Writer’s block? Plateau in your musical/artistic creativity and technical skills? Foggy upstairs when it comes to memory and coming up with new ideas?
Take a look at your diet and lifestyle. If you’re eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of fast food, microwave meals and processed food filled with preservatives, pesticides and chemicals it’s definitely time for a cleanse.
Even if you eat relatively healthy, a cleanse is still a fantastic idea. Your body, mind and organs need a vacation so give them a Spring break.
With poor diet and health, your body and mind won’t work at optimal levels. People take better care of their cars and trucks than they do their own bodies. Fasting is that oil change, tune up and transmission flush for our carbon based cars we drive around in on the planet. Most people get new cars every 5 to 10 years. You get one body per lifetime here. You need to take better care of it.
The Master Cleanse can improve your health and open the floodgates of creativity and artistic productivity. We artists are athletes too. Just because we down throw, hit or chase balls around doesn’t mean we don’t give our bodies a workout and need that primary instrument in tip top condition and performance to play any other instrument.
I’ve written complete songs on fasts as well as poetry and music. Actually, writing this on a Master Cleanse now, several days in and towards the end. See, I don’t sound like Rocky Balboa either having been 11 days without food now.
What follows is my firsthand experience and advice I’ve given others from doing fasting and cleanses for over 15 years.
Fasting and Meditation for Expanded Consciousness
Fasting and cleanses are far better and vastly safer than “mind expanding drugs” route. Fasting and meditation are the original mind expanding drugs with only positive side effects. Ever see Jesus at a Grateful Dead concert? Well maybe you have, but do you see the point I’m making? Moses didn’t drop acid on Mt. Sinai either. Buddha wasn’t smoking fattys for 49 days under a Bodhi tree. They all were meditating and fasting.
Using drugs to “expand creativity” is a losing game and playing roulette with not only your creativity but possibly your life.
Fasting is also far better than sleep deprivation which some others employ. I’ve been on the road with bands and know what sleep deprivation can do in just a few days. No wonder why bands can’t get along and break up. Lack of sleep on the road will do it even without drug use.
Enter The Master Cleanse
I first read Stanley Burroughs’ classic The Master Cleanse years ago and have done it 2-4 times a year ever since for over a decade now. The Master Cleanse is known as a “Juice Fast” because you are only consuming liquids and no solid food. It is also commonly referred to as “The Lemonade Diet.”
It goes without say that I am young, healthy, mentally sharp and lucid compared to many people in my age group—which is the result of several things I do to maintain my long term health. The common cop out defeatist people who don’t want to take charge of their health say is “It’s just good genetics.” Truth is, my family has just as much good health examples as bad ones, just like yours.
A Tale Of Two Burroughs
One Burroughs named William S. wrote beatnik novels in drug induced stupors. Another Burroughs named Stanley, lived a 180 degree lifestyle from the beat generation writer famous for writing Naked Lunch. A fun fact about that book (which makes absolutely no sense) is that Steely Dan got their name from it. Yes folks, Steely Dan is really a top of the line Japanese strap on dildo, just like Duran Duran is named after a character in the cult sci-fi Jane Fonda movie Barbarella, Dr. Durand Durand.
It has been said that 80% of your health is diet, the other is regular exercise. So it’s habit and environment that play the biggest role in our health, not some Wizard Of Oz “Man Behind The Curtain” genetics you cannot control. Your health is your responsibility—not your Doctor’s or the medical establishment, not your partner’s, spouse, or children’s.
And back to genetics, one of my relatives from Europe lived to be 97 and only ever went to see a doctor at the very end of her life for anything. What did she do every morning? Squeeze lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it. Lemon stimulates the lymph system and cleans it out. She could still walk at 97, still lived in her OWN house, and her mind was nowhere near senility. She knew about drinking fresh squeezed lemon as a folk medicine remedy that goes back far longer than The Master Cleanse was created and further elaborated on by Stanley Burroughs. Burroughs may have even based his ideas on these same folk remedies he heard about publishing his modified juice fast in the 1940’s, then later in 1976 as The Master Cleanser.
Benefits of the Master Cleanse and Fasting
Cleans on multiple levels: body, mind and emotions
Alters consciousness to deeper brainwave states
Mastery of the body, thoughts and emotions
The most primal drive next to breathing is eating—when you can master that, the rest becomes easier
Fasting allows the body to heal and rejuvenate itself
Organs get a rest to repair and regenerate
When you are constantly eating, your body has to digest and produce digestive enzymes (even if you are eating mostly raw or all raw in your diet). When you stop eating solid food, the body produces enzymes that drive biological processes. In other words, your hair will still grow normally. I shave just as frequently 10 or more days without solid food as I do when eating normally.
