Way back in the late 1990s I had a friend who told me about a detox diet she had
just completed. It was a radical way to feel healthy and give the digestive system a
break, called The Master Cleanse. To be perfectly honest, it sounded like a wacky
idea to me. Why would anyone “choose” to stop eating for 10 or more days? Was it
even possible to survive that long without food and just on lemon juice alone? It
turns out that this method was old by the time I heard about it. And many people
had already tried it through the years.
The Master Cleanse is actually a small 50-page book published in 1976 by
Stanley Burroughs. He first wrote the book in the 1940s under another name. This
book can be found even today at many health food stores, including Whole Foods.
The basic ingredients of the juice used in the cleanse are lemons, cayenne pepper
and maple syrup. Readers are instructed to use this concoction for at least 10 days
for it to be most effective. There are detailed instructions in the book thanks to the
dangers that come with juice fasting. The most important of these is to slowly re-
introduce solid food into the diet after completing the cleanse.
In 2001 I quit smoking. I decided to try the Master Cleanse a couple of weeks
after quitting cold turkey. Although it was very difficult to deny myself food while
quitting the addiction of smoking, I believe it really helped me get over the
withdrawals sooner. I noticed that my mind was clearer and after a few days I even
stopped being hungry. There were also some shocking effects of this fast, mainly in
what is eliminated from our bodies when we do it. I can’t say that the Master
Cleanse did anything specific for my health, but I did feel healthier and pretty proud
of my accomplishment when I was done. It’s important to note that no medical study
has shown this detox and cleanse to be effective. As with any radical diet change,
always consult a medical professional first before trying it yourself.