From the archives of “Ditch The Meds”. This is a post from the archived Ditch The Meds blog about The Master Cleanse. A personal story.
For this week’s blog I’m going to take a little break from the medications to talk about The Master Cleanse. It’s a good time to do it now since I just finished my 5th Master Cleanse (authors note: I have completed approximately 10 Master Cleanses). I just want to talk briefly about why it is important to do an internal cleanse every so often and why I like The Master Cleanse. Some of what I’ll be writing is not for the faint of heart. I don’t mean to sound gross but to get my point across I’ll have to go into some details that I normally wouldn’t so please bear with me.
Our bodies are designed to digest food within 24 hours of consuming it but because our diets are, shall I say, less than ideal, as most humans (who eat the typical diet) take up to 72 hours to digest food. With our diets full of processed foods and very little fiber (from whole grains or leafy green vegetables) much of what we consume stays in the colon only to cause future intestinal problems such as colon cancer and digestive problems.
Whole grains and fiber help serve as a sort of broom to brush our intestines and help get rid of waste. Because of the typical American diet our digestive systems are not being utilized to their full potential and actually we really aren’t getting nutrients the way we are should. Much of the food in the typical American diet doesn’t have nutrients at all or, what little nutrients exist, are not absorbed by the body.
Diets high in meat and dairy products are mucus-forming. Mucus is actually a type of protection our bodies create to help deal with foreign bodies such as toxins, viruses, or bacteria. Think about viruses – anytime we contract viruses almost immediately our bodies begin to create mucus to rid our bodies of those viruses. It is no different when we eat mucus-forming foods such as meat and dairy products. Our bodies create a protective layer within the colon to deal with these products.
I’m not advocating vegetarianism, that is a personal choice and I am not willing to become a vegetarian at this point myself. In fact I believe we, as omnivores, require meat in our diets (a topic for another post). I do, however, advocate moderation. I believe that as long as we limit these types of foods in our diets our bodies can handle the negative aspects. Also, I advocate using only natural food sources, including meat sources. Feedlot cattle are disease-ridden and highly toxic. I recommend watching the movie Food, Inc. if you do not believe me. I discovered, from that movie, that manufacturers of ground beef coming out of feed lots use fillers to stretch the product, no surprise there really, but what I did not know is that they use ammonia in the fillers to kill any potential bacteria, such as E. Coli.
Feedlot cattle are fed grain to make them bigger and to grow faster; however, the grain changes the pH in the cow’s stomachs creating a more acidic environment. Cows are, by nature, ruminants, meaning they eat grass. Eating grass maintains a more neutral pH in their stomachs. As a result, any bacteria that might be present are able to adjust to survive in a neutral environment. Because the bacteria have this ability they are also able to adjust to an acidic environment. This means that human stomach acid would no longer be able to kill potential bacteria, as the pH would not be much different than that of the animal. Feedlots are changing the natural bodily functions of cattle that allow humans to safely eat the meat. ALL fast food meat and probably most restaurant meat comes from feedlots. This means that eating out could be detrimental to your health.
Additionally, pesticides used on our fruits and vegetables as well as the irradiation used to “clean” the produce are stripping much of the nutrients from these normally healthy foods. That is, if your diet consists of conventional fruits and vegetables. If you eat primarily organic, clearly you will be getting more nutrients. On the other hand, if your diet consists of mostly processed foods (think all the foods in the center aisles of the supermarket in boxes and cans) then you are getting very few nutrients. Not only do processed foods contain few nutrients, they also contain additives that are by and large full of toxins. Just look at the labels and some of the ingredients, and then do a search on what those ingredients are and how they’re detrimental to health.
Toxins we consume in the form of these foods as well as other toxins that our bodies are unable to release are stored in fat cells. For a great explanation on how this happens, and why we have belly fat, I recommend the book The Fat Flush Plan. Toxins also live in our waste, some of which does not leave our bodies in the intended 24 hours. For these reasons, I believe it is absolutely necessary to do a colon and full-body cleansing periodically to assist our bodies in the functions they are designed to perform naturally but are unable because of the diets and lifestyles of so many Americans today.
I have tried using cleansing products in the form of capsules (or kits) in the past. These typically require a regimented diet and special foods. I found that this type of discipline is too difficult for me. Call me crazy but it’s much simpler for me to not eat anything at all and drink the same (homemade) drink for ten days than it is to eat specific foods. This is essentially what the Master Cleanse consists of. It consists of: a laxative tea, a saltwater flush, and a lemonade drink made with fresh squeezed organic lemons, organic grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
The purpose of the lemon is to mobilize toxins within your body and break off old waste from the colon walls; the cayenne pepper is used to break up the mucus lining within the colon, and the maple syrup is used primarily for calories and energy. It is thought that the grade B syrup is drawn when the most nutrients are in the syrup, which is the purpose for this particular syrup. The laxative tea is used at night and the saltwater flush is used in the morning to flush out the waste and toxins that were mobilized the day before.
Some people may experience two or three “detox” days. These are days in which they feel symptoms of problems they’ve had in the past or even just symptoms of withdrawal from certain day-to-day habits such as coffee or sodas. People who have a lot of caffeine in their diets tend to get headaches during the cleanse either toward the beginning or in some cases, throughout the whole cleanse. Also, people with certain issues, such as reflux or joint problems will find those symptoms pronounced on certain days of the cleanse. These are detox symptoms. They rear their ugly heads when the toxins causing those issues are mobilized during the cleanse.
When I do the Master Cleanse I do it for health reasons and to “reset” the way I view food. I find it highly beneficial and effective. The icing on the cake is the weight loss. It’s typical for women to lose 10 pounds and for men to lose up to 15. You must be careful how you incorporate food back into your diet after you’ve completed the cleanse so that you don’t gain all the weight back (and so that you don’t hurt yourself). Your digestive system needs time to start digesting again so solid food is not incorporated until a couple of days after it is over.
