Your Master Cleanse- How To

Master Cleanse

Every spring for the last 3 years I have done a cleanse but never a Master Cleanse- until now!

Usually, my cleanses consisted of eating 100% plant based with juices, smoothies, and even some Master Cleanse ‘lemonade’ here and there.

But to be honest, the reason I never tried a Master Cleanse is because I was too scared to go without food! Even when I was juicing I felt like it was ok because I was taking in at least some form of food.

But, that’s the thing! Cleansing or detoxing are just different versions of fasting! And a temporary fast gives the body a break to clear debris and toxicity!

It’s a practice we have gotten away from in our modern culture. And that’s unfortunate because fasting was done for thousands of years in ALL cultures around the world to improve health!

I firmly believe this is why we are plagued with chronic disease like cancer which is a stubborn disease of toxicity that builds up over time, gets stuck, and becomes difficult to clear.

The best time of year to cleanse is in the springtime. It’s the time of year when energy in the earth is rising (or sprouting) and the body naturally wants to clear. You can read more about this in these two posts! Why Cleansing is Vital to Your Health and Your Guide to Spring Cleansing.

What’s unique and brilliant about the Master Cleanse is that it takes a combination of ingredients added to water to stimulate a deeper detox that is more productive and allows more longevity than just a water fast.  Here are the ingredients and the roles they play in this detox.

Master Cleanse Ingredients

  • Lemon– the queen of detoxing! Lemons, although acidic, actually alkalize the body when ingested! The sour flavor stimulates the liver to clear toxicity. It also clears our other detoxification organs like the kidneys, bladder, colon, and lymph! Lemons are in season in the early spring and they are the color yellow which is the color of your 3rd chakra that houses all of your digestive organs. Lemon and the color yellow stimulate digestion.
  • Water– if lemon is the queen then water is the king of detoxing. Every living thing on earth needs water to survive. Water is so precious and is the earth’s most cleansing substance. We bathe in it, clean with it, play in it, sit by it, have religious ceremonies with it, and of course drink it! Water is cleansing for both the body and the mind.
  • Maple Syrup- gives your cells just enough glucose to function optimally.  Even though it’s sweet and a form of delicious sugar, it contains nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins. And when you think about it, maple syrup is the blood of a tall strong maple tree. And from an energetic standpoint, I’d take an I.V. of that everyday 🙂
  • Cayenne– is used to increase circulation. When your body is detoxifying, you want to make sure those toxins are moving! Cayenne is also very clearing to the heart from both a physical and emotional standpoint. You might even feel the heat gather around the area of your heart. Since cleansing is a time of release, allow yourself to release emotionally as well!

Internal Salt Water Bath

Here is the final part to the Master Cleanse. It’s vital to ensure you are eliminating while your body detoxes. Because you aren’t eating food, your bowel movements will be minimal. Our kidneys and bladder will be clearing nicely but we also want to support the intestines and colon to do the same.

We do this with an Internal Salt Water Bath. And yes, that sounds really lovely 🙂 But again, this is a critical part to ensure your body clears everything it needs to so that it doesn’t reabsorb toxins through your gut.

Drink this mixture the night before you start your cleanse and first thing each morning.

  • 2 tsp of sea salt (or my favorite Real Sea Salt)
  • 1 quart of warm water

This mixture is the same salinity as your blood so the body will only absorb the salt & minerals it needs. Then it will eliminate of the rest through the colon.

Drink this salt bath slowly over the course of 10 minutes (don’t chug- it might not stay down :). And the best way to think of it is as a warm salty broth or soup. After day 2 it shouldn’t bother you any more. Within 1 hour you will need to use the restroom. When the water has been eliminated, you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

After day 2 you will be eliminating mostly water and that’s a good thing! If you see a yellowish color, that’s bile. Bile is releasing from your gallbladder which indicates that your bile ducts and liver are clearing!

Ready to do this? Great! You are going to be amazed at how vibrant you feel!

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Can I do it while I’m at work? Yes! Just make your ‘lemonade’ ahead of time! You will want to drink at least 6 glasses/day so invest in some wide mouth pint size mason jars with lids so you can prep them in the morning and drink them throughout the day.

Do I eat any food? No, this ‘lemonade’ will be your fuel for the next 3+ days. Like I said earlier, it might be an uncomfortable thought going without food but I am currently on day 4 as I write this and I have SO much energy and have yet to be “hungry”. Just be smart about it. Don’t tempt yourself by watching Food Network, going to restaurants, or scrolling through food pics on Instagram :). This is a quiet time for you to go within and allow your body to release.

Can I drink coffee or black tea? No, we want to illuminate any stimulating supplements (alcohol included). Coffee and black tea are amazing things. They are highly stimulating and should be enjoyed on occasion. Daily consumption depletes our energy further! You may experience detoxing symptoms but I guarantee that once you make it past day 2 you will have wings (natural wings that are your own :)!

What about herbal tea? Yes, you may have herbal tea. They need to be organic, caffeine free, and well sourced. Something like camomile would be nice.

Do I drink plane water too?- Feel free to have as much water as you like! But remember to drink 6-12 glasses of the ‘lemonade’ each day.

Is exercise ok? Light exercise is necessary during any cleanse- nothing strenuous or exhausting.  Examples of light exercise: walking, Hatha yoga, yin/restorative yoga, & stretching. You need to do some form of light exercise at least 1x day to pump your lymph and move toxins out!

So let’s get started!

I have written the recipe below for you to print out and put on the fridge. Then, take a look at your calendar and pick at least 3 days* where distractions are minimal. I like to start cleansing on the weekend so I have a good rhythm by Monday and can continue throughout the week.

*Most Master Cleanse traditionalist would say at least 10 days. But in my opinion, the body needs at least 3 days for any cleanse and you can add days on as you feel more energized!

Once you know how many days you would like to cleanse, take this recipe and buy organic everything!

If you don’t have a high quality water filter at home, invest in some jugs of nice filtered high PH (alkalizing) water. Our tap water is full of heavy metals, fluoride, and even prescription meds!

Remember, you won’t be spending money on food so splurge on these minimal ingredients!

I am so excited that you are doing the Master Cleanse and I want to hear all about it! Please share your success stories with me in the comments below and of course leave any questions you might have!

Cheers!

Master Cleanse

  • Servings: 8 oz
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


This recipe makes 1 glass

Ingredients

  • 8 oz filtered water
  • 2 tbs organic lemon juice, about 1 lemon juiced
  • 1-2 tbs organic maple syrup
  • Dash of organic cayenne powder

Directions

  1. The night before your cleanse, start with an Internal Salt Water Bath by drinking 2 tsp of sea salt mixed in 1 qt of warm water.
  2. Begin each morning with an Internal Salt Water Bath.
  3. For the rest of the day drink 6-12 glasses of the lemon water recipe above.
  4. Cheers to your Master Cleanse!

If you enjoyed this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and be sure to share with family and friends.

xoxo
Megan

66 Comments

    1. Great question Janna!

      All medications need to be taken as your doctor has directed. If they need to be taken with food then a fast might not be the best option for you while you are on that medication. Here are some plant based cleansing options https://chefmeganmagill.com/2017/05/04/your-guide-to-spring-cleansing/

      While cleansing, it’s never ideal to take medications because the whole concept is to remove toxicity from the body. So if you’re on medication for the short term, wait until you have finished your prescription. If you have been told you need to be on medication “for the rest of your life” then one: make an appointment with me 🙂 and two: make sure it is safe to take the medication on an empty stomach.

      Medications build up toxic residue in the body which can lead to other health problems in the future. So a cleanse helps reduce the toxic load.

