The Master Cleanse (May 2011)

Springtime Cleanses

  I have always been anti- Master Cleanse. And now, here I am blogging about it. Although I know many people who have great experiences and say they feel the best they ever felt while doing the cleanse, I just wasn’t sure. The infamous master cleanse, is a diet of only liquid with all of your calories coming from a drink consisting of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne, and water. My initial concerns about the cleanse were that the mixture contains a lot of sugar and that I would not get enough calories for my active lifestyle. The cleanse is really as simple or complex as you want to make it typically lasting between 3 and 40 days. Very much a “choose your own adventure”. The full event includes: “Ease-In” days, the cleansing liquid period complete with laxatives at night and a salt water “flush” each morning (you can imagine), and then “Ease- Out” days. For a great explanation and guide check out the website insert website here. You are not starving on this cleanse because of the calories you get from the Maple Syrup and it can a great way to become more away of your own mental- emotional eating habits versus your bodily needs. 

I chose to try the cleanse for a variety of reasons. I had always wanted to try cleansing. Being involved so intensely in the yogic and bodywork community I had heard lots about cleansing from clients and practitioners alike and felt like I needed to experience the hype for myself. I also found myself transitioning from winter to spring with a strong sweet tooth, some eating unhealthy eating habits, and a deep desire to start fresh. While there is no bad time to start a cleanse, there is also no good time. I skipped the ease in days and simply tried to eat a little cleaner (more whole foods, less processed) for the 3 days leading in to the cleanse. And then, I simply dove in. I will share a little here:

I did the cleanse for 6 days with one day of “Ease-Out”. I knew I wanted to go for atleast 5, but ended up choosing 6 because that was the day that I finished my jug of maple syrup and I really couldn’t imagine consuming more than this large jug of maple syrup in one week. 

Day 1-The first day was the most challenging for me because I have a black tea habit that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going throughout the day. I felt so tired that first day, almost as if my eyes were closing while I worked, but the hunger was no big deal and the mixture was delicious and saved me lots of time compared to my usual meal-prep schedule. 

 Day 2- I was busy with work most of the day and loved having such and easy meal to make. In the afternoon I was out having tea with a friend and the tea was really bitter. With nothing in my stomach I ended up throwing up the tea while we were out, so that was a minor setback, but mostly a funny story.

 Day 3- I continued to love the drink, but started to wonder how delicious it would taste if poured over ice and a little bit of gin. Instead of going out with friends (I was pretty tired) I stayed at home and watched Food Inc. If you need motivate to cleanse or change your eating habits- this is the movie for you! 

Day 4- On this particular Saturday I was not working and while I kept myself busy, I also spent much of my time thinking about how much I enjoyed cooking and how much I was just plain ready to eat.  

Day 5- I went to Shoshoni Ashram to teach a yoga class and have lunch. “Lunch, on a cleanse? Rookie mistake.” you may be thinking to yourself.  I had the same concern about whether my digestive system was as prepared as I was to receive solid food. But, I figured this food was vegetarian, nutritious, and prepared with love. Let’s see what happens. Although I did spend some time in the evening curled into the fetal position with gas bubbles in my belly, overall things when well with my lower GI. I did make a fatal error that afternoon by reading a gourmet cooking magazine and getting into some serious fantasizing about the kitchen creations I would make at the end of this regime. It definitely got a little out of hand.  

Day 6- The last day was all too easy to get through because I was excited for the next day on which I would resume EATING (albeit liquids only- or so I thought). 

Day 7- I did pretty well. I had juice, broth, and a chocolate cookie (not quite a liquid). It called to me. I swear.

At this point you may be wondering the same questions I heard most often after doing a cleanse are: did you like it? would you do it again? did you get the “high” everyone talks about? Mostly, Probably, & No. 

Did I really like it? No, but did I find benefit from it? YES. I definitely learned about my own emotional eating patterns versus what my physical body needs. I broke some eating habits and am starting fresh with much less caffeine, meat, and sugar than I had was consuming.  As for doing it again, it is a really simple cleanse on which I felt mostly good. I liked the challenge and I definitely like the ability to hit the “reset” button on my system. Next time, perhaps I will do it for longer to catch that fasting high everyone talks about!


