The Master Cleanse, sometimes called the lemonade diet, is an ode to the early 2000s when it made a splash with celebs like Beyonce and Demi Moore. Back then, it became incredibly popular as a way to drop weight and help detox the body.
While new wellness trends have quickly taken place, the Master Cleanse may still have benefits for the mind and body. If you’re looking for a gentle “reset,” then it can be a valid option for you to look into.
Curious? Keep reading this guide from Sunwink for the ultimate master cleanse recipe and our top tips for reaping its potential benefits.
What Is the Master Cleanse?
The Master Cleanse has been around since the 1940s. It’s perhaps the original gentle detox diet, based on the principles of a caloric liquid fast. The other types of fasts include a non-caloric liquid fast and a dry fast.
The Master Cleanse was developed by Stanley Burroughs — an alternative medicine practitioner. He originally developed his protocol as a quick weight loss method. However, he also touted the Master Cleanse for its other potential health benefits, such as maintaining the digestive system.
As the Master Cleanse protocol became increasingly popular, Burroughs published his ideas in a book of the same name. The original publication date is 1976, after which his protocol became quickly well-known. Those who follow it are encouraged to stick to it for at least 10 days.
Everyone has different reasons for doing the Master Cleanse. Some may want to quickly lose weight, like for an important event. Others may want to give their digestive system a break from junk food and gently detox their bodies. Other followers of the Master Cleanse lemonade diet may simply want a mental reset to figure out which diet fits them best.
But is there any evidence to support these supposed benefits?
Keep reading to find out.
What Are the Benefits of the Master Cleanse?
Followers of the Master Cleanse may claim the diet has many benefits, but let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Here are four potential benefits you could experience from doing the Master Cleanse:
1. May Support Weight Loss Efforts
The Master Cleanse is essentially a type of fast, which means that you’ll be refraining from calorie-dense solid foods. It’s not a diet about healthy eating, because no actual eating is involved.
The lemonade drink you’ll have during the protocol is also fairly low in calories. One glass of the lemonade contains about 100 calories, with a maximum of 10 glasses recommended per day.
All in all, the calories from the Master Cleanse add up to about 1,000 per day. If you burn about 2,000 calories (which is fairly standard), you can expect at least two pounds of weight loss per week.
The above equation doesn’t consider the weight lost from water, which could also increase during a liquid fast.
2. May Support Your Body’s Natural Detoxification
Your body’s detoxification process involves many organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and lymph nodes.
In our modern world, we are exposed to tons of toxins, some from our food, skincare products, and air supply. In some cases, the body may be unable to keep up with clearing them out, leading to sluggish detoxification.
One way to help support the body’s natural, gentle detoxification is to stop loading it with toxins. If your diet often includes things that aren’t good for you — such as refined sugar, pesticide-covered produce, and alcohol — then cutting them out can give your body a much-needed break.
If you’re looking for a gentle way to detox your body and support your natural detoxifying processes, our Detox Greens Superfood Powder can help. With Celery, Dandelion, Spirulina, and other superfoods, our Detox Greens Superfood Powder works to soothe your system, support immunity, and support detoxification.
3. Easy To Follow
Many dietary protocols are filled with dozens of rules that are hard to keep track of. But the Master Cleanse is comparatively simple, at least in theory.
During the entire protocol, all you have to do is drink one beverage that’s already been made ahead of time, taking out all the guesswork of wondering what you can and can’t have.
However, you’re cutting out all solid food in order to support your body’s ability to gently flush out toxins.
4. May Support Feelings of Mental Reset
Aside from its potential physical benefits, the Master Cleanse could help give you a mental “reset” of sorts. If you’ve been finding yourself eating a little too much junk, not being mindful of your food choices, or overall confused about which diet to follow, a change in your diet can potentially help you reflect on your current food choice and why you’re making the choices you make.
In addition, some people report that they have feelings of mental clarity after a break from solid foods.
How Do You Do the Master Cleanse?
The Master Cleanse is an all-liquid fast during which you’ll only drink a special homemade “lemonade” (recipe below).
The recommended protocol is to start your day with a “saltwater flush,” which essentially entails drinking saltwater on an empty stomach.
Throughout your day, you can drink 6-12 cups of the lemonade you made — preferably in advance.
At the end of the day, you can have an herbal laxative tea as your final beverage.
And that’s it for the entire course of the day.
According to the guidelines for this diet, doing the Master Cleanse for about 10 days is recommended. However, if you really enjoy it and want to extend it, you can do so for up to 40 days (under your doctor’s supervision, of course).
What Is the Ultimate Master Cleanse Recipe?
Making this lemonade is super easy — we promise. You won’t need any special equipment for this recipe.
Here’s what you’ll need for one serving of the master cleanser lemonade:
- 8 ounces spring water
- 2 tablespoons organic fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup
- 1/10 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or more if you like spiciness)
- A pinch of sea salt
Combine the above ingredients in a glass until they’re well-mixed. Serve in a tall glass.
If you’re ever running low on time and don’t have time to make the lemonade, you can sub it with our Digestion Lemon Sparkling Superfood Tonic. In addition to gently detoxifying lemons, our tonic contains dandelion root, chicory, and lemon balm — ingredients that can help maintain your gut health.
How Can I Start the Master Cleanse?
While the Master Cleanse protocol is relatively easy to follow, it can be quite an adjustment from your regular diet. For the best and safest results, you’ll need to get medical advice, so speak with your doctor to make sure it fits in with your current health routine and goals. Then, it’s best to make gradual adjustments.
Here’s one timeline you can follow:
Day 1: Cut out processed and unhealthy foods, especially those high in salt and sugar. Try to put the focus on whole foods, like fresh fruit and veggies.
Day 2: Cut out hard-to-digest food, such as meat, from your meal plan. Stick primarily to produce. It might also help decrease your caffeinated coffee consumption by at least half (nothing too drastic as this can lead to withdrawals).
Day 3: Begin adjusting to a liquid diet. Make your meals primarily blended soups, smoothies, and shakes.
Day 4: The day before beginning the Master Cleanse, drink freshly-squeezed juice. By this point, you should have cut out all coffee.
Day 5: Begin the Master Cleanse.
How Should I End the Master Cleanse?
After what was definitely a tough protocol, it’s time to ease out of the Master Cleanse. To get back to eating solid food, follow this timeline for the best results:
Day 1: The day after the Master Cleanse, drink only freshly-squeezed fruit juice, lemon water, and herbal tea.
Day 2: At this point, you can incorporate hearty soups (as long as they’re blended for easier digestion).
Day 3: You can finally start eating solid food. To make it easier on your digestion, stick primarily to fresh produce. You can drink a half cup of coffee if you're craving it.
Day 4: It may be hard for your body to digest certain foods, such as steak. While you can eat solid protein again, begin with easy-to-digest options like fatty fish.
Day 5: You can now resume your normal eating habits. To maintain your results, stick to whole, fresh foods. And if you ever fall off, you can always do the Master Cleanse again.
For a Fresh Start
The Master Cleanse could be a way to help meet your health goals. Of course, it’s not for everyone. Speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a change in your diet or fitness routine.
For other ways to support your body, maintain your digestive system, and maintain a healthy weight, discover Sunwink’s selection of sparkling superfood tonics and superfood powders. They are vegan-friendly, plant-powered, and organic.