Detoxing for the New Year: A five-day review of the Master Cleanse Diet

Posted on January 11, 2009


The holidays are generally a baaaad time for the body. Too much partying, too much eating, too much drinking. In my case, I really stuffed myself with my favorite (unhealthy) foods, such as my very own paella, salami and cold cuts, all sorts of pastries and chocolates, pizza, and sausages. By the time the new year rolled around, when my mom made her superb lamb caldereta, my body was already screaming for mercy, but I love Mom’s caldereta… and so I had more servings than I’d care to admit.

Aside from the paella–which I cook only on special occasions–I also ate rice with my meals. Regularly. Throughout 2008. Coming off from four years of semi-South Beach mode and practically zero rice and carbs, a year filled with rice and carbs is bad news. It was very measurable, too. From May 2007 to December 2008 I had gained 20 lbs–something I promised myself would never happen again.

Intro the The Master Cleanse program

So I started 2009 by cleansing my system through the Master Cleanse program (I dislike using the word “diet”, because it is a detox program more than it is a sustainable way of eating), which I first heard about it through my friend Eirene. It takes a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 40 days to complete (although some say you should really take it for maximum of only 15 days), and is done by drinking a special concoction of fresh lemon juice, pure maple syrup (not maple-coated sugar syrup), cayenne pepper, and lots of water–all day, every day. No other food or liquid intake but that during the cleansing period. What it does is flush out harmful toxins, waste, and mucus from the body and remove cravings for our usual staple of junk and fast foods.

This link to the Master Cleanse support group will show you practically everything you need to know about the program, but here below is some basic information to get you started.


  • 14 tbsps fresh lemon juice (1 lemon is approx. 4 tbsps of juice)
  • 14 tbsps pure maple syrup (which can be bought at S&R)
  • 1/2 tsp (or even less) cayenne pepper – or to taste (as much as you can stand; this can be very HOT)
  • 2 liters water (which you can separate into 2 one-liter chugable containers)
  • 1 liter water (to be taken throughout the day and after drinking the lemon juice)

The two liters should be enough for you throughout the day; in my case, there were days when I drank less than two liters simply because I wasn’t hungry. But that’s me–you can opt to drink more than two liters if you’re really hungry or thirsty; I don’t think there’s a rule against it.


The Master Cleanse document (on PDF), written by Stanley Burroughs, lists these objectives of the program.


  • To dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in any part of the body.
  • To cleanse the kidneys and the digestive system.
  • To purify the glands and cells throughout the entire body.
  • To eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles.
  • To relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries, and blood vessels.
  • To build a healthy blood stream.
  • To keep youth and elasticity regardless of our years.

When to use it:

  • When sickness has developed— for all acute and chronic conditions.
  • When the digestive system needs a rest and a cleansing.
  • When overweight (sic) has become a problem.
  • When better assimilation and building of body tissue is needed.

Effects and Reminders

Here are more excerpts from the Master Cleanse booklet:


In the cleansing process, some people experience a tremendous stirring up and may even feel worse for several days. It is not the lemonade that causes the trouble, but what the lemonade stirs up in the system that causes our dizziness and other disturbances. Vomiting may occur under certain conditions; increased pain may be felt in the various joints of the body; dizziness may develop on certain days.

If weakness develops at any time, it is the result of poisons circulating through the blood stream rather than a lack of food or vitamins. This diet gives a person all the vitamins, food, and energy necessary for the full ten days or longer in a liquid form. Rest and take it a little easier if you have to –although most people can go about their regular business without difficulty. Keep right on with the diet; don’t give up or “cheat” by eating a little food or you may destroy the benefits.

Even though the lemon is an acid fruit, it becomes alkaline as it is digested and assimilated. It is, in fact, our best aid toward proper alkaline balance. There is no danger of “too much acid.”

Alcoholics, smokers, and other drug addicts will receive untold benefits from this diet. The chemical changes and the cleansing have a way of removing the craving and the many probably deficiencies. Thus the desire for the unnatural types of stimulants and depressants disappears. The usual cravings experienced and suffered in breaking away from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco no longer present themselves during and after this diet.

It is truly a wonderful feeling to be free from slavery to these many habit-forming and devitalizing elements of modern living. Coffee, tea, and various cola drinks, as habit-forming beverages, also lose their appeal through the marvels of the lemonade diet.


