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Food: The Master Cleanser Diet Journal, July 2004
he Master Cleanser Diet is a lemonade-based liquid diet that's intended for body cleansing, with the useful side effect of steady, measurable weight loss. Basically it's something healthy to do for the body/colon cleansing, that you get most people to do by dangling the carrot of 10-15 pounds lost weight.  Consider the money you'll save not eating any food for 10 days, if you want another benefit.

After blogging about the MC diet several times, mostly before beginning it, Malaya and I actually got it underway Friday, July 9, 2004. That evening I began writing down various observations and comments on what I was feeling, and those are collected here, in chronological order.

Entries are time stamped, and listed by day, with day 0 being the day before the diet truly began, since that's when we started not eating much, had some herbal tea, and I started writing this stuff. Days go not by the 24 hour clock, but by when I wake up and sleep, which is usually about 6am - 1pm. Sleep times are noted, when days roll over.

More recent additions are added on the bottom of this page.  Check this article for the compiled MC Diet entries.

Click the following links to leap to a given day.


Master Cleanser Diet Journal:

Starting weight: 170-177, depending on the time of day. From now on I'll measure it right when I get up in the morning afternoon, to be consistent.

Day 0, 12:15am, Saturday morning, 7/10/04

Herbal tea down the hatch. It's a half strength brew, since we're just starting out and don't know how quickly or harshly it will work on our bodies. Malaya drank it first, then I had my mug about an hour later, since 1) she's going to bed sooner, and 2) there's only one toilet in our condo, and on the off chance that it goes through us at the same rate, crowding could occur.

Bonus for her; she likes the tea. I don't like tea in general, and didn't like this one in particular. It tastes like wet hay. So she sipped hers while it was hot, and I waited until mine was warm and chugged it, washing it down with the last sip of Jamba Juice I get for at least a week.  We'll save money on food, if nothing else.


Day 0, 2:01am, Saturday morning, 7/10/04

Over an hour since my herbal tea, and so far I feel nothing. Malaya felt hers within 15 minutes, sitting on the couch and making surprised/distressed "Oh?!" sounds for a while, until the inevitable bathroom visit.  I hope everything came out alright.


Day 0, 2:24am, Saturday morning, 7/10/04

Still nothing from my herbal tea, and no I'm not constipated. I'm not Dooce, I've never been constipated in my life, as best I can remember.  It's just taking longer to work on me, assuming this small dose works at all. I don't have one of those "cast iron stomachs" but I've never had heartburn or ulcers or anything like that either, so my tummy is at least, "zinc lined" or "aluminum foil coated" perhaps.

I did just get an intense desire for cookies, which I would have ignored without comment any other time. I have a cookie about every other week, if that often, and seldom crave them or any other sweet, besides Pepsi. Anyway, when I was craving the cookie (any kind would have done, though I'm most partial to CCCs with pecans or walnuts or other crunchy things) it really hit me. I can't have one, nor anything else, for a week. Maybe longer. It's Saturday the 10th. I'm not going to eat, anything, until like next Tuesday. Not this Tuesday, the 13th, next Tuesday, the 20th. Damn! I never chew gum, but perhaps I should take it up? People say they hardly remember how to chew when they get off of this Master Cleanser thing, and when they do get around to eating their jaws get tired quickly.

Is it a bad sign that Malaya and I are already talking about what we'll eat to break our fast, 7 or 8 or 10 days from now?  You're supposed to ease back into eating gradually; fruit, vegetables, grains, etc. Not pizza, or fish sammich with FFS, or anything you really want.  I hardly ever eat big meat portions or greasy stuff anyway, but after a week+ without anything at all, will my craving for that sort of crap be overpowering?

I'll just have to hope what many of the advocates of this diet say holds true for me, and that at the end of I'll not only hardly remember what it's like to eat, but I won't have much desire for food either. That feeling passes after a few days, when you get used to/resigned to your liquid survival.


Day 0, 4:34am: Saturday morning, 7/10/04

Well, the herbal tea came and went without any greater effect than giving me some gas. I'm a bit disappointed, frankly, after all the stories and jokes I've heard about laxatives over the years. Tomorrow I'll be taking the full power dose, and chugging it all the faster, with double the wet hay flavor to contend with.

