The Fast Lane

Master Cleanse

I’d been meaning to do this for about a year and a half. Today is Day Eight. Here’s a quick recap:


I stock up on maple syrup, organic lemons and cayenne pepper. This is all I will be consuming for the next fourteen days. I’d been meaning to tackle the Master Cleanse for some time. The idea is simple. Stop eating everything. Obtain all nutrients you need to get through the day by drinking a “tea” made of the ingredients pictured above. Purify and detox as a result. Events and business keep me from getting arond to it. But lately, I’m feeling especially toxic. Los Angeles is a fun playground and everything, but it comes with exhaust, cigarette smoke, chemicals and ennui. And there’s delicious Mexican food everywhere. I have all kinds of buildup to expel.

So I assemble three 32 oz. Nalgene bottles and fill ’em up (a third cup maple syrup, a third cup lemon juice and a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper.) Day one goes swimmingly.


I feel somewhat light and floaty. Hunger’s not really an issue. The headache is. My body aches all over the place, including my mouth, where a burr of pain has begun to blossom beneath the filling I got a few weeks ago.


I have strange, painful dreams. I wake up with a serious toothache. Since that rear left quadrant of my mouth has always been problematic, I swing by Rite Aid and pick up a Waterpik. I flush lots of blood and some food (I think it was a medium caesar salad and a package of Oreos) out of the problem gap. The pain increases. By five o’clock that evening I have to call my denstist. They’ll see me tomorrow, they say. And here’s some Vic0din.

But you’re gonna have to eat something.

So leave Amoeba and pick up the pills. Then I swing by Whole Foods and pick out the most innocuous soup I can find, along with a little bread. Returning home, I prepare the soup, heat up the bread. I’m only three days into the plan and here I am about to drop some solids and some toxins into my system. This fast is going really well.

As tasty as the soup and bread is, I can barely eat it around the giant fuzzball of fire in the side of my mouth. I drop the Vic0din, switch on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and settle onto the couch. It takes three pills over the course of the evening to quell the pain.


I awake without pain. I traipse over to the dentist. He takes an X-Ray and tells me everything looks great. Our guess is that a gap in the recent filling was trapping food that the Waterpik flushed out. The residual pain probably came from my own incessant worrying of the tooth with my tongue. That’s good news. I can continue with my fast.

That night my neighbors throw an apartment-warming party. The food spread is incredible. There are chips. There is dip. There are egg-rolls and vegetables and Spam. Yes, Spam. But it looks incredible, because I’m really starting to miss food. After a while I excuse myself and head home to distract myself by watching Munich, except that in Munich, Eric Bana plays the leader of a black ops assassin group who happens to know how to cook. All of their important mission planning meetings take place over a very well-photographed meal of divine inspiration. There’s wine and meat and bread and cheese and soup. It’s really tough to watch Munich.


Another full day. On the radio, Lisa Mullins interviews a woman who obsesses over chocolate. She describes the process of tasting chocolate, where the best chocolate can be found, the best chocolate she’s ever tasted. I’m drooling on the keyboard. Even the word “chocolate” sounds good to me.

Everyone at work starts bugging me for my extra Vicod!n.


I’m still doing okay. I miss food, but I’m still not especially hungry. But Saturdays are snack days at Amoeba. All the various stations get their snack bowls refilled on Saturdays. So my coworkers nosh on such delicacies as Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispy treats, cookies and candy. I remind myself that this is one of the reasons I’m fasting in the first place. I need to recalibrate my perception of food. There’s too much of it that’s too available to us middle-class working types.

People think it’s funny that I keep sticking my nose into the Doritos bag and inhaling.


Oddly out of sorts today. Sundays are when I like to arrive to work early, wander through the Farmer’s Market with a cup of coffee and pick up a bag of oranges and a couple of blue corn tamales. But not today! No, no.

Energy levels are low, but it’s only because I’m not drinking enough of the Master Elixir. I didn’t brew enough because I’d run out of lemons. That night I return home and write and then watch Batman Begins. It’s a fine film. Very little eating in it.


I awake with a bit of congestion in the lungs. I’ve decided to terminate the fast on Day Ten, which is the standard short-end length of the Master Cleanse. By the time I ease back into a regular diet, it’ll be Sunday, which is Day Fourteen anyway. I have plenty of energy. I’m not hungry.

But I wouldn’t mind a bagel.

About the author: will

10 comments to “The Fast Lane”

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  1. mom - May 22, 2006 at 1:36 pm Reply

    Keep us posted on the results.

  2. justJENN - May 22, 2006 at 7:43 pm Reply

    Blue corn tamales. YUM.

    My Uncle was just telling me how wonderful this particular fast is. I don’t think my tummy will believe it.

  3. Memo Pisa El Lodo - May 23, 2006 at 12:28 pm Reply

    yeah, keep us posted on the results.

  4. Memo Pisa El Lodo - May 23, 2006 at 10:21 pm Reply

    Why did you decide to go with this particular detox plan?

    (Just curious. I have been thinking about detoxing for a few days. I am not sure which plan to go with.)

  5. mom - May 24, 2006 at 5:59 am Reply

    And how does this particular concoction taste?

  6. Will - May 24, 2006 at 7:28 am Reply

    I went with the Master Cleanse because I know other people who have done it and had good things to say about it. The stuff tastes just fine, like an earthy lemonade, but it’s got a fiery kick a the back end thanks to the amount of cayenne pepper I use.

    Yesterday I went off the lemonade at about two and switched to just orange juice. My stomach definitely noticed and did quite a bit of orating. Last night late I picked up some brothy vegetable soup from Toi on Sunset and consumed most of the broth and some of the vegetables.

    This morning I feel terrible, but it’s mostly because at the very end, I seem to have picked up a cold-like bug which seems to be unrelated to the fast itself.

    Give me a day or two.

  7. Jodi - May 24, 2006 at 10:50 pm Reply

    I have a co-worker who does this time to time. I’ve with Jenn though. I don’t think I could handle it.

  8. Dawn - May 25, 2006 at 3:46 am Reply

    I’ve been thinking about this too. Whenever I fast for short periods I always feel better and it readjusts my eating habits, so this makes sense. Don’t know if I can kick the skittles to the curb, though.
    p.s. blue corn tamales, oh yum!

  9. Will - May 25, 2006 at 6:53 pm Reply

    So cool to hear from you, Dawnie!

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