Fasting purifies you not just on the physical level but on the emotional mental and spiritual levels as well. you may experience waves of emotion days after the fast in broken and you have started to resume eating solid food again. This is “emotional trash and toxins” that the body is ridding itself of.
When you remove the gunk from your car it works better. Same deal with fasting and cleanses.
Think of regular meditation and fasting as the weightlifting of the Spirit. The muscles you are building are higher consciousness and with that comes peace, calm, intuitive intelligence and greater creativity and abilities.
There were things I could not do for years as a musician like long extended trills and rapid arpeggios over 2 or more octaves. After a few years of fasting and meditating, it was somehow easy for me now—and i could do it without practicing for hours and hours. Fasting and meditation removed a lot of junk in me which prevented my physical body’s muscles and neurons from doing it easily. So doing The Master Cleanse will allow you to learn quicker and better too.
Meditation and fasting are the key pillars of longevity and anti aging. The average daily meditator is biologically 12 years younger than their calendar age counterparts. Someone who fasts regularly on top of that is biologically even more years or decades younger.
From my experience of fasting regularly for over 15 years, it’s clear how you gain greater mastery over your body, it’s hormones, drives, and greater mastery over emotions and thoughts. Along with meditation, it slows down your mind and widens it to the point where there is a beautiful peace and silence. And with that frame of mind, you are more open to inspiration, creativity, whole brain thinking, integration, learning and seeing the bigger picture.
As we evolve energetically, we will need less solid food. Its funny to me now how people think 100% of the energy they need to survive comes from solid food. Really it’s only around a third. Air, water, sunlight and other energies sustain the body in concert. When you meditate and fast over a period of years or decades, it seems to gear the body to work better and more on higher refined energies in the universe than “slow to convert to energy” solid food.
Look at plants—they pretty much live on sunlight and water. And some plants and trees live thousands of years. Case in point, this tree is over 3,500 years old but doesn’t look a day over 30:
This was taken at Lake Panasoffkee, FL. It kind of looks like Gollum Country and I was expecting to see fairies flying around here.
What Happens on a Fast?
The main thing is the body will eliminate tissues and cells that are not healthy. It will eliminate stored toxins in the skin since it now has the opportunity to do so. When you are eating food all the time, your body cannot go into it’s deep clean cycle like a bear hibernating. Fasting is the button for the deep clean cycle. I once smelled antibiotics in my urine after 7 days of fasting when I hadn’t taken any for several years.
Your tongue will turn white—this is a film of toxins being brought into circulation to be eliminated. During the first 3-4 days of the fast, the switchover in your body happens between digestive mode to cleansing mode.
It is recommended to get a tongue cleaner to remove the white film on your tongue daily.
Since accumulated toxins are being vacuumed out of your body, you may experience “healing crisis” effects of this increased load into your system. Symptoms of being weak, tired, light headed, dizzy, headaches or nausea are common. Remember, if you don’t eject all these toxins periodically, they WILL create health problems for you later on and cost a lot more of your money.
To avoid headaches, drink plenty of water since most of the toxins are exiting the body in liquid form. And because the fast brings more of them into circulation, it is paramount to drink plenty of water. You may get sick and feel off during the fast because of this cleansing process. Drinking a quart of water in the morning before you start drinking The Master Cleanse and a quart a half hour after you’re done for the day is a good ratio I’ve found works well. Try end drinking The Master Cleanse around 6 or 7pm and drink the quart of water before 8pm so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night and pee like a firehose.
You’ll wander outside of beta consciousness while you are awake. Fasting slows everything down and you’ll be cranking some nice cool alpha theta or even delta waves during the day. These brain states aren’t just for daydreams and sleeping. They’re interesting and fun to be in while you’re awake. Seasoned meditators are in alpha, theta or delta states all the time.
When you’re in the middle of the fast, you may get spacy. Fasting puts you in a state where the normal “noise” of your body subsides leaving you with more energy. Your mind may wander and become really silent at a level it has never been before. The distance form the distracting noises of the body and the processes of digestion allow your consciousness to migrate into deeper brainwave states. You may be pleasantly surprised at the ideas and creativity that just pop into your head. The deeper level of tranquility is worth the price of admission alone.
Your bowel movements will generally stop after the first 3-5 days. The Master Cleanse recommends doing a saltwater enema every morning of the cleanse. This is less scary than it sounds. Simply get a 1 quart glass bottle of spring or purified water and put 2 teaspoons of sea salt (Himalayan or Celtic) into the bottle until it dilutes. It is not uncommon to have a bowel movement 7 or more days into the Master Cleanse either.