      If you take vitamins and supplements, I would give your body a break while cleansing because you want to minimize what your body is digesting. Vitamins and supplements are actually very hard for the body to digest because the body has to convert a synthetic version of a nutrient into a usable version. And the liver has to detoxify the waste.

      I hope this answered your question!

      Like

  1. I’m a lab tech, and a little confused. We eat mostly acidic food and drink and I thought we were supposed to aim towards taking in more alkaline substances. Lemons are acid, so isn’t this going against what we need to do in order to get our health back? And is the higher ph water -which makes sense, lowering the acidic value of the lemon? Like I stated, I’m completely confused. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Barbara I am so glad you asked this question! Yes citrus is an acid outside of the body. However, when digested, it becomes extremely alkaline. Citrus is actually one of the most alkalizing foods! An the inverse is also true for dairy. Dairy is a base on the outside but when digested it becomes extremely acidic and increases inflammation within the body.

      So if you add lemon to water it will naturally increase the PH when digested.

      Other than those two, everything is pretty straight forward:
      Acid: sugar, alcohol, dairy, meat, refined grains
      Alkaline: salt, citrus, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, etc.

      Thank you again for submitting that question and I hope it helps!

      Much love!
      Megan

      Like

  2. Just finished day one,…now (similar to day one) the salt bath has for two days came out the other exit and not urinated. Is the salt bath suppose to come out my colon like a liquid or diarrhea?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi G! Sorry it looks like my response to your question never posted!? But yes that is completely normal and exactly what should happen. The salt baths encourage flow through your colon so toxins can continue to clear since you’re not eating solid food, and thus not having bowl movements. The lemonade clears through your kidneys and bladder so it’s important to support the liver/small intestine/large intestine detox pathway as well with salt baths.

      Like

      1. Hi Megan,

        Thanks for the clarity on the saltwater bath.

        Can you give me a menu for introducing food back into the system after a cleanse? Any foods to start with or avoid?

        (End of day 2) I feel great!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi G, the best way to transition out is by eating in an alkaline way (veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, citrus). It’s also a good time to juice and bring in smoothies. Allow your body to continue to cleanse and clear after all the hard work you put in!

        Like

      3. Thank you soooo much! I’m on day 3. Feeling great, I have tons of energy and my sense of smell is exceptional. It’s weird no burps and no gas. Best part is BELLY BLOAT is gone. I’m a 46/m and all my weight is carried in my gut.

        I’ll probably go 2days more. I’ll intro food with alkaline as you mention.

        Everyone should do this! Thanks to your support I was able to get it done. Wouldn’t have tried it without this article. ~Thank you~

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Congratulations! Isn’t it amazing once you get to day 3 how incredible you feel! I’m thrilled and humbled you were inspired by this article to try it, you’re doing something really incredible for your body and mind! Keep up the amazing work!

        Like

  3. Hey ,, so I’m starting that master cleanse today but I forgot to drink the warm water and sea salt the night before but I did drink it the morning of is that ok or should I start again?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Supposed to of been on day one of my cleanse, however, I woke up with a caffeine withdrawal headache. Do you have any suggestions for alleviating it without taking Excedrine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great question and the best advice is to just push through without taking anything. I know it’s painful but the first day or two it’s normal to experience detox symptoms like headaches. It’s really a good thing because your body is detoxing. Taking a pain reliever would be adding more toxicity to the body. After day 2 I promise you will feel fantastic and be so thankful you pushed through! Keep up the great work!

      Like

      1. I hate having hunger pains, but I can deal with it for the greater good of my body. Am I going to feel hungry? If I do is there a way I can fix it? My willpower is pretty strong, but I just don’t want to have a moment and give up. Any suggestions?

        Like

      2. Yes there can be hunger cravings but to minimize them try not to go more than 2hrs without having a glass of the lemonade. If you do that, it should really help. But if you are experiencing those hunger pains just remember, this is something that’s good for your body- you’re giving your body a break from the riggers of digesting so it can repair and heal. Also, that squeezing hunger are the organs wringing themselves out which, yes might be uncomfortable, but it’s allowing them to release toxicity- like wringing out a washcloth. So just remember that you aren’t hurting your body, you’re giving it a break that it needs for this short period of time. Once you finish day 3 you can decide to keep going or stop. Always listen to your body but know some discomfort is ok.

        Like

  5. I am vacationing with family now and having the salt water in the morning and the lemonade all day long, but having dinner with everyone. Do you think it’s ok to do the salt water in the morning and the lemonade all day and then eat a light dinner? Also, can I make this a daily routine vs a 3-10 day fast?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi D,
      Of course you can modify this fast as you see fit. If you are eating dinner, I don’t know if I would do a salt water bath every morning. If you are eating food, allow your body to digest that food and absorb the nutrients. When you get home and/or have the time to do a complete fast, then I would incorporate the salt water bath. I would just hate for your body to do all that work to eat & break down the food, but not absorb any nutrients. You can still continue to drink the lemonade all day long, that will give you many benefits which will support your digestion of dinner. So it’s just slightly modified. I hope that makes sense.

      Like

    1. The benefit of using cayenne and maple syrup is that all of the ingredients work in harmony with each other. It’s a pretty perfect recipe as is because:
      The lemon juice stimulates detoxification from the liver and the cayenne increases circulation to get the toxins out of the lymph, blood, and out of the body. Without the cayenne you might detox but the reabsorb toxins. The maple syrup is your energy source. Yes it is sugar but it’s a very simple natural form of glucose (which all of your cells and brain run off of) that will give your body the energy it needs to detoxify. Because of the maple syrup you can do this cleanse for a longer period of time.
      Great question!

      Like

    1. You start each morning with an Internal Salt Water Bath. This is to keep your bowels clearing since toxins released from the body need to keep clearing (not just through your urine- which the lemonade will do) but through the intestines as well.

      Like

  6. I am on my 3rd day of cleansing and my feet are not swollen anymore, it has been atlist 3 years I have been taking water pills and my feet still swelling bad to a point I can barely walk and for the first time in almost 3 years I am able to see my ankles 🙃 I am so happy I want to cry 😢this is great I just have a question tho, how often its ok to repeat this cleansing and is it healthy to repeat it often?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww Mariana this makes my heart burst I am so happy for you! Listen to your body. If you feel like you have the energy and more to clear then do it again. Because a liver cleanse is beneficial to your condition, I would recommend that you continue to eat in a very cleansing way this summer with plant based foods and even alkaline. This is a more gentle yet very effective way to continue cleansing for a longer sustained amount of time. If you’d like more free info, I also have a cooking show! Check our these two episodes that will give you more answers! And again congratulations!

      https://simply-seasonal.com/2019/03/25/episode15/

      https://simply-seasonal.com/2019/06/24/episode28/

      Like

  7. Hello. I take Iaso tea now. Is it ok for me to do this with the tea twice a day. Once in the am and at night before I go to bed?

    Like

    1. That’s a hard one. Cayenne is so versatile as it brings heat and warmth that helps with circulation which is so important as the body detoxes. Maybe black pepper? But again you want something that energetically brings heat so your circulation through blood, lymph and kidneys can clear. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out.

      Like

    1. Yes the more water the better especially if you’re working out or spending time outside in the hot sun!

      Just be sure to listen to your body while you work out because detoxing is already a lot of work for the body and you want it to focus on detoxing, healing, and repairing and rather than expending that energy on an intense workout.

      So I always recommend more restorative methods of exercise while you cleanse like yoga, walking, or Pilates. Keeps the lymph moving while not taxing the body.

      Like

  8. Hi there!! I just finished the Master Cleanser book and found your website for further information. I was excited and ready to cleanse and even bought expensive Premier pink salt through a Fulscript (detox specialist)… but that’s didn’t work out because I got scammed and I went ahead and bought a fine Himalayan pink salt from Whole Foods. Would that work?

