My Take on the Master Cleanse
It was by choice — I wanted a break from my often constant eating and preoccupation with food. Yes, I did the “cleanse” thing.
If you talk to my clients or friends, they’ll tell you that I enjoy eating. I preach the consumption of prepared foods: chicken, fish, brown rice, broccoli, lean meats, egg whites, veggies. I typically eat 5-6 small meals a day. One or two of these meals is usually some type of protein bar or meal replacement drink.
On the other hand, if you talk to Bronson, he’d rat on me. It’s true I’m a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie and Krispy Kreme. The last time we had them (Sunday) I ate most of the dozen. Okay, two dozen. But it was cheat day. I also have a less-than-ideal relationship with sugar, (with Red Vines being my chief weakness in that department) and caffeine (a.k.a. my iced coffee, the “old school way” from the Coffee Bean).
But I’m giving all of this a rest—hopefully a long rest—as I embark today upon a sunrise-to-sunset fast called The Master Cleanser, which you can read more about in one of my earlier posts. If you’re interested, you can also buy the book here. Here’s what happened on my day in the fast lane…
I keep asking myself: why am I doing this? Here are my reasons.
1. Brah wanted to try it. Out of solidarity, I want to support him.
2. I’d like to break my unhealthy relationship to caffeine and sugar. Taking a break from both of these things just feels right with my “gut check.”
3. I’ve heard so much about fasting and how it brings about a spiritual peace, calmness and focus. Some people call it a “natural high.” I’m interested in this.
4. I’m tired of washing dishes. Yeah, it sounds lame—but it’s true.
5. I’ve read a lot lately about the connection between one’s I.Q. and one’s propensity toward vegetarianism. They say it’s because people with higher I.Q.’s also recognize the life extension benefits associated with vegetarianism. A widely-held belief among life-extension practitioners is that reducing the amount of food one eats is directly tied to the duration of one’s natural life. While there may not be any double-blind evidence to support this, on a “gut-check” level, it just seems right to me.
10:00 Morning Prep
I’ve just now made about 100 ounces of the lemonade mixture for myself and Bronson, which should be enough for the day.
The lemonade is prepped as follows (per glass):
- 10 oz. water (warm/medium hot)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (amber grade B or C)
- 1/10th teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- I made it 50 oz at a time (fits a water bottle):
- 50 oz. warm/medium hot spring water
- 10 TB lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 10 TB pure maple syrup (preferably grade B or C)
- 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper
The pale yellow lemon juice is tart, but is balanced nicely with the sweet, amber hues of the maple syrup. Prepared, the concoction looks a little bit like apple juice mixed with cranberry juice. It doesn’t taste half bad!
12:30 Mid-day Reflection
I’m still feeling good and I’ve decided that I won’t let the fast disrupt my own gym routine, since I’m personally in a pretty good clip lately, and I want to hit the New Year running with my personal fitness goals, so I’m going to hit Gold’s Hollywood. Physically, there’s a little hunger, but it’s not the gnawing hunger I expected, and the cayenne pepper in the lemon mixture gives you a full, warm feeling.
13:30 Post Workout
My workout was a little shorter than normal (I did shoulders) but in my effort to be a good soldier, I spent some extra time working on abs. I find that sometimes during a hard workout, when my energy is lagging or I simply don’t have enough time, doing abs is a great way to stay focused, centered, and meditative. I left the gym feeling energized and headed to Hollywood to train my afternoon clients.
I’m almost seven hours into the fast, and I feel remarkably good. At this point I’ve consumed about 50 ounces (1.5 liters) of the lemonade mixture. I’ve trained my morning clients and even made a trip to the gym myself.
I feel a little hungry right now, but it’s not unmanageable. If anything, there’s a greater sense of control over my body and mind in knowing that I am doing this of my own volition. The fast allows some peppermint tea throughout the day, so I’m sipping hot peppermint tea, which is a surprisingly tasty replacement to the iced coffee I usually drink.
16:45 Bronson Chimes In
Bron texts me: “I WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!” This will be an interesting evening.
I had a weird experience driving past a McDonald’s restaurant tonight on the way home from work. I could literally smell that “McDonald’s aroma” in the air and the smell of grease and french fries smelled just WRONG. It was an interesting visceral reaction to a smell I don’t normally notice.
19:30 Ambient Therapy
I want to flood my remaining four senses with stimulation and take my mind off food, so I just prepared the house with candles, incense, and ambient music (something I learned from Paul).
My senses are heightened. It must be working, because when Bronson arrived home, he remarked how warm and cozy everything felt. I drew him a hot moisture bath.
We are both weighing whether on not we should continue the fast through the night and into the next day. After tossing it about, we decide to make some peppermint tea and steamed rice and bring the day-long cleanse to a close.
The rice tastes gooooooood.
21:00 Finish Line
We hit the hay (watching an episode of Nip/Tuck) before finally falling asleep: my day in the fast lane is complete.
-Ed. Note: post originally published 12/28/06