Burroughs says to drink this saltwater solution first thing in the morning and with good reason. This acts as a brush through your intestines and helps flush toxins out as well as aiding bowel movements since eating solid food is what causes food to move through our intestines (Peristalsis) in the first place. If you are doing the saltwater enema, plan on not leaving your house for 2-3 hours those mornings which you do it as you will need to be near a bathroom once or twice on those days. It’s best to do this when you are on vacation or do not have to be at work early in the morning. Another option is to do the saltwater enema over a weekend (of 2 or 3 days) and not continue it for the remainder of the Master Cleanse because of your work/life schedule. The saltwater solution will make bowel movements very liquid so it is understandable that this is probably not the ideal thing to do when you have to be at work unless you get up very early to drink it. Don’t be an extremist and risk turning your life into a Saturday Night Live skit.
There are also laxative teas like Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move that you can take on the cleanse if the saltwater enema seems a bit much. You can do a combination of saltwater for a few days and teas. Or skip the saltwater altogether. I find a nice walk or a few minutes jumping and twisting on a rebounder (mini trampoline) takes care of bowel movements without making your week into bathroom 911.
I’ve done the saltwater enema the entire fast, for the first 3-4 days only, or just had teas depending on what was best for my schedule. Some cleanses I didn’t do it at all. Others, I did saltwater for a few days in the beginning and a few days towards the end. Remember just drinking the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture is going to have the majority of health benefits so don’t feel you’re failing for not doing it to the letter all the time. Be flexible with yourself, your life and your schedule. These days most of the time I skip the saltwater part of The Master Cleanse.
Remember: Every step towards improving your health counts. You don’t need to be a radical purist about any fast or cleanse.
Recommended Books On Fasting & Cleanses
The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs
The Complete Master Cleanse: A Step-by-Step Guide to Maximizing the Benefits of The Lemonade Diet
by Tom Woloshyn, a student of Stanley Burroughs
The Miracle Of Fasting by Paul Bragg
Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease
Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Mucusless Diet Healing System (MDHS)
Prof. Arnold Ehret
Prof. Arnold Ehret
Paul Bragg’s classic book has a lot of good advice on eating a healthy diet and the benefits of fasting. I am not however an advocate of doing long water only fasts or long water fasts with distilled water as he practiced and recommended. For myself, I stick to water only fasts no longer than 1-3 days now. Also, don’t be turned off by the religious quotes and Biblical references if you are not of the same faith. Fasting itself is non-denominational and does not belong to any one particular religion or faith. It is a tool for greater health and higher consciousness that has been used for thousands of years before organized religion.
Prof. Ehret was a proponent of Natural Hygiene, which states that if you keep your body clean on the inside, it will not provoke a healing crisis (meaning getting sick) to rid itself of accumulated toxins. Fasting and cleanses are paramount to Natural Hygiene as is eating a clean natural Organic food diet so you do not accumulate toxins from pesticides, GMOs, chemicals and preservatives never seen in human history before WWII.
The companies which made war munitions needed a new way to sell their products after the war ended and the chemical agriculture “revolution” began at the price of everyone’s health and the planet’s. It’s important to note that Prof. Ehret wrote this book before GMOs pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, etc., even existed. He saw that just basic eating could get people sick and unhealthy in the early 1900’s. Fasting, cleanses and Natural Hygiene are even more important today for long term health.
Benefits of Short Term and Long Term Calorie Reduction
Fasting and cleanses are a form of calorie reduction aimed at healing and rejuvenating. They are NOT diets even though some people use them as such. When you are not on a fast, you eat normally and consume plenty of healthy fats live coconut, olive, hemp oils and monounsaturated fats like nuts and seeds (almonds and macadamia nuts are superb).
Reducing calories slows your metabolic rate and reduces the formation of free radicals and oxidative damage to the body which damage cells and DNA. This leads to one of the theories of aging, the Free Radical Theory which is pretty much says our bodies are rusting from the inside out.
And looking old could very well be all the accumulated toxins stored away from out bloodstream in our skin that have never had an opportunity to “get out of Dodge” with a cleanse or fast because we’re too busy eating like horses—so hungry you could eat a horse, or hungry like the wolf like our friends Duran Duran.
The less you eat, the cleaner you are. Eating and digestion produces metabolic waste and over time it accumulates inside your body unless you cleanse and/or fast. Reducing calories also lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. The 40 day guideline in several ancient texts means a person with an average body type can go 40 days without solid food before the body starts cannibalizing health tissue for food (like your muscle). It goes without say that pregnancy is not the time cleanse or fast. You need to eat for two people then.
Dismantle Your Unexamined Belief Systems…
When you’re clean on the inside, you won’t age at the same rate on the outside
When you’re clean on the inside, your mental and physical capacities won’t deteriorate like your “age group”
The “Over the hill” mentality is throwing in the towel without even entering the ring so knock that douchebag off your shoulder!
What are the Ingredients of The Master Cleanse?
