We all have a whole lot of questions running through our heads when we first hear about the Master Cleanse. While fasting is not a foreign or new concept to most of us, it is certainly very misunderstood. Is it really possible to not eat for 10 days without getting hungry? Is it dangerous? Here are a bunch of answers to some of the more common questions.
Yes, without question. Do not rely on second hand information or the incomplete copies found on the Internet. The book is short but important and you should read and understand it properly. It will give you insight into the Cleanse, the healing theories and philosophy of the author and it's a very small price to pay for the incredible gift of the Master Cleanse.
Yes, most people fail to complete the Cleanse because of something they didn't understand, know or anticipate and I'm sure you don't want to make the same mistake. This book will make sure you are properly prepared and will stay the distance. While Stanley Burroughs' book covers the general principles of the Cleanse, this book is filled with practical advice and tips to ensure your success. Many people become Cleansers for life and this book will be something you turn to again and again. Sales of the book also support the costs of providing this website.
This is not recommended at all. Ten days is the minimum to derive the benefits from the Cleanse. You need to make the decision and then commit to follow the programme, it's less than two weeks and a whole lot easier to complete than you probably think! Many people continue beyond the initial ten days to maximise the benefits. You will derive very little benefit from a shorter fast.
Pregnant or nursing women, people recovering from surgery, people with degenerative diseases, type 1 diabetics, adrenal exhaustion sufferers, people on immune suppression medication (especially after transplants), and people undergoing radiation or chemotherapy should definitely not do the Cleanse. Type II diabetics can follow the book's advice to use the Blackstrap Molasses instead of Maple Syrup but they should definitely monitor their blood sugar levels very closely and adjust their meds accordingly. But, please, if you have any concerns about health conditions or your personal state of health consult your doctor first.
Thousands of us who have done the Cleanse are testament to the fact that this is not only safe, but extremely good for you. In fact, the only thing you are not "eating" is solid foods. You are consuming between 600 and 1200 calories a day by drinking the lemonade.
No, usually quite the opposite. You can continue working and functioning as normal, going about your daily business. Because your body isn't spending all its energy on digestion you will find yourself more awake and more active. Use up that extra steam by doing some mild exercise.
The Cleanse, even though it's known as the 'Lemonade Diet', was not intended to be a weight loss or a 'Yo-Yo' fad diet. Fasting is too short to be a complete solution to weight problems. If you are overweight you will probably lose an average of 0.5 - 1kg a day over the ten days. Some will lose more and some less, some lose weight up to a point and then no more - your body is in control and everyone's experience varies. Underweight Cleansers find that sometimes they can even gain weight. Whatever happens, the Cleanse will definitely be a fantastic catalyst for both physical and mental change.
Strangely enough, the general experience of people on the Cleanse is quite the opposite! People who are not overweight often lose little or no weight over the ten days and sometimes even put on weight! The amount of lemonade you drink each day can be adjusted to provide more calories to help maintain your weight. 6-12 glasses a day translates to around 600-1200 calories per day.
No - you are detoxifying and there is no point doing that if you are going to keep feeding toxins into your body! Do you really want to keep smoking? If not, this would be a great time to try and quit - the Cleanse will assist you by helping overcome the cravings and the desire, and, if not now, when?
Other than the lemonade, water, tea and the salt water flush you shouldn't be drinking anything, certainly not alcohol. Avoid all social situations where you may feel pressured to do this while on the Cleanse.
Some people begin switching their diet to more raw food and juices a week or two before the Cleanse to give their body a head start, but other than drinking a cup of the laxative tea the night before your first fast day there isn't any special requirement. However, preparing yourself mentally and making sure your have all the necessary ingredients (except water and lemons which you will get fresh) is important. It also helps to clear your cupboards of tempting foods and well-loved snacks. It is also often better to not tell anyone about your Cleanse unless absolutely necessary as many people will nag or try to dissuade you without knowing much about what you are doing.
If you can it will be best to take a three day 'weekend', but if you have no alternative then a Friday night is best: eat lightly all day and have the tea before going to bed. A lot of people have a headache on the first day (especially coffee drinkers) and so its good to have the weekend to relax a bit and to gently ride out the first two days. Make sure you clear your social calendar - this is not a great weekend for cocktails, parties and braais, stay away or suffer the torment!
Nearly all the food we buy contains elements of the insecticides and other poisons routinely used by farmers to kill insects, fungi or ward off diseases. Eating the residues of these poisons does noone any good, certainly not anyone wanting to detox! Organic fruit and veg generally taste much better than their non-organic counterparts, and contain more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Where fresh fruit and veg are concerned organic produce is definitely worth the extra price.
Organic farming techniques are far more environmentally friendly and sustainable over the long term - better for us, better for our planet. Unlike the USA though, where standards are set and verified by the QAI and USDA, South Africa has no laws or regulatory body to verify any "organic" claims so your mileage may vary.
You can buy the recommended Grade B Maple Syrup (Certified Organic and Kosher Parve) as part of our Complete Master Cleanse kits or individually in 32oz and 64oz bottles from our online store and selected health food shops. If you'd prefer to buy it from your local health food store and they don't have any, have them get in touch with us. For a list of stores which stock Organic Grade B Maple Syrup click here.
To provide the minimum 6 glasses of lemonade per person per day, according to Stanley Burrough's recipe, you will need 1800ml of Maple Syrup (64 fluid oz in American terms). Our '10-Day' and '20-Day' Kits include 1890ml (64oz) and 3780ml (128oz) Grade B Maple Syrup respectively.
No. Most maple syrup you find here in stores in South Africa is usually the Grade A - easily identified by it's gold colour (we have found syrup in glass bottles labelled as Grade B but which are clearly not!). The golden, light syrups are pure refined sugars, usually used as a sweetener on pancakes and waffles, and which will cause unhealthy blood sugar spikes. The Grade B is unrefined, dark (almost black), earthy and a source of vitamins, minerals and trace elements apart from it's sugar content.
All you will eat and drink for 13 days are the ingredients for the Cleanse - maple syrup, pepper, lemons, salt, orange juice, water and vegetable soup. Nothing else! Balanced simply against the expense of whatever other food you would have eaten over this time the cost is negligible. Add to that the value of the benefits you will receive and you will have to agree you've never seen a better deal. Compare this now to the total junk diet supplements and pills they're trying to sell you on TV and in magazines! I, and everyone I know who has successfully completed the Cleanse, would gladly pay 10 times the amount for what we have received in return!
Store unopened bottles of syrup in a cool, dry place that is ideally slightly below room temperature and out of any direct intense light. It has a shelf life of over two years but once opened, it should be refrigerated.
No. The beneficial action of Cayenne Pepper is triggered in your mouth by stimulating nerve endings which trigger blood flow. This will not occur in your stomach. The capsules that the pepper comes in are made of gelatine which is an animal product (boiled skin and bone) which will trigger your digestive process - just what you are trying to shut down while on the Cleanse. The Cayenne is an essential component of the Cleanse.
No. Neither the cayenne pepper powder (made from crushing dried cayenne peppers) nor the active ingredient, capsaicin, is soluble in water. To create a liquid version either oil or alcohol is used to create the solution and you really don't want to be swallowing either of those on your Cleanse.
The Master Cleanse works as written, without a doubt - thousands of people have successfully completed it, many more than once. Do not skimp, skip, modify, substitute ingredients or make any changes at all to the 'recipe'. Do it properly once and follow all the rules and you will see for yourself what an incredible process this is. Read, understand and follow the plan or don't do it at all. People who have deviated from this simple process often become quite ill.
Most definitely not. You must only make the lemonade with fresh lemons you've squeezed yourself, preferably your own home grown or organic lemons. Make batches of lemonade if you need to be out, but its way better to make each glass fresh if you have the time.
