I grew up hearing quite a bit about the Lemonade Diet… mostly from comedians on TV. But fast forward 30 years and 30 lbs of baby fat later, I was ready to try anything to lose weight. So last summer I decided to complete my first detox diet. I'm a pretty clean eater, but I did go to college (Hello, fast food!) and I lived in South America for a while (parasites! Bleah! Surely NOT!). Since I like Lemonade, the Lemonade Diet sounded pleasant and was my detox diet of choice. What follows is the secret diary I kept during the 10 days that I was on the fast. If you've ever thought about cleansing, this blog post will give you a sneak peak at what it's really like. And if you think cleansing is a crazy thing that only the nuttiest health people do, well now you never have to do a cleanse because I've done it for you!
This blog uses affiliate links. This post is for your entertainment (at my expense) only. It is NOT medical advice. I am not saying you should or shouldn't do the cleanse. I'm just giving you a sneak peek at what I was thinking when I did it. M'kay? Ok.
The Night Before The Lemonde Diet Starts
Tomorrow is the day! After spending several months thinking about doing the Master Cleanse, tomorrow I am going to take the leap and begin!
I've already read the original Master Cleanse book by Stanley Borroughs and I'm in the process of reading The Complete Master Cleanse by Tom Woloshyn. These books make big promises and I admit that I am a bit skeptical about their cure-all claims, but I am excited to have clean, sparkly insides.
I went to the grocery store to stock up for the cleanse and I must have been quite the sight! I bought lots of fresh vegetables that will be easy for Papa the Farmer and the little Farmhands to prepare so that I don't have to be in the kitchen cooking while I'm on this diet. And then I bought 80 lemons, 5 gallons of purified water and a jug of maple syrup. (Cost of the cleanse ingredients: About $40) I was surprised that the girl at the checkout didn't make a comment, because I did get some strange looks from the other shoppers.
I do have a confession. Since today is the last day I will chew for over a week, I thought I would indulge in one last edible treat. I wandered around the grocery store looking for something appropriate. My favorite Lemonade was on sale and I almost bought it but then I realized I'll probably be tired of Lemonade very soon. I decided to look for something else and ended up buying myself a box of muffins. I ate one and the first bite was delicious. These weren't ordinary muffins. These were more likes biting into a fluffy cloud of cake. Mmmm….
It didn't take long for the adult in me to raise up remind me just what a bad decision stuffing myself full of cake before an intestinal cleanse is. Having a half-eaten box of cake-muffins in the house while I was trying to abstain seemed like a really bad idea. I also wasn't looking forward to having to explain the presence of this indulgence to Papa the Farmer so I literally found somebody on the side of the road and thrust my muffins at them. “Take these! Take them all!” The man said, “You are so nice!” I assured him I wasn't being nice and he was doing me a favor by taking them away from me.
At home I prepared a more reasonable meal… a salad with all my favorite veggies and a pizza. Too bad I spoiled my appetite with that muffin and could only eat one slice, because it sure looked delicious.
Day # 1
What have I done? The word “Lemonade” is a very generous word for this concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper. This is not lemonade, it's more like liquid fire. (The Canadian in me is not used to spice and I sure don't want to drink it in my Lemonade!) This drink burns my throat and leaves my mouth on fire. The first sip was the worst and I was able to drink all 6 required cups, but this is going to be a very long 10 days.
Well, I can feel that the cleanse is doing something. I feel like my insides are being scraped out with a spatula. It's a strange, uncomfortable sensation, but “no pain, no gain,” right? So far I'm not feeling hungry, but I'm also avoiding the family at mealtimes so that I don't have to look at food and be tempted.
I woke up early this morning feeling AWFUL. I almost threw up and was left so weak that all I could do was spread a towel out on the bathroom floor and lie there for a while. Thankfully FarmBoy woke up and brought me a glass of water and that helped me feel well enough to at least make it back into bed. I woke up about 2 hours later feeling fine and I went to the gym, worked out and felt great.
Surprisingly, I'm not as hungry as I thought I would be. When I do feel hungry I just drink another glass of lemon concoction and the hunger pangs go away. I refuse to call it Lemonade.
I woke up feeling sick again this morning, but it wasn't as bad as yesterday. “Healing Crisis” is what the health gurus call this. Basically, just like when you clean your closet and it has to get worse before it gets better, the idea is that when you clean your colon things have to get worse before they get better. I am noticing that I am feeling weaker at the gym. Pilates moves that I could do last week are just laughably impossible now. At one point I just quit trying and pulled out my camera to take a picture of the instructor doing the pose. Surely looking at her twisting her body into a pretzel is almost as good as doing it myself, right? I'm also starting to feel hopeless. I feel like I have been on this Lemonade Diet FOREVER and I'm not even half way through. There is no end in sight for me. Also, my family is irritating the daylights out of me. All of them. They say I am being extra irritable, but it's not me, it's them. ALL OF THEM.
I am not speaking to anyone today. I am hungry. And today I may have licked up some extra maple syrup that spilled on the table, just because.
I received news that a friend from out of state was going to be passing through town this evening and could we get together for dinner? The books I've read about the Lemonade Diet warn against attending food oriented social gatherings while on the cleanse. This was the first time I've cooked while on the Lemonade Diet. Interesting experience, cooking food you KNOW you will not eat. I think our guests wondered why I was serving them food that I wouldn't actually eat myself. I should have offered them some Lemonade. “Here, have a drink. Some nice, cool, refreshing Lemonade for our picnic. With Cayenne in it in case you like Mexican Food. And Maple Syrup for dessert.”
Went to the grocery store today. Interesting to see how much food in a grocery store is not really food at all. Looking at the candy disgusted me. All those artificial colors… bleah! Do people realize they are eating the equivalent of paint? It's strange how when you're not eating food, it's easy to recognize how so much of what we eat is…. not food. Looking at the raw meat made me want to vomit. Big Excitement of the day: Buying a new brand of laxative tea. Oh, I didn't mention that I have to drink Laxative tea every day? Well I do. So a new flavor is something to be very, very excited about. Up until now I've been drinking “chocolate” laxative tea. (Don't be deceived by the name! There is no actual chocolate in it.) Today I switched to Peppermint and it's much better. So that's the big news-worthy event of the day.
We went for a walk this afternoon along the local hiking trail. We probably only walked half a mile, but it was 100 degrees outside. I came home and slept for 6 hours… which is more than I usually sleep at night!
I went to a social event tonight and was chatting with a lady there who did the Master Cleanse twice. She said she loves it! I am feeling less than enthusiastic about it and not really sure if I've seen any results, but then she told me a story. As a child, her father smoked and she was around all that second hand smoke. She hasn't lived with a person who smokes in decades. Well, she did the Master Cleanse for 20 days and then did it for another 20 days a few months later. On the 19th day of her second cleanse she went to the bathroom and what came out smelled like smoke! That was almost inspiring enough to make me want try this again… but not quite.
My last day! I feel like I can't drink One. More. Cup. of cayenne and lemon, but if I quit now then I have to get on my blog and tell everyone that I quit just one day early. I did drink only 5 cups of Lemonade instead of 6. Because I just couldn't drink one. more. glass. of that stuff.
After The Cleanse: The Results
In total, I lost 15 lbs on the cleanse and I noticed that I look remarkably better. Between the cleanse and working out, there was a very short time that I thought my body might be starting to look like it did before I had babies. And then I started eating food again. I eased back into eating the way the books recommend and within 2 days I had gained 10 lbs back. So for me, this was not an effective weight loss method.
One thing that surprised me was what happened in the bathroom each morning. (Stay with me, here! I promise not to be nasty.) The books promised that I would be met with incredibly disgusting sights in the toilet each day. I was intrigued and disgusted at the same time… But nothing interesting happened. I was a bit disappointed, but mostly I was relieved.
I do think there is value to cleansing. After the 10 day cleanse I did feel more energetic and cleaner. If the cleanse did no other good, after completing it I was more inclined to eat carefully. Just like you remove your shoes and tip toe on a freshly mopped floor so you won't have to reclean it, I found myself saying “no thank you” to cookies and other goodies after the cleanse, simply so I wouldn't have to reclean my intestines.
Would I do the Master Cleanse again? Probably not. I wish I had done a vegetable juice fast instead. I think that would have been a more balanced, healthier approach. But am I sorry I did it? Absolutely not! I think it was a valuable experience and benefited more overall health.
Are You Up For Trying It?
If you are, here are a few items that would have made my experience just a wee bit more pleasant:
BLACK+DECKER CJ625 30-Watt 34-Ounce Citrus Juicer, WhiteLemon Squeezer – Best Premium Quality Stainless Steel Hand Press with Silicone Handles and Heavy Duty Easy to Use Manual Citrus PressBall Mason Drinking Jars with Sip Lid and Straw (Purple, 12 Ounce)
What “crazy” things have you done in your pursuit of health and/or weight loss? Share them in the comments below!