Constantly seeking answers but living and enjoying life along the way...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Master Cleanse: Directions, Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Here are the basic directions for 'The Master Cleanse aka The Lemonade Diet' and my own personal tips and tricks from my first experience with the cleanse.

Before starting the Master Cleanse, please go to as it is the original text of "The Master Cleanser" written by Stanley Burroughs. He gives detailed, comprehensive explanations as to why the cleanse works and the many reasons we should take part in this regimen. He also talks about common misconceptions about the human diet and the things that can contribute to disease. This cleanse aims to rid the body of those toxins, as our digestive system seems to build them up on the walls of our system over time. Here are the basic instructions, including how to break the fast, recipes, along with a list of all the supplies you'll need.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a cleanse, it is NOT used to lose weight, although weight loss is a side effect. Weight lost during the cleanse is usually gained back quickly if 'normal' (what you were eating before the cleanse) eating habits resume after the cleanse. Mr. Burroughs actually advocates taking your diet to strictly nuts, seed, fruits, and vegetables after the cleanse. I'm not going that far yet, however, I am making drastic changes (now a seafood vegetarian). The cleanse definitely curbs your cravings for junk food, and if you eat junk food after the cleanse, it will definitely make you feel terrible. Word of advice: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Listen to it while on the cleanse, and definitely after. The cleanse will definitely help you to be able to tune-in to your body and listen to it. Then it's up to you to continue. One cleanse disciple ( puts it best: "Clean up your act; get on with your life! If you are someone who discounts his/her own body’s voice, who is blindly obedient to external authority figures, then this is probably not the diet for you. However if you are an independent thinker, ready to try it and pay attention to how you really feel and take appropriate action then, this could be the beginning of a lifelong love affair. A love affair? Yes, between you and your body."


It is recommended that the cleanse be followed for a minimum of ten days or more - usually the sign that you're ready to come off the cleanse is when the tongue loses its furry white coating that occurs during the cleanse and becomes pink again. I personally should have probably stayed on the cleanse for maybe a day or two longer, as my tongue was just starting to clear up on Day 10, but I ended it as I just wanted to start eating normally again. Not that I didn't reap any benefits, I just didn't fully clean myself out. But, that's OK too, any cleansing is positive step in the right directions with regards to health, and now that I'm changing my lifestyle with regards to food, I'm sure my body will be able to detox itself more effectively than it ever did before.

It is also recommended that you have at least one bowel movement (POOP! hahaha) a day to effectively perform the cleanse.

1. The night before starting the cleanse, drink a cup of herbal laxative tea (I'll put more details about this in the list of supplies you'll need below.) before bedtime.

2. First thing in the morning, drink the Salt Water Flush (also detailed later). It is critical that this is done on an empty stomach.

3. Drink 6-8 servings of 'The Lemonade' (recipe to follow) throughout the day. Also drink spring or distilled water as needed.

4. Finish the day with a cup of herbal laxative tea before bedtime.

5. Repeat this for a minimum of ten days. On the last night it is not necessary to drink the laxative tea.

6. Coming off the cleanse is just as important - if you try to put food in your system right away after depriving it of solid substances for ten days, you could feel very sick (nauseous) and in extreme cases (although I have not seen reports) death can occur. This goes with any fast (depriving your body of food for a period of time)! On the first day after the cleanse is finished, drink fresh squeezed orange juice all day.

7. The second day after the cleanse is finished, have fresh squeezed OJ in the morning. For lunch, have some soup broth (from the vegetable soup that you will be making, recipe below). For dinner, have the vegetable soup. Rye wafers can be eaten with the soup, but sparingly.

8. On the third day, have OJ in the morning, soup for lunch, and then raw fruits and veggies for dinner. Normal eating can then be resumed the next day.


32 oz. Warm or lukewarm water
2 tsp. Sea Salt

TIP: It is recommended that this is consumed within 15 minutes, or as fast as possible, so that it has the best 'flushing' effect on your system. This can be difficult as it doesn't taste that great, but I imagined it tasting like chicken broth without the chicken flavor, which helps. I also preferred drinking it warm or semi-hot (so that it was easier to drink down faster) as it didn't seem as salty.