On the bright side, I'm not hungry, though I could easily eat. Something crunchy and salty, ideally. And yes, that jar of peanut butter-filled pretzel bites staring at me from the snack-covered bookshelf is damn tempting.  Considering my day's food intake was an apple, one large Jamba Juice, 2/3 of a red bell pepper, 1/2 of a yellow bell pepper, and one celery stick, I'd say I'm doing pretty well. Most days I'd have eaten more than this within an hour of rising, and thought I was still hungry.

As I keep saying, hunger is all almost all mental.  Perhaps I should say it more often, as Malaya is lying on the couch, moaning about how "m'ungry" she is.  Fortunately we've got plenty of nice cold water to satisfy her hunger, so no worries.


-- sleep --


Day 1, 3:26pm, Saturday Afternoon, 7/10/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 170.

Well, one thing about going to bed after hardly eating. You sleep well. I was in bed more than 9 hours, which is about 2-3 longer than usual. Malaya went to bed an hour before I did and got up with me, so she was pretty wiped out too. Though she usually sleeps longer than I do.  I don't know why we didn't leap out of bed, with all we had to look forward to. Why? Mornings, on an empty stomach, are salt water wash time!

Every day during the MC, you are supposed to drink 6-12 glasses of the lemonade (which taste good and are your only food, so that's not such a hardship). Every night you have a glass of laxative herbal tea, and every morning you get up for your salt water wash. It's not so bad in content, just two teaspoons of salt. The problem is that you must dissolve that in 1 quart of water. And you've never really realized how large a quart is until you try to drink it all at once, and it tastes like the ocean. 4 cups. 32 ounces. It's like chugging 2.5 cans of soda, or 2 one liter bottles of water. Not so hard when you're thirsty from a work out, but fresh out of bed, warm water, with salt in it? Bleh.

Actually, it wasn't that bad, I did it 15 minutes ago, as Malaya got dressed and headed off to the gym. Not as salty as the warm salt water gargle I use when I get a sore throat, so I didn't have the urge to spit it out immediately. It's just the sheer quantity of it that daunted me, and by the middle of my second glass, my stomach was feeling bloated. I got through about 3/4 of it before I had to stop, since I really felt like I was going to puke. I also felt an immediate need to go to the bathroom, likely from my swollen stomach pressing on my bowel, and I've been burping regularly the last 10 minutes as well.  I did drink it all though, and the funny part? I'm thirsty again less than 20 minutes later.  Feel like I had a salty snack without enough water/soda/whatever to drink.  My mouth's thirsty, at least. My stomach is an aquarium, but try telling my head that.

At least I woke up with no hunger, so staying on the diet isn't giving me any problem.


Day 1, 4:45pm, Saturday Afternoon, 7/10/04

So, what's it like to drink 4 cups of salt water, and how do you feel afterwards?  It's been an hour and a half, and I had to go to the bathroom immediately after drinking it, just from the pressure on my bowel. About an hour later, the salt water actually "worked" at what it's supposed to do, which is cleaning some of the built up crud off of my bowel.  That was one smelly bathroom, to put it kindly, and whatever came out; it wasn't anything that I ate yesterday, since that was gone already.

Weirdest part? I have yet to pee a drop since drinking all that salt water. If I drink a bottle of water, I pee most of it out in like 15 minutes. I mean it goes straight through. Yet I drank the equivalent of more than 2 bottles of salt water 90 minutes ago, and I've yet to pee a drop. Where did it go?  Why does the small amount of salt make that much difference?

On the bright side, I have no hunger at all, despite not eating for more than 16 hours. I could start on the lemonade component of the diet now, if I wanted to, but why? I'm not hungry, I feel bloated from salt water retention, and I'm not even thirsty, though my mouth feels a bit salty and I keep needing to clear my throat.

They say that your body vacates a lot of mucus once you get on the diet; all of the excess snot inside of you from all the unhealthy shit (meat, primarily) you've been eating your whole life. And it's not just blowing your nose, your organs produce mucus for lubrication and to coat harmful particles, etc. All of that starts to want out once you're on the MC plan, and most people get runny noses, see it in their waste, and have zit outbreaks, oily skin, etc. It passes after a few days though, and then you feel great.

