I am a London-based marketing consultant, business coach, author and blogger. I enjoy writing about health-related topics.
My Master Cleanse Results
The Master Cleanse Diet was invented by Stanley Burroughs, a natural diet health guru, in the 1940s. The diet is essentially a juice fast. The diet was invented not for weight loss but for detoxifying your body; fortunately, great weight-loss benefits come hand-in-hand with a cleansed digestive system.
Here is how I explain the idea that the Master Cleanse Diet is not for weight loss, which puzzled me a lot when I wanted to start this diet in January 2013.
I originally thought, well, if it's not for weight loss, what I am using it for, as I don't particularly have any interest in detoxification? I read every article and watched every single Youtube video to find out about this Master Cleanse Diet, aka Lemonade Diet, and how to use it to lose weight.
Eventually, I was convinced that this diet would cleanse my body and help me eliminate toxins and, with them, excess fat. With plenty of fat and toxins to lose for a holiday cruise at the end of the month (I had plenty of new dresses for the occasion), I embarked on the Lemonade Diet.
In this article, I want to answer all the questions I spent hours researching about the Master Cleanse Diet and review the diet based on my experience. If any of your questions are not answered in this article, feel free to leave a comment.
Please also note I am not an expert on the Master Cleanse. I heavily researched this diet and tried it for myself, so all my knowledge shared here is based on those two factors.
What Is the Master Cleanse Recipe?
As promised, I'm going to lay out the answers to the questions I had when I started this diet in January 2013. Here is the first question I had after I read so much about the Master Cleanse: What the heck is this diet? In other words, what is the recipe? What do I eat and what do I drink?
The answer is simple: not much! Here is the Master Cleanse Lemonade Recipe:
- Purified water (I used bottled)
- Grade B organic maple syrup (the diet is very clear on the fact that you should not use artificial syrup)
- Cayenne pepper
- Sea salt (unrefined) or Epsom salt
For this diet, you will also need a healthy laxative, peppermint tea, and salt.
How to Make the Master Cleanse Lemonade:
- Squeeze two tablespoons of lemon juice into a large glass.
- Add two tablespoons of maple syrup.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper (1/10 of a teaspoon) and eight ounces of water (around half a pint or 230 ml). Makes one glass.
- That's it! Mix it and drink between six and 12 glasses a day.
What's the Regimen for the Diet?
There are three parts of the Master Cleanse Diet: the ease-in, the lemonade cleanse, and the ease-out.
For the ease-in, allow yourself four days, as outlined in the table below.
Ease-In Schedule for the Master Cleanse
You can eat all foods, including grains and breads, except for meat, dairy, and processed foods (e.g. Wheat Thins, factory-made bread).
Fruits and Vegetables
You can eat any fruits or vegetables, though you should aim for over half of your food this day to be vegetables.
Get that juicer out! You can juice both fruits and vegetables—vegetable soup is also a good option. There is still no meat, dairy, or processed food.
If you feel like you need more calories, you may add maple syrup.
The Lemonade Cleanse
After the ease-in, the Master Cleanse should feel much easier. On top of that, the ease-in effectively extends the diet, a benefit for those who are pursuing weight loss.
For 10 days, you should only consume the Master Cleanse Lemonade—between six and 12 glasses each day. You should also drink lots of filtered or bottled water.
What About the Laxative and the Salt Water Flush?
As you can imagine, drinking liquids for 10 days may be a bit challenging for your digestion. Actually from my research, I understand this is where the detox comes into place—you free your body from toxins you ingest with food and also eliminate any toxins stored in your digestive tract.
I have researched this heavily and some advocates of the Master Cleanse say it honestly improves your health, detoxifies your body, and just makes you feel and look better. Some say your skin will glow, you will have more energy and sexual appetite, and you will be able to think more clearly.
Some other people (including doctors) say that this is nonsense, that the body self-cleanses through the liver and that this cleanse is pure starvation—the perceived benefits only come from weight loss and high water intake. I am not an expert, so I really can't comment. As you will be able to see from my weight-loss table, I only lasted three days.
Okay, so what about the laxatives and salt water flush? For each of the 10 days, starting with the night before the diet, you take an herbal laxative tea in the evenings, and the following morning you do a salt wash flush.
