So far in this series:
- Round 1 includes an introductory explanation of the Master Cleanse, the recipe for the lemonade and information about the saltwater flush and the senna tea.
- Round 2–guides you on how to prepare for the Master Cleanse and informs you of what you can expect to experience during the Master Cleanse. I emphasis the importance of doing your research before embarking upon a longer cleanse and I cover topics such as cravings, detoxification, sleep, dreaming, emotions and spirituality.
- Round 3–covers how to transition off of the Master Cleanse. I discuss why my own approach differs from that of some of the experts and provide the details of my own transition of the Master Cleanse. I also talk about planning what to do afterwards. The Master Cleanse is a great method for hitting the reset button and beginning a healthier way of eating.
In this article, I will go into depth about the question I receive most often which is about the length of time to do the Master Cleanse. In Round 1, I answered the question about whether or not is a good idea to do a cleanse for less than 10 days (question #6).
- Question #19: Will I get anything out of doing the Master Cleanse for a short period of time, say three days?Yes, I can say with confidence that you will feel a difference and purge some toxins by doing the Master Cleanse for a short time. You may not get as deep of a cleanse as with a 10-day cleanse but you will certainly be taking out the garbage.
Question #20: I would like to try a shorter cleanse before I try a longer one. Is that a good idea?
I find that shorter and longer cleanses are both worthwhile and have their place. If you are currently open to the idea of doing the 10-day Master Cleanse and have the willingness and ability to properly prepare and invest in the right tools (not very expensive), then I would suggest you consider establishing a strong anchor by doing a 10-day cleanse first. That said, I certainly would not discourage someone who is unwilling to do a 10-day cleanse from doing a shorter cleanse. I would still recommend you do your homework before doing a shorter cleanse.
Question #21: Is it a good idea to start the Master Cleanse and just go for as long as I want?
My feeling and experience has been that it is a more powerful and successful experience when you have a concrete goal. Once you meet that goal you can always extend the cleanse.
Question #22: How short can you go?
Peter Glickman says that as a matter of practice that he will take the smooth move tea in the evening of a bad meal and do the saltwater flush in the morning!
For a quick reset I have done a quick clean out as short as taking the smooth move tea in the evening and then drinking the lemonade until the evening of the next day and broke the cleanse by eating a light dinner. I like doing this once in a while just to clean out.
What I consider the shortest Master Cleanse is going through one full cleanse cycle. Before I explain what that entails I should point out that I approach the beginning and the end of the Master Cleanse a little differently than the generally accepted method. I feel that the cleanse begins with taking the smooth move or senna tea on the evening of day 0 and ends with the saltwater flush on the morning of your transition day off of the cleanse. I differ from the recommended method in that I do not do the saltwater flush on the morning of day 1 because I feel that in most cases it is not until the morning of day 2 that you are cleaned out enough to derive the full benefit of the rinsing function of the saltwater flush.
So what I consider to be the shortest full cycle of the Master Cleanse would begin with taking the smooth move tea on the evening of day 0, followed by drinking the lemonade on day 1, a second round of the smooth tea on the evening of day 1. The cleanse would end with the saltwater flush on the morning of day 2. In effect this cleanse would last about 36 hours and the transition off would be very quick. After the saltwater flush on the morning of day 2, I typically drink some grapefruit juice and then begin eating normally.
Question #23: What is the longest Master Cleanse you recommend?
Based on my experience completing three 10-day cleanses within a one year period and several shorter cleanses within that timeframe, I do not recommend going beyond 10 days. My opinion differs from that of many Master Cleanse advocates who claim that you get all the nutrients you need from the lemonade to sustain yourself for months if you so choose.
While it technically may be true that you can live off the lemonade mixture for months, it is my feeling that this is a far from optimal way to live. When I do a 10-day Master Cleanse I am consciously accepting the trade off between getting a deeper cleanse and getting optimal nutrition. I am willing to give up optimal nutrition for up to 10 days in order to accelerate the detoxification process. I really feel that people who claim that the lemonade mixture provides good nutrition are deluding themselves. Intuitively this just feels wrong. By day 7 on and beyond I am really feeling that my body wants dark leafy greens and a diet that is less sugary.
In sum, I feel that detoxification gains you get from doing a Master Cleanse for up to 10 days is worth the short-term nutritional deficit you will experience during the cleanse but that you need to be more careful beyond that time. If you want to do a longer cleanse, I would encourage you gather information from a variety sources and use your intuition to decide what is best for you. I am just offering you my opinion–make your own informed decision!
Question #24: What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing the Master Cleanse for a short period of time such as a couple of days?
Doing a shorter cleanse is like taking a weekend trip as opposed to an extended visit far away. It costs less and fits into your schedule better, but you will not get the same depth of results that you do with a longer vacation or a longer cleanse. You do not need to do as much planning ahead of time and can afford to do them more often. With a shorter cleanse you still derive many of the benefits of a longer cleanse such as hitting the reset button on your eating habits and taking a break from food preparation while minimizing disadvantages such as disrupting your social life and loss of optimal nutrition. I will often do a shorter cleanse that falls within Monday through Thursday so that on the weekend I am free to fully participate in the food festivities with family and friends.
A shorter cleanse can also be specifically targeted to address a particular situation or problem. For example it worked out well recently that I was on the Master Cleanse when I went to the Wisconsin State Fair. You could use the short Master Cleanse to get through an event in which healthy food options will be hard to come by. You may be less inclined to cheat if you commit to not eating food at all as opposed to bringing your own food and… well… straying a bit by having some of the crappy food. Another targeted reason to do a shorter Master Cleanse would be to gain relief from menstrual cramps.
With a shorter cleanse you do not get the deep cleanse, the sense of accomplishment, nor the spiritual highs that you do with a longer Master Cleanse, however I really feel they are worthwhile because you can get many more cleansing days in and they are just plain easier to do!
Question #25: Are there methods to further leverage the advantages short and long Master Cleanses and minimize the disadvantages of each?
I am currently working on this issue and in the future will be exploring solutions through self-experimentation. Right now my intuition is telling me that the best approach would be do a 5-day Master Cleanse followed by a 5-day blended meal/juice cleanse. This approach would lessen the time in which a person is without optimal nutrition while continuing to detox with a diet that is relatively easy to digest. I prefer to do blended meals as opposed to a juice fast because it is much easier from a preparation perspective. I will do further research on the types of foods to include and exclude from the bended meals in order to maximize the detoxification process while providing my body with optimal nutrition. If you have experience in this area, I’d love to hear from you!
Question #26: Are there other types of cleanses that you recommend?
I feel that the Master Cleanse is a really good choice for people who have an addictive relationship with food and/or want a cleanse with which preparing food is easy. Juice fasts work well for some people but I have not had good experiences with them in large part due to the hassle of juicing so much produce. During my cleanse, I really like to take a break from it all. One type of short term cleanse that has worked really well for me is a watermelon fast. I have done this for up to three days and felt great. I love watermelon and this is a really easy one to follow from a food preparation standpoint. I imagine I will do experimentation with other types of cleanses in the future and would love to hear your experiences and opinions.
I hope that you have enjoyed this series on the Master Cleanse. Please submit any questions you have and I will be happy to answer them. Visit my Intuitive Raw Food site for resources on the Master Cleanse and support on eating healthy. Sign up for my free newsletter to receive my free ebook on the Master Cleanse that I will release in October of 2010!