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.

I go

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

Burroughs, and two different updated versions.  Also, was my go-to site for info and inspiration.


Day 1

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.
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.  

I need

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.

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