Diets Deconstructed – The Master Cleanse

Welcome back cysters and fellow wellness enthusiasts to our #dietsdeconstructed series, it’s been a little while.

It is officially ‘beach body’ season (if we need to even think about that concept and the myriad of things wrong with it that is!) so everywhere you seem to turn there is some new diet trend to try, some hot new exercise class or slimming bathing suits – it’s summer madness I tell you!

So for those new to the diets deconstructed series a quick note – these posts are in no way promoting a particular diet plan or method; I’m not a medical professional and since everyone is different (even those of us with PCOS) I’m not about to provide a one size fits all solution. These posts are simply a way to break down and explore the different diet trends we keep hearing so much about so you can know what all the hype is about, of course there really is no substitute for good old fashioned healthy diet with lots of water, vegetables and fruits as part of a balanced diet. J

Let’s get down to it, this week – #DietsDeconstructed – The Master CleanseWell it’s a pretty big name to live up to this one and has been used for years by celebs trying to shift a little weight before hitting the red carpet or in the case of Beyoncé slimming down to play her role in the movie Dreamgirls but it is definitely a short term ‘fix’ rather than a lifestyle choice or diet.

The Master Cleanse is essential a modified juice fast whereupon all food is cut out for the duration of the cleanse (normally about 10 days) and substituted with a DIY lemonade/tea hybrid including maple syrup and cayenne pepper… sounds appetizing doesn’t it?

Lemons for master cleanse

This particular diet trend was created by a gentleman named Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s – yes really, the 1940s! He revived the cleanse concept in his books The Master Cleanser and Healing for the Age of Enlightenment which were both published in the 1970s.

Even though the cleanse has proved popular and has been endorsed by high profile celebrities like Queen Bey, Ashton Kutcher and singer Pink there has been no evidence whatsoever that the diet is any good – scientific evidence doesn’t back up the claims of removing toxins and it doesn’t do anything other than help with temporary weight loss. As you would anticipate with something with such limited ingredients (not to mention lacking in protein, vitamins and minerals) it can do more harm than good over an extended period. If you aren’t used to this type of cleanse common side effects can include feeling sick, lacking in energy, dizziness , constipation or diarrhoea and dehydration – proceed with caution.

So let’s review the Master Cleanse rules shall we?

On the cleanse (for whatever period you choose to undertake) NO solid foods or supplements are allowed at all – you are only supposed to drink the cleanse elixir in order to remain hydrated. It is suggested that drinking 6 or more servings of the lemonade elixir a day is sufficient to keep you hydrated, if needed you can also include a ‘salt water flush’ in the morning (literally water with 2 tsp of salt) and a herbal laxative tea at night! Don’t forget though that after your cleanse you should ease back into eating solid foods – it can be a bit of a shock to the system.

The master cleanse elixir is made up of approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 10 ounces of water.

And there you have it – The Master Cleanse – the quick fix of choice for a number of celebs but definitely not something to take lightly. In fact personally I would be wary of such cleanses and try to look at a more rounded long-term nutrition solution but each to their own I suppose.

As mentioned before I am not a doctor or specialist so if you have more questions about or would like to consider utilising this particular diet please do consult with your GP or a professional first to make sure it is right for you – after all we are all very different and our bodies have different needs, make sure you pick something that suits you.