The lengths some people will go to for abs is baffling to me.
A prime example of this is the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. The 42-year-old went viral this month after a New York Times article revealed his, er, extreme health routine to the masses.
Reportedly, Dorsey begins each day with a glass of the saddest-sounding “juice” ever, consisting of water, lemon and Himalayan salt. He then hops into his sauna, takes an ice bath and walks 8km to work. Oh, and he only eats one meal per day.
While it might sound like slow and painful torture to others (read: me) Dorsey believes his routine keeps him “clear”. And most of it, while intense, is based on practices that aren’t exactly new.
On the other side of Dorsey’s daily routine, there’s me.
My morning ritual consists of me rolling out of bed 15 minutes before I need to leave my house, crawling to the coffee machine, shooting back a cup and struggling to get to the gym on time – despite living three minutes away.
Aware that my day could do with some improvements, I decided to test out part of Dorsey’s shtick.
Unfortunately, my in-home sauna is out for repairs at the moment, so I chose to forgo the physical side and try out the salt juice that has everyone talking, instead.
But, first I sought out to learn a little about the experience I was signing up for.
My first question: why add salt?
“Himalayan Sea Salt should only be used as it is less refined than normal table salt and provides a large number of trace minerals,” nutritionist Fiona Noonan told me.
“Sea salt can help to flush out the body and it has been said it also reduces cravings for sugary foods.”
“When combining lemon with the Himalayan Salt first thing it naturally kick-starts the digestive process, as it stimulates our digestive enzymes.”
The practice isn’t without its sceptics, however.
“There are many claimed benefits of starting your day with a glass of warm water with lemon and salt,” said Accredited Practicing Dietician, Emily Hardman.
“However, these claims are not supported by scientific research and have not been proven.
“The main benefit is hydration, as it may help you to meet your water requirements for the day,” she continued.
“Any of the other claims such as detoxification, improving skin and weight loss are not backed up by scientific research.”
Hardman went on to share that there are actually some possible negatives to this habit: “Australians tend to do very well to meet and often exceed salt requirements through food alone. An excessive intake of salt can have a negative effect on heart health, kidney function and risk of chronic disease.”
She added that: “Regular exposure to acidic foods such as lemon can cause damage and erode your tooth enamel.” Yikes.
Fully informed and a little nervous, I kicked off my five-day challenge.
Here’s what went down:
The taste wasn’t the worst
There were no real surprises, here. The water tasted like lemon. I couldn’t even taste the salt at first. Then I realised that was because it had all settled at the bottom of the glass, ready and waiting for my last mouthful.
A big ol’ chunk of salt in your throat is not the most pleasant way to start your morning, that’s for sure.
In saying that, it wasn’t terrible. Just, y’know, not good.
For the first few days, the only result I saw was a sick stomach
Almost immediately, I noticed my stomach wasn’t happy with this new “juice”.
According to Noonan, it’s not uncommon, either. Especially in the first few days when the “detox process” begins.
“I would suggest starting with [drinking the juice] every second day,” she said.
Little naïve me had made this practice a daily thing right away, explaining why my body freaked out a little.
I didn’t see much of a physical change
When it comes to weight-loss, it’s difficult to gauge as five days is not much time. But I didn’t see much of a transformation.
If anything, I was left looking bloated, because of my tummy tantrum. I do, admittedly, have a particularly sensitive stomach, so my experience might be on the more extreme end.
In any case, I can say with certainty that I definitely did not feel or look slimmer.
The experience wasn’t necessarily bad, though.
Starting my day with water instead of desperately reaching for the java meant I was forcing myself to increase my H20 intake, and honestly, that’s an area I’ve long needed to work on. The benefit of waking up each morning and not feeling like my insides have dried out and turned to dust is encouragement enough to keep up the daily habit – minus the lemon and water.
So, while I might not be aligning my daily wellness routine with Dorsey’s anytime soon, I do think I’ll be making some changes following this experiment.
I just won’t be expecting anything beyond a little extra hydration as a result.