Meatless in Miami: A Master Cleanse Diary, Part One
After years of tossing the idea around I've decided to stop being a nancy and do the damn Master Cleanse. You may be asking...what is this Master Cleanse? Well, it's a 10-day (minimum) detox developed in the 1941 that's still being used today. Also called the "Lemonade Diet", you subsist solely on a mixture of organic grade B maple syrup, fresh squeezed organic lemon juice, water and a dash of cayenne pepper. You also drink a nightly detox tea, do a saltwater flush in the mornings, drink as much water as you like of course, and a cup of organic peppermint tea here and there is allowed too. It is definitely amongst the most hardcore of the fasts/detoxes. I have several friends who do this on a yearly basis, Naomi Campbell swears by it, Trina tried it, and Beyonce hated it but lost the weight she needed to before she shot a movie.
Personally I enjoy a challenge and have felt in need of a break from routine so the time just feels right. Prepping the kitchen was first. I purposely hadn't gone grocery shopping in almost two weeks so I finished what was fresh, boxed up the rest of the potentially tempting non-perishables and stowed them in the pantry.
The last proper meal I had was at the (wonderful, inspiring) Serving the
Arts luncheon. Every seat at the event was "pre-plated" and I
despaired when I saw waiting for me the veritable vegan nightmare of a
giant hunk of salmon with cream sauce, buttery bread, and chocolate cake
with whipped cream. Luckily another fish-eschewer was at my table and
when she asked the servers about an alternative we were both immediately
brought out plates of marinated tofu steaks over mixed wild rice with a
side of veggies. It was surprisingly delicious and I can't tell you
how elated it made me that they had the option available. If I had a
nickel for every time I was offered fish as a "vegetarian option", I'd
have my own private vegan chef. (For the record, fish: still not a
After that it was juice and water only. Later in the
evening I survived my first serious temptation. At my friend's
birthday bowling party there was a bunch of mouth-watering vegetarian
Indian food from Udipi, one of my favorite restaurants ever. I kept
sipping my juice and reminded myself that I better get used to this
because for the next ten days, weakness was not going to be an option.
I hit Whole Foods for supplies: two 32 oz jugs of organic grade B maple
syrup, a few bags of organic lemons, organic cayenne pepper, organic
senna leaf tea for it's "flushing" properties, organic peppermint tea
which is the only "treat" you're allowed, non-iodized sea salt, an extra
BPA-free water bottle to use for the concoction. On ten days worth of
stuff I spend way less than what I'd spend on food normally.
home and make a little prep area for the week - cutting board, hand
juicer, measuring spoons, filtered water pitcher. I've done all the
research and am beyond ready to do this. Wish me luck...
reading, here is the original book, The Master Cleanser by Stanley
themastercleanse.org was my go-to site for info and inspiration.
Today was the first saltwater flush or SWF. Two teaspoons
of non-iodized sea salt mixed in four cups of room-temperature water.
Yes, you drink it. You do this early in the morning and make for damn
sure you have no reason to the leave comfort of your dwelling (and more
importantly, the bathroom) for at least an hour.
I've kept my
water bottle and lemonade bottle at my side at all times and am focusing
on the goals - the goals being to a) see if I can actually do this, and
b) break through a fitness plateau. Via actual exercise and healthy
eating I've dropped two full sizes since last fall but I've been so busy
with work lately I haven't had time to really be as dedicated as I'd
like. The MC will be good for that AND a time-saver as I'll only have
to worry about "eating" one thing.
I have an ongoing dull (but
not distractingly so) headache induced by the lack of caffeine. It's
manageable though so I go about my day and everything seems fine. Even
being at my shop surrounded by delicious vegan goodies I'm happily not
even tempted to sway.
Lemonade Day 2
The SWF tasted extra
vile this morning but I pushed through thinking grim thoughts like it's
probably better than getting waterboarded or what happened to this guy.
No headache today and I'm miraculously not hungry at all. I don't
think I'm drinking enough of the lemonade so am going to try to be
better about that tomorrow.
All in all I feel fine. I woke up
at 9am and had enough energy to work and run errands all day, give a
presentation and hit two clubs before turning in around 2am. At the end
of a day of only drinking the lemonade, the flavorful senna tea feels
almost like a meal.
Lemonade Day 3
Am learning the tricks
of mentally psyching myself out for the SWF. I do it the very first
thing in the morning so I can't think about it too much. Also I keep a
spoon with a dollop of maple syrup nearby. I close my sinuses so I
can't taste the chug, then right after each one I take a lick of syrup
as a chaser before breathing again so I taste that and not the
saltwater. The worst part about it isn't actually the taste but the
amount you have to drink at once -- one liter (32 oz). It's like having a
little ocean in your belly.
Saltwater slammer with a maple syrup chaser.
Photo by Lauren Reskin
Side effects I'm starting to notice
include some whiteness on my tongue and a little mucus in the back of my
throat. Not pretty but it means it's all coming out (and a slight head
cold I had is totally gone). I'm feeling kinda sluggish midday and
feel the espresso machine at Sweat calling out to me but I persevere.
Lemonade Day 4
I've taken to
calling the SWF the "saltwater slammer" to further psych myself out for
it. I OWNED it today. Glug, glug, gone.
I think it helps that I
don't have a television. The amount of commercials for food would make
one think about it too often. On the net the only food ads are for
fast food and processed junk that I don't eat to begin with. Have been
feeling a little extra sensitive toward sound and light. It probably
didn't help that I spent the last three nights out between The Vagabond,
Grand Central and the Awarehouse. I'm going to take it easy the next
few days and try to not go to any smoky nightclubs for the rest of the
Lemonade Day 5
Today I finally was able to
sleep in a bit. I had a dream where I accidentally ate something and
was trying to spit it out. I woke up and made the saltwater slammer my
beeyotch. Five gulps, the maple chaser and it was gone.
to go out and get some more organic lemons. I've been warned that
going into a supermarket is sensory/temptation overload. It'll suck to
be at Whole Foods knowing that my beloved buffalo garlic tofu, raw
cashews and mango slices are so close yet so far, but I'm already
halfway done and nothing's going to stop me.
Read part two to Lauren Reskin's Master Cleanse diary next week.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.