Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Master Cleanse

My post this week in "The Wisdom of Beauty" is about the controversial cleanse, "The Master Cleanse". It's a popular cleanse that has been around for decades and has become popular lately due to many celebrities using the cleanse to rid themselves of excess internal body waste and weight. 

I was introduced to "The Master Cleanse" about six years by my good friend Levi who did it after a bout with skin cancer. His sister told him it would be a good way to detox his body of all the toxins he received while undergoing treatment. Levi said for the first four days he was sick and weak with fever while doing the cleanse and was tempted to stop it but his sister told him to persevere. After day four he started feeling better and better and by the end of two weeks (that's how long he decided to do the cleanse for) he felt like a new man. The next month when he went to his oncologist for a check up, his oncologist was just amazed with his blood tests as his toxic levels went back to his precancer levels. 

This inspired me to try the Master Cleanse. At the time I had gained a little extra weight I was having trouble losing (no thanks to the nightly pints of Ciao Bella ice cream I packed away on a daily basis). I bought The Master Cleanse pamphlet at a local health food store and started to prepare the cleanse according to my body weight. The cleanse consist of just four ingredients; freshly squeezed organic lemon juice, organic Grade B maple syrup, distilled water and organic cayenne pepper. I also purchased a box of senna tea and sea salt as drinking senna tea and water with sea salt was also part of the cleanse.

The Master Cleanse was created by alternative medicine performer Stanley Burroughs in 1941. In the mid-nineties it was made popular by Peter Glickman by promoting Burroughs' regimen to a modern audience. Burroughs states that it is a detoxification program that aids in the removal of allegedly harmful, nonspecific toxins from within the body, as well as a reducing diet for loss of weight, a cure for ulcers and a general panacea resulting in "the correction of all disorders."

My daily routine with the cleanse would be to drink senna tea at night (never let it seep for more than three minutes or else it can lead to painful stomach cramps as I accidentally experienced one night).  In the morning I had a tall glass of distilled water with some sea salt (yuck) and had some clearing (my nice term for running to the bathroom for dear life) to do before I would go to work (you want to do this early in the morning as having to "clear" yourself whilst on a crowded subway is my idea of hell on earth). Then throughout the day I drank the 24 oz concoction 8 oz at a time as if I was having breakfast, lunch and dinner. It doesn't taste bad, it taste like lemonade with a with a cayenne kick. There is no solid food at all! No other drinks except herbal teas that did not have caffeine and you can drink plenty of water.

The first two days were difficult. No because I wasn't eating food, I honestly did not feel one stab of hunger pains or weakness throughout my entire time on the Master Cleanse. I was able to go to work and do all the activities I did on a daily basis (which included going to the gym) with energy. The difficult part of the Master Cleanse was I discovered the psychological reasons of why we eat. 

I realized in those first two days that I ate for many reasons and none really had to do with hunger or nourishing myself. I found that I was thinking constantly about food and all the food that was around me in either my home,  grocery stores or a restaurants because it was: just there, I was bored, I wanted to reward myself, I wanted to distract myself, it was time to eat, it looked good, I wanted to feel good. I had a myriad of reasons to eat except none of them was for health and nutrition. The Master Cleanse was worth trying just alone for figuring out, "Why do I like to eat?"

After day two it got progressively easier and easier to just go about my day and drink my cleanse. At night I would have my senna tea and then in the morning after my water/sea salt solution my body would rid itself of all sorts of scary waste that had been harboring in me for who knows how long! I lost about a pound a day but this wasn't a diet for me as I knew when it was over I would start eating solid food again and  of course start gaining the weight back. Many including those in the Hollywood community use it as a diet and that is where the controversy starts as nutritionists are against using cleanses as diets and I agree. So unless you are planning on a lifetime of lemon/maple syrup and cayenne pepper to maintain and lose weight this cleanse as a diet is for you. 

My first time at  the Master Cleanse was for ten days and as I was nearing the end of my cleanse I felt energetic, yoga positions became much easier to do, my skin was literally radiant and I was very happy to lose my cravings for sugar as I was starting to think I would need to go to a sugar rehab clinic to get me off the white stuff. Sugar  is my addiction in this life time. I was almost sorry to end the cleanse as I started to live my day without surrounding my activities around food. I was even able to cook for others without feeling the least likely to take a bite.  My intuitive massage person noted that for the first time my Third Eye was starting to open. I then introduced food back into my system as instructed by the pamphlet and was able to maintain wanting to eat healthy foods after that which helped me maintain some of the weight lost I experienced whilst on the cleanse. I felt very proud of myself for mastering my mind over my food.

Now I do the cleanse twice a year (before Memorial Day and right before Thanksgiving) for two to four days as since you lose about a pound a day it will make me lose too much weight if I continue on for longer. It helps me get off sugar whenever I find myself abusing it again (and I do) and we all know sugar is one of the substances that ages you the quickest.

Some of the controversies of the Master Cleanse come mostly from those who do it more than ten days. After fifteen days on a low caloric intake your body starts to adapt and then your metabolism slows down so when you start eating again, your slow metabolism will store the food and convert it to fat. That is why cleanses should only be ten days or less. I found the people who claim the Master Cleanse is dangerous usually are promoting their own cleanse so you should ask your nutritionist or doctor for their opinion whenever you start any cleanse or diet.

Click on the link for The Master Cleanse for more specific information on the cleanse and whether it is right fit for you. I recommended the Master Cleanse for many years now and many of my friends and family now make it a yearly cleansing event. If you have any questions on the cleanse for me please let me know and I will walk you through it and be your cheerleader as it I know it sounds quite daunting at first but if I can do it any one can!



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