t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


The Master Cleanse

First, a personal note... I've been hesitant to post about this experience. Several reasons. If you didn't already think I was off-the-wall kooky and totally fanatical, now you really will. I didn't want anyone unduly worried about me. I would never recommend this to anyone, officially. Only because it is so personal. You have to do the research both scientifically and spiritually and decide if it is something right for you and your body. For me it was enlightening, uplifting and invigorating. So here goes.

At the class I attended in July, the speakers briefly touched on "Cleansing" or "Detoxing." The idea interested me and so I began my research. The idea of a cleanse is to drastically reduce what you put into your body (so usually this means fasting completely or juice fasting) which allows your body to naturally release the toxins within. Depending on your level of toxicity...and what that really means is, how much meat, dairy, refined sugars and flours, chemical additives, medications etc you are putting into you...the experience can be grueling or more enlightening. But it will definitely be something.

Why Grueling?

Proponents of cleansing state that as your body rids itself of the toxins, they must enter your blood stream from the fatty tissues in which they are stored. As you are exposed to them in concentrate, your body can feel downright miserable, until you eliminate them, through a bowel movement or your skin. The dietary restrictions can also feel grueling for some.

The Master Cleanse

I choose to do the Master Cleanse. It was created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940's. It is a minimum 10 day cleanse, which is said to target the fat tissue, colon, liver...essentially it is a full body deal. Why was I intrigued? First, I've never done a cleanse. Secondly, if I can get toxins out of my body, Hooray! I bought a couple books and read online message boards and articles. What I wasn't thrilled with was the "Hollywood Scene," side of it. In Hollywood I guess this is known as a lose weight ultra fast diet. Because I have zero interest in pop-culture I had no idea Beyonce made this "diet" popular a few years ago. The issue is that this is not a diet. It is a cleanse. If you do it solely to lose weight, you may, but you are missing the point and will probably be unsuccessful in keeping the weight off. Remember this is an intense full body cleanse.

I will just briefly describe the regime. For 10 days the only thing you put into your body is fresh squeezed organic lemonade. It is made from lemons, grade B maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. You also drink an herbal laxative tea at night and do a salt water flush each morning. It in not for the faint of heart! Or those who are pregnant or nursing. That is it. No food. Nothing.

My Experience

Life changing sounds dramatic. But perspective changing, fitting . I did not experience any horrible detox symptoms. My tongue "fuzzed up" for two days. I had a small bit of fatigue on days 3 and 8. No headaches. I exercised and functioned on a daily basis with perfect normalcy. While I did experience hunger, it was minor and easily alleviated by drinking a glass of lemonade. My body eliminated waste the entire 10 days, despite the lack of food. It was quite invigorating to see my body rid itself of long, built up material. I also lost both weight and inches. However the majority of the weight I lost happened beginning after day 8 and post cleanse. Additionally, the inches I have lost came off more proportionately, and ideally for my body type than ever before. It has been quite amazing.

Recognizing Hunger Cues

A few days I craved my homemade bread and giant delicious salads. But overall, not eating wasn't really a big deal. Wow. I am a big eater so this was huge. As the days passed I realized how my whole life I seemed to ignore the hunger cues my body sent me. I ate more based on the clock instead of my body. Every 2-3 hours small meals, or always eat at dinner etc.

What I began to notice was that my hunger disappeared quickly, within minutes actually, when I paid close attention. Why was I eating so much food my whole life? Enlightening.

Food to Feed and Not Entertain

My perspective on the purpose of food is completely altered. Food is now to feed my body. Not to entertain. By entertain, I mean, simplicity is best. Whole foods, simply prepared. In fact, for dinner each night I began feeding my children a plate of fruit and raw vegetables and spinach salad. I have a small simple dish of rice, grains and beans prepared as well. What we have found is they aren't even hungry after finishing their fruits and vegetables. Amazing. Emmett is a bit more picky. He does broccoli and fruit. That is about it (and of course he will eat our multigrain hot cereal 3 meals a day if I give it to him!).

I spend a fraction of the time cooking, and it is so uplifting watching my family eat dinner together. Brent and I eat enormous salads smothered in "sweet nuts" (as my girls love to call them), seeds, vegetables and fruit.

Losing my Cravings

A final, equally as personally amazing to me was I've lost my cravings. I used to crave my bread, and struggled not to munch on it all day. I also usually wanted to end a meal with my vice, 5-6 chocolate chips. Usually I could limit it to that. (In college it was more like 5 or 6 handfuls.) I have come to find out how physically addictive both bread and chocolate are. My desire for them is gone. Every time I cut my loaf, I don't need a snitch any longer. Invigorating.

I don't want to say I have always struggled with my weight. That might sound offensive to some people who really do battle with serious weight issues. But I have carried around a bit of extra baggage over the years anywhere from 35 lbs in college to 5-10 lbs the last 4 years. The baggage would come and go every 6-7 months. Not mysteriously...it could definitely be traced to my dried fruit, bread, and delicious refined sugar-free cookie snacking. But somehow I don't feel like I will stray from my optimal weight.

I will keep you posted on if this cleansed visage is permanent. For now, 10 days off my cleanse it is an experience I am extremely grateful for. An additional benefit is amazingly, my melasma (dark patchs of skin on my face) lightened.

So there it is. Feel free to ask me more questions. Email me if you don't want to comment. Again, it is totally personal. Some people think The Master Cleanse, and others like it are a bunch of baloney. All I can speak to is my personal experience. If you are interested please do the research. Buy a book. Think and pray carefully.

The Body as a Temple

Our bodies are temples of God. Created in His image. It is between God and yourself, how to best cleanse your own temple both physically and spiritually.

My personal belief is that when we cleanse our inner vessel physically we become spiritually stronger.

As we cleanse ourselves spiritually we become physically stronger. Better able to abstain from those things designed by "evil and conspiring men in the last days" (D&C 89:4) to weaken and destroy our holy temples.


EmJay said...

I'm glad you posted about your experience. It was interesting to read your perspective on it. I'm sure if I ever was brave enough to do a detox it would be a GRUELING experience. Way too much sugar hiding out in my fatty tissue!

Miller time said...

I actually don't think this is weird. when I was reading it I could remember how when I stopped eating sugar A: how good I felt and B: how i didn't crave it any more I craved fruit instead.
I'm a big craver and I have always wanted to try a detox. I'll have to see if this is for me and if I have the discipline. :)

Rebecca said...

Emjay, if you had an ounce of fat tissue I might believe that! But actually those who are at their ideal weight should stay at that weight. If you are under weight you gain, over weight you lose. Wild stuff. Brent is panicked he would wither away if he tried it.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I have struggled with trying this because I teach a lot of exercise classes and was afraid I would lose the brain power and energy to lead a proper class. You are the first active person I've known to do this and you made it.

Rebecca said...

Jacque, I did runs over 8 miles in the mountains...not at my fastest ever, but decent. Saturday I just completed a 1/2 marathon. During the cleanse I was careful not to do any "ultra hard" speed workouts, or open water swims. But I exercised daily with no problems. The cleanse wouldn't have been right for me if I wasn't able to continue exercising.

Jeanne said...

Hey Rebecca, great post! I have been researching the benefits of a cleanse lately and was considering the master cleanse so it's great to read your thoughts on it. I've wondered about the energy aspect, if I'd be able to have the energy to exercise while doing it, so it's good to know you were able to. Thanks for the info!

Jo Lynn said...

Wow, that sounds wonderful!!! Like you said we are trying and I'd hate to loose my period,but oh how I would love to rid my body of all the toxins insides. I'll let ya know if I end up doing it! :) Good to hear you could still exercise and I do struggle with head aches, but I have a feeling the head aches are from what I choose to eat.