A few weeks ago, Amber (my wife and beautiful soulmate) and I decided to embark on a new journey/health challenge. I tend to do well with defined challenges and endeavors and often find myself looking for the next thing to push my limits. But this one was not MY idea….it was Amber’s. 

She came to me and wanted us to try a 10-day detox cleanse. We had done a 4-day water only fast in the past (thank you Reset Health program), but 10-days was WAY out of my comfort zone. Just the thought of not eating for 10-days made me pause and question if that was even possible.

The program she wanted to try was called the Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet. It consists of at least 10 days of only consuming liquids, no solid foods allowed. This seemed like a very daunting goal!  

The cleanses main objective is to reset the digestive system to allow the body to heal naturally. With some research we found astounding results and successes reported by many previous participants. 

Based on the reported success of others, we made the commitment and got ready to begin our drastic lifestyle change! I can’t overstate how important the COMMITMENT was to the success of the program. This wasn’t something we were going to “try” or “explore.” It was a program we were 100% determined to COMPLETE.

Our main goal was not only to reset our less-than-ideal eating habits, but to set an example for our children. We wanted to show them that health is a priority for us and that when we make a decision and commit to something, we honor that commitment.

The first four days of the program was a lead-in to the cleanse. Day 1 was simply cutting out all processed foods. We ate a salad for lunch and then had salmon, roasted potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. Pretty great start. 

Day 2 was fruits and vegetables only. We had a fruit bowl and sauteed squash and zucchini for both lunch and dinner.

Day 3 got a little trickier. This was a day of only liquified foods. Amber had a blended vegetable smoothie for lunch. I was busy with work, so no lunch for me. We both had the blended vegetable/fruit smoothie for dinner (although our 4-year old decided he wanted half of mine).

The final day of the lead-in was a day of consuming only water and organic orange juice. I’m not a huge fan of orange juice, but I had a few glasses to fully participate in the program.

Day 5 was the beginning of the cleanse consisting of only consuming a homemade lemon-cayenne-maple syrup and water beverage. We began our first real day of the cleanse by making our homemade concoction: 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1/16 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 8 to 12 ounces of fresh spring water.

Surprisingly, the homemade lemonade was pretty damn good. The maple syrup combined with the lemon and cayenne gave a nice combination of sweet, sour, and spicy.

I was a bit leary of having syrup in the mixture because of the sugar. However, as the days wore on it was a really nice little energy boost with each glass we consumed. 

The cleanse directs the participants to drink this concoction six to 18 times a day (although 18 servings seemed a bit excessive to us). We generally had two servings in the morning, two in the afternoon, and two in the evening. We maintained this rhythm for pretty much the entire 10-days.

One of the big challenges of the program was cutting out all coffee. I have been a regular morning coffee drinker for as long as I can remember. I bet I hadn’t gone more than 2 days without coffee in the past 20 years. The first couple of days of the programI had a mild headache, which I presume is from the lack of caffeine. 

A big surprise to me was how much energy we both had throughout each day. I exercised each morning with a 2-mile run and 200 pushups. The lemonade gave me the little energy boost I needed and I was able to remain focused and productive all day long. And since we didn’t leave the office for lunch we found ourselves being even more productive at work.

The first six or seven days of the fast were surprisingly manageable without too much hunger. To be quite transparent though, the last few days of the program I was getting a bit cranky and really craving (fantasizing about) food!

After the 10-day fasting period we began the food reintroduction process. The first day was just orange juice. Then the next two days consisted of eating a homemade organic vegetable soup…and it was SOOOO GOOOOOD!!

Here are some of my big aha’s and takeaways from completing the program:

  • I developed a sense of control over my body and my hunger
  • I realized that we can survive (and even thrive) for extended periods of time without needing food
  • I also realized that water and hydration are absolutely essential
  • There is great mental clarity that comes when the body is allowed to heal itself
  • Making a firm commitment to the success of the program is vitally important
  • Mindset really matters
  • Having an accountability partner in the program is super valuable
  • Food is medicine
  • Junk in = Junk out
  • Going without food for 10 days gave me a deep appreciation for organic, natural, and healthy foods

Throughout the journey, I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of anything I set my heart to. I also wanted to show my children that anything is possible once you make a firm commitment. Through this cleanse, Amber and I were both able to set a great example of resolve to our health and to our commitments. 

I always love to hear about personal challenges and success stories from others. Chime in and let us know what you have done to achieve success with your health, with your family, and with your relationships!

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