TIP: Beware of the immediate effects! The flush can start working as quickly as 15-20 minutes after finishing it. Be prepared to frequent the toilet for about an hour or maybe two (depending on how long it took you to finish it). You will literally PEE out of your butt, but it's not painful. If you feel like you have to fart during this time (or during any time while cleansing) it most likely is NOT a fart... Just go to the toilet to be safe!

1 Serving
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice (no substitutes!)
2 tbsp. Grade B Organic Maple Syrup
1/10 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 oz. spring/distilled water at room temperature

6 Servings (can be made in a 64 oz. bottle)
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
3/4 cup Grade B Organic Maple Syrup
6/10 tsp. (rounded 1/2 tsp.) cayenne pepper
6 cups spring/distilled water

TIP: I took a 64 oz. plastic juice container, taking the label off completely. I then measured out each ingredient that's supposed to go into the container with water, marking each ingredient added with a line using permanent marker. So, I measured out 3/4 cup of water (for the lemon juice), poured in the bottle, and marked a line on the bottle; then measured another 3/4 cup of water (for the syrup), added to the bottle, marked another line; poured in another 6 cups of water and marked a final line on the bottle. I figured that measuring out the maple syrup accurately would be much easier to pour it straight into the bottle, rather than having to transfer the syrup from spoon to bottle as it is super sticky. Plus, there's less clean-up! Now you can make 6 servings (the minimum daily amount recommended) of lemonade each morning, just add ingredients to the bottle and shake it up!

TIP: Not all lemons yield the same amount of juice. I would juice up about ten lemons and save the juice in a bottle in the fridge. That way I would have enough juice for a few days, and when I ran out, I would just juice some more. I used a plastic hand juicer I found at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for $5.

1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Celery Stalk
1 Zucchini
2 Red Potatoes
1 cup Broccoli
1 cup Cauliflower
1 Green Bell Pepper
2 Roma Tomatoes
5 leaves Fresh Basil
1 clove Minced Garlic (or 1 tsp. dried minced garlic)
1/2 cup uncooked Brown Rice
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
32 oz. Organic Vegetable Broth

Chop all ingredients into bite size pieces. Put all vegetables, rice, and seasonings into a large pot. Add vegetable broth; add additional water until all the vegetables are covered. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 2-2.5 hours.


Put all vegetables, rice, and seasonings in a large crock pot/slow cooker. Add broth and additional water until vegetables are covered. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add additional water if the soup is very thick.

TIP: You can use whatever veggies that you like, this is my combination of vegetables that I like, but including a lot of what the book recommends, which is: one or two types of legumes, potatoes, celery, carrots, green vegetable tops, onion, etc. You can used dehydrated vegetables for more flavor, maybe even a little curry. But, use seasonings sparingly as it is recommended to get used to tasting the vegetables by themselves.

TIP: I made the veggie soup in the crock pot and liked that the broth turned out a little thicker than if you made it on the stove. This is partly because of the rice being cooked so long, but it also stewed the vegetables more so the broth was a little more flavorful. Expect the soup to be pretty bland, especially if you were used to eating savory things before. This recipe should be plenty for the broth, soup for dinner, and soup for lunch when coming off the cleanse. My friend Jenny cooked the soup the night before and then just put it in the fridge for the next day. Her vegetables stayed more in tact, so if you're looking forward to crunching on something for that first soup dinner, making the soup on the stove would be to your advantage.

LIST OF SUPPLIES (everything you'll need)

10 gallons Spring or Distilled Water
30-40 Lemons
3-4 750ml bottles of Grade B Maple Syrup (I found mine at Trader Joe's)
1 small bottle Cayenne Pepper (found in the seasoning section at any supermarket)
1 bottle Sea Salt (also found at Trader Joe's)
1 box Herbal Laxative Tea or Senna Tea (Triple Leaf Herbal Laxative OR Smooth Move Tea)
(didn't see this at Trader Joe's, they might have had it, but found it at Clark's)

TIP: I drank only six servings a day and went through less than 30 lemons, as my lemons were quite juicy, and I used a hand juicer so I could get as much juice as possible. I also went through just about 3 bottles of maple syrup (I didn't think I'd need that much!). But, if you decided you want to drink 8 servings a day, be prepared with an extra bottle of syrup and extra lemons.