Now I was terrified about this because people said the salt water flush is terrible. I had never used laxative teas nor a salt water flush prior to that.
The tea was easy—you steep it like any other tea. It was fine; you just drink it and go to sleep.
As I said, the salt water flushes in the mornings were the scary part. As you wake up, you are meant to mix one to two teaspoons of the sea salt or Epson salt (it's apparently important that the salt is not iodized) with one quart of warm water (that's about 1.1 L).
You have to down that in pretty much one gulp (I say "pretty much"—it takes a few gulps as you do need to breathe). There are so many Youtube videos about people doing this salt water flush and throwing up or hating it. After you drink it, you just lay on one side, and, after a bit of time, you should be going to the toilet, eliminating all the water and anything else in your digestive tract.
I personally loved the salt water flush. I know it's weird, but I really enjoyed the salty warm water as opposed to the spicy lemonade. Well, I loved it on the first and second day but hated it a little on the third, as I felt a bit sickly by then.
One thing—I never went to the toilet the first day and was honestly panicking about it, but I just took an extra laxative and by the second day I was fine.
Like the ease-in, the ease-out takes four days. You also eat the same foods as the ease-in, only in reverse order. For the first day of the ease-out, drink orange juice with the option of maple syrup; on the second day, progress to any juice or broth, and on the third day, progress to solid fruits and vegetables. On the last day before returning to a normal diet, you can eat any live food—see the table above for an explanation.
Do I Need to Buy the Master Cleanse Book?
Stanley Burroughs developed this recipe in the 1940s and eventually published a short about the diet and his theory on toxins in 1967 titled The Master Cleanser.
When I started researching the diet, many people and resources told me that if I was serious about doing the cleanse right, I should buy the book.
Did I Buy the Book?
No I didn't, and I actually wish I did, simply because it's not that expensive. I ended up spending so many hours searching the web and getting mixed information about how to do the diet that I wished I bought the book.
In spite of my heavy research, I still did so many things wrong. These mistakes had a major impact on my progress, so I advise people who have researched the Master Cleanse and really want to go forward with the diet to buy the book.
So What Mistakes Did I Make Without the Book?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I wanted to go on the Master Cleanse to lose weight. I understood the detoxification benefits, though I took them with a grain of salt; what I really wanted was a healthy, effective, and fast way to lose weight.
So I thoroughly researched the diet and then went on to buy my expensive maple syrup and other ingredients as well as a healthy laxative (which you need to take every evening) and peppermint tea.
I started the Master Cleanse on the second of January. If you are like me and are embarking on this diet as part of a New Year's resolution, learn from my mistakes and avoid doing these two things:
#1 Mistake: Not Easing Into The Diet
Both the book and online research advise you to ease into the diet. In the days leading up to the diet, you should eat less meat and less food until you're down to only orange juice—then you start the diet. I was stubborn, and although I knew I was not supposed to, I started with the cleanse cold turkey on January 2, after indulging in Christmas food and a lot of good coffee throughout the holidays. Bad idea!
The abrupt change from coffee and five or more meals of Christmas food a day to nothing but lemonade was a shock to my body. What was the result? I was hit with migraines and serious fatigue! But I was determined, so none of it stopped me.
I really want to advise all of you looking to try this method—if you are a regular coffee drinker, the coffee withdrawal systems are likely to be very serious. I personally had the worst migraines in my life.
#2 Mistake: Incorrect Dosage for the Lemonade
As I said, I was in this for the weight loss, and I had a point to prove to myself—I wanted to show that I had the willpower to go through with it. From my extensive research of the few chapters of the book that could be found online for free, I figured that if I used less maple syrup, I could lose more weight.
So what did I do? Instead of using two tablespoons of maple syrup for each drink, I used one to two teaspoons of the maple syrup. What's more, I only had six lemonades a day instead of the 12 you are allowed.
Day one with the reduced amount of maple syrup went fine (because of my migraines, I slept for most of it). On day two, I drank a lot of peppermint tea to keep myself full. By day three, I wasn't feeling hungry anymore, but I was about to experience the consequences of my mistakes!