After watching Rosminah do it several times, I finally decided to do the Master Cleanse. You may have heard of it–seven to 10 days of nothing but diluted maple syrup and lemon juice, while the body detoxes itself.
I guess at some point I decided my body needed some cleaning out. I’m pretty healthy anyway, but could I do with some extra intestinal housekeeping? Some things were promised: lost weight, a heightened sense of smell, watching weird stuff come out of your body, a general euphoric feeling. I’ll try anything once, right?
So on a Tuesday night I had my last food and drink. I went out with a Zombie and an appetizer plate of potstickers. This wasn’t by design, just how things played out.
DAY 1: This was the only day I really felt hungry. It was more a mental thing. I kept getting up to “grab a snack” and then sitting back down. While I was teaching I started thinking about what i was going to have for dinner. And then realizing…Nope! The mix itself of lemon juice (2 tbsp) and maple syrup (grade b, 2 tbsp) with water (about 1-1/4 liquid cups) and 1/10 tsp of cayenne pepper wasn’t bad. And you do get to have a cup of tea at night: Yogi brand herbal laxative tea.
DAY 2: Woken up by R to have my first of morning salt water flushes. This is two tsp of salt and one quart of water, drunk every morning. Oh, man, the first day of this sucked. It was really hard. Soon, though, it was working its way through my body and out the other end. My trips to the bathroom sounded like an excitable dog playing with a garden hose.
Only symptoms today: a splitting headache for the morning. Could this be the caffeine working its way out?
DAY 3: People say Day 3 is the worst, the one where you really break down and people start looking like powdered donuts. But this didn’t happen. I usually drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day. I never felt a craving. I also drink alcohol. No craving. I thought about food, but only in an abstract sense. When my friend Nik stopped by on his way up north I gave him an unopened bag of Trader Joe’s nacho cheese tortilla chips. Get them out of my sight! I joked. But I could have made it with them on the counter.
DAY 4: Now, I started to feel shitty. I woke up in the morning with flu like symptoms, I was pretty delusional and my legs ached. What toxins were coming out of my body now? The salt water flush was effective, but for a lot of the rest of the morning I felt like I still had some in me and couldn’t get it out. I had a bath in epsom salts and that felt great.
BTW, ever since Day 2 I haven’t felt ‘right’. I found it hard to concentrate on my writing. I felt tired and napped often. I didn’t have a routine set around food breaks, so I often felt lost and bewildered. And the salt flushes were so gutbusting in the morning that I never went to 10 a.m. yoga, worried about what might shoot out during a down dog. Sometimes I’d feel depressed for no reason too. And I hardly went out. It felt more like having an illness than a detox.
Of course, this heavily contrasted with what R usually experiences and what other online descriptions say. I was supposed to have all this free time (because no breaks needed for food) and feel elated (as I detoxed). So I felt like a failure!
DAY 5: Over the hump, I thought, as I originally planned to go for 7 days. Then I realized R was planning to go for 10. Yikes. Apart from the draggy mornings, I felt I could go for 10. I wasn’t really hungry. Maybe I’d finally feel some benefits?
DAY 6: Now I started to develop cold-like symptoms. I had a scratchy throat. Awwww, fuck. I know I was weakening myself. However, I had been getting a lot of writing done now, and that meant more free time, and that meant more reading and movie watching. THAT was a benefit.
I also didn’t feel like I was getting out enough poop. R was already flushed. Mine was still a problem, still, you know, brown. Hence my decision to go for some Magnesium Citrate. This finally seemed to get every single thing out of me. Ka-Blammo!
DAY 7: More sore throat, but I did a lot of saline nasal cleansing, and that seemed to be keeping my sinuses at bay. I also developed a little cough. Was this detox? Or was this just a cold? I could have made this my last day. My decision: I’d see how I do the next day. If I felt awful I would start to come off it. If I felt ok, for once, I would continue to day 10. I had a lovely long bath, got some reading in, and went to bed early. I felt pretty good! The sore throat was mostly gone and the cough was nothing much.
DAY 8: So I decided to come off it. Why? Because I woke up with a fever, a running nose, and just felt like complete arse. However, I did manage to read an entire book while lolling about in bed. But I have not had such a debilitating flu/cold, the kind that sends you to bed, in *years*. I topped out at 100.7F (38 C) and finally got back to normal by the evening.
Coming off the cleanse means a day of diluted orange juice and lots of water (sounds like what you’d also have for a cold/flu).
DAY 9: The next day, more OJ as well. My sinuses were so blocked that I lost my sense of smell for a day. So a trip to Whole Foods, and their tantalizing deli, meant nothing to me. Again, I got depressed for a bit.
DAY 10: I finally got my smell back, and I finally felt normal again. The cold went away pretty fast, leaving me with some mucus, but oh well. Vegetable broth for lunch. Then dinner was some lightly stir fried veggies. Boy, did they taste good! It felt weird to chew stuff.
Okay, so that’s where I’m leaving it. Benefits? I lost 12 lbs. (mostly out my ass), and I hope that once I go back to yoga and an exercise routine I can keep some off. And it made me really appreciate the taste of food. Everything seems new! What is this stuff called “carrots” etc. etc. Suddenly the spectrum of tastes from a single object is reintroduced. Bad stuff: I didn’t have a typical cleanse, and got sick and depressed. I’m not usually either of those two things. Toxins?
One twist I put in, based on past digestive experiences, was in starting a short course of acidophilus to reintroduce good bacteria back in the digestive tract. I don’t know if the cleanse does anything to the current bacteria (or if mine is ‘healthy’ or not) but since the cleanse “reboots” your system, I thought this would be helpful. We’ll see.
Would I recommend this to you? I don’t think you’d have the misfortune I did. On the other hand, depending on your diet, you may have more toxins to deal with, and they in turn may effect you differently. Also, I think some days, I didn’t have as much of the lemon/maple juice as I should have, and I could have drank more water, period. I think next time I’ll premake each day’s amounts (juices and just plain water) in one big batch, so i have a visual reminder of how much I have left during the day.
Wait, did I just say “next time”? Oh noes….!