Have you ever wondered what it would be like to willingly stop eating food for days at a time? If you're like me, such a crazy thought has never even entered your mind. And if it has - it's quickly brushed off to the side.
You may or may not be familiar with my boyfriend, Sebastian, who I've mentioned many times in past posts. For those of you who don't know, Sebastian is the type of person who is always thinking out of the box, he can whip up a gourmet meal in no time, and has a passion for things with two wheels. He's an adrenaline-junkie who designs bicycles for a living.
And today, he's going to tell you about his experience with the Master Cleanse. (Make note that he tried to convince me to hop on board with this idea, and I quickly turned him down. My justification? "You do not want to live in this little apartment with me if I haven't eaten food. Trust me.")
I have jumped out of a plane from 5500ft, bungee jumped from 200ft, and travelled at 275 km/h on my motorcycle, yet none of these experiences compare to how difficult and challenging the Master Cleanse was...
Whenever I mention the 'extreme' things I've done to friends, I typically get a reaction that goes along the lines of, "Oh my god!", or "You're crazy!" But when I tell people about not eating food for 10 days they react like I might actually hurt myself, "That's dangerous", or "That can't be good for you."
For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the Master Cleanse is a modified juice fast that permits no food. There are three parts to the regimen. Each morning one drinks a quart of water with 2 teaspoons of salt or a cup of herbal laxative tea. This is followed by six to twelve lemonade drinks during the day. Finally, a cup of herbal laxative tea is taken in the evening. The lemonade is made from purified or spring water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper herbal herbal pills can be substituted for the cayenne pepper in the lemonade. The alleged purpose is to 'detoxify' the body and remove excess fat. The regimen is followed for a minimum of ten days.
There is no scientific evidence that the diet removes any toxins, or that it achieves anything beyond temporary weight loss. Though unlikely to be harmful over the short term it can be harmful over the long term. Short term side effects include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration, while long term harm includes loss of muscle mass.
Now some of you may be thinking that 10 days without food isn't a big deal, because if you're consuming 3.5 liters of liquid a day (that's a lot of running to the bathroom), you'll be fooling your stomach into thinking it's full, which is partially true.
Let me back track to how the idea of a Master Cleanse got into my head. Allie and I had become a statistic, as soon as we moved in together, we both put on some pounds. So Allie was reading some weight loss articles on the iPad while I sat next to her on the couch (probably not a good place to start haha) when she came across the Master Cleanse. She briefly described it to me and that's when I decided to give it a shot (Allie's spontaneous, I'm spontaneous - match made in heaven).
I had made plans with some friends for some heavy drinking on the upcoming weekend, so I decided I would wean myself off food rather than going 'cold-turkey'. This process consisted of only eating breakfast and drinking lemonade and organic herbal tea from Wednesday to Friday. The first day was the worst day of my life- so I thought. Allie made some deliciousness that I can't even recall right now, but I have a vivid memory of drooling. The second day I woke up and wasn't even hungry, I think my body decided to give up and just use my fat. That evening was terrible though, Allie decided to make Basil Pesto Penne with Chicken which caused an internal battle between my stomach and brain. Long story short- my stomach won. Same thing goes for Friday - but only because my boss decided to take me out for lunch. On Saturday I ate, but only because I had to. Otherwise my Polish instinct to consume mass amounts of alcohol, coupled with the company of my Ukrainian, Irish, and Polish friend would have me on the floor in 1 hour flat.
So, day 1. Can't complain. I wasn't hungry, all the water, lemonade, and tea was doing it's job. I had no cravings, I felt kind of full, it was too easy. By the way, the tea I was drinking was a laxative tea, not in the way where I would be running to bathroom like in Dumb & Dumber though. The tea is called Organic Golden Pu'erh and it's purpose is to detox your intenstines by removing all the gunk stuck to them that is always there (up to 20lbs!!). I was also drinking another tea called Green & Fruity- similar to green tea, but with a higher antioxidant capacity- think of it as the Grand Father or green tea, and it's delicious. I should also mention that I wasn't adding maple syrup or cayenne pepper to my lemonade. It was just water with lemons- definitely not lemonade, more like lemon water- boring.