That's what they tell me anyway. Malaya and I have both been sniffing a bit this afternoon, but I think that's more from the hot dry windy weather than anything to do with the MC diet yet.


Day 1, 8:11pm, Saturday Evening, 7/10/04

An odd day.  Malaya and I are both sticking to the lemonade, and it's not horrible, but it's not especially good either.  More on the taste in a moment. What's odd about the day is how we feel. Not bad, but not very good either. Sort of lethargic; happy to lie around, read, watch TV, etc. I played a couple hours of Warcraft 2 earlier, and after spending almost every available minute the last few days editing my novel, I just haven't had any interest in doing that so far today. I'd say we were starving and weak, but we're not, we just don't want to do anything. Side effect of the detoxification process, I suppose, as well as part of feeling strangely hungry/bloated all day.

As for the lemonade stuff, it's not bad. I don't like it, but the maple syrup is about 75% of the flavor, and the cayenne is about 24%. Lemons provide the other 1%. I thought the bad taste of it (it's not horrible, but I'm certainly not sipping and lingering over it) was from a strange mixture of the three ingredients, until I picked up the syrup bottle, got a drop on my hand, and licked it off. I love the cheap maple-flavored syrup, the crap that's 98% corn oil with 2% flavoring. But real grade B maple syrup is thin, watery, and has a much deeper, stronger taste that I don't really care for.  Mixing cayenne on top of it actually helps, somewhat.  I may try cutting the syrup in mine next time and see if that helps, since I like sour tastes, like lemons.


Day 1, 11:15pm, Saturday Night, 7/10/04

I've been awake for 8 hours, and the biggest problem so far is drinking enough of the lemonade. You're supposed to drink at least 6 glasses, and up to 12. So far today I've had 3, all of which were chugged as quickly as possible, and I feel stuffed. Strange how the lemonade, which is like 10oz of water, 2oz of lemon, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, and 2 shakes cayenne pepper, fills me up, while plain water (or Gatorade, or most fruit juices, etc) just go right through me, from glass to pee in about 20 minutes.  Each glass of the special lemonade is about 110 calories, of which 104 is from the maple syrup, so I've had a big 300ish calories all day, and I'm not a bit hungry.

I need to put down at least 3 more of them in the next few hours, and then try the herbal tea. The problem is that the tea is potent stuff; in other words, you don't sip it and head off to bed. Not unless you want to wake up in about half an hour and break a kneecap racing to the toilet.  So I want to drink it at least an hour before sleepy time, which means I need to do about a glass of lemonade an hour, from now on.  Who knew this would become such an endurance event?

Ironically, we just saw a rerun of the ESPN telecast of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, where the little Japanese guy won it for the 4th straight year, with an astonishing 53.5 dogs and buns in 12 minutes. I'd be lucky to do 3 total; I get full so quickly now it's like I've had some sort of stomach stapling procedure.  The food cravings are going down; I'm not spending my time thinking about eating crunchy snacks, donuts, and other junk, though I would enjoy some crackers, or peanuts or other light crunchy stuff. Which just goes to show that it's all about the texture and the craving, rather than any real need to eat it.


Day 1, 1:23am, Sunday Morning, 7/11/04

Five glasses of lemonade down, for the day. I've cut the maple syrup by 50%, to 1 tbsp, and increased the lemon juice and water a bit, and I definitely prefer the taste. It would be better with no syrup at all, but I'd be down to zero calories at that point, and I need some energy to function. I'm just glad that each glass of liquid is only 12-14 ounces, which I can easily chug in about 10 seconds. Lingering over the juice would make this a lot less fun. The downside to chugging it is that I swallow air and keep burping afterwards, and with every burp I taste the still potent maple syrup, flavored with cayenne pepper.  Maybe I should up the cayenne some; the only enjoyment I get from the drink is the slight heat in my throat afterwards. If I had some real burning pepper joy it might at least distract me from the cloying maple syrup taste.

I more glass of lemonade in about an hour, and then it'll be time for the herbal tea. "May you anticipate your laxative, if only in comparison to what comes before it."


