I Tried the Lemonade Cleanse – Here’s What Happened

The “lemonade cleanse” (also called the Master Cleanse) has been circulating on the internet within health community circles for years. In fact, I first tried this almost five years ago (that’s right, I’ve done it more than once, no I’m not crazy . . . I think) since then I’ve gone through a few more rounds (okay, maybe I am crazy!)

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically a 10 day cleanse where you drink nothing but spicy lemonade which consists of lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper (no, I’m not kidding) morning, noon and night without a bite of solid food.

I warn you sister, it’s not for the faint of heart.

what happens master cleanse

So what happened?

For two days pre-cleanse, I attempt to follow protocol and ease into it by eating steamed veggies and drinking smoothies and juices. Basically, I fail at this and eat mostly what I want. The odds of me finishing this cleanse are not looking good…

DAY 1: I confidently mix up my lemonade batch for the day and I’m feeling pretty good, and totally smug that I’m such a health-conscious person. Like, how cool am I?

5 pm – Definitely feeling the desire to eat, but I WILL NOT GIVE IN. I so got this.

9 pm – As recommended, I drink a laxative tea to help move the bowels along and aid the cleansing process (’cause you know, no food no fiber, no fiber no – you get the idea). But I skip the whole salt water flush (gross).

DAYS 2-3: Mornings begin with some serious bowel purging, which is amazeballs for me since I am usually the queen of constipation. But my stomach is growling All.The.Time. Food suddenly smells way more intense than before and it’s all I can think about my every waking moment.

DAYS 4-5: Still want to eat SO BAD and I hate everyone who can. Seriously. And have I mentioned that this lemonade stuff is disgusting? It is. Also, I just want to sleep.

DAYS 6-7: The halfway point marks a change in my constant, unyielding desire for food. I’m suddenly able to smell and look at food without feeling 100% hella hangry and desperate. I can sit at the kitchen table while my husband and kids eat dinner and not want to scratch their eyes out (wins all around!)

DAYS 8-9:  I’m so tired of the taste of this lemonade it’s ridiculous. But interestingly my fatigue symptoms have faded and I’m actually feeling even more energetic than before I started the cleanse. I’ve also lost about 6 or 7 pounds. Sweeet.

DAY 10: You’d think I’d be relieved that this is the last day – mostly I am – but I’ve also fallen into a contented rhythm with the whole thing. I can almost (almost) see how some people are able to keep this up for 20, 30 or even 40 days. But I miss the variety of flavor in solid food.

I’m proud to say, I didn’t cheat once. Go me!

On day 11 you’re supposed to ease out of the cleanse. That means not jumping right into eating a giant double cheeseburger or a heaping plate of cheesy pasta. Those are no-nos (well, those are no-nos anyway, but that’s a whole other post). Your stomach has shrunk some over the last 10 days, so you need to baby it a bit: smoothies, juices, steamed veggies, and lots of water. The good thing is my cravings for unhealthy foods have diminished – that makes life easier 🙂

Here’s a more in-depth look at the physiological and biological changes that occur within the body when we fast.

master cleanse lemonade cleanse water fast

Would I recommend this cleanse to others? It depends.

There’s some controversy over the safety of this cleanse as you’re severely limiting your intake of important nutrients.  It also stands to reason that the more toxic you are, the more difficult a cleanse like this will be for you, as in greater detox symptoms like headaches and fatigue. However, there are also several studies which point to some impressive benefits of fasting (if you can make it through those 10 grueling days). [1] [2] [3] [4]  Like anything, use common sense and good judgment when deciding if a cleanse like this will work for you.

For me, I was already eating a pretty clean diet, so the main detox symptom I experienced was a lack of energy (for a few days anyway). Even though I had little weight to lose I still shed about 7 or 8 pounds, although it was probably mostly water and bowel weight, as I gained about half of it back within the first week following the cleanse.

Bottom line?

Personally, I regularly include intermittent fasting, cleanses and detoxes into my lifestyle, although I prefer a gentler method than the Master Cleanse most of the time. My goal has always been to do one per season, but that rarely ever happens; once or twice per year is typically the norm for me.  I generally experience an increase in energy, better sleep, overall reduction of excess body fat, clearer thinking, less bloat and fewer break-outs.

Can’t argue with that!

Have you ever done the Master Cleanse or any other type of cleanse? Let me know in the comments!

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