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What is the master cleanse?

I apologize for such a newbie question. I did a search and found many experiences and tips but not a complete description of what is done. Also is it good to do a cleanse in the beginning of transitioning or better to wait until a person has gone raw for a while?


  • Don't ever apologize for asking a question. Chances are there's someone else wanting the same answer but afraid to ask.

    The Master Cleanse (or Cleanser) aka The Lemonade Diet is a juice fast that aims to"simplify the cause and the correction of all disorders, regardless of the name or names." (The Master Cleanser with Special Needs and Problems, by Stanley Burroughs)

    It is recommended that one drink six to twelve 10oz glasses a day for 10 to 40 days.

    As for when to do this, you can do this anytime.

    If you're still eating meat and cooked foods, it's best to work up to The Master cleanse, slowly eliminating foods until you get to fruits and vegetables, then a fruit and vegetable fast, then the Master Cleanse.

    This way, your body has time to gradually get used to eating less food, and won't shock your body.

    But, I do have to add, I'm not a real big fan of fasts.

    Sometimes, people really need to build up, not eliminate.

    Just adding more healthful foods can make a tremendous difference.

    But that's just my opinion, not the Truth.

  • leafygreen, I have a copy of the original book (it's short!) by Stanley Burroughs written in the 70's. It used to be posted online but it's a dead link last time I checked. You can email me at freewitheft@yahoo.com if you'd like me to send it to you!

    veghealthcoach, I totally agree. I'm a huge fan of the MC, but also listen to my body and stopped my last on day 7 when my hunger came back. It was my fourth of the year and I think I was just too depleted. So, I'm building myself up for several months and will probably only do a couple this year. :)

  • I have done 3 eleven day MCs with good results. I had been raw 1 year the first time. Every time I have seen benefits, each time they've been different. The last time I did it with a friend that is definitely on the SAD! He had an easy time of it and it helped him transition away from bad habits and into good ones. He didn't have any detrimental detox symptoms. I have a few other SAD friends that have done it with zero problems. So, my advice is different, I think it is a good way to begin a raw diet. It makes the transition easier, I believe, because after the cleanse you crave only the cleanest and most simple foods.

    Two more things: read the entire book before you start! I also bought Glickman's book chronicling the experiences of 100 people on the cleanse. I think it helped me know what to expect. I also read a blog on yestheyrefake.com, she gives a day to day account of her experiences. The other piece of advice, be completely prepared. Make sure you are mentally ready and have all of the necessary supplies, this will help you be successful also.

  • Yeah, everybody is going to have a different experience. :-)

  • There are a couple of key elements missing from what others have written: the laxative tea at night before bed and the salt water flush first thing in the AM. These are the key factors that will help eliminate what the lemon and cayenne are loosening from your body. It's easy to find Stanley Burroughs' book at any good health food store. I highly recommend reading it before beginning.

    One thing that this cleanse really does help with is eliminating cravings for unhealthy/junk foods. The first three days are the toughest. I've completed 4 so far.

    Best of luck!

  • I just came off of one and it was pretty intense this time around. It is a great way to clean out your system of mucus and toxins.

  • I just started the MC today ... I really wanted it to work, but I am giving up already. The salt water flush took me over an hour to drink and didn't help me 'flush' anything out whatsoever. I then drank two glasses of the lemonade mix and purged it up uncontrollably a few minutes later. Not to overtake this topic, but does anyone have suggestions for how to avoid this? I'd like to eventually do it right. I'm guessing the salt stayed in my system. I read the book by Tom Woloshyn so I thought I knew what I was doing, now I just feel horrible. Better luck to everyone else! I'm sure it's very rewarding when it does work.

  • Scooter, I am on day four of my first cleanse and haven't had any of these problems. I am drinking the SWF through a straw. I couldn't do it without one. and I definitely don't have a problem with the lemonade. Perhaps less cayenne?

  • oh, and I have a friend (who is SAD) who drinks smooth move and doesn't do the SWF and says she doesn't have a problem with bowel movements.

