The Master Cleanse
A popular cleansing fast also known as The Lemonade Diet.
The Master Cleanse, as a method of cleansing detox is practiced by thousands of devoted followers, who consider
it a relatively easy fast to undergo. Ingredients are usually readily avilable and the drink itself has enough
calories to keep your energy level up.
The Master Cleanse drink is mostly water to which lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper have been added.
The maple syrup provides some calories in the form of simple sugars, so one doesn't enter the full state of
ketosis the way you do on a water
fast. But ketosis isn't necessary for the purpose of detox and cleansing or even weight loss.
The Master Cleanse recipe was created by Stanley Burroughs in his 1941 book called The Master Cleanser,
but its popularity really soared in the 70s. Since that time, many authors and health publications have made
reference to it over the years and have promoted it as a wonderful healing and natural cleansing and detoxing
fast. In 2004, Peter Glickman's book, Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days, gave
it another resurgence of attention and popularity. Along the way, the nickname "Lemonade Diet" took hold.
As is true for any fasting method, it is not recommended you do it with the sole intention of losing weight.
Obviously, weight loss usually does occur, but it is weight that is often put right back on after the fast if
eating habits are not addressed and improved. For safe and long-term weight loss,
lifestyle changes need to occur, as well
as mental and emotional adjustments. It can, however, be a great aid to weight loss and help you make the
necessary life adjustments, but is not, by itself, a "cure" for excess weight.
Ten days is considered the standard Master Cleanse cleansing fast, but people use it for all different lengths
of time. You are prompted to only fast as long as is appropriate for you; in other words, don't push yourself
too hard, especially in the beginning when you are new to fasting. Intense detox symptoms need to be taken
seriously. See How Long Should You Fast
for more information on fasting time frames. It's up to you how long you choose.
The Master Cleanse Recipe
The stated recipe varies widely on the internet, where many modifications have been made and confusion arises from
the fact that the recipe begins with 8 ounces of water, but produces a 10-ounce drink in the end. Below is the actual
Master Cleanse Recipe
aka Lemonade Diet Recipe
To 8 ounces of
purified water, add:
2 Tbls fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1-2 Tbls 100% pure maple syrup
Drink liberally (from 6-12 glasses per day) throughout the day. Once mixed, this is a 10-ounce
drink per serving.
Many suggest the lemon or lime should be organically grown when possible. And often the maple syrup is suggested to be
Grades B or C, darker syrups which purport to have higher mineral content than Grade A. However, a recurring problem
for some people using the darker grades, is an unappealing flavor, so some use Grade A, but definitely 100% pure,
maple syrup. Honey is NOT recommended as a substitute for the syrup, as it is too congesting in these quantities.
You can mix up larger quantities. It's okay to mix the day's supply in the morning, although it is preferred the lemon
and cayenne pepper be added fresh to each glass, as their nutrients break down quickly. Also, don't store premixed drink
in a plastic container, glass only, as plastic can leach unwanted compounds.
For intestinal cleansing
As with many fasting methodologies, Master Cleanse purports colon cleansing to be imperative to thorough body detox. To
accomplish this a laxative tea is to be drunk every evening before bed, followed by
the Master Cleanse salt water flush first thing in the morning.
A lot of controversy surrounds the use of the salt water flush, marring the reputation of Master Cleanse in general.
(See here for the dangers of the salt water flush.)
This is unfortunate because the "lemonade" is actually great for cleansing and detox. It is a long-held remedy for cleansing and
liver health found in many older books, to drink water to which fresh lemon juice has been added.
If you are thinking about doing a Master Cleanse, consider the salt water flush an optional part of it. There are
alternatives for a fasting colon cleanse.
For more support
Because of the popularity of the Master Cleanse, some even calling it an alternative lifestyle, there is wide support
available to those interested. A popular board offering support through the process, can be found at Peter Glickman's
site (as stated before, he is the author of Lose Weight, Have More Energy and Be Happier in 10 Days). The board seems
active, current, and helpful. (Update: The forum had to be shut down. Read about that here.)
He also offers specialized kits and supplies for a Master
Cleanse. Click here to go to Glickman's supplies page at themastercleanse.com.
Tips for Master Cleanse:
- Do not attempt a Master Cleanse fast if you tend toward hypoglycemia, due to the high levels of sugar.
- The night before you begin your fast, drink a cup of herbal laxative tea.
- Drink 6-12 glasses of Master Cleanse per day. You can mix up a day's worth in the morning, leaving out the lemon
and cayenne pepper, and instead adding them fresh as you pour each individual drink.
- For best results, use room temperature lemons, and roll them with firm pressure to release the juices right before juicing.
- You will be getting calories from the maple syrup, about 650-1300 per day depending on how much you drink, so you shouldn't feel
lightheaded or dizzy.
- Drink a cup of herbal laxative tea every evening of your fast.
- The salt water flush is performed first thing in the morning,
and you should plan to be at home for 1-2 hours after drinking the flush (some say you should be home ALL day, or that you should
wear adult diapers all day). But you can choose not to do the salt water flush, it is not necessary for your cleansing and detox.
Allowing the bowels to rest and perform their own healing actions is perfectly fine. Some drink a cup of herbal laxative tea in
the morning as a substitute for the flush, plus you can use this
colon cleanse recipe both before and after your fast.
Take 3 days to transition back to normal foods after a 10-day Master Cleanse fast. Start with several glasses of orange juice on
the first day, orange juice and vegetable broth and fresh fruit on the second day, and add veggies on the third day.
On the fourth day, you can return to a normal diet.
For more information, see Guidelines for Breaking a Fast.
For all fasts:
Return to top
Helpful TopicsHow long should you fast?
what length of time is best for you and how much preparation is required.
Types of Fasting
Offers an overview of the basic methods of fasting,
their main differences, and help in choosing which one is right for you.
lists some of the options for
doing a liquid-only fast, including broth and milk.
Details how to do a 1-3 day fast with
offers guidance on using
a cleansing diet as a partial fast or as a means of preparation for other types of fasting.
benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss
deep and lasting changes in our lives.
Emotional Benefits of Fasting
offers insight on the healing effects fasting has on our emotional and mental patterns.
Water Fasting Tips
offers guidance and support
useful during any type of fast. Helpful in "getting over the hump".