Everyone seems to love the Master Cleanser, the "lemonade cleanse". Don't get me wrong, I like lemonade too, but as a detox, this program has some serious pitfalls.
Let's start with the lemonade recipe. It is pretty simple; fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. Fresh lemon juice is very healthy; I have no beef with the lemons. But your teeth might. If you drink nothing but lemonade for an extended period of time, the enamel on your teeth could be eaten away. Lemon juice certainly has its place in a detox program, but too much of a good thing may lead to painful teeth. The caustic nature of lemon juice -- which makes it good as a de-greaser -- can be an irritant to the sensitive tissues of the digestive tract. Those with mouth or stomach inflammation may aggravate their conditions by consuming such a harsh substance.
The proponents of the Master Cleanser will insist that the lemonade be made with Grade B maple syrup. You see, grade B maple syrup is less refined and therefore contains more minerals than grade A; making this maple syrup supposedly healthy. The refining of sugars (and grains) removes the nutrients and leaves a finished product of pure carbohydrate. Therefore, it is true that unrefined foods are healthier than their nutrient devoid cousins. However, this is not my complaint with maple syrup. I take issue with the fact that even the unrefined maple syrup turns into blood glucose very rapidly. The more rapidly a food turns into blood glucose, the greater your blood sugar swings up and down. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the Master Cleanser program were the only time your blood sugar balance was challenged. Unfortunately, sodas, fruit juice, coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, bagels, most bread and pasta, potatoes, and some fruits digest very rapidly. The result of eating these rapidly digesting foods is diabetes and adrenal fatigue. There are much healthier sweeteners, such as agave, yacon and stevia, which give our taste buds the sweet taste without putting our blood sugar on a roller coaster ride to diabetes.
Cayenne pepper has been shown to reduce pain and benefit the cardiovascular system, but too much of a good thing, is not a good thing. We Americans don’t do so well with moderation, so too often the Master Cleanser recipe is taken as a dare; how much cayenne can you handle? Many people have digestive inflammation from coffee, food allergies, stress and fried foods. If you add cayenne to a sensitive ulcer or hemorrhoid, the result will be pain. When you begin the Master Cleanser will power is at an all time high. The combination of lots of cayenne, strong will power and a “no pain, no gain” attitude can add up to an emergency room visit. So, don’t forget that common sense is an important ingredient in any cleansing program.
If the lemon acid and cayenne aren’t enough to light your entrails on fire, the author of the Master Cleanser was kind enough to include another insult to the program. The Saltwater Flush is a strong laxative created by drinking an extremely salty glass of water. This water is so salt laden that it is hypertonic, meaning it is saltier than you are. This inhibits your body from absorbing the water and instead it rushes right through you. In herbal medicine salt is termed a “harsh laxative” and for any of you who have gone swimming in saltwater with a cut or scrape, you know that it can be painful. For those of you who follow the Master Cleanser like it is ‘your job’ the combination of herbal and saltwater laxatives, cayenne pepper and the stomach acid (due to the laxatives) passing out of the body, can create a bad case of “fire ass”. I have had people contact me looking for remedies for their painful, bleeding kiesters. Mega ouch!
A modified Master Cleanser drink can be useful in a cleansing program. However, it is certainly not a whole program unto itself. In fact, any cleansing program where you go more than three days without protein is detrimental. After three days, you become deficient in important amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that are needed for detoxification. When this happens, common “cleansing reactions’ such as headaches, fatigue, achiness and nausea will last days instead of minutes.
A properly prescribed detoxification program is one of the greatest things you can do to create good habits and jumpstart your health. Get started by visiting my Ultimate Detox webpage.
Peace and Health,
Great post Tim. Very true. This diet seems to be very 'trendy' among people, especially in the 'Hollywood' community.
People lose rapids amount of weight on this diet, of which 95% they gain back.
I have seen it used as a weight loss tool even more than a cleanser.
Very good post !
Dustin Siena, L.Ac.
Posted by: Dustin Siena | February 22, 2010 at 03:20 PM