January 14, 2007

The Master Cleanser: Day One

I wrote this, on a message board which shall remain nameless, a few days ago.


Autumn and I have been planning to begin "the Master Cleanse" for several months now, an alternative diet which is more popularly known as the "lemonade fast." Basically, you stop eating altogether and subsist entirely on a beverage that contains water, freshly squeezed organic lemon juice, a small portion of cayenne pepper and maple syrup. It's meant to serve as a full system flush, and from the three friends I know who have done it, all have told me they've never felt as good as they did when they were on it. One of them managed to go a mythical forty days on it. It's supposed to be difficult for the first 48 - 92 hours, while it cleans all the shit out of your body, and once you cross that threshold you feel like a million bucks and don't yearn for food any longer.

I've been really excited about this for a variety of reasons, but equally pensive. I'm really looking forward to the boost of activity you get from it (everyone I've known who has done it told me they were sleeping 4 – 5 hours a night while fasting, and waking up completely recharged, full of energy) since I've always had a tough time coming to grips with the fact that I kill 33% of my day laying motionless in bed snoring. I'm also extremely intrigued by the benefits it claims to have for your upper respiratory system. My nose is always, ALWAYS stopped up. I've never really had a moderately good sense of smell, and when I sleep it's with my mouth wide open, so I have a mound of nast on my tongue and terrible breath first thing in the morning. I think I have mild allergies to everything on the planet. The master cleanse claims to completely unblock your sinuses and eliminate almost all of the mucus and unhealthy buildups from your body, which totally thrills me, and which my friends have all backed up 100% from their experiences. I'm looking forward to smelling things. I'm looking forward to the euphoria and weightlessness you feel. I'm looking forward to losing a few pounds, because that's something I really need.

On the other hand, I LOVE eating and can't imagine going without for more than a few hours, let alone 10+ days. I'm sure it'll be thrilling, but also worrisome. I'm anxious about the first few days, which are supposed to be really tough. I don't know how I feel about the salt water cleanse you're supposed to do every day or two – basically drinking a large amount of salt water and firing it out the other end within the hour. And I'm concerned because I don't know how "in control" I'll feel of my body at the time… but I don't think I'm really all that much in control of that right now, so it's the least of my concerns.


It sounds like a crazy hippy thing to do, but everyone I've known who has done it has emerged unscathed and with rave reviews. It's a totally foreign concept in health and well-being, and that freaks me out more than a little bit. But, (and this is a fairly big but) I have similar feelings about all of modern western medicine, honestly. It was just a hundred or so years ago that our medical professionals were SURE that nearly every ailment was the result of upset humours within the body, and that if they could be appeased, pure health could be attained. Imagine what we'll look back on about today's medicinal practices and laugh about. I know I'm very suspicious about all the perfectly color-labeled little pills the medical industry pumps out every year.

Well, since all that's kind of beside the point, you should know that we took the dive yesterday and are continuing the experience today. My buddy Jeph, the aforementioned superstar who managed an outstanding forty days on this diet, posted a few blogs of his experiences while on the fast, which I thought was a fabulous idea. So fabulous an idea, in fact, that I'm going to steal it for myself. It's my ultimate goal to have a status update every day I'm on the diet, but I've let myself down with similar aspirations in the past, so don't expect perfection. Anyway, after 24 hours without food, here are my initial feelings.

I don't know what I was expecting, but this lemonade mixture is just disgusting. It's like bile with a kick, a sharply sour fluid with a spicy aftertaste. It's much more bearable if I take big swigs throughout the day, rather than neatly sipping it every few minutes, but I've had to chase it with water off and on, just because I don't want it on my tongue any longer than it has to be. I can't imagine drinking this stuff for nine more days, but I'm going to practice willpower and get it done.

Strangely, I haven't been really hungry yet. It may be my distaste for the lemonade, but my stomach has been relatively calm. I still have a strong psychological yearning for food (I would've killed for some Wheat Thins last night) and when I see food on the TV it's like a slap in the face, but my body isn't bending itself in half from the agony of it all. That may change as my tolerance for the drink grows. Not even an hour after we started the fast, Autumn and I ran out to Target to buy a new Brita filter for our faucet (hey, if you're gonna do it all the way...). On the way to the store, waiting at an intersection, an enormous truck drove by with a giant, juicy, mouth-watering sandwich plastered on its side. Our conversation stopped, and we both pondered the significance of it, before we both noted what the other was doing and tried to pass it off like we weren't doing the exact same thing.

I hate, hate, hate, the laxative tea. It's called "Senna Tea," for all the tea-ites out there, if you've ever heard of it. I've never been much of a warm beverage man, and this stuff is just putrid. I downed it in three big gulps last night, and tasted it for about an hour after, which is funny because it doesn't have a very distinct taste. It's very, very flat, tastes soapy and just doesn't please me in the slightest. I wanted to dump a pitcher of salt into it so I could taste something sharper.

I slept poorly last night. I kept waking up every hour or two, rolling over and passing back out. My head was pounding, and my neck was stiff, like my pillows had been filled with stones. I slept in longer than I usually do, but when I finally rolled out of bed, I did feel much more rested and refreshed than I'd expected to, considering the previous night's sleep.

This morning, I downed my first hearty 32oz serving of salt water, which is meant to work with the laxative tea to wash out all of the impurities shaken loose by the previous day's glasses of lemonade. I hated the salt water, too, until Autumn shared her wisdom with me. She suggested that I imagine I'm drinking soup, and oddly enough, that really did the trick. Like I said, I have a psychological need for food right now, and after a day of tea, lemons and peppers, the salty texture was a welcome change of pace. Salt water tastes an awful lot like beef broth if you close your eyes and really use your imagination.

My head's been swimming since around the eight hour mark. It's very mild, nothing that's going to change the way I live, but it's noticeable. I was feeling fine yesterday, but this morning I woke up with a weak headache right at the base of my skull. It's since toured the entirety of my head, checking out the spots behind my eyes, the crown of my skull and the center, before finally settling back down at the base. Autumn's suggested I battle it with some Aspirin, but I think that would be a self-defeating exercise. I knew the fist few days were going to be uncomfortable, so I can deal, and as I mentioned, I don't really trust perfect pill packages anyway. Even Aspirin.

About an hour after finishing the salt water cleanse, it hit me like a sledgehammer to the ass. I seriously almost shit the couch, and didn't even pause the PS2 as I hurled myself into the bathroom. I'd passed a few solids earlier in the morning, and it was like I'd popped the cork off of a wine bottle. I'd filled two bowls full of liquid before the fun had passed.

And that brings us back to the present. My initial impressions aren't good, but as I said earlier, I knew the first few days were going to be rough. It's actually been much easier than I expected so far, all things considered, and I'm eager to start enjoying some of the nicer aspects of this diet as the next few days go on. I can't believe Jeph lasted the full forty days on this stuff, but think the ten days suggested by the book is certainly attainable. I'll follow his strategy of re-evaluating the length of my fast once I hit that milestone.

posted by drqshadow at 8:06 PM


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