Day 2. Still felt the same. Not hungry, no cravings, but the lemon water was getting pretty dull, and that laxative tea tasted more and more like dirt. Green & Fruity was the staple in my diet.
Day 3. Morning was still the same. I wasn't really hungry, but I started craving vegetables, specifically red peppers. The tea wasn't really hitting the spot anymore, and that stupid lemon water was becoming a chore to drink. I just wanted red pepper :( According to Allie, I had a shorter temper, and wasn't as easy going. But she didn't hold it against me, because she knows she can't go longer than a couple hours without food. The highlight of day 3 was going to the bathroom. I made a conscious decision to go- it wasn't like I had to go, I'll skip the details, but the results were fabulous haha.
Day 4. I woke up and barely made it out of bed. I immediately regretted going to the washroom the day prior- all my energy had literally been flushed. Food. Food. Food. It was the only thing on my mind. I work in the centre of downtown Toronto, and on top of that, right in the entertainment district that has all the restaurants and glorious sushi places. I literally pass by 15-20 restaurants, cafe's, pubs, fast food places just on my way to work. I then have to walk by all those places again on my way home. Torture. On top of all that, Allie was going to go out for a sandwich at Quiznos. I decided to join her. Mesquite Chicken with cheese and veggies on a toasted bun. The horror! I downed more of that stupid lemon water and stupid dirt tea when we got home and called it a night. I was too tired to be awake any longer.
Day 5. My eye lids had to be pushed up. I felt like a decaying corpse in the Sahara. Somehow I made it out of bed and managed to get ready for work. I didn't do my hair because having my arms in the air for that long would have made me hyperventilate. I walked, barely though- past several of those restaurants I mentioned earlier until I couldn't take it anymore. My nostrils had convinced my brain to shut up and give in to my stomach's desires. I went to this little breakfast place where little old ladies make you fresh food on the spot. And I ordered a Western Omelette. It was probably the most glorious meal I have ever had. A buttered sesame seed bagel that blanketed a delicious egg infused with amazing red and green peppers, onion, ham and cheese. HEAVEN.
I didn't eat for the rest of the work day because my stomach was having a celebration with a live band and fireworks- my other body parts were a little intimidated. On my way home from the office I went to the grocery store and bought one of those veggie platters you'd buy to share, along with 2 red peppers. I ate all of it. Every flavour felt like I was watching The Wizard of Oz when it turned to colour. It was like a rainbow was having a birthday party with a unicorn on my tongue. It was Glorious.
Clearly I didn't make it to day 10. Anyone who has or does should be awarded a medal of recognition and everyone should salute that person as they pass by. Am I glad I did it (or at least tried to)? Yes. My body felt and still feels so much better. It's hard to explain, but I feel like I flushed out some of the bad in my system, and as a result I just feel better in general. I have more energy, I'm waking up at 6:30am to hit the gym, (this is kind of a miracle because I love sleep and usually sleep until 7:45) and I'm being more productive at work. On top of how great I feel, I lost 15lbs in 4 days, though 3-4 lbs bounced back as I started to eat again. Even though I cook at home most nights, I'm being more conscious of what ingredients I'm using- and watching my portion sizes. It's been a couple weeks since I have done the Master Cleanse and I have lost more than the initial 15lbs while maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Would I do it again? Hell no.
Criticisms: Nutritionist Jane Clark points to a lack of essential nutrients in this program, citing a deficiency of protein, vitamins, and minerals. As a result of these deficiencies, including far fewer calories than the recommended amount for health and optimum functioning, individuals on the diet may experience headaches and a variety of other symptoms in the short term and the diet is potentially harmful over the long term. The program has been described as an extreme fad or crash diet, and any weight lost during the fast can be expected to be regained once the diet is stopped. Dietician Keri Glassman has said those following the diet are "guaranteed" to gain weight after stopping.
Is this diet right for you? Google the shit out of it before doing so.
Is this diet right for you? Google the shit out of it before doing so.