Many people start thinking about how they can improve their health at the start of the new year. Whether you consider yourself to be pretty healthy, feel like you have a long way to go, or fall somewhere in the middle, the Master Cleanse can be a great addition to your health regimen.
Some people call this “the lemonade fast,” others call it self-inflicted torture, but the rules are pretty simple. It’s a 10-day liquid fast, and the only thing sustaining you during the entire fast is a spicy lemonade mixture made with water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. The reported benefits are numerous, but the primary focus of the Cleanse is to dissolve and eliminate toxins and congestion that have formed in your body.
The Master Cleanse may seem a little daunting at first, but the five tips below are sure to leave you feeling much more prepared.
1. Slowly wean yourself off of food.
Going from eating a ton to drinking only a spicy lemonade mix for 10 days is more tortuous than slowly weaning yourself off of food. Overindulging will only make the first few days of the Cleanse harder. In the days leading up to your cleanse, try removing carbs from your diet and rely on fruit, veggies, and lean proteins for your calories. Scale back your portion sizes, and cut sugar out of your diet as there’s no place for it in the Master Cleanse.
2. Be methodical about when you plan to do your cleanse.
Not eating for days can be tough. Your energy level may take a hit, and you may be in a horrible mood as your body adjusts to the change. Try to schedule your fast during a relatively light week; while a busy schedule may help keep your mind off of eating, it can also be taxing when your calorie load is so scant.
3. Stay close to the restroom the first few days of the Cleanse.
There is no delicate way to say this: The first five days of the Cleanse include a salt-water flush, and it is intense. As your body starts evacuating all of its waste and you feel the urge to “go,” it will not be a gentle urge. It will be an “if the toilet was even one more step away, that could have been dicey” kind of urge.
You will swear to yourself that there couldn’t possibly be anything left inside of you to expel, and then you will defy the laws of physics and find yourself running (not walking) back to the bathroom for the umpteenth time. This will last for a few hours, every day, for the first few days of the Cleanse. If possible, it’s best to start the Cleanse on a long weekend to avoid any embarrassment.
4. Know that there’s a difference between being hungry and wanting to eat.
In the first couple of days, you will really want to eat. But if you take a moment to check in with yourself, you’ll realize that you’re not actually hungry. In the first few days, the lemonade cocktail is enough to hold you down despite your desire to eat. It won’t be until the last few days of the Cleanse that you will start to experience true hunger. You may start to feel increasingly tired and irritable, but keep your eyes on the prize and hang in there.
5. Ease back into eating food.
Resist the urge to go to a 24-hour diner on the final day of your fast and order half the menu. We can’t stress this enough: You. Will. Regret. It. Ease back into eating the same way you eased out of it. Your stomach has spent 10 days adjusting to a liquid diet; throwing tons of food at it all at once will make you very uncomfortable at best, and really sick at worst.
There may come a point (or a few points) during the Cleanse when you want to throw in the towel, but when you reach the end, you’ll be happy you stuck with it. You will have shed a ton of toxins and feel tangibly lighter in the end. Keeping these suggestions in mind will make your Master Cleanse experience all the more rewarding. Finally, make sure to consult a medical health professional before making any drastic dietary changes.