by Elson Haas, MD
Fasting and juice cleansing can be a terrific source of vitality and a great healing tool, when applied to the right individuals and health issues. A good cleanse can remove congestion and toxins, and help you feel more youthful. If your energy is good, but you want to be even healthier, this is a worthwhile approach to a higher level of health. For those of you who are in mid-life and find yourself slowing down more than you want, this can actually remove some of the signs of aging. I have had many positive experiences since I did my first ten-day juice fast in 1975 and lots of good feedback from my patients, as well.
Every year since that first rejuvenating experience, I have fasted for ten days in the Spring. Each March/April, I also personally guide a 10-day Rejuvenation Program in a small relaxed, informal group at my clinic in Northern California – Preventive Medical Center of Marin. This year, for the first time I am adding an online program for people who wish to lighten up and lessen symptoms and help prevent chronic diseases. I truly believe and see improvements from cleanse in my practice.
My preferred program for this process is the Master Cleanser (MC) which consists of a 7-10-day* liquid fast and detox — partly because of its simplicity — which requires minimal shopping and food prep, even with actual juicing, However, I also suggest and use other simple liquid-centered approaches using fresh vegetable juices and also soup broth. Some people may even do smoothies and a steamed veggie supper. Yet paradoxically, eating food in the midst of cleanse often makes people more hungry. The key is to give your body a vacation from habitual foods and do what works best for you and use a lot of liquids to flush toxins from the body.
The Master Cleanse Recipe:
• 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon (or lime) juice
• 1 Tablespoon** pure maple syrup
• 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 8 ounces of spring water
*The length of the fast can vary according to your needs, but I suggest a minimum of one week.
**Some people can use more maple syrup for calories if they do not need to lose much weight. Actually, the original formula written about by Stanley Burroughs included equal amounts of maple to lemon, two tablespoons each, but I think that is more sugar than most people need.
Tips for Master Cleanse or any Cleansing Program:
• It is important to drink adequate amounts of liquid. Use the MC formula daily, drinking at least 8-10 glasses, and drink other water or herb teas, especially peppermint or chamomile. Ideally, the amount of liquids we consume daily helps to cleanse the body overall, and likely we need several quarts of fluids.
• Don’t carry your Master Cleanser formula or juice in a plastic container, because the lemon acids can leach the plastic chemicals into your drink.
• Also, the lemonade can leach calcium from your teeth (ascorbic and citric acids bind with calcium to make calcium citrate and calcium ascorbate). This can weaken your enamel if there is frequent contact from regular sipping of the lemonade. I suggest drinking one to two glasses at a time and then rinsing your mouth with water so the lemon and maple syrup do not stay on your teeth.
• Keep the digestive tract clean and clear. Its important to keep the bowels actively moving with laxative teas, enemas, colon irrigation, or an internal saltwater bath described next. Some form of cleansing bowel movement should happen at least every other day after initial clearing.
• Consider trying an internal bath. First thing in the morning, drink one quart of warm water with two teaspoons of sea salt dissolved in it. It washes right through you! For people who retain water easily or for those with high blood pressure, the saltwater flush might be avoided; yet, when it works, it’s great!
• Exercise! Some other activities important for healthy cleansing and for general health include regular exercise and sweating, along with hiking or spending time in nature. The fasting process helps to make us more attuned to our environment. We may be motivated to support a healthier community, and reduce pollution. When we are cleansing, we become much more aware of unhealthy surroundings–chemicals, smoke, and fatty or meat food smells. And we will begin to appreciate more, if we do not already, the aromas of fresh foods and our natural surroundings.
• Spiritual and emotional cleansing. During the transformative process of cleansing our body, the effects spread throughout many areas of our life. There is often improved clarity of mind that develops. Emotional cleansing and subsequent insights also happen. Spiritual awareness is sometimes profound. We are more sensitive to subtle vibrations of people, situations, emotions, and nature. Intuition is enhanced and procrastination disappears. With new energy and focus, we may want to clean up our room, our home, or office, etc. We may even want to reorganize our whole life!
• Healing. Fasting is also very useful for a wide variety of illnesses, including colds and flu, bronchitis, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems. I also suggest other healing therapies during a cleansing program. Massage is very beneficial. Counseling therapy, either psychological or career, may help clarify with new directions; and of course, nutritional guidance is very important. Often though, this healing, counseling and guidance come from within!
• Enhance control over your own health. The self-experience of fasting/juice cleansing is a truly inspiring and educational experience. Most people need to be guided and supported through their first cleanse. Then, in the future, they find they are able to do it on their own, as the process is self-teaching and self-healing, resetting their health state. Once we learn a safe and helpful approach to fasting and cleansing, we know how to apply it to our life. We can then use it for personal healing; with experience we can then inspire guide others in its application and even better motivate friends to join us. I have seen the Master Cleanser program spread through homes, families, and even towns with remarkable effects.
I have to say that after 40 years of medical practice and juice cleansing, the process of fasting/cleansing/detoxification is one of the greatest and most effective healing tools I have found. It is an important component for the prevention of degenerative diseases and a key to transformational and evolutionary medicine and healing.
Transitioning to Your New, Ideal Diet
The cleansing experience offers us a great opportunity to change habits and improve our diet, lessening habits that might be undermining our health and true vitality. To me, that’s the most significant benefit of juicing—how we come back into our life and food choices. Improving our lifestyle is the crucial core for protecting and enhancing our health. Take time to transition back into the diet/eating program that you know in your aids in feeling your best. The cleansing process helps us tune into that specifically. Eat lots of fresh foods, veggies, some fruit, good quality proteins, some nuts and seeds, and generally consume lower amounts of carbohydrates and especially minimal on sugars and flour products -- enjoy the natural flavor of foods with those fresh, new taste buds.
Please realize that fasting is not for everyone. I do not advise juicing or fasting therapy for people with deficiency problems such as fatigue, anemia, immune weakness, nutritional deficiency, or underweight issues. Nor is it suggested for pregnant or nursing mothers, or for youngsters. I only encourage juice cleansing with congestive-type problems and inflammatory issues, such as frequent colds, allergies, hypertension, constipation, back pains, or headaches. If detoxification is needed, there are other ways to do this through dietary shifts and herbal medicines as outlined in my book, The Detox Diet.
Other Resources for a Spring Cleanse
For those interested in fasting, or more accurately, cleansing, you can also follow the program in the Spring section of my book Staying Healthy with the Seasons. For more personal guidance, you could find a local health practitioner with fasting experience, or I can do individual consultations or guidance through my clinic – Preventive Medical Center of Marin (www.pmcmarin.com).
My 10-day Spring Cleanse Class Online starts Saturday, April 28
Join me for a live webinar – plus two more opportunities to interact online with me during the 10-day course – consult the “Detox Doc” and get invaluable group support, a private Facebook page for participants as well as smoothie recipes, detox tips and more.
Check out the course and sign up HERE
$79 for - - - - - , regularly $99
use code WB when prompted during checkout
In the shopping cart, below the Total $ Price, you will see the message “Have a coupon?” – click and enter WB to get your 20% discount.