Spicy Peanut Noodles (April 2011)

Spring is upon us! Nights are cold, days are warm, and I think Spicy Peanut Noodles is the perfect recipe for this transitional time of year. Serve it up hot for dinner and enjoy cold leftovers for lunch the next day. The spices soak in overnight which means leftovers are even more delicious than dinner! Bring this recipe into summer by adding veggies and peppers from your own garden.  I make this dish vegetarian, but you could add any meat of choice or tofu to get more protein. Be sure to put seasonal dark leafy greens in for extra flavor and energy this spring. 

Spicy Peanut Noodles


Use ingredients as locally sourced and fresh as possible for amazing flavor.

Choose 1 pound of noodles. I like Whole Wheat Capellini. Rice pastas are great in this dish for our gluten-free friends. 

Any chopped vegetables. Pick seasonal first and then go for multiple colors. It is both aesthetically pleasing and a good way to make sure you are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some ideas: carrots, kale, bell peppers, onions, scallions, eggplant, zuchinni, and broccoli. 

Bring water to a boil and add pasta. Cook following instructions for specific pasta choice. 

Chop veggies. Sauté chopped veggies in garlic, ginger, and olive oil until cooked, but still crunchy.

Peanut Sauce:

Combine in a food processor and blend thoroughly:

1 cup unsalted peanut butter

1/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar

3 Tablespoons reduced sodium Soy Sauce

1 garlic clove, chopped

1-3 serrano or other chile peppers, seeded and chopped (leave these out for less spice)

1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar or honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

1 Tablespoon chili oil

1/2 cup of freshly brewed black tea

Combine sauce, noodles, and veggies in a large bowl. Toss. Sprinkle coarsely chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves on top to garnish. 

Recipe taken (with slight variation) from the Joy of Cooking.


Healthy Drink Recipe (January 2011)

Trying to fight winter colds and sniffles the natural way? Try this healthy, revitalizing, and delicious tea. 

2 chopped cloves of garlic

juice of one lemon (or three Tablespoons of lemon juice)

1 Tablespoon Honey (Raw local honey is best if available.)

1/2 teaspoon of ginger chopped (Ground is ok-if ground, it can be a little more.)

dash of cayenne (The cayenne really helps. If you are nervous about the kick, make it a small dash, but don't leave this out.)

pinch of ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick

Boil enough water for two cups. If you have either a tea basket or ball as used for steeping loose leaf tea fill with the mixture and boiling water over allowing the mixture to steep for atleast 5 minutes. If not, steep the mixture in one cup and strain into another (warm this cup with the extra hot water). Either way you will be drinking the tea without bits of garlic and ginger floating around the cup. 

Why this particular mixture? What do all these herbs do to help our bodies fight off infections?

Garlic: Supports circulation and acts as a natural antibiotic aiding the body in resisting disease as well as having anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. (Also keeps away friends just in case you have anything contagious :) ). 

Lemon: It is in almost every hot tea recipe for colds I have seen, but I am not exactly sure why. Is it the soothing taste? The acid environment it creates? Does it have antibacterial properties? If you know- be sure to COMMENT.

Honey: Helps with dryness and dehydration often associated with cold and flu.

Ginger: Relieves congestion and acts as a catalyst increasing the effectiveness of other herbs.

Cayenne: Supports circulation, cardiovascular health, and nourishes the digestive system- a major set of organs in the body’s defense against bacteria entering the body. The spice loosens mucus and produce expectorant actions.

Cinnamon: Is good for balancing blood sugar and cholesterol and in this case, simply adds a delicious warmth to the flavor. 

Drink a cup everyday as a revitalizing and healthy tea. When ill, or if you feel something coming on, drink at least 2 cups a day. 

Information Sources:

The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies by Joe & Teresa Graedon, PhD