Non – Mastery of the Master Cleanse: A Lesson in Starvation

I’m going to start by saying that for the past three months, my family has been in official “wedding mode.” My uncle is getting married and everyone in the family is rushing to make sure the big day goes smoothly. They’re also doing everything they can to make sure they look good on the day of the wedding, when they will forever be immortalized in photographs.

Naturally, everyone is trying to lose a few pounds, tone up, grow out their hair and find the perfect outfit. It seems that my cousins and I have a problem with “aspirational” shopping. This is a common condition among women that involves buying a dress a size too small with the aspirations of one day fitting into it.

As the huge family event approaches, the pressure to fit in to a size 2 dress in a few weeks when you are still a size 4 can seem daunting, which led me to type “lose weight fast” into Google recently.

One of the most popular trends in rapid weight loss yielded by this search was a peculiar program called the Master Cleanse. Participants in the Master Cleanse drink nothing but a concoction of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and pure, natural maple syrup. This “lemonade” is the only thing that can be digested, with the exception of water and herbal tea. It is an ascetic form of “fasting,” but some just see it as starvation.

Naturally, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try this Master Cleanse for myself. How could I resist the miracle diet that was responsible for Beyonce’s dramatic weight loss for “Dreamgirls?” Needless to say, the lemonade concoction nearly made me gag. The mixture is supposed to be an appetite suppressant, but my stomach was rumbling within two hours. I did more research and discovered that some people perform this fast for weeks — even months — at a time. According to the official Web site (, this diet is an exercise in overcoming the “psychological need to eat.” I personally thought the need to eat was a biological one. I’ll be totally honest and confess that I could not make it through more than a day of this.

I did learn a few things from the Master Cleanse, though. For example, hot water with lemon is a great appetite suppressant. It is helpful when you want to curb empty snacking while studying or watching television. Also, while you may think you are hungry, the feeling of hunger can actually be attributed to being thirsty. Finally, the Master Cleanse is a lesson in discipline, which is crucial to healthy eating.

Call me undisciplined, but I’d rather do something that doesn’t leave me feeling deprived. While the discipline behind the Master Cleanse is commendable, I’d rather channel my discipline into something like eating only oatmeal and fruit. While this may have worked for Beyonce, there is nothing healthy or sexy about starvation.