I’ve had various experiences while on the cleanse but one recurring theme is the energy and vitality I feel. In some cases I go through one or two days of “detox” symptoms, although they aren’t typically debilitating in my case – I’m still able to function normally (and usually with a ton of energy!). After those two days, I have enough energy to zoom through my day and I am also able to do my normal work out. After I finished my [5th] cleanse and began eating normal food, in this case a salad, I immediately felt the drain of energy that it takes to digest food. We do not realize how much energy is expended by our bodies just to digest the food we eat. I felt it immediately.
I know many people think they couldn’t do this cleanse because of the idea of not eating. I say that if I can do it, anyone can. I love food. It is one of my great pleasures. I look forward to food. Doing this cleanse shows me that I can accomplish anything I put mind to. It’s not only physically healthy, it is also empowering. One of the things I find so remarkable when I’m doing these cleanses is the fact that we really don’t need much food to survive. I’ve read that having a calorie-restrictive diet can increase a person’s life by at least 10 years. Doing a cleanse can help kick-start a lifestyle of fewer calories.
Doing a Master Cleanse allows you to absorb more nutrients than you probably had in years. The mucus-forming foods we eat cause a barrier between the lining of the colon and the food that passes through. This means that fewer nutrients are actually absorbed into the bloodstream. After cleansing, and before you recreate that mucus lining, you are able to absorb much more nutrients. The way I see it is that you have a clean slate to work with. It’s a way to be removed from, what I see as, a “food-addiction”. I feel that many Americans today are obese and overindulge because of a food addiction. Doing a Master Cleanse breaks that and allows you to see that we do not have to be what we eat. It allows for clarity of mind that we wouldn’t typically have.
I have turned many people on to this and have gotten excellent feedback. What I recommend to people is that if they really are interested in doing this cleanse for their health they read both books on the subject. Without reading these books they will almost certainly fail. It is absolutely necessary to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into and what to expect. But I feel that once you know, and once you’ve tried it you will be able to continue a path of health and pursue future cleanses with very little effort. I try to do one at least once a year. I do have to plan my life around them so I try to plan them for a time of year that I can dedicate at least a month of healthy eating including the two weeks required to do the cleanse and to break it.
Finally, I’d like to wrap up my blog on The Master Cleanse by discussing some of the amazing benefits I have experienced from doing this cleanse:
Clear skin – this cleanse was actually quite noticeable. I don’t have the nicest complexion – never have – but I’m enjoying a clear, bright complexion after this cleanse.
More energy – as I mentioned before, toward the end of the cleanse I had quite a bit of energy but sticking to a healthy diet after the cleanse allows for much of that energy to continue.
Clarity of mind – Even the bible talks about how fasting allows the spirit to rise above the flesh. I always find it amazing how clear my mind is and how much it makes me realize that food can be a hindrance to our thinking. I’m not just referring to the lack of proper nutrition from our foods or even the distraction that comes with always thinking of your next meal, but the simple act of not eating for 10 days clears your mind and helps you focus on other important things.
Emotional detox – With every cleanse I do I seem to be happier. The emotional detox on this, my 5th cleanse, was not nearly as bad as the first. I recall my first cleanse. I was a pill for at least 3 of the the 10 days…and this is a recurring theme among people that do the cleanse; my best friend has done a couple of these and her husband never fails to mention her moods. I know some people might attribute this to “not eating”. I know I tend to get cranky when I’m hungry. But this is not the case during the cleanse. As well as detoxing from all the toxins within your body, you’re also detoxing from toxins in your brain. Naturally, when you’re releasing toxins you’re going to feel those symptoms. Interestingly, I heard on the John Tesh Radio Show yesterday that a test was conducted on the tears of people who were crying over emotional reasons versus those that were crying due to exposure to onions. The emotional tears showed toxic stress hormones while those from onions showed none. Clearly crying is our bodies’ way of ridding ourselves of harmful stress hormones and toxins. During the cleanse, these are being released in a variety of ways – sometimes tears, sometimes waste, and sometimes through saliva. Our bodies are so amazing. Not only were we given the ability to heal ourselves naturally (think of the way a cut heals by creating a clot, then a scab, and then a renews the skin) but also to remove harmful toxins from our bodies. Our sweat glands, lymphatic glands, tear ducts, and even saliva are ways to remove toxins from our bodies. Since I’ve been cleansing, I am a much happier person in general. There’s a popular “healer” that lives in my area and we run into him every once in a while. He noticed that the last time he saw me I wasn’t stressed out at all. The first time he saw me he saw the aura of stress. Clearly these natural things are working!
And last, but definitely not least, is the weight loss. This cleanse I lost right around 10 pounds and, thankfully, due to breaking the cleanse gently and staying off meat and alcohol (which I will continue to do for at least another 3 weeks…and then moderately after that) among other “bad” things, I’m keeping it off. I don’t have to tout the benefits of weight loss but one thing both my [husband] and I feel is a huge benefit is being lighter and being able to exercise more easily. My little dog weighs ten pounds so to make a point, after the cleanse, I picked her up and started walking around with her. I told my boyfriend…”This is how much more weight I’d been carrying around.” It doesn’t “sound” like much, but if you’re not at your ideal weight I challenge you to try this, find something that weighs ten pounds and walk around with it even just for five minutes. I think you’ll find that it is much more difficult than without it. We don’t realize how much even a little extra weight means to our bodies – joints, muscles, ligaments, and even brain will thank you for it.
Here’s to health, being clean, losing your excess weight, and being happy!!