Master Cleansing: How-to from a Failure

Sometimes you just feel shitty, and last year I had a stroke of genius: I can do something about this!

It was the aftermath of a solid two weeks of merry-making during the holidays (read: casseroles rippling with engineered ingredients, sweets sugary enough to make your teeth ache, and booze dressed in all its costumes), and I was tired—literally. I was sluggish all the time but didn’t seem to be getting quality sleep. We are precisely what we eat, and my diet of whatever-I-wanted began to exert profound effects on my physical as well as emotional body. One fed right into the other.

Body ↔ Mind

Having just started working at Squeeze Juice Works, I was inspired to start a Master Cleanse, or “Lemonade Diet,” for 2 reasons: 1) my last cleansing experience was with juice, and it was a nightmare—mind you, I didn’t know what I do now about the importance of physical and mental preparation—but I was still reeling from the experience. 2) It was cheaper.

Because it was my first Master, I surrendered to the expertise of my colleagues at Squeeze and ordered a pre-made cleanse. (If you opt for this, call ahead to make sure they can do it on the dates you want!) Note: you want to pick a range of days where you won’t have a lot of stress or commitments. You don’t need to fart around the house all day, but you might want to take it easy since you are purging your body and things—mental, spiritual and physical will surface. This time, I knew exactly when I was doing my cleanse and how, so I was able to prep my body correctly by slowly eliminating processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, animal products, and eventually, all solid food in the days leading up to it. I also did a lot of meditating and reflecting at this time to iron out my goals for the cleanse. By providing your body the minimum requirements for energy, and nothing more, I wanted to:

  • detoxify, diverting the body’s energy towards purging the crap rather than assimilating more
  • clear up digestive issues and blockages (I later found out said blockages were more than physical…)
  • revitalize body functioning and feeling

The Good

The cleanse itself was easy for me, and I think it’s because I made sure I was ready for it. I wasn’t hungry, I loved the “lemonade”, I was in good spirits, and my energy was high. I felt so good that I decided to keep going for a day and a half over what I’d planned.

The Bad

Because my first time went so well, when my mom took an interest in doing it with me, I assured her I would do a quick one- or two-day for emotional support.

But it’s hard to coordinate with other people, and our different schedules made it hard to pick a range of suitable days where we could adequately prepare and maintain. Because our plans kept changing practically up until the start day, I went for the crash-course method of prepping: the one day elimination. One day, I was back to my usual morning coffee, three full meals per day, and maybe even a drink at night—and the next, I consumed barely three liquid meals (I had work and was so busy that I didn’t have time to properly prepare myself). The day after, I began cleansing. The whole ordeal was too last minute and uncertain. Yes, I had one day to prepare my body—though even then not correctly—but I was emotionally not ready.

“In my first cleanse, I was mentally calm and convicted, so perhaps that paved the way to move out some emotional baggage—this time, I was throwing it out windows.”

Today, I feel…pretty bad, and while I know this is a normal reaction to toxins being drawn out of tissues, I guess I didn’t realize just how my brief slip into unhealthy habits had affected me. This morning (day one), the salt water flush produced a violent reaction (think eight trips to the bathroom within the hour), and I was so nauseated from it that I couldn’t drink the lemonade until after noon. This made me weak. My body is aching (which could be an exacerbated reaction to a vigorous yoga practice and massage yesterday), and my energy is extremely low. I did take a solid nap, though.

Physical symptoms aside, I feel melancholy. I have little motivation (besides writing this post—yay!), feel contemplative and down about things in my past, and uncertain of my future. Mind you, this is not how I normally feel.

I’m sure this reaction will pass as my system, erm, passes, the impurities out of circulation, and I’m sure if I do decide to stay on the cleanse longer than today, my experience will improve. This is all not to mention feeling better afterwards. The first few days can be a gruesome fight if the cleanser (like me) doesn’t prepare for battle!


The Lowdown

Now that I’ve likely scared you away from cleansing, here’s how to do it! Please refer to Stanley Burrows’ official site and books if you’re serious about trying it and want more info. He also provides testimonials, FAQs, and the basis for this particular method.

  • The Salt Water Flush: Every morning before consuming anything, mix two teaspoons of non-iodized salt with 4 cups of lukewarm water. Drink the whole thing within 5 minutes. You will go the bathroom at least once, and it will likely be urgent. Make sure to allow sufficient time in your day to be near the bathroom for this. The SWF is OPTIONAL, but the reaction it produces facilitates with the cleansing process. (Think of eating shrimp, and how the “vein” that is often removed before consuming. This vein is actually the shrimp’s intestines, full of its poop. That’s how humans are, too. At any given time, we have poo backed up in our intestines and colon, and occasional cleansing empties it all out so we can start fresh. What a relief!)
  • Lemonade: The Master Cleanse lemonade is made with 10 oz of water, 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. These ratios can be adjusted depending on taste preference and hunger. For instance, if you’re feeling weak, more maple syrup can be more satisfying. Drink this whenever you feel hungry. You’re aiming for about 6-12 of these drinks per day.
  • Plenty of water! You’re drawing toxins out of your body, so it’s imperative to drink plenty of water to flush them out. Otherwise, they’ll just sit there and eventually get reabsorbed.
  • Herbal Tea: At nights (and in the morning, if opting out of the SWF), it is recommended to have a cup of Senna Tea. Senna is a naturally occurring laxative herb, and often you can find it in tea bags mixed with chamomile or other herbs. Drink this about an hour before bed because for some people (myself included), senna is a foreign substance, and the body can have mild reactions to consuming it for the first time. Think gas, discomfort, and cramps. But, if you take it before bed, chances are you’ll sleep through these symptoms, and you’ll wake up ready to go. (Note: it is also optional to drink herbal peppermint tea for a change of palette, but this should be kept to a minimum.)

Chair Yoga for Chair People

Let’s face it: we’re all chair people these days. Our society is becoming more and more sedentary, and it’s getting harder to avoid the effects. Whether you sit at a desk for your job, or in a car, or at the dinner table, or on a couch (so, everyone), you could probably use some yoga in your life. Luckily for all you WB readers, I’m an active yoga teacher at the Body Electric here in St. Pete, and I’ve put together a short sequence of poses to counteract the effects of too much sitting. They can even be done…sitting! As always, don’t hesitate to post any questions or comments below 😀 Happy sitting!