Fresh squeezed lemons, Grade B Maple Syrup and Cayenne pepper (powdered spice), all preferably Organic.
For The Master Cleanse, I use 1 quart (32 oz) glass bottles. Santa Cruz, Lakewood or R.W. Knudsen juice bottles are great to reuse for this. DO NOT use plastic since acidic foods like lemon can leach plastic into the drink and all plastic is a hormone disruptor. I also measure out the maple syrup and fresh squeezed lemon juice separately in a glass measuring cup (1 cup/8oz, Anchor Hocking or Pyrex brands), which have a handle and fit nicely under my Waring citrus juicers spout.
From the instructions in the original book of The Master Cleanse, I scaled the measurements up for a 1 quart glass bottle:
3 oz lemon juice
3 oz Organic Grade B maple syrup/coconut nectar or blend
1/4-1/2 tsp of Organic cayenne pepper 30,000 Heat Units (HU) which is the kind found in most Whole Foods and natural food stores (in bulk section usually by the Frontier herb company)
All in 1 quart (32oz or a bit less) spring or purified water
The Suja company also makes a raw Master Cleanse drink if you are lazy on your first cleanse, but it appears not the same concentration as the original recipe when I’ve compared it to making the Master Cleanse fresh with a juicer. Their other juice blends are excellent raw combinations of vegetables and fruits that you can do short juice fasts of a few days with.
As far as maple syrup, Grade B is darker and thicker and supposedly has more nutrient value. In any case, don’t let it trip you up if you can only get Grade A maple syrup. And by all means do not use Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s as they are not 100% maple syrup—worse it’s corn syrup with maple syrup flavor and GMO corn syrup at that. Also don’t use lemonade bought in a store. It’s diluted in water and pasteurized already negating the health benefits of fresh squeezed lemons.
I’ve used the recommended Organic Grade B maple syrup. I’ve also tried dark agave syrup as well, even mixtures of the two. When coconut nectar came out, I tried that since it is raw and has more nutrition than either maple syrup and agave syrup. Coconut nectar also has a lower glycemic index than agave or maple syrup. All these can be found in natural foods stores, Whole Foods, and even most chain grocery stores natural foods sections.
For juicing lemons, I have a Waring Pro Citrus Juicer model PCJ201. It’s quick, easy to use and portable. I also have a higher end juicer, the Green Star GS-3000. The Waring Juicer costs a few hundred dollars less.
Most Cayenne Pepper will be 30-35,000 Heat Units (HU). You can get 90,000 heat units, but unless you grew up eating jalapenos or want to live dangerously at your colon’s expense, stick with the usual grade. I tried 90K HU Cayenne once on this fast. Once. It was a bit too hot and I’m used to hot jalapenos on pizza and in gluten free pancakes.
Cayenne is really good to have with meals even outside of doing The Master Cleanse. It aids digestion and open blood vessels. It’s even something that when eaten regularly may prevent a heart attack. I sprinkle cayenne in any nut butter. Ginger is another herb to eat for digestion and Curry (which contains Turmeric) is a staple of Indian cuisine which has numerous health benefits (anti–inflammatory) that you should incorporate into your diet as frequently as possible.
You can make the Master Cleanse mixer ahead of time and put it into several bottles. Just include the fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper without adding the water yet and put it in the refrigerator or freezer. Add the water ONLY when you are going to start drinking it since water will start to break down the formulation before you want it to.
When can I do The Master Cleanse?
Spring and Fall are excellent times to do cleanses and fasts. The 5,000 year old science of Ayurveda agrees. The when will depend on your schedule and the climate where you live. Fasting in early Spring and Fall allows you to enjoy all the seasonal summer fruits and veggies in most locations.
I’ve done The Master Cleanse in different states, seasons and climates. In climates with a REAL Winter with snow and below freezing temperatures, I fasted Spring through Fall. I did fast several times during the Winters but it can stress the body since cold temperatures without eating solid food makes it feel 5 degrees colder or more colder than it already is.
When I lived in the tropics, it was comfortable to do all year round. Actually it was better to do in the Summers there since fasting lowers your body temperature since you are not burning any solid fuel in food. And besides, fruits and veggies are always in season there.
I’ve fasted hiking the Grand Canyon (AZ) and Joshua Tree National Park (CA) which lowered my body temperature in relation to the desert climates. You still need to drink PLENTY of water in those places but fasting from solid food slows you from dehydrating.
I try to clear my schedule when I plan my fasts/cleanses and tell friends that I won’t be available to have lunch but can still visit and take road trips. Often when I travel long distance by car or plane, I’ll fast for the day and just drink liquids. I don’t think our bodies work well at over 30,000 feet so I try to only eat on the ground.
How Long Should I do the Master Cleanse?
Aim for a duration of 10 days or more if you’ve done it for a few years already. If it’s your first one, 7-10 days may be better to get yourself used to it.
