lapses in judgment that can hardly be explained away. There’s no way that ingesting only lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for ten days can possibly be good for you. Call it a detox, a cleanse, whatever, but it’s got to be quackery. I thought so, and yet I couldn’t resist giving it a go. And well, the experience was extremely short-lived and beyond disastrous.

I was gung ho yesterday morning, drank my not all that grotesque concoction during the day and began feeling cloudy headed around lunch time. There’s no way I was starving already but figured I was missing my two usual cups of coffee. Around 2:30 I started getting a pounding headache and began sweating and getting dizzy and seriously started having second thoughts.  Even though it would ruin my detox, I thought I would eat some lettuce so I ran downstairs and got a salad at Au Bon Pain. Before I could get back to my desk I started heaving and had to run to the communal one-stall bathroom and violently puked off and on for five minutes. My face was soaked in sweat and red as a ripe tomato (I always use a tomato to describe my face because I can’t think of a better description). All I could think was that I had to get out of there and get home somehow.

This is one of the many reasons why living in NYC sucks. Getting home rapidly is an ordeal and affords no privacy. At least in the rest of the country, if you’re sick you be so in the privacy of your own car. I considered getting a cab but that made me more nervous. I was going to have to subway it. Normally, I take two with a 10 minute walk but the walk seemed too treacherous so I had to do three subways. Miraculously, they all met up. The J came quickly, I switched to the A and it came immediately and I got a seat because it wasn’t quite rush hour but I was holding in vomit and sweating profusely the entire two stops. Then at Jay St. the F was sitting across the platform, which never ever happens. And it was nearly empty, so I took a seat and the guy across from me was skeeving me out, he kept staring at me and whispering to himself and I was a little delirious at this point and he might’ve been reading lines but I felt like I was being harassed, and the train wouldn’t go, it was just sitting there tormenting me.

I totally freaked out, jumped off and started barfing all over my salad in its bag. I was trying to get everything out so I could get back on the train but the doors started closing and I couldn’t stop wretching and I felt like my brain was swelling and hitting my skull. I almost started crying because I just wanted to get home and now I couldn’t stop puking and had to wait for another subway. I really felt crazy and unstable and swore people were looking at me exaggeratedly like I was high and paranoid. Well, I was hurling into a plastic bag but that’s nothing in the scheme of things. I’ve seen much worse.

So, I did manage to wait ten minutes or so for the next train and last the next two stops and the five blocks to my apartment before practically spewing out my entire stomach lining. I lied in bed from 5pm to about 9pm when I got up, tried to watch TV and ate one bite of cheese and one bite of granola bar. I promptly threw those up and went back to bed until 8am this morning when I tried to get up for work, decided to work from home, then felt too ill to even do that and went back to bed at 10am where I stayed until 1pm. It’s now 4pm and I still feel like shit (though I can now eat). And I feel like the outer layer of enamel has been eaten off my teeth and my throat and esophagus have been bathed in acid.

I don’t understand how just drinking lemon juice, cayenne and syrup for a day could make one so ill. Of course, all the hardcore diet freaks would just say that it was because I was so full of toxins that I was having a serve reaction and that I should stick with it. I say that’s nuts and that a regimen that induces severe vomiting can’t possibly be healthy. If anything, I was poisoned and not already full of poisons.

Or maybe I really am addicted to caffeine, sugar and fat. My last lapse in diet judgment occurred back in 2003 when I wanted to see what all the Atkin’s hubbub was about. I also threw up repeatedly the day after starting that horrible routine and had welts and hives all over my chest the entire six weeks I did it. And I lost a measly six pounds, which is what anyone would lose by just eating healthier for six weeks. On the other hand, I lost six pounds since yesterday with this wonderful master cleanse. Seriously. Puking ten times in a day apparently melts away the pounds. But I was trying to detox, not involuntarily become bulimic.

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  1. Melissa #

    wow, I’m so sorry that happened to you.
    I had the same reaction when I tried a cleanse, an only fruit & vegetable one – violent illness and crawling home from work mid-day.

    August 17, 2007
  2. You did better than my friend. About 2 years ago, he announced that he was going to start the same “cleansing” at 2 in the afternoon, and was wolfing down a pub hamburger by 10pm. I have yet to give it a try.

    August 17, 2007
  3. Clearly, food-free regimens can’t possibly be good for you. I’ve completely given up on the notion of being cleansed. Definitely bogus. Though, I’ve never really understood what harm there is in drinking coffee.

    August 18, 2007
  4. anne #

    i did a juice cleanse, more to see if i had the self-discipline than toxin issues. what helped me is easing into it. i did one week of only veggies and fruit(cooked and raw). then one only raw. then one week of juice and the fun water concoction. i actually never felt ill or lost energy. however, i didn’t feel any amazing clarity either. but most of all, i never actually felt that hungry.

    August 18, 2007
  5. do you think maybe you got some bad maple syrup? whatever did it… that’s awful. hope you’ve recovered.

    August 22, 2007
  6. anne: I think I was trying to test out my self-discipline too, but clearly I have none. I suspect that the clarity thing is a sham.

    bill p: It definitely felt like food poisoning but James ended up doing the cleanse using the same lemons, syrup and cayenne that I did and survived for three days. It’s a mystery.

    August 22, 2007
  7. Ty #

    I got violently ill from something very similar.. if I am reading your comments right… you stuck with it… and you weren’t sick like this after the first day?

    Maybe I really do have a lot of toxins built up.. I was so scared that I might die that I didn’t try again after day one.

    August 26, 2007

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