The Master Cleanse – Day 1

by Bart on March 20, 2010

Today I am beginning the Master Cleanse, a detoxification protocol that I used twice in the past. Both times with great results. I decided to share my experience on this blog for two reasons:

  • although it would not be considered a raw protocol, it can be used as a spring board to eating a raw, or generally healthier, diet
  • if you are interested in raw foods, you are probably also interested in improving your health. So, this might interest you

But I should also point out that I am not a medical professional, so before you attempt anything extreme with your diet, you should consult your doctor :-)

What is the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse lasts a minimum of 10 days, although it can be done for a longer periods of time, with more common being 14 or 21 days.

During the Master Cleanse, you do not eat any solid foods. Your calories come entirely from a lemon based drink, which is why this cleanse is sometimes called the Lemonade Diet.

The lemonade is very easy to make. It consists of the following:

  • 8 oz. of spring or purified water
  • 2 tablespoons of organic, grade B, maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon (or lime) juice
  • 1/10th of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

I found that between 6 and 8 cups, or around 700 calories, per day is a perfect amount for me. This might sound like not enough energy, but past the first day or two, hunger has never been a problem for me on the Master Cleanse.

Without solid foods for extended period of time, you need some help to keep things moving through your digestive tract. As surprising as it might sound – even when you do not eat solid foods, there will still be a need for bowel movements.

To make sure you have them, a cup of herbal laxative tea needs to be drunk before going to bed each night. I use Smooth Move tea, which is a blend of senna and a few other herbs.

Then, upon waking up, a salt water flush is taken to clean out the digestive tract. It’s a mix of 4 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt. This proportion of water to salt prevents most of the liquid from being absorbed into your body, and instead causes a very urgent bowel movement (or a few) 30 to 120 minutes after drinking it.

Drinking the salt water flush, and the results of doing so, are the least pleasant parts of this detox method. Although, for me at least, the laxative tea usually causes cramps only on one or two nights out of ten.

Aside from the items mentioned above, the only two items that are allowed on the Master Cleanse are water and mint tea, if you need to warm up. Although I found that the cayenne in the lemonade usually helps in that respect too.

And finally, any prescription drugs should be continued and any possible effects discussed with your physician beforehand.

My plan

I am going to do the Master Cleanse for the next 10 days, although I am leaving a possibility open for a longer one. In the past it was boredom with the lemonade drink that made me stop after the initial 10 days, not hunger or even specific cravings. I will make the decision as to what to do around day 8.

To prepare for the cleanse, I actually had a big meal last night, stretched over about a 3 hour period. I started with a 20 ounce green juice made from spinach, kale, celery, parsley, cucumber, and apple, with a bit of flax oil. I followed that about an hour later with 2 orders of Gypsy’s Fortune from Veggie Brothers.

Gypsy's Fortune

And finally, for dessert I had Explosive Espresso Chip cookie – by far the best vegan cookie ever.

Explosive Espresso Chip cookie

It will be a while before I have any of those again :-)

My day today

For the duration of the Master cleanse, my posts will detail what I experience each day. I’m going to take notes at various times during the day, but make only one post in the evening.

Here’s how my first day looked like.


I had my senna tea around 11:00pm last night, and for the most part it was very gentle on my system – I was able to sleep right through the night.

After waking up at 8:20am, I stayed in bed for a while watching TV, and trying to delay the inevitable – the salt water flush. But eventually, it was time to pour a quart of water into a container and break out the salt.

Preparing the salt water flush

Since this is my third Master Cleanse, I am now a pro at drinking the SWF ;-) It took me about 45 seconds to down this much liquid, using a straw and very long and fast gulps.

I had to use the bathroom shortly afterwards, but that was probably the doing of the senna tea. It was too early for the SWF to take effect.

And that is what I am waiting for now…


The wait was not long at all. After drinking the SWF at 9:00am, I had to spend some time in the bathroom starting at 10:20am. Then there were a few follow up visits that lasted until noon.

Around 11:00am, I started to get hungry, so I made my first two cups of the lemonade.

Preparing the Master Cleanse lemonade

Master Cleanse lemonade

This drink varies quite a bit in color from regular lemonade due to the darkness of the maple syrup. The taste is similar to regular lemonade, but the syrup gives it a unique twist, and quite a bit of sweetness. The cayenne adds quite a bit of kick, and I used a bit extra to kick this party off. :-)

Those first 2 cups kept me going for a while but now I am getting hungry again, so I will be getting a second helping of the lemonade very soon.

During the first two days of the cleanse, the body is not yet used to having to work with significantly less calories and no solid foods. I expect to feel tired and, for the most part, unmotivated for the next 48 ours or so, but after that, if history repeats itself, I should be not only fine, but also very energized. For now, I’ve spent most of the morning playing Fallout 3… finally finishing the last add-on. Now, I guess, I will just roam the Wasteland. High on spicy lemonade.


I had my second lemonade meal of the day at around 2:45pm. Then at 5:30pm, I had lemonade cups 5 and 6. After drinking them, I was feeling very cold, so I decided to make myself some hot peppermint tea and that helped quite a bit.

At this point I feel exhausted, so I am trying to decide whether to drink another lemonade or just brew some lax tea and go to bed very early tonight. The downside of drinking the tea right now, of course, is that it would likely wake me up in the middle of the night instead of in the morning. Perhaps I’ll just go to bed and watch some TV, setting an alarm clock for 10:00pm, just in case I fall asleep, and have the tea then.

All things considered this was not a bad day. And for the most part things should improve going forward.

I have not experienced anything unusual today. I had a few cravings, mostly for something soft and sugary – no doubt a result of having that big cookie as the last thing I ate yesterday. But it was totally worth it :-)

Related posts:

  1. The Master Cleanse – Day 8
  2. The Master Cleanse – Day 7
  3. The Master Cleanse – Day 5
  4. The Master Cleanse – Day 10
  5. The Master Cleanse – Day 4

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