Health food stores sometimes stock them and Weleda pharmacies as well. One local brand sold in convenient 20 tea bag packs is called "Laxa Tea" and there is a loose herb tea (much more hassle than tea bags) 'Senna' like 'Senna Alexandrina'. Licorice root is also used and gives the tea a nice flavour, SmoothMove is one of the brands that include this. You can also buy the tea online from us - the brands we have available will depend on our stocks.
10-15 minutes is good, you need a nice strong brew.
Any organic, un-iodised sea salt is good. It is usually only found in health food stores and sometimes it isn't even white - it can be a grey (Celtic) or a pink colour (Himalayan Salt). The Khoisan Atlantic Sea Salt available from our online store is not only pure and tasty, but local too, and we highly recommend it. Most importantly, avoid any salt which is iodated or that contains anti-caking agents - the more free running and fine it is, the worse it is to use.
Drink some more lemonade! And then ask yourself if you really are hungry or just craving something you've seen, smelt or thought about? Hunger is something you physically feel through pain in your stomach, cravings are a 'mind thing' and will pass. Make sure you drink at least 6 glasses of the lemonade each day and don't forget to drink at least the same amount of water!
Five common detox symptoms are: cravings, tiredness, irritability, physical aches and pains (definitely a headache on the first day if you drink a lot of coffee) and hot or "burny" bowel movements. Read our Master Cleanse Survivor's Guide, available in our online store for more information.
If you drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated drinks, then I am afraid this is a classic caffeine withdrawal symptom and it usually happens at some point on the first day. Resist the urge to take pain killers like Disprin or Panado, your body is starting to detox and you don't want to neutralise this by swallowing even more toxic substances! Take it easy and rest, it will usually disappear by the second day, but if you are a really heavy coffee drinker it can persist. Hang in there.
Detox symptoms are often experienced as 'being sick'. Your body's elimination organs come into play much like they do when you have a cold or 'flu - the symptoms are signs of the recovery rather than illness. Try and stick it out until after the next morning's eliminations and see how you feel. It may seem difficult but try to hang in there. Too often we mistake the body's efforts at elimination as 'being sick' when in fact it's just the opposite - it's the healing that's underway. Take a moment and read the topic about the 'Herxheimer Reaction' or 'Healing Crisis' in the Detox Symptoms and Problems section of our Forum.
You are starting to feel your body begin to loosen and eliminate toxins. This detoxifying process can mobilise all sorts of aches, pains and 'illness'. Headaches from caffeine, lower back aches (kidneys), tiredness, irritability and nausea are quite often reported and will soon pass. Rest and relax, this is part of the reason you are doing the Cleanse and most detox symptoms disappear with the next round of elimination. If severe symptoms last more than three days though, make sure you get some medical advice. Our Master Cleanse Survivor's Guide covers detox symptoms in more detail.
People who have followed a diet rich in fats, meat, dairy, sugars and refined flours (pretty much most of us) may find that they don't have a bowel movement on the first or second day. If this happens try adding a little more salt to the water (not too much) the next time - once you find the right amount for you it WILL kick in and the purge will become very predictable. Keep at it, your bowels are probably still pretty clogged up at this stage.
Sure you can, but the Cleanse is a time to give your body a break and relax while it gets to work. Its far better to just take it easy, you'll be back to your routine in no time and then you can pick up your activities where you left off. Many people do continue playing sports and doing light gym routines without any ill effect while on the Cleanse but long sessions, or vigorous exercise should be avoided. Muscle movement breaks down tissue which your body will need to replenish so its best to leave it all for when you're eating normally again.
Elimination is an essential component of the Cleanse and your body needs help to do this now that its usual digestion triggers are gone. The salt water flush (SWF) is a very fast and efficient purge of the contents of your intestines and colon, but can be quite something to get down successfully. In our Master Cleanse Survivor's Guide we give you a number of proven tips on how to get this down painlessly every day. We definitely recommend that you do not skip the SWF or you risk becoming quite ill. If you are working while you do the Cleanse make sure you do the flush as early in the morning as possible - at least ninety minutes to two hours before you leave the safety of your house and loo.
If you're working it helps to make a batch to last most of the day, but its always best (and tastier) to prepare a fresh glass right before you drink it. Fresh is good and its definately not advisable to use it the next day, and its not like you've got tons of food to prepare, right? Well, mothers may disagree I'm sure.
If you've been fasting longer than three days you will probably feel some serious stomach pain and/or nausea. What were you thinking? Its not that difficult to finish the Cleanse and if your motivations are real you need to just get a grip and get yourself back on track as soon as possible. Either you are committed to making some changes in your life or you're not. Don't mess around with your body and health!
Absolutely! My first Cleanse lasted 40 days and I was worried I wouldn't be able to do the 10! If you're feeling good just keep going - apparently people have kept it up for up to ninety days. A 14 or 21 day fast will be better for you than 10, guaranteed. But don't forget to also do another Cleanse after a break of a couple of months. 4 times a year seems to be the best way to go about cleansing.
After a few days there isn't much bulk left in your colon to get eliminated. While you may often get a surprise package or two late in the Cleanse, you will generally be eliminating mainly liquids and tiny pieces of stuff. Some people have claimed to eliminate long, dark, smelly, ropy things, but this certainly hasn't been our experience.
Well spotted! Yes, this is the colour of the bile which is created by your kidney and stored in your gall bladder. From there it is released into your intestines to aid in the digestion of fats. This is quite normal and will be a feature of your time on the Cleanse.
First: congratulations and welcome to the 'new and refreshed' you! Your goal on the fast should have been building health, and now that it's over there's no reason to stop. You're in a fantastic position to make some sweeping changes in your diet and lifestyle that might have seemed impossible before. We recommend you start eating very minimally, ideally following a raw food diet for at least a month and start exercising gently if this isn't part of your routine. The book 'The Master Cleanse: A Survivor's Guide' has a lot of suggestions and a whole lot of ideas to get you started. Your re-education about food and eating has begun, keep serarching, keep reading, Google is your friend!
I tried that one day when I was in too much of a hurry to make some juice and was going to be out for a while. The result was some serious stomach pain. Stick to the instructions for coming off the Cleanse and you won't be sorry.
As a general guide, for every five days longer than the prescribed ten add a day to each phase. For example if you went 14 days (4 days longer) you would stay on the orange juice a day longer and a day longer on the juice/soup broth before tackling solids. For a 40 day Cleanse this process will stretch to 10 days or so, but this is a very conservative view. The main point is to take it easy and let your body be your guide. It will give you feedback very quickly if you do something wrong, so try small amounts of food and wait an hour or so before eating more.
Sure! A lot of people keep drinking the lemonade as a breakfast drink to help maintain the healthy energetic feelings and for the detoxifying effects. But be aware of the impacts of the sugar in the maple syrup, its a high Glycemic Index (GI) hit on you blood sugar so try and minimise the amount of maple syrup you need in it. I found that over the duration a long Cleanse (40 days) I eventually had the maple syrup reduced to less than half the recommended amount.
Stanley Burroughs recommends doing the Cleanse seasonally (four times a year for those who can't count). It is important to take a few months to rebuild your body's reserves again. We think twice a year is equally good - spring and autumn are great times to help with allergies, immunity from colds, and to shed some of the old winter weight gain. And if it was realy good for you, why not try a longer one? The older you are the bigger the backlog.
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Grab a copy of The Master Cleanse: A Survivor's Guide now, or get it bundled with our Complete 10-Day Kit. It's jam packed full of indispensible, practical advice to ensure you successfully complete your first Cleanse and reap all of its benefits.
It's nice to know that there are other people who might be going through similar things as you on the Master Cleanse. Read about them, get questions answered and tell us about your experiences too.