*** You will be using the bathroom frequently and passing mostly liquid waste. I recommend getting some personal wipes so that you feel cleaner during the day... Just a suggestion. =)

*** The laxative tea can cause stomach cramps (as they did with me), which is ok. But if it is unbearable, then try skipping the tea one night. If it continues to cause pain, then you can skip the tea at night. The tea is just to help get things moving. The book also says that if diarrhea occurs after taking the tea to stop taking the tea at night until diarrhea stops.

*** If the salt water flush makes you feel sick or is extremely difficult to even get down (everyone is different), then you can substitute the laxative tea in the morning instead of doing the salt water flush.

*** LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! It is not necessary to drink the laxative tea or the salt water flush - the lemonade by itself is a cleansing agent. The tea and flush used in conjunction with the lemonade on a daily basis speeds up the process, but if your body doesn't want to deal with either of those, then don't! Part of this cleanse is to start tuning into your body and what it's telling you, so LISTEN! Everyone has a different experience, so do what you feel is right for you.

*** Your tongue will become furry and white during the cleanse, this is to be expected. In fact, your tongue should be used as an indicator as to when you should stop the cleanse - if it is still furry by Day 10 of the cleanse, you should continue the cleanse until it is fully pink again. My tongue was still a little furry on the last day, but I ended the cleanse anyway - the result, a bit of gas when I changed from the lemonade to OJ to soup. The book even says that "If, after eating is resumed, distress or gas occurs, it is suggested that the lemonade diet be continued for several more days until the system is ready for food." I definitely experienced gas when I started breaking the cleanse, but I already knew I wasn't quite done because my tongue was a bit furry, so it was definitely to be expected. It's ok though, I got through ten days this first time, next time I will stay on it until my tongue returns to being pink again.

*** You should have lots of energy during the cleanse, the lemonade definitely keeps you feeling sustained and upbeat. Keep busy and try not to watch TV as TV commercials can be really distracting. I was able to watch TV, but towards the end it was a bit torturous and made me anxious to want to start eating food again. But, now that I'm eating again, I'm finding that I can't eat as much (I know my stomach shrank a bit) and healthy foods are actually very tasty and satisfying!

*** This is not only a physical cleanse, but a mental and emotional one as well. There might be a point in your cleanse where you feel terrible, both physically and mentally. This is absolutely normal. Toxins in your system are what contribute to physical and emotional pain, so the fact that their getting stirred up is definitely going to affect your system and mood. When this occurs, try to get to the bottom of your feelings and why you're reacting the way you are. You'll find out some interesting stuff - I sure did! =D This goes back to listening to your body! You'll also find how many connections we make with regards to food; when you cut that out for a little while, you realize that you have to face certain issues without resorting to your crutch. Anyone who is an emotional eater can definitely benefit from this cleanse!

*** Read other people's blogs who have done the cleanse. There are links to several blogs of people who have done the cleanse off of I liked reading about what to possibly expect and see the different experiences of each person on a day-to-day basis. I could compare and contrast and know that others have gone through this, and made it through it, as well. And write down (or blog) your own account of the cleanse! If anything, for yourself so you can have a reference point should you do the cleanse again in the future.

*** This cleanse aids in kick-starting your life into a healthier one, one that nurtures your body, which in turn, houses and nurtures your mind. By taking care of yourself physically, you can create more opportunities for yourself to find happiness in life in general. You begin to look at things differently and are able to see that you are more in control of yourself and your life than you realize. It all starts at 'home', and when you start feeling good because you're taking care of yourself, it extends out into the world and magnetizes positivity to you. I know I sound like I'm about to start selling tie-dye and crystals here, but this is what I truly believe. I'm planning on cleansing at least once a year - I learned a lot about myself during my first one, and I imagine that with each subsequent cleanse I will discover other things that I need to work on with myself. YOU are a constant body of work - the working on yourself never stops, and the more you strive to grow and learn, the more you will discover, including the keys to happiness and serenity...



melissa said...

thanks for posting all of this. I will definitely keep the info...

however, I know deep down that until I can make it at least a month without alcohol, that I won't be able to do this. first things first (oh god, that's an AA slogan hahaha).

