Each spring, along with a thorough house cleaning, I like to do a thorough spring cleaning for my body as well, flush out the toxins and cobwebs of the past year. Not only do I find that this leaves me feeling refreshed and energized physically, but I think it helps me process things emotionally as well; muscle memory isn’t only about remembering movement patterns—our bodies store emotional experiences as well.
For the past few springs, spring cleaning has meant a strict raw foods diet in combination with additional fiber and supplements. However, this past year has been a doozy for me, and my mind and body both have been yearning for a deep cleanse. In a recent herbalism class, we learned about the “master cleanse” system and I’ve decided to give it a whirl this spring. Although most references suggest doing this cleanse for 10 days, my goal is five days, although I’m going to listen to my body in case I need to alter my plans—I’m not an ascetic, after all. Also, since I’m not really trying to lose weight, I followed the advice of Elson Haas’ article on the topic and increased the amount of maple syrup in my blend. See the recipe below, and my notes of the first day of my spring detox.
Master Cleanse Recipe (64 oz. – a full day’s batch)
2 quart Mason jar or other container
12 T. fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice
6 T. organic maple syrup (I used 9 T.)
½ t. cayenne
Pure filtered or distilled water
In your 2-quart jar, add the lemon juice, maple syrup (suggestions range from 6 to 12 tablespoons), cayenne. Add distilled water (about 60 ounces) till jar is full. Shake well to mix, and re-shake it every time before serving (otherwise the cayenne sinks to the bottom). This makes 4 pint servings—I have opted to have an 8 oz. cup of the lemonade eight times a day, about every two hours, to curb my cravings. Another consideration is that the lemon juice can be hard on your teeth, so you may want to opt for drinking your servings all at once at your “meal” times, rather than sipping constantly all day.
Other than the lemonade mix, it is suggested that one drink filtered water and herbal teas or laxative teas.
So here am I on Day One. Strangely, the hunger isn’t a huge issue—the craving for food is certainly there, but it’s not that debilitating “I’m starving!” belly pang. The cup serving every three hours seems to be working to keep me from getting too antsy for sustenance. My physical energy seems pretty good, I thoroughly enjoyed some deep stretching earlier and relished a feeling of being intensely grounded and present in my body. That said, even writing this post is a bit challenging—although I have a wonderful body hum and my sense of sight, smell, and hearing got more clear and pronounced as the day wore on, I think I’ve gotten so grounded in my body that my brain is a little spacey, and both my body and mind seem to be sort of floating through the day, rather than being direct and driven as they are normally wont to be.
So first day’s notes: Make sure you have plenty to do, but nothing requiring deep analytical thought, nor anything too physically demanding. Stretching is delicious. Music is lovely. I’m planning to enjoy an evening at the Barksdale Theatre this evening, but I don’t recommend business meetings while fasting—that bit of advice volunteered by Kate of Charlottesville’s Guerilla Yoga Project, a classmate who did the master cleanse a couple weeks ago, and I concede the wisdom therein. Oh, and don’t plan on any meal dates with friends or coworkers—it’s just taunting yourself. And of course, as ever: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
One day (almost) down, four more to go…
Has anyone else done seasonal cleansing or panchakarma? What was your experience?