First off, I am not a health nut. I believe that a moderate diet of veggies, fruit, some dairy, a lot less grains and carbs, and some meat is fine for most folks.
I also believe in taking some supplements, but not overdoing it. I once heard a television report with a nutrionist medical doctor who said that we take too many vitamin supplements, and that people really only need to take one good multi-vitamin, and maybe some additional vitamin D and A.
We all have our hangups, i.e, sweet tooth, too much *cough cough* beer, rich foods, etc, but I am grappling with the onset of beginning to feel old. I’m only 37 at the time of this writing, but I’m even having trouble remembering that I’m 37, and not 36 anymore.
My girlfriend and I are embarking on the Master Cleanse (made famous by celebrities like Beyonce and Demi Moore) and hoping the results from this fast will help me to make sense of how liberal I have been with my food consumption, and give me a new perspective about what I put into my body, and in what amounts.
So, as I mentioned above, this is a fast, and not a diet, per se. It is meant to be done in a span of 10 to 30 days, although I’m not sure whether I will be able to even make 10 days. It also helps to detoxify our body and start from scratch.
Fasts are supposedly good for us–it brings our body down to a point where it doesn’t have to focus on the digestion of solid food, and forces it to reflect in on itself and look for other things to burn for energy–like fat, and other consumables as calories (some say it offers up cysts, dead skin, and old “toxins” in our bowels and colon to the body furnace or flushes it from our system), but that remains to be seen by me. I’m not sure I understand the term “toxins,” because I figured that the body eliminated most of these through urination, bowel movements, sweat, and just “burning them up.” I am a skeptical person by nature, and require some evidence to back up anecdotal evidence.
So, what does the Master Cleanse consist of? Well, first off, you’ve got to ease into it the first few days. That means giving your body a chance to decrease its digestive demands, so the sudden rigors of a fast don’t shock the system. We are drinking juices and eating light soups right now, to eliminate the solids in our digestive system. Then, it’s on to the “Lemonade.” This is a mixture of filtered water, organic lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.
I know, I know–why THOSE ingredients? Well, here is the break down of why they are used in the lemonade recipe.Organic lemons provide nutritional value and help to dilute mucous and break up alkaline materials in the body through its acidity. It also provides the main flavor of the drink.
Obviously, filtered water is essential because we need to stay hydrated. Humans can go a month without food, but only 3 or 4 days without water. And, when you’re trying to bring your body back to its base equilibrium, using tap water with chlorine added or other pollutants still taxes the digestive and immune system responses. Although we live in Portland, where the water quality is better than most place, we have a Multi-Pure Countertop Water Filter system to offset whatever is being missed or added to our supply. It works great, and we use it a lot.
Adding something so traditionally sweet and filling as maple syrup might seem counter-intuitive to a fast, but maple syrup offers energy (through its caloric content) and gives a sweetness to the lemonade.
It would be a very sour drink without some maple, and we might not be able to muscle through the fast while working and living out daily lives. In this fast, it is important to remember that the maple syrup should be “high-end”, like Coombs Pure Organic Maple Syrup.
Cayenne pepper has always been an herbal favorite of mine. It adds a TON of kick to my food, but, in this recipe, it provides herbal blood detoxifying agents, spikes the body’s metabolic rate, combats health deficiencies, and gives a sense of flavor finish or “zip” to the drink. Once again, organic cayenne is better than not, and it is a relatively inexpensive herbal spice.
Here is a quick recipe for the master cleanse lemonade, maple syrup, cayenne pepper concoction:
-60 oz. of filtered water
-12 Tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
-1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
-12 Tablespoons of maple syrup.
Instructions: Mix it up and refrigerate. Drink throughout the day, along with water. Try to space out your lemonade to coincide with your meal times, and drink regular filtered water in between. It is also advisable to take an herbal laxative (in lieu of the other master cleanse salt water drink, that I don’t want to do), and also other non-caffeinated herbal teas to “mix it up.”
This is a fast designed to take your body to a place where it is somewhat in “starvation mode” — where it looks for other things to burn up, like toxins that have been in your system for forever. It is not designed to be a lifestyle and not designed to be done all the time, although a juice or water fast can be done semi-regularly for a day or two at a time.
Expect some headaches at first–while your body shifts from eating regularly to starve mode. It’s natural, and you will soon understand that we often eat out of habit and time constraints rather than when our body tells us it is hungry.
Hope that helps, and I will post a followup once I’ve completed it and tell you my results. I plan to reflect on my food intake and hope to reevaluate the quality of the foods I ingest, not the quantity.