lemon-lime-slicesWhen people ask if they can substitute lemon juice during their lemonade diet master cleanse, there are a couple reasons why, the most common is that fresh lemons are hard to find in many parts of the world, especially those in central and south america where limes rule the day, called limon. Other reasons why people substitute Lemon Juice on the (Lemonade) diet are:

  1. Lemons not available or expensive: As mentioned this can be a problem. But learn to think deeper about alternatives, like alternative sources. Did you know Amazon delivers fresh lemons nationwide? Organic too. Yes, it might seem like you’re spending a lot on lemons (and maple syrup), but keep in mind the cost of the master cleanse is actually cheaper than eating a normal diet.
  2. Allergic to Lemons: If you’re allergic to lemons, are you allergic to limes too? I don’t know. If not, try limes. But also consider that allergies are just toxicity (often built up over decades), and The Master Cleanse is great at addressing allergies. If you are already somewhat toxic and you are eating either lemon or cayenne, or both, and experiencing discomfort or what you think is an allergic reaction, this may be due to your body’s attempting to cleanse itself and digest food at the same time. Many people have reported their supposed citrus allergy did not only NOT cause an issue during a well-followed master cleanse, but that allergy and others resolved after a cleanse or two.
  3. Don’t want to squeeze, make fresh: Well I can empathize with your schedule, as I am sure you’re busy, maybe have kids and a full time job are need to find any trick for convenience at your disposal. That said, this is one are you can not substitute for; the quality of fresh food nutrition. There is a trick you can use to make the lemonade as a concentrate, and you’ll find after a few days or a few cleanses that you develop a routine, and naturally find optimizations to your process to save you time without sacrificing quality, or the benefits of your cleanse.

Why Fresh Lemon Juice?

There are many reasons why we use fresh lemon juice but perhaps most notably are the nutritional compounds found only in citrus fruits, and some only in lemons such special enzymes, monoterpenes, limonoids (triterpenes), hydroxycinnamic acid, as well as other flavanoids or carotenoids.

These properties make lemons and citrus especially great a breaking down and cleansing, so when we’re thinking about substituting an alternative for lemon juice we need to keep this in mind.

Common (Bad) Suggestions for Lemon Juice Substitutions

  1. Frozen / Canned / Bottled Lemon Juice: Stanley said “Use fresh (organic) lemons or limes only, never canned lemon or limejuice nor frozen lemonade or frozen juice.” But… I don’t think he meant frozen, pure, recently fresh lemon juice, like a day old or day of). He meant, Minute Maid or Sunkist. Anything processed. Don’t use it.
  2. Meyer Lemons: Meyers lemons are a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges. It’s all about the enzymic action of the lemons (more below) and these hybrids fall short.
  3. Pre-Made Master Cleanse Drinks / Powders: I have spoken to a few of these manufacturers and their scientists (or formulators) will make compelling arguments that enzymes survive freezing or drying for long periods of time to allow for shelf-lives and transit time from manufacturing to store to your pantry. I just don’t buy it. The fresh enzymes are the key!.
  4. Improperly Made Pre-made Mixtures: As mentioned earlier, there is a little trick to making your own lemonade concentrate from just your fresh lemon juice and your maple syrup. When stored properly to reduce light and air exposure, the sugar in the maple syrup acts as a preservative to the lemon juice. But, mixing a container for the full day, putting it in a big clear bottle will be useless after 10 minutes (the “life”-span of the active enzymes.
  5. Non-Citrus Fruits or Vegetables: We’ll look at appropriate alternatives from the citrus family below, but substituting non-citrus fruits or vegetable juices will have an effect, just not the same cleansing effect that the lemons have, which is why they’re chosen in the first place. If you’re really wanting to customize your cleanse for various ailments, or treatment protocols that’s another story, and can be looked at with the help of your cleanse coach or or integrative health care professional.

Safe Master Cleanse Approved Alternatives for Lemon Juice

I would think that you could certainly substitute other citrus fruits very easily for various reasons like complimenting deficient nutritional compounds not found in lemons and limes giving providing more balance in the master cleanse nutritional profile. Of course you would no longer be on the “Lemonade Juice Diet” strictly speaking, especially if instead of substituting lemon juice for just 1 glass or even 1 day, but perhaps the whole diet, you might find yourself in a new citrus cleansing diet altogether (like the following). Makes sense no, that you could easily do so. I am working on a comparison of the citrus fruits to see where opportunities and problems might present themselves with substituting these citrus fruits.

Substitute Other Citrus Fruits for Lemons

  1. The Lime Juice Diet: Limes as a substitute are already Stanley approved as he says “Lemons and limes are the richest source of minerals and vitamins of any food or foods known to man, and they are available the year round. Thus the diet may be used successfully any month of the year and virtually any place on earth. Its universal appeal and availability make it pleasant and easy to use.”

Potential Substitutions for Lemons and Limes


  1. The Grapefruit Juice Diet: There is already a “famous” grapefruit diet, but it wasn’t exactly a grapefruit version of the lemonade diet. Well not until now anyway. Let’s call the master cleanse style version The Grapefruit Juice Diet (as well as any variation of The Lemon Juice Diet.
  2. The Pomelo Juice Diet: Perhaps the closest in attributes to grapefruits, limes and lemons might be the massive grapefruit type fruit called the Pomelo. It’s often found at stores, though you probably overlooked it.
  3. The Orange Juice Diet: Perhaps lacking in some of the vital enzymes that lemons and limes do. Oranges also restart your digestive system which is why they are used in the Ease-Out. I will continue my research into if Orange juice can ever make a significant substitution during the master cleanse.
  4. Tangerine: Lacking even more of the potent qualities of lemons, limes, and grapefruits, and closer to an orange, this fruit is the last of the well known citrus fruits, and can be readily available though at this point I have not formed my opinion on it’s viability as a substitution for lemons or limes.

Lesser known citrus fruits

  • Kumquats:
  • Minneola:
  • Tangelo:
  • Blood Orange
  • Buddha’s Hand
  • Citron
  • Oroblanco
  • Calamansi

Other Fruits and Vegetables:

Once we consider that a customized cleans substituting lemon is a choice based on what functions or outcomes we wish to serve, we can then search for other fruits and vegetables that have similar properties or effects on the body, or even those that are dissimilar but also very powerful and effective at one function or another like the following fruits and vegetables, along with their compounds and known functions:

  • Pomegranate – Ellagitannins

Always go Organic with your Lemon Juice Substitutions

Commercially procured lemons may have had their skins dyed with yellow coloring and may have been subjected to poisonous insect sprays— be sure to peel off the outer skin if you cannot get uncolored, organically grown lemons.

Also, these toxic chemicals can find their way into the fruit through soil, the plant and passed along the process of the fruits development. Though in small quantities, these fruits should ideally be organic when doing a cleanse designed to detoxify. It makes no sense to add more toxins, even in small quantities into your system at this time.