Drink 1-3 quarts of the lemon/maple/cayenne mixture daily as needed. You’ll need more in the first 3-4 days as your body has not yet switched over from digestive mode to cleansing mode. The middle part of the fast you may find you consume less. As the fast is nearing its end, you may notice you are drinking more. The hunger feelings are usually at the beginning and endings of fasts.
I have comfortably done The Master Cleanse for over 2 weeks, my longest being 23 days which I cut short because it was during Winter. Bad timing on my part.
Years prior, I did a longer water fast on a vacation lasting 8 days without having anything else but water. I did this however, after building up to it becoming comfortable going 2-4 days with only water. Some years later, I discovered The Master Cleanse. Comparing the two, the water only fast didn’t cleanse as deeply as The Master Cleanse and I had low energy during it. I slept for a few hours each afternoon and meditated. I did have a very altered state of consciousness towards the end where I heard poetic lyrical verse just coming to me instantly almost faster that I could write. One of my Yoga teachers did 47 days on a fast but I wouldn’t put him in the “normal human” category to begin with. He’s in his 70’s now and has been meditating for more years than I’ve been breathing.
Can I Have Anything Else on The Master Cleanse?
Skip the pizza of course but the answer is yes. Teas are recommend especially Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Detox tea formulas. Burroughs wrote the book before coconut water and kombucha became all the rage in health foodie circles. On occasion I’ve had these on The Master Cleanse, but wait 30 minutes to an hour before and after drinking The Master Cleanse—you want this to be your main source of calories for the cleansing effect it will have on your entire body.
Can I Work and Exercise on The Master Cleanse?
Yes. Walking and rebounding (jumping on a mini trampoline) as well as Yoga/stretching are great during fasts. Don’t hit the weight racks at the gym or go running. Low impact exercise only. Don’t worry about losing progress at the gym either. You’ll gain it back, and with better muscular structure. I’ve even actually gone up on the weight racks after 10 days of not weightlifting after The Master Cleanse. I know this makes no sense, but cleanses and fasts work on multiple levels. More than that, this has happened multiple times so it’s not a fluke—it’s the synergistic benefits of regular fasting.
It bears mentioning to avoid sexual activity during fasts and cleanses. The reduction in calories will naturally decrease your libido so your body can conserve energy and get on with the business of removing accumulated stored toxins. Don’t counteract this normal safeguard inhibition as sex requires a lot of energy from the body like digestion.
During fasts and cleanses, I do basic Yoga stretches, take walks during the day, meditate for several hours a day. Also, read books, practice music, do art and listen to inspirational music (instrumental/ambient music is great) and try to avoid the negativity on TV and newspapers.
On The Master Cleanse I could do physical labor though try to avoid it if you can. Once I even helped my parents move to a new house 14 days into a Master Cleanse—and we’re talking lifting couches and chairs.
How Often Should I do The Master Cleanse?
This will depend on how much you normally eat and how clean you are. If you’re eating 3 or more times a day, a good guideline is to do The Master Cleanse 2-4 times a year. This number may decrease as you become cleaner on the inside and do not require it as frequently. Also be flexible with the number of days per fast. Try to do 10, but if one only lasts 7 days, that’s still plenty of cleansing. You can go longer than 10 days on some of your other fasts.
If you eat 1 or 2 times a day, 1-2 times a year does the job splendidly. Spring and Fall are ideal times for this since you’re preparing for Winter (to prevent sickness) and cleaning yourself after Winter when most people are more sedentary and tend to overeat.
These are the ratios I’ve experienced work well for me when I’ve eaten at the frequencies mentioned. Yours may vary. Also you can cut down the number of times you do this every year if you are doing other fasts or cleanses. For example I do the Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse twice a year (4 days) and The Apple Juice fast twice a year (3 days). The Kitchari Cleanse is a 4 day mono food diet that’s great for cleansing & fasting rookies. These will be discussed in other articles.
Changing Your Diet
Fasting and cleanses such as The Master Cleanse not only remove accumulated toxins but actually change your tastes and craving in food—towards more natural, healthier, less salted, less sugar laden food. Yes boring ‘ol real food made by God/Nature actually becomes really desirable and tasty over food made in factories. That in itself is a Miracle of Fasting to borrow Paul Bragg’s book title.
I’m not here to preach you should completely become a vegetarian, vegan, paleo or raw. You’ll find your diet will change over the course of your life even after you eat cleaner and healthier. It’s always an ongoing journey. I’ve done all these diets and take what I like from each.
I have Organic free range eggs as my meat—“Meat on the other side of life” as I like to call it. I get Organic Grass Fed Pastured when I can find them. They are the highest quality and more expensive than just cage free. I only have eggs when I sense my body craving them which happens to be in Winters and after fasts which is my body telling me to replenish it’s fat reserves.