Day 1, 5:45am, Sunday Morning, 7/11/04

"May your herbal tea be overrated."

Two days in a row, half dose yesterday, full dose today, and nothing. I think my stomach gurgled once or twice this time. We're torn on buying another kind, or waiting a few days to see if this one kicks in better once our bodies are more "purified" and "cleansed" and "fucking-starving."

I'm doing pretty well not eating, just suffering occasional cravings for crunchy stuff or greasy stuff; finger foods mostly. Malaya, on the other hand, is sticking to the diet, but she's very sick of the lemonade, disappointed by the tea (it had no effect on her either, this time), and has mentally planned out every meal she'll eat the first week after the diet/fast/cleansing ends.  Calorie-rich soups from Claim Jumper and a local Chinese restaurant seem to make up much of her projected menu, though they are far from the only cravings percolating around in her diet-addled, food-deprived mind.


-- sleep --


Day 2, 3:01pm, Sunday Afternoon, 7/11/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 170.

Unchanged since yesterday, but since I've done nothing but drink liquids and pee since yesterday, that's about what you'd expect. Hopefully the salt water wash I'm about to undertake will result in long term weight reduction, despite the fact that I'm about to drink 3 pounds of salt water.  It leaves the body slowly, but it takes... things... with it.


Day 2, 5:44pm, Sunday Afternoon, 7/11/04

I must have been thirsty when I woke up today, since in just about two hours I've had 32 ounces of salt water and two 12 ounce servings of lemonade. And I've only peed once.  My stomach sounds like a hot water bottle when I poke at it.

On the bright side, I'm beginning to actually enjoy the lemonade, as I keep tweaking the formula. I'm currently doing about 50% more lemon juice than the standard, 33% less maple syrup, and 2 or 3x more cayenne pepper. The syrup is what tastes nasty about it, and by upping the lemon I counter much of that, and by tripling the cayenne powder I get a hot taste to it, which is best when I get a bit of a burn to the aftertaste. Since the aftertaste is where the rancid syrup taste was most bothering me.

Fortunately, we've got essentially infinite lemons, courtesy of the never-picked tree in Malaya's parents' backyard, and just one small container of cayenne is going to be more than enough for this whole week+ diet plan. We're going through a lot of water, and we didn't think to get a ton of it from CostCo in advance, but it's pretty cheap. We bought two 2.5 gallon containers at Safeway yesterday for $5. The only real expense is the maple syrup, since we've got to use the real stuff, not that Log Cabin 99% corn syrup crap. A 375ml bottle of real Grade B or A maple syrup is about $7 at the grocery store (they only had Grade A, while B or C are recommended on the MC diet, so we're going to try Trader Joes today) and we've gone through almost an entire bottle already, in less than a day and a half of the diet.

We each had 6 glasses yesterday, with about 2 tablespoons each (I cut that back a bit on the last 2 when I started experimenting for better flavor), and we've had 2 each today. So that's 16 glasses, which means that 375ml has about 34 tablespoons in it (there's enough left for one more glass each). Still, I figure we're spending maybe $4 each, per day, which is obviously quite a bit less than we'd normally spend on food, assuming we ate something other than ramen and week-old fruit we scrounged from the dumpster behind Albertson's.

If I have a point to this entry, it's that the lemonade isn't bad, once you find the mixture of flavors you like from it, and get used to it. I wasn't hungry at any time  yesterday or today, and today I haven't even had any food cravings. Of course it's hot, bright outside, and the day is young. I never really feel like eating during the daytime anyway; night is when I get the munchies.


Day 2, 6:38pm, Sunday Afternoon, 7/11/04

Success at Trader Joe's. Great selection of maple syrup, all different grades, and even a written chart explaining the different grades, tastes, and usages. They had 740ml bottles of Grade B for $8, compared to bottles half that size at Safeway for $7.  Not a hard choice to make.

According to the written info at TJ's, Grade B has a very strong maple taste, and is usually used in cooking. However it's what we're supposed to drink in our lemonade, since it's got more nutrients and minerals.  And as you know, maple syrup is world renowned for it's health benