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Purifying My Colon—And My Soul

Depending on whom you ask, the Master Cleanse is either a highway to rejuvenation and mental clarity or a cayenne-pepper-saturated crash diet. For a minimum of ten days, cleansers consume nothing but a spicy lemon drink followed by a special … Read More

By / April 27, 2007

Depending on whom you ask, the Master Cleanse is either a highway to rejuvenation and mental clarity or a cayenne-pepper-saturated crash diet. For a minimum of ten days, cleansers consume nothing but a spicy lemon drink followed by a special saltwater chaser. Aside from its all-too-obvious laxative powers, this regime supposedly clears the body of toxins, making adherents feel energetic, lucid, and even euphoric.

The cleanse has been around since 1941, but it recently moved from the new-age realm to the gossip weeklies when Beyonce used it to lose 22 pounds for her role as The Skinny One in Dreamgirls. Jewcy’s own Master Cleanser, Jay Michaelson, isn’t trying to out-diva Diana Ross; he simply wants to see what will happen when he gives up solid food for a week. Will he find a spiritual catharsis, or just hunger pangs?

Day One: Justifying the Purge. To prepare for the fast, Jay has been cutting certain foods out of his diet for a week, and replacing them with things like wild harvested Bladderwrack. Why is he doing this again?

Day Two: The Pursuit of Clarity. Having already lost five pounds, our intrepid dietary adventurer contemplates the effects of fasting on the mind. Is it more like psychedelics, or meditation?

Day Three: A Crisis of Discipline. Suddenly, it’s not so easy anymore. Jay walks past a display of Entenmann’s at the Rite Aid and wonders if spiritual catharsis is really worth it.

Day Four: Stick It Up Yer Ass. It’s not really a Master Cleanse until someone’s telling you about the contents of their intestines. Should Jay get an enema? Somehow this question feels as Jewish as it is new-agey.

Day Five: It Keeps You Regular. Jay’s cleanse friends ditch their weekend getaway. Are spiritual types particularly unreliable? Should he maybe get that enema after all?

Day Six: When Life Gives You Lemons. Jay wraps up the cleanse and reflects on what he’s learned—among other things, that there is such a thing as too much lemonade.

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