As far as dairy, I’ve switched to coconut ice cream and vegan cheese. Heidi Ho veggie and cashew cheese (without soy) are what I put on homemade pizza these days.
But to cut down on mucus, and you still want dairy, switch to goat or sheep milk products like I have now and then. The protein molecule in these animal’s milk is much smaller and more similar to human breast milk protein than cow’s milk protein which is large and more difficult to digest. Goat and sheep milk products are also slightly alkaline and not as mucus producing as cows dairy which for singers is crucial. Opera tenor Luciano Parvarotti once said he avoids dairy. Contemporary singers often have to avoid cigarettes and other substance abuse first before concerning themselves with more “Prima Donna” sounding healthier dietary items that reduce mucus.
Another great thing to add to your diet to clean plaque from arteries (as well as a myriad of other health benefits) is drinking a tablespoon of raw Organic apple cider vinegar at meals.
What if it’s My First Master Cleanse?
No problem. You can build up to it. Try 5-7 days if 10 seems too much at first. I had been fasting a day a week (one 24-36 hour period) like Paul Bragg recommended in the Miracle Of Fasting for quite some time before I did my first Master Cleanse. My weekly fast day was usually on a day off so I could relax. On weekends sometimes I would fast 2 or 3 days straight. This made The Master Cleanse easier for me and I still did my regular 1 day a week fast all year round. It wasn’t until just a year ago that I began eating only once or twice a day (as that’s all I seemed to need recently), which is known as Intermittent Fasting as Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends in several articles on his website www.mercola.com
Dr. Mercola’s site has a lot of articles on fasting and the medical benefits of it. He himself is a practitioner of Intermittent Fasting as well (1 meal a day). The standard advice is it is best to consult your Physician before fasting and/or cleanses. If you have low blood sugar or Diabetes, fasting probably isn’t the best thing to attempt.
If your Doctor actually knows about cleanses and fasts, great. The problem many people will run into with consulting their physician is that few will have one who has any direct knowledge and experience with doing these themselves and may spread fears about them. People have been fasting for thousands of years. Bears have been fasting (during hibernation) for even longer than that. Nature built this mechanism into animals. You may have to see another health practitioner such as a Naturopath (as is Dr. Mercola) or an Ayurvedic physician or specialist.The good news is most Doctors from India and China know about Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine respectively as part of their cultural heritage and won’t treat you like you’ve been deluded by a quack and just bought a case of snake oil. How many pharmaceutical drugs does the rest of the animal kingdom need? Who’s really living against nature?
Breaking Your Master Cleanse Juice Fast
The thing you’ll notice after doing The Master Cleanse regularly is that you’ll consume more of it during the first 3-4 days until your body “switches over” from digestion mode to cleansing mode. When this happens, you’ll notice you don’t need as much of the drink during the middle part of the fast. This is The “Eye Of The Fast” similar to how a hurricane is rough in the beginning and end but peaceful in the middle. There’s a deep calm and peace accompanied with an altered expanded state of consciousness and slower deeper brainwaves like alpha and theta.
The hamster wheel of “normal” fight or flight beta consciousness people wind up in due to the crazy pace of modern society is stressful, ultra thin, and not conducive to greater creativity or long term health. Just look at all the problems people have with high blood pressure. My blood pressure is generally the same when I am not eating solid food for 10 or more days as it is when I’m eating normally. That’s a result of long term meditation and fasting.
Fasting cleans the physical body on the deepest levels. Meditation cleans the thoughts and emotions.
Towards the tail end of the fast, your body will cue you in that it’s nearing the time to slowly and gently resume eating soon. You’ll notice you’ll start drinking more of The Master Cleanse again like in the beginning of it. Your mind will start thinking of food again and the white film (toxins brought into circulation by the fast) on your tongue will get lighter or be gone. Needless to say, it’s best to avoid going to grocery stores near the end of your fast unless you want to overspend like senior citizens in New England before a “Big Storm” forecast on TV.
The most important thing about breaking a fast is starting to integrate easy to digest foods FIRST. And not large quantities of them either. It will be several days before you build up to your normal portion sizes of anything. Think of yourself as a baby learning to eat again.
You are restarting your digestive system after it has been on vacation. So it’s Monday back at work when your stomach just got back from Aruba.
Start with high water content fruit to break The Master Cleanse. I’ve broken fasts with the recommended 2 days of orange juice as The Master Cleanse recommends. I’ve broken it with tomato sauce like Paul Bragg recommends (a tomato is a high water content fruit).