Coming off the lemonade diet properly is highly important— please follow the directions very carefully. After living in a semi-tropical and tropical climate for many years, I find that people have increasingly turned to a raw fruit, nut, and vegetable diet. Following is the schedule for people who normally follow such a natural vegetarian diet:

Several 8 oz. Glasses of fresh orange juice as desired during the day. The orange juice prepares the digestive system to properly digest and assimilate regular food. Drink it slowly. If there has been any digestive difficulty prior to or during the change over, extra water may be taken with the orange juice.

Orange juice in the morning. Raw fruit for lunch. Fruit or raw vegetable salad at night. You are now ready to eat normally.

Salt-water flushing

Another important accompaniment to the lemonade juice is the salt-water flush, which helps expell solid waste and totally cleanses the system within the hour. To be honest, I totally forgot about it these past five days, so I intend to get started tonight. Some recommend that it be done in the morning, but it seems more logical to do it before going to bed, when you are in the privacy of your own home. Read more about it HERE.

My Master Cleanse experience

I have to admit that I saw the Master Cleanse as a lose-weight-quick program; apparently, it’s also called the Beyonce Diet because singer/actress Beyonce Knowles used it to lose around 20 lbs in preparation for her role in Dreamgirls. But I do believe in the need for regular detoxification, and since I had really overstuffed myself during the holidays, I saw the new year as the perfect time to try this out.

Day 1

I found the juice to be quite yummy. The pure maple syrup really does the trick in making it very palatable, and it provides the nutrients needed throughout the day. I love the kick provided by the cayenne pepper! But it’s easy to overdo the spice so easy on that one.

I worked from home that day and didn’t find any violent bodily “reactions” to it, except for the eliminations that are already described in the literature about the program. It was easiest for me from morning ’till lunchtime, when I didn’t feel any hunger pangs, but it became challenging to stick to my guns in the afternoon, when I felt really hungry and eager for the chocolates that my brother was nibbling. All in all, it wasn’t a difficult start, but I was working from home so I felt pretty cushioned.

Day 2

Pretty much the same as Day 1, although I did venture out to the department store to buy some work supplies. The challenge came when my brother asked me to buy his favorite chocolate bar, and I found myself amidst rows of yummy goodies and with no prospects of taking home any sweets for myself. My tummy grumbled when I saw my favorite fastfood joints, and I found myself craving for pizza.

Day 3

I think this is the day when everything really kicks in–if you know what I mean. I felt less tempted than the first two days, and it didn’t really bother me much anymore that I was ingesting nothing but the juice. Paul and I even attended an art exhibit opening, and at the end of the program I just milled about while everyone else was having some cocktails. It was my first “test”, and I think I passed it.

Day 4

Another test! Paul and I went to SM MOA to buy some clothes with one of my GCs and get some supplies for my workshop, and I was able to get clothes that wouldn’t really have fit me a week or two ago. :) Then, he felt a craving for some Mongolian, so we went to the Mongolian grill, where he ate two bowls of Mongolian barbecue (although he was already quite full after the first) while I had… water. I didn’t feel bad for not eating, but I was happy to be out and about and feeling quite normal. More importantly, I enjoyed the company and the time out. The problem, though, was that as soon as we got home I felt really drained and dizzy, and I pretty much passed out and fell asleep almost immediately.

Day  5

The day of my freelance writing workshop. I was up at 5 AM to go over my slides and prepare my things, then we were at the venue by 830. I had psyched myself to be on performance level for the course, and so I focused on the lectures and on the things that had to be done. Still, I couldn’t help but have hunger pangs during lunchtime and in the afternoon, when my participants were eating yummy vegetarian palabok and some biscuits and chips. I didn’t really have time to prepare a fresh batch of juice, so I drank water and whatever was left in my thermos that day. Paul said that I did great, but I felt really, REALLY drained afterward. As soon as we got home, I pretty much passed out again.

The next half

Today is my 6th day, so I’m halfway through the program! Since I had forgotten all about the salt-water flush during the first five days, I think I’ll be trying it out tonight. Tomorrow is my first day in my new job, and on Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll be out of town for a planning session (where, I’m sure, lots of yummy stuff will be readily available).  I think this last half is when the REAL tests will take place… Wish me luck.

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