  • scooter, I usually do the laxative tea in the morning instead of the saltwater flush, which is totally acceptable in the original protocol. I work in the middle of the night and leave shortly after waking up, so the saltwater flush isn't practical except on my days off. Maybe try the tea at night and morning instead of the flush. The important thing is to keep everything moving out on a steady basis. And you may have just tried the lemonade too soon after the saltwater. Good luck!

  • I did a blog entry on SWFing:


    I hope it helps. I am not an expert but I tried to do a little hunting for info and posted it up.

  • Thanks for all the information. I decided to try starting with the cleanse hoping it gets rid of my addiction to sugar.

  • Hi Master Cleansers I just finished my first 10 day cleanse (yess!) and I'm on day 1 of the orange juice. I was raw for 1 year before I did this cleanse and honestly not a whole lot came out (gross sorry), I was wondering from all you other raw foodies doing the cleanse a few times a year if this was the case? Also, can I only do 1 day of orange juice and smoothies and fruit tomorrow? ok possibly some avocado i'm craving it pretty badly. I know Stanley says 2 days of OJ then fruit and salad on day 3 then regular eating on day 4 but does anyone have any experience with rushing that part at all?

  • Congrats SA-RAW! Listen to your body, make sure your stomach is warmed up and things are moving around, gurgling and such. I would start out with smoothies in the morning and during the day the second day after, then maybe some fruit towards the end if all is going well. I've done ok when I pushed it a little after a 10-day MC, but will never, EVER do that again after a 20-day MC. It was the worst pain in my life (seriously, would take childbirth over it). I ended up going for acupuncture to get my stomach and GI system moving again, because the food I put in it was just sitting there like a rock. I really didn't think it would make much difference since everything shuts down after day 3, but apparently it does! I read somewhere (think it was info about fasting in general, not the MC specifically) that the rule of thumb is that for every 5 days of fasting, you should take one day coming off of it. So, just proceed with caution. :)

    Yeah, I've done some MC's where not a whole lot came out. ;) I think it's not so much the volume that's being excreted as the fact that you keep things moving and excrete *something* every day. It's good to keep those toxins moving out so you don't feel like crap. Literally. lol

    Congrats again!!! I think you will find it gets easier each time too. That hump to get over with hunger in the first few days have been much easier for me to deal with in subsequent MC's.

  • lol, I love when raw fooders mention going back to "regular eating". it is nice to hear it described as "regular". not like people being like "gosh, i just fasted for 3 days, finally i can eat these cheeseburgers again" haha

  • Thank you freewitheft for the feedback! 20 day master cleanse? You're an animal. I almost wanted to go longer than 10 but I told myself to take it easy it's only my first one. Well actually my first one lasted 5 days. I'm not sure what i'll do about solid food, I just want a salad with watercress and avocado in it so badly i don't know why! Anyway maybe ill have some strawberries tomorrow afternoon (second day after the fast) and see what happens.

    EECHO- funny story i read this blog on a girl that was disappointed that she gained all the weight back from her MC. At 12:01am on her final day she binged on cookies and was excited about finishing it. hmmm silly

  • i've done one 10 day cleanse and i did the SWF in the evening starting about 8pm. i used epsom salts though and put them in capsules. it was about 11-12 caps for the tablespoon of salts. it did the job though. just couldn't handle the taste. if you do the lax tea and add psyllium twice a day, it works too. hoping to start a 14 day cleanse in about 2 wks.

  • oh yea, forgot to add. at about day 7 or 8 i took a bath and put on an avocado mask (my skin felt dry). it was all i could do to not lick my face! LOL!

  • I gave up my major addiction to sugar by simply eating an orange each time I craved it. Within about a week of that I didn't even need the orange. ( or eating whatever fruit you enjoy)

  • it's been 6 days since i completed the master cleanse and i feel pretty good. did anyone else's appetite come back with a fury because mine did and i had to work to satisfy it! since i have a "fresh start" now i was going to try 80-10-10 and see where that gets me because i was blessed with one of the fussiest stomachs of all time. however, i found that i couldn't jump into that until i satisfied a few cravings that i had during my cleanse. i needed guacamole and have had it twice since my cleanse ended! does anyone have thoughts or opinions?

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