Good Choices To Break The Master Cleanse (High Water Content Fruit):
Watermelon (take the seeds out)
Tomato Sauce/Tomatoes/Salsa (acidic and cleansing for digestive system post fast)
I generally prefer to have fresh oranges, grapefruits, tomato sauce/salsa, and pineapple for the first 2 days of eating again. And SMALL portions. DO NOT OVEREAT. Your hunger will return and tell you when to eat more but not for a few days. So this means a meal in those first few days is a half an orange, half a grapefruit, a cup (8oz) of tomato sauce or pineapple.
Coming off a fast may be a bit rough so don’t stress out your stomach the first few days after it’s vacation because you won’t digest larger quantities of food at this stage properly or worse, you could get sick. This is the mistake of many shipwreck survivors when they are rescued days or weeks later without having any food. Their bodies were in a fasting state and due to their hunger and fear, they overeat and get sick when food is available again.
Proper hydration is paramount. Drink plenty of water after your fast to flush remaining toxins out of your body. Have 22oz to a quart (32oz) of water first thing in morning upon waking. This keeps billions of cells hydrated and your bowels running smoothly. Our bodies are 70% or more water and it is slow suicide to not drink water alone all by itself like the rest of the animal kingdom. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. When you are thirsty, your body is already in the dehydration zone. Sip water throughout the day and up until 20 minutes before a meal. Start drinking water 40-45 minutes after each meal. Hydration in this manner negates needing to drink water or liquids during meals which dilutes stomach acids and leads to less than optimal incomplete digestion.
Remember it takes 3-4 days for your body to switchover from digestion to cleansing mode to start a fast and it takes as much or longer to switch back to digestive mode completely. Have 1 tablespoon of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in a bit (1-2oz) of water with meals (other than fruit) and at any other time post fast. This will further cleanse and aid in your digestion.
One of the main principles of Food Combining is having fruit ALONE because it digests the quickest of any food. Eat fruit alone and wait 30 minutes before having anything else and at least 2 hours afterwards. Doing so helps prevent digestive issues where the fruit sugars when combined with other kinds of food have to wait to be digested and putrefy in your digestive tract. Eww! This is just what harmful bacteria love as a food source, and since around 70% of your immune system is actually in your gut, they’re attacking at your front door.
Stick to meal portions of a half cup (4oz) to 1 cup (8oz) the first 3-4 days resuming solid food
Eat Slow and Savor your food—be mindful of the tastes you missed noticing before
Pineapple is great to break a fast because of its digestive enzymes. I’ve broken The Master Cleanse with 2-4 days of just a cup of pineapple several times a day.
Kombucha and Kevita beverages are excellent to replenish probiotics and further detoxify post fast. Drink these alone or 20-30 minutes before a meal that is not fruit to help with digestion. Probiotics and Apple Cider Vinegar will help buffer post fast symptoms of feeling under the weather.
Apples are good after the second day of resuming eating since the Malic acid in them is very cleansing for the entire digestive tract. This is why the Apple Juice Fast of 2-3 days is very effective for improving digestion and keeping your digestive tract functioning optimally throughout your life. And one small or medium sized apple is a meal at this point.
After the first few days of fruit and/or juice, break in simple high water content vegetables next. Onions and cucumbers are great. Carrots are high water content too and one medium size carrot is a meal here. Carrots are also cleansing to the digestive tract. Broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut and vegetable soup (without grains or beans) are excellent as well. Sauerkraut replenishes needed probiotics post fast. I also recommend Amazing Grass Raw Reserve powder (original or berry flavored) for it’s density and medley of nutrition in addition to healthy digestive bacteria.
Keep refraining from eating the same amount you are used to eating—this will take some discipline and experience. Continue to have have small portions the first several days post fast so your digestion can come back online. It’s still yawning at this point. Remember, it has been on vacation and is simple like a baby’s the first week of resuming eating.
In the first 3-4 days after your fast, it’s common to have a runny nose and become stuffed up with excess mucus. This is produced when you resume eating solid food, which is why the most important part of coming off a fast is easing your way back into your regular pattern of eating. Pretty much everyone experiences some degree of coughing and a scratchy throat as well (why having Raw OG Apple Cider Vinegar is helpful as a buffer post fast). You may also notice you are more emotional than usual when resuming eating again. It’s wise to break your first fast over a weekend until you can identify the specific symptoms and reactions particular to your fasts.
Another fantastic post fast buffering food is having fresh Organic garlic or garlic powder on your vegetables and first meals. Sprinkle liberally. Garlic is an incredibly potent anti-biotic and will pick up any slack and sluggishness your immune and digestive systems got bogged down in the foxhole of the fast.
Green peas are an excellent first plant protein as they are high water content. Then break in seeds and nuts—almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, etc. Pumpkin seeds are wonderful as are hemp seeds or hemp protein. Raw cacao (chocolate) and shredded coconut are also terrific sources of healthy fats. Ground flax seed is amazingly cleansing post fast as well as a great source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids. Chia seed is even better for Omega 3. And good news if you’re craving carbs: Quinoa isn’t a grain! Unlike grains, it’s actually a complete protein–a seed and member of the rhubarb family. Soak in water 6 or more hours before cooking to make it more nutritious and digestible.
Your body will be craving fats after a fast to replenish its reserves. A great first fat to start eating after your first 2 or more days of just eating fruit is coconut oil. The reason being, coconut oil is rapidly digested like a carbohydrate unlike other fats which require your gallbladder to secrete bile to break them down. Get Organic Extra Virgin (sometimes labeled as simply Virgin) cold pressed UNREFINED for maximum benefits. Have a tablespoon with your first vegetable meals post fast. Coconut oil is a fantastic food for long term health afterwards too since it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti parasitic as well as protective for the brain against degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.
Wait a week before you have any hard to digest things like animal protein (meat, fish, dairy) if you eat these. Also, I usually wait a week before having any grain products like bread or granola as well. After a week, most people are back to eating their normal diet and normal volume of food per meal.
Putting a leash on the returning tiger of your hunger for the first 4-7 days post fast and having buffering foods like Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, coconut oil, garlic/garlic powder, and onions will ensure you do not get sick as you transition back to your normal eating habits. Vitamin D3 supplementation either in liquid form or softgel will ramp up your immune system during the transition time. Kombucha, sauerkraut, or probiotic supplementation will bolster the growth healthy flora in your digestive tract.
Chlorella is another superfood I recommend consuming on a daily basis for it’s unrivaled nutrient breadth and density, detoxifying properties and overall long term health maintenance. All these players form an All Star team for your cakehole to get it’s groove back without having a slump. They can also keep you in the game of life much longer, and with greater physical vigor and mental acuity than if you we’re playing for the “home team” of the Standard American Diet. So batter up or batter up with deep fried death. Your choice.
I grew up eating Pop Tarts, Chips Ahoy!, Little Debbie, Keebler, Lucky Charms and Captain Crunch too. These days my treats are all much healthier—homemade pizza, coconut ice cream, Mary’s Gone Cookies, and the occasional Nature’s Path Toaster Pastry. Take that Pop Tarts. The best part of it was the fasting itself reset my taste buds and recalibrated my body where I naturally started craving healthier food like sauerkraut after coming off fasts and cleanses. It surprised me how I was eating things my mother wouldn’t dare put on my plate as a kid. I no longer fear brussel sprouts. It can happen to you too.
Fasting uses the body’s innate intelligence. Willpower alone only goes so far—if you feed your body junk food, it will crave junk food. It’s a negative cycle that perpetuates itself and sugar is addictive but legal. You can break free without deprivation or torturing yourself with willpower which just sets you up for failure and self-criticism.
Remember, you didn’t get stuck in a poor diet overnight so be patient with yourself as you turn that sugar laden ship around. There’s no Fairy Godmother to grant you an instant transformation nuked in a microwave for 30 seconds. As your body becomes cleaner on the inside, you won’t crave junk food and overly sweet, salty (used as a preservative in processed foods to extend shelf life) food anymore.
A few other tips: Stop cooking in a microwave—it alters food where the body cannot utilize the nutrients and creates excess free radicals inside your body. You are throwing money away microwaving food and decreasing the amount of nutrient value the food has. Better alternatives are using your stove or toaster oven. For healthy cooking with quickness, get a Far Infrared oven from NuWave which fits on any table or countertop.
Use Himalayan sea salt—it’s the purest, most nutrient dense salt in the world as it was formed in the prehistoric oceans long before humans ever polluted the land, rivers and oceans and cheered for the stock markets. This is another reason to fast and cleanse regularly—because these industries have polluted you as well. The average infant born in the world today has over 250 foreign chemicals already inside it’s body. You have to take a stand and fight for your long term heath and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t expect your Big Mac eating Congress and Senate to have the health and safety of your food on their legislative plates anytime soon.
Flexibility over fanaticism. Dietary fundamentalists and fanatics are no different than religious fundamentalists and fanatics. No one diet is ever 100% accurate or complete for everybody, nor will it remain the same over a persons entire life. You will change and grow and have the right to do so.
Taste Food Again For The First Time
Best wishes on your Master Cleanse, rejuvenation, and long term investment in your health. Enjoy discovering all the subtle nuances and flavors of food made by Nature as you are soon descending back into the realm of regular scheduled gastronomy like I am about to once again in a few days.
And with that, you’ll also find an unexpected sacred reverence for food and the simple act of eating you probably have long forgotten since you believed in Santa, who probably could use a Master Cleanse as well—and a trip to Aruba to do it in.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational/educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.
© Composer Yoga
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