Nefertiti said...

One step at a time... seems like there's a theme here...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting...I'm starting the master cleanse tomorrow after speaking with a Jamaican fellow at my work whose done it 3 times.

Kaycee said...

I was googling this and came upon your site. It's extremely helpful how you detailed the experience. I actually find it more helpful than any other site I visited. Thanks and I hope you don't ever delete this blog : )

Anika said...

Keep up the good work.

Sam said...

Thank you so much for leaving this information! It was extremely helpful!

Geeta said...

Thanks for the tips, this was a great writeup! Im starting the cleanse tonite!

Anonymous said...

Daughter & I started today! Not sure I can do 10 d but will def. try . .end of day 1 -my stomach aches & burning sensation . .how many onces is one "serving"?
Agrrr . .no will power!!

Anonymous said...

I used your post to do my are right on target. 10 days of success!! I feel great.
Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

This was an awesome overview of the Cleanse. I will pass this along as a research starting point to any friend considering doing the MC.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post indeed! My two friends and I made a Master Cleanse iPhone app called, simply, Master Cleanse. It stays true to Stanley Burroughs' method (of course), but also takes into account a couple of medical discoveries that have been made since the book was written, such as the importance of taking probiotics starting a day after your last day on the cleanse in order to replenish the good bacteria lost during the cleanse. It also has good nutritional information for all ingredients used, as well as explanations as to why they're used. Here are a couple of examples:

Grade B maple syrup
-Contains manganese, an antioxidant mineral which helps neutralize free-radicals. Just 2 teaspoons equals 22% of your daily value
- Provides energy with its high levels of B vitamins and amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein).
- It also contains zinc, which helps maintain a healthy immune system. Zinc is required by
hundreds of enzymes in your body for normal functioning.

Cayenne pepper
- As the best blood circulation stimulant known, capsaicin (its active ingredient) stops platelets from clumping together and therefore allows blood to flow more easily.
- It soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva.
- It is considered a thermogenic, which raises metabolism and aids in weight loss.

So in addition to reading Burroughs' book and conducting your own research on the Master Cleanse, check out the Master Cleanse iphone app. Here's the link if you're interested:

Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts... they and the comments to follow helped me a lot.
I am not on day 3 of the MC, lots of questions keep popping up... like why does my tongue look and feel so weird?
My energy is all over the board...high energy or slow getting started, relaxed, quiet, out and about. Somehow I get a sense that I am finding my inner rhythm.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts... they and the comments to follow helped me a lot.
I am not on day 3 of the MC, lots of questions keep popping up... like why does my tongue look and feel so weird?
My energy is all over the board...high energy or slow getting started, relaxed, quiet, out and about. Somehow I get a sense that I am finding my inner rhythm.

Anonymous said...

I use your blog to do my cleanses and have passed it on to others. You summarize well and porvide excellent thoughts and information--thank you for being a part of my successful cleanses.


Melly said...

Thanx for posting this. I'm starting my cleanse today. Wish me luck. :)))

Anonymous said...

Hi there, today is the 8th day of my 3rd cleanse. It has been very successful and easy this time around. No withdrawal feelings this time as I have not had any white sugar, caffeine or soda in my diet for 8 months. The master cleanse has changed my life. I have lost over 50 pounds since starting the cleanses, exercising and becoming a seafood vegetarian. The tips listed here are very helpful, I wish I had found them before my first cleanse. Give it a try, it's easier than you think. I recommend reading Stanley Burroughs book or the master cleanse by Tom Woloshyn, they really help deepen the understanding of why the cleanse is necessary and illustrate some of the health benefits. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this!! I have considered the cleanse for a couple weeks now, but I'm still getting all my info. I don't know if I can do it at this time because of school...
But thanks for all the useful information and experience!