Summertime Master Cleanse

pepperSo it’s summertime, and I can do whatever I want now that school duties are over. Of course, there are endless video and writing projects to complete or tinker with. But besides that, I have the time to do a Master Cleanse–which is a fairly intense cleansing of the digestive track–by stopping digestion, basically, for about 10 days. A lemonade drink– comprised of 1/2 lemon, 2 TB organic grade B maple syrup, and 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in one cup of water–provides the main calories and nutrients. A faster can also drink water and herbal tea. At night, one drinks a laxative tea, and in the morning, does a salt water flush (drink quickly 1 quart of water with 2 tsp Himalayan sea salt), in order to clean out the digestive track. The lemonade is delicious and can feel pretty fulfilling.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.34.08 PMToday is the third day of the cleanse, and I want to attempt ten or thirteen days. It’s nice to have a quiet space where I live alone to conduct this fast, as I don’t have the interruptions and temptations that others provide. I have a nice chunk of time where I’m working at home and don’t have to be anywhere, for the most part. I work out as usual, work on the computer, and watch movies (and some horrible t.v.). Even the food on the t.v. is not a temptation, because it doesn’t look like food: just more consumer product, no whole foods. Watching Cake Boss was just like watching sculptors, not food (but junk food has never been my weakness). Even the salt water cleanse hasn’t been so bad, lying down after consuming the quart of salt water, but then again, maybe the mixture isn’t right, or I’m doing it wrong.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.35.12 PMThis is the third time I am attempting this cleanse, in probably about the same amount of years. I first attempted it about three years ago. The second time, I had my mother with me, and she successfully completed it along with me, which was quite a feat for someone who had never gone even a day without food. This is my third attempt. I find it is all about mindset and perspective. You simply don’t entertain thoughts that would derail you. I also try and orient my food thoughts towards raw food temptations; rather than cooked or non-vegan cravings. Visualizing raw foods as fulfilling my needs. Of course, after the cleanse, I will try and keep a diet as raw whole foods as possible. Where your mind goes, your body and actions follow. But I did come up with the idea that I could make popsicles; I can’t think of anything wrong with that, tho it is unmentioned. I did yoga at home and then did my first meditation ever. I’m getting lots of sleep and quiet time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.16.14 PMToday is already day 6! The last two days have gone well. It’s just great to be keeping myself clear from temptation or distraction by mostly staying at home, working on video editing, and doing yoga and going for walks. It’s important to keep negativity away during this critical time. I can’t imagine many people who would be supportive of me doing a fast–except for my mother who did it with me! Doesn’t get more supportive than that. But just like any vegi conversation one has with non-vegis, this topic is contentious and threatening, so people feel attacked or challenged and lash out accordingly. So I don’t want to talk about it too much until the process is over; for fear that the negativity from others can weaken my resolve to complete this challenge. I’ve gotten my food cravings to focus on vegan foods, even just thinking of sweet sticky rice with mango and coconut milk, yum… I started going through the online menus of the raw vegan and vegan (friendly) restaurants in Las Vegas (Komol, Greens and Proteins, and Go Raw Cafe) and checking out all the meals that still fall within my more restrictive diet that I will be entering into. Sadly, no more tofu or wheat will make it all but impossible to eat at amazing vegan restaurants such as Veggie House, a Buddhist Chinese restaurant with tons of fake meat dishes.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.32.27 PMOf course, once I come off the fast, I want to get as close to a raw vegan diet as possible, but I’m not ready to be 100% yet (and hope never to achieve it, so as to always have a goal to strive for). But I definitely will be giving up black tea (I already gave up coffee a year ago!), soy/tofu, and wheat (and avoid other grains, ala Douglas Graham). Perhaps I can eat cooked food two days a week, and raw food the other days. I’ll be spending the summer with my mother in Las Vegas, and she’s supportive of the diet and would like to try it, even as she is just recovering from her chemo cancer treatments that were concluded successfully.

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 12.05.28 PMDay 8. Yesterday was a tad bit challenging, because I had a meeting at school and therefore, wasn’t in control of my surroundings. I brought a mixture for 2 juices with me, but didn’t bring water, figuring I would find it. At my meeting, I found out that at the 2 day conference we are going to next week, we will be “fed well.” Eak. And then we made plans for dinner together before the conference starts. At home, I looked up all the restaurants in Oneonta, NY, and worried about what I would be able to eat with my colleagues, and not be too much of a freak. I also realized I would have to shorten my fast by a day in order to get my juice-day fast-breaking day done before the conference and preceding dinner. I can’t hang out and eat with normal humans anymore, it’s just not going to work. Friends and dating all revolve around restaurants so much. But I did manage to get to the gym and have a good workout and then work on video editing stuff until past 1am. Even though I’m off caffeine, I’ve been sleeping less than usual, after the first three days, where I probably slept more than usual. Today I get to stay home, and get to the gym. But tomorrow is another meeting at school, and perhaps, a yoga class at the studio. Finally, I did make some moderations to the fast, as detailed in the Master Cleanse original book. I had a few limes, which I would squeeze into sparkling water (since the limes were sold with the lemons). Limes are good for vitamin C. I also added a teaspoon of Redmond Clay once a day to one of the juices, for some extra vitamins and minerals. Hopefully that’s not too upsetting to the Master Cleanse fundamentalists. And I don’t necessarily buy the entire MC argument and understand the debunkers; however, I don’t see much harm in taking a break from eating (without starving, which does freak out the body), as constantly inundating the body with heavy, toxic foods everyday is incredibly taxing. I have also done a 7 day banana diet before, and find that is helpful to give the body a similar break and just work on breaking down one easy to digest food for a while. We definitely were not designed for a Western diet, so we can all take a break every now and then and let the body simplify it’s activities.

Day 11! At this point, the cleanse seems normalized. However, I have been quite lazy yesterday and today, but that’s also an academic on summer vacation outcome. Yesterday I only had 5 lemonades (usually around 9/10) and today I’ve only had 4! I have added another modification: coconut water, so that provides a few more calories and nutrients. But I don’t feel hungry, thus, not as interested in the lemonade. Just one more day on the cleanse, and then one day of fresh juices, and then raw foods. So two more days, total. But I’ve made it! It’s been easy, and I’m interested in doing it again.


Of course, this is all part of a learning food journey. You can follow this journey in pictures at Flickr on Snakegrrl’s Kitchen.