    Like

  9. Hey Megan! I stumbled across the idea of a “master cleanse” while watching a podcast with Kelly Slater. I’m an avid surfer and go pretty much everyday. I was curious as to whether I should stop surfing for 5-10 days or just keep it short and sharp. I’m just weary as I wont have any food to fuel my exercise. Also is it okay to only do 5 days and not the whole 10? Or would you recommend 10 days. Thanks! :))

    Like

    1. Hi Tommy! Great question and sorry for the delay. 5 days is a great start! The beautiful think is you can adjust as you go and if you feel great and energized on day 5 keep going. But if you start to feel a dip in energy or hunger then maybe 5 was just perfect! As for surfing I would suggest to scale back. If you wanted to paddle out to relax and enjoy nature please do because water and the ocean is so cleansing. But maybe replace your daily sessions with a walk on the beach or some restorative yoga and meditation. Great question!

      Like

      1. Hi Megan…starting tomorrow! Can I make a larger batch in the morning or should I separately make each serving 6-12 times a day?

        Thank you! Super excited to start

        Like

  10. Hi I didn’t read all of the above questions and answers so I hope I do not ask something you already answered. So I am on day 8 and depending on results I plan to go 10 – 20 days. My question is, how long should you see the bile (bright yellow color) in your bowl movements? I am still noticing that it is as bright yellow as when I first started as of day 8. Does that just mean I had a ton of toxins in me? It feels like my kidneys are aching a little, I am guessing that is part of the process? Also, I do not feel the energized feeling you mentioned either. I have low energy and a mild headache. I am doing this both for the cleansing purposes and also for weight loss. I really thought by not eating I would loose weight really fast. As of day 8 I have only lost about 10lbs.

    Like

    1. Hi Kent. Great observations. Your body will continue to release bile through because your liver produces bile on a daily basis and it is being cleared through all of your bile ducts and the gallbladder. However, as you mentioned, it sounds like you may have done enough for right now. If you kidneys ache it’s probably a combination of fatigue and the salt water. Especially since you have low energy I would suggest you finish and bring in some fruits, veggies, juices or smoothies. These are still cleansing but will give your body more energy which should relieve the kidney aches and headache. Then you can bring in more varieties of food after a day or two for a gentle transition out of the cleanse. And 10lbs in 8 days is quite a lot so I wouldn’t look at that as a failure. Your body released a lot but you don’t want to go overboard and send it into shock. So again, because of they way you’re feeling, I would suggest finishing the Master Cleanse and do a gentle transition by eating plant based juices + smoothies for a day or two, then being in solid foods again. Hope this helps! You’ve done a great job!

      Like

      1. Thank you so much Megan! I appreciate you knowledgeable advice. I went to a bbq and a birthday party and watched everyone eat so much delicious food. It was hard to stay strong, but I did it! So I was thinking of at least going 10 days . . but if you really think I should stop, I will take your advice.

        Like

      2. Ya if it’s really difficult and you’re low energy your body has had enough and it’s time to replenish with tons of fruits and veggies then transition back to eating whole seasonal foods!

        Like

  11. Hi I am going to start Monday and use today (Thursday) through the weekend to start preparing (whole/raw veggies+fruits, then smoothies/broths and then Master Cleanse day 1 on Monday). I was wondering though- how long after the internal salt water bath must I wait before I drink my first glass of the lemonade for the day?
    Thanks so much!

    Like

    1. You may drink the lemonade as soon as you wish! The salt water is a good amount of water so you might not be super thirsty right away, but the lemonade will taste refreshing after the salt water for sure! Good luck!

      Like

  12. Thanks for an awesome article

    Master cleanse is great! I found more energy, focus, and overall positivity as the days went by.
    I’m on day 12 now and only planned to do 10 initially, it’s my 1st time cleansing so my question is if I decide to stop now, how long should I wait before doing another cleanse?

    Iv heard you can repeat this cleanse & feel like I would like to do 20 days in the future

    Like

    1. I am so happy to hear that! That’s fantastic and and sounds like it was the perfect cleanse and duration of time for you! I would transition yourself back into food gently staying plant based for a few days and doing lots of juices/smoothie. My rule of thumb is to do one cleanse each year, usually in the spring. But you could also do it at the change of seasons (kinda like you are now). It will help you transition between summer to fall, fall to winter, and winter to spring, etc. It will help you avoid cold/flu during the changing seasons. You don’t have to do it long either, just 3-5days is really effective. Again great job and I’m so happy to hear how amazing you feel!!!

      Like

  13. Hi, tried doing the Salt Bath and it took my pressure up to 149/92, so i can’t do that. I also have problems with the Cayenne, it burns my throat, what else can i substitute for the Salt Bath and Cayenne.

    Like

    1. That’s good to notice. So instead of the salt water you could to an herbal laxative tea called Smooth Move by Traditional Medicinals. Make yourself a strong cup of that tea in the morning.

      As for the cayenne, it’s an important part of the cleanse as it helps warm circulation and move toxins out of the body. I would keep it in if you can and maybe just do a small sprinkle until you get use to it.

      Hope that helps!

      Like

  14. Hi Megan, your answers are so enlightening. Exactly how much water do I need to drink in addition to the Lemonade mix in a day; and also, what time in the evening should I drink my last lemonade for the day?

    Like

    1. Oh thank you Glenda that is very sweet of you to say! Water intake in addition to the lemonade is at your discretion. You are drinking quite a bit of liquid following the protocol, so any additional water or herbal tea is great but no need to go overboard. Just listen to your body and intuition! And there’s no specific time you need to finish your last glass of lemonade. I tend to have mine around dinner time and end the night with a glass of water or camomile tea which can be a nice break from the lemonade before bed. Hope this is helpful!

      Like

  15. Megan, I did 3 days of the detox. Commitments require I stop at day 3. Did fine the 3 days, no hunger, good energy, some headaches. Today I started my protein shakes again, but I feel woozy.
    Is this normal?

    Like

    1. Hi Holly that’s great to hear! 3 days is a great amount of time to clear the body and feel the benefits! And yes, I would NOT drink a protein shake. That is way too much concentrated and dehydrated protein for the body to process right after it has been fasting and cleansing. It would definitely make you nauseous because the liver has to process it all. Instead, eat tons of veggies and fruits, juices, smoothies. You want to ease your body back into eating with hydrating, alkalizing foods. Protein and carbs would be the last thing to bring back in.
      Protein powders in general are very hard on the body to digest. So you also may be experiencing that as well. Now that your body is clear and cleansed, pay attention to what feels good and what doesn’t. It might be time to notice things you use to eat actually congests your body more than you realized before!

      Hope this was helpful and veggies and fruit should help with the nausea

      Like

  16. Hello.
    I did this ages ago, felt amazing! I had to hunt around for actual maple syrup (so many corn based sugary substitutes.) I mentioned the Master Cleanse to my daughter while talking about lemons, and wala… just now at the shop I saw pure original Maple syrup staring at me as I bought honey.

    That’s a sign. Just googled the instructions to be sure I had it right and found your site. Love your article! (Last time I had bought Stanley’s book from Amazon, but that was a lifetime and a few countries ago.)

    Anyway, I remember feeling superb during this cleanse. I will start with this, then move on to a liver cleanse and transition with juices and veggies.
    Blessings

    Like

    1. Oh this is so lovely to hear! And yes, sounds like a sign! Great job paying attention to you intuition and thank you so much for sharing your sweet feedback with me! Enjoy the cleanse! Big hugs to you!

      Like

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