Surviving the Master Cleanse With Kids

Catherine Crawford
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I will try almost anything once. Sure, this attitude has landed me in a bit of trouble throughout the years, but it’s also led to some fabulous discoveries.

When my allergies got so bad that my eyes began to swell shut on a regular basis, I decided to take the advice of my crunchiest friend and try a Master Cleanse. If you’ve not yet heard of MC (which is doubtful as everyone is talking about it), it’s a detox program in which a person consumes nothing but lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup (Grade B, thank you) FOR 10 DAYS!  Wait, that’s not true -- you also take in heaping amounts of sea salt for the daily flush. Sounds fun, right?

Well, it ain't! Now add kids.


serious allergy problems
The first three days are absolute murder, but it gets better. Once I hit Day 4, the experience became strangely satisfying and effective. In fact, I just spent the weekend in the country in a house heavily laden in cat hair, and I barely sneezed. For me, this is a minor miracle. I never wanted to be that person who goes around gushing about some hippie-dippie, alternative health scheme, but here I am …

The main question I get from other moms when I find myself proselytizing is “How do you deal with your kids, especially feeding them, when you aren’t eating?” Excellent question, because this part sucks. However, a little planning and prep will help immeasurably.

Here are my tips on surviving a Master Cleanse with kids:


1) Do a Weekend Kick-off -- Start on a weekend so that you have some backup when you need to do nothing but lie down. The caffeine withdrawal for me was piercing, and the also piercing demands of my kids did not help matters. In fact, if you can kick the coffee before you begin, you’ll be much better off.

2) Reheat! -- The closest I came to throwing in the towel was when my 4-year-old begged for some mac-n-cheese on Day 3. It felt like torture of the highest degree to have to stir up that creamy delightfulness. I vowed then that if I ever did a Master Cleanse again, I’d prepare a slew of meals in advance. Reheating was no problem, but actually preparing food on a stomach SO EMPTY is utter torment.

3) Relax -- The truth is, it's kind of hard to deal with kids when you are recalibrating all of your bodily mucus, among other things. Until you hit the cruising altitude (Day 4 for me), things can be rocky. So, my kids watched a bit (okay, a lot) more TV when I was deep in it. C’est la vie.   

4) Avoid the Kitchen -- If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve got at least some tasty food in your kitchen. One way to keep your kitchen time (and thus the temptation) at a minimum is to grab some freshly squeezed lemon juice from a health food store. It’ll also save you a whole lot of time!

5) Make 'em Cheer -- My kids were very interested in what I was doing, so I found myself explaining body detoxification to a 4- and 6-year-old. Turns out, it was one of the best decisions I made because they became my cheering section. All day long they would ask if I felt cleaner, and they loved to count down the days for me. I realized that part of the reason I kept going was to show them I could do it!

Have you tried a master cleanse? What are your tips to surviving it with kids?


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