Master Cleanse: The Home Grown Secret to Good Health
The Master Cleanse (Lemon Juice Fast, or Lemon Juice Cleanse), a home grown secret to giving the body a health “pick-me-up”, has been used for generations. While it’s not for the weak willed or faint of heart, it can be an excellent weight loss and detox aid!
This article will give the average Joe a crash course on the ever popular “Master Cleanse”.
The Master Cleanse
The Master Cleanse, or the “Lemon Juice Diet”, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the wide spread, worldwide growth of the internet. Use of the Master Cleanse varies, with some advocating a short-term 3 day fast, while others engage in fasts that last for weeks (or even months for the bravest and strongest willed!). Some use the master cleanse for detox purposes, while others use the fast for assistance in rapid weight loss. While there are critics who question the safety and long term health benefits of engaging in such a cleanse, countless others rave about how doing the Master Cleanse on a periodic basis gives their health a refreshing jump start.
An Alternative Approach to Health
The Master Cleanse is typically not something average doctors would use as a “first wave” attack against illness, but is rather a supplemental health exercise from the rapidly growing internet alternative health movement such as the paleo diet for athletes; however, it never hurts to talk to your doctor about any alternative treatment options you are pursuing so he/she can give you their professional opinion on the matter.
In recent years, there has been influx of new medications that come out to combat every new ailment that is “discovered”. Yet, so many of these synthetic pharmaceuticals only treat the symptoms of the disorder and not the root cause. Organic, alternative approaches to medicine apply a natural, full body approach to health. Whatever the ailment, many have reported that simply following a healthy diet was enough to heal them of ailments that had been affecting them for years.
The Master Cleanse recipe is a mixture of spring water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and maple syrup. This may seem like quite an interesting mixture to some, but each ingredient in the recipe holds a specific, health-boosting purpose. During the fast, no solid food is consumed, and rather than eat, a faster will consume the mixture on an “as-needed” basis; when feeling sluggish or run down, a faster will drink the mixture and get a quick burst of energy from the maple syrup in the recipe. The taste make take a bit of getting used to, but “professional” master cleansers find that the taste grows on new users rather quickly!
Although not all partakers of the diet engage in this, the core diet does call for a “colon flush” once each night, right before sleeping. This flush involves drinking a half gallon of a salt and water mixture to flush out whatever material was “kicked up” by drinking the diet’s juice recipe during the day. The flush itself is not at all pleasant and some replace it with an organic laxative tea that serves the same function.
This is not required in the diet but will certainly expedite the colon cleansing effect.
Yes, the recipe is quite an interesting mixture with a taste that is tangy, spicy, and sweet all at the same time, yet holds some amazing health benefits.
Cayenne pepper is a “stimulant” although not in the conventional sense. Like most spices, cayenne pepper gives that warm, spicy, tingly, “hot”, feeling on the tongue when tasted. Cayenne pepper, or Capscum Annum, has a similar effect on the stomach and colon when ingested. Cayenne pepper “stimulates” circulation, colon healing, detox, and is actually a catalyst that gives other ingredients in the Master Cleanse a boost.
When the colon is stimulated by the cayenne pepper in the drink, enzymes and gastric juices begin flowing that ease in digestion and speed up the detox process; think about how you feel after eating really spicy food: your eyes and nose get red, and your sinuses begin to drain. As you can now see, Cayenne Pepper cleans out your colon the same way!
The lemon is a highly acidic fruit. The acid in the juice aids in proper digestion, colon health, and body detox if taken in proper amounts. Lemon juice helps regulate the acid/base levels in the stomach/colon and is an exceedingly powerful health supplement.
The colon needs a certain measure of acid in the stomach to process food; too much acid, as most know, can lead to an assortment of stomach and colon discomforts; however, a stomach with not enough acid can actually impede digestion because the stomach will pass on undigested/unprocessed food to the colon; this makes it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients from the food consumed, but also makes passing stool difficult (it’s dealing with food that looks similar to how it did when it was eaten!). Lemons and lemon juice aid in digestion in the sense that they are taking the burden off the body in creating food processing stomach acid. This leads to even more strain being taken off the body and energy can be applied elsewhere.
Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C/potassium, have antibacterial/antiseptic properties, and aid in lowering cholesterol. Quite an amazing little fruit!
Easy Weight Loss Recipe
For all you weight watchers and detox lovers out there, here’s a little recipe for a drink you should have every morning.
- Squeeze some lime into a glass
- Add a teaspoon of honey to it and mix them together
- Put some water on the boil and then add it to the mixture.
Drink this every morning before your first meal!
It cuts the carbs you take in from your meals during the course of your day and leads to you losing at least a pound in two weeks!
The primary reason for adding maple syrup to the Master Cleanse recipe is that it gives energy to the weary faster deprived of solid food. However, maple syrup does have some interesting health benefits not many know about.
Maple syrup comes in different Grades (A through D). The lightest (and most commonly sold in stores) grade is Grade A. Grade D is the darkest and healthiest type of maple syrup, as it contains the highest level of vitamins and minerals.
Maple syrup contains manganese and zinc which are immune system boosters, and is low calorie despite its sweetness!
Now, the fun part. The colon flush is certainly not the most enjoyable part of the cleanse, but can be vital in getting the body into a great state of health faster then if opting out of doing “The Flush”.
The main purpose of drinking the lemon juice recipe during the day is to aid in ridding the colon of unwanted toxins. Yes, the body does excrete toxins in other ways (like sweating) but not nearly as quickly and efficiently as a bowel movement. Whatever toxins the lemon drink has “loosened up” during the day must be flushed at night.
Salt water is a natural laxative. It goes through your system very quickly, and will stimulate liquid bowel movements (providing your stomach is free of food) within an hour after consumption. This is a great tool to the diet, however it is not tolerated by all. The flush requires that an entire half gallon of this mixture be consumed at night. Some people just cannot tolerate that and go with the alternative: organic laxative tea.
Organic laxative tea is easily tolerated by most people participating in the cleanse, however it is not quite as effective as the salt water flush; this does not mean it is not effective, but it may take the body a bit longer to flush out the toxins than with salt water.
You do NOT need to do any flush; your body will naturally expel the loosened toxic build up on it’s own; however, if you can do the flush with the diet, you should.
Over the course of human history, humans have experienced a myriad of health disorders that were dealt with in different ways by different people during different eras, but one of the most frustrating groups of disorders are those that deal with the colon. Health gurus over the ages have stressed the importance of colon health as its condition is vital to the optimal performance of other important body functions.
Humans are fueled by food, food creates energy, and energy is needed to keep the body alive and maintain the stamina to complete tasks. When the colon is not operating at it’s full capacity, an individual’s entire life can be negatively affected. Someone with a colon weighed down by toxins may experience energy loss and fatigue, sleep deprivation and/or low sleep quality, brain fog and psychological disorders, and a myriad of other symptoms not seemingly related to the health of the colon.
The intake of unhealthy foods over long periods of time can lead to colon ulcers, chronic inflammation, chronic diarrhea, food absorption problems, etc. Most of the nutritional value that various foods offer us is absorbed by the colon and transported to other parts of the body to assist in its functions.
Because of this, alternative/organic health advocates push healthy diets that support colon health, and the occasional detox. A detox may involve a fast, and a fast gives the colon a break from food processing so rapid healing can occur.
As should be obvious to anybody who is even mildly health conscious, the body can not optimally function on one type of food for long stretches of time.
Carbohydrates like grains and starches are necessary as they give the body energy for completing daily tasks, but lack the protein content of meat and nuts. Proteins found in meat and nuts are necessary as they aid in tissue healing and muscle growth, but lack the energizing properties of carbohydrates Adequate water/fluid intake is necessary as it aids in digestion and keeps skin looking healthy and vibrant..
As the body is quite complex, nobody can exist on one “type” of fuel for extended periods of time, and the Master Cleanse fast is not meant to replace a good meal. However, many who have been periodically engaging in the master cleanse report that it has become absolutely imperative for them to do the fast at least a few times a year.
Common foods bought in grocery stores today contain many “unnatural” ingredients in the interest of product preservation and public health, yet some of these ingredients weren’t meant for consumption by humans; as a result, this gives rise to an unhealthy build up of these toxins in the body. Advocates of the Master Cleanse propose that engaging in the fast periodically helps them maintain great health by ridding themselves of that toxic build up a few times a year.
Detox and Withdrawal
Pesky toxins make their way into the body via unhealthy food consumption, and find places in the body to hide. Toxins love to hide in the colon, impeding its proper function and degrading the overall health of the owner”. During the master cleanse, the various properties in the recipe allow the colon to rid itself of toxins; in the beginning, this can lead to some pretty annoying withdrawal symptoms. An individual can expect their bowel movements to be irregular during the first few days to 1 week of the cleanse, and deal with bouts of constipation, diarrhea, or in more rare cases, discharge of previously lodged fecal matter during bowel movements. Advocates of the Master Cleanse are emphatic on the point of pressing on through the worst symptoms, as during this time the body is healing itself by way of flushing toxins.
Weight Loss Benefit
The act of detox itself can assist in weight loss, but the primary cause of significant weight loss during long term Master Cleanses is simply the lack of solid food intake. The intake of heavy carbohydrates like grains, starches, and some vegetables is what keeps the “meat on our bones”; when the body is starved of these components, it starts to feed on body fat to keep itself going. Those who stay on the fast for these periods report weight loss, however; the master cleanse should not be used as the sole source of weight loss. Many are disappointed when the weight comes back on rapidly after discontinuing the cleanse. Those who want to lose weight and keep it off need to choose the right foods to eat, exercise, and also engage in stress management; while the Master Cleanse can be a great “kick start” to weight loss, it must be followed up with sound dietary habits if it is to be maintained.
In the Media
A great example of a celebrity doing a similar diet (although not the Master Cleanse) is Beyonce Knowles; she went on a similar diet of drinking only juice for a few days. Not only did she report losing 20 lbs in 14 days, but also claimed after the fast that she’d “never felt lighter and more refreshed.”
In order to prepare for his role as Mark David Chapman (the man who killed John Lennon) in the movie “Chapter 27”, Jared gained 60 lbs to more accurately fit the role he was cast into.
After he completed shooting the movie, his health was in a terrible state. Jared reports doing the master cleanse and losing that weight just as quickly as he had gained it.
Now this is someone dedicated to his craft!
The best way to follow a diet like the ‘Master Cleanse’ would be to maintain a healthy lifestyle compete with regular exercise. Some great ways to maintain the “renewed” feeling coming out of a Master cleanse would be:
- Drinking 2 litres of water a day
- Daily yogic breathing exercises
- Maintaining a healthy diet which includes eating green vegetables everyday