I am a real skeptic when it comes to anything gimmicky so this may come as a surprise when I share that I did Stanley Burroughs’ The Master Cleanser. I must admit that I even surprised myself when I first decided to voluntarily go without food for 10 days … I thought I had gone completely mad.
But more than the urge for food, my sister and I felt that it was important for us to get rid of all the junk and toxins we’ve accumulated in our bodies over the years (both figuratively and literally), and we felt that detoxing was a great way to kick start a healthier lifestyle. We decided to do it together at the beginning of January when the spell of the New Year’s magic was still very much alive, as we probably would not have had the willpower (and the sense of urgency) to do something like this in, say, May. Just a bit of a disclaimer here — we did not do the cleanse as a weight-loss measure. That would be creazy. It was purely for detoxicating, just so you know!
We started this “lemonade diet” immediately after we enjoyed the traditional Japanese osechi ryori my mother prepared on the New Year’s day, and stayed on it for 10 straight days. Today was my first day off the cleanse! The entire process was not as painful as I had initially anticipated. I thought just drinking the mixture of freshly squeezed lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper day in and day out would be torturous (and not to mention boring) but I was surprised to find that I LOVED the drink. It was really, really delicious and I felt like I can drink it forever (and the cayenne pepper really gave the drink the kick that I enjoyed so much). There were certainly some tough moments when the food craving skyrocketed off the chart, but that happened only a few times in 10 days, which is not a bad odd. And they were cravings (mental), not hunger (physical).
Speaking of food craving, two things I craved the most during the detox were a juicy piece of rib-eye steak and a steak salad from The Yard House (strange). I would dream about those two dishes and drool in my sleep! Beef certainly made my detoxing period a bit difficult … grrrr.
However, the interesting part was that my craving for steak slowly subsided around the 6th day and it shifted to much healthier options, like fresh vegetables, tofu and even tempeh and seitan! By the 8th day, I no longer care about the meat (I was so over them) and my attention was fully on vegetarian and vegan dishes. I spent the last two days of the detox looking through the copy of The Real Food Daily Cookbook and bookmarked all the recipes I wanted to try once I’m off the detox. It was a total gastro porn, I tell you.
The Master Cleanser, as well as any detox program, requires some commitment and I would have never been able to do it without the support of my friends and family (special thanks to my boyfriend for being so sensitive with my strange needs, Noelle for all the helpful advice and guidance, Gabriel for the inspiration, my sister for motivation, and my folks for providing me with moral support). But if you’re thinking about cleaning out your system, The Master Cleanser is not a bad way to go. There are many detox and cleansing options out there (very popular one being the raw food diet) so definitely study them and select the one that best suite your goal and lifestyle. I’m happy that I did this one 🙂 After only 10 days, I feel energized, more aware, a little lighter around my waist, and more importantly, very refreshed. And the fact that there are two giant lemon tress in my parent’s backyard helped me and my sister significantly because those organic lemons can be very expensive.
What you see here is the vegetable soup I made as the first meal coming off the cleanse — and perhaps the most satisfying soup I’ve ever had. I was not supposed to eat the soup until tomorrow night but I just couldn’t resist tasting that lovely tomato-based soup. I put garlic, zucchinis, celery, carrots, onions, cannellini beans, spinach, corn, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth … you name it, they’re in there, except for salt, that is. My sense of taste and smell had heightened so much during the cleanse that I didn’t need any seasoning, other than pepper, to enjoy the soup. This change has certainly made me appreciate the flavors of each ingredient in its purest form. By the way, I was only able to eat half of the bowl. I guess my stomach has shrunk, thanks to the cleanse. (It’s like getting a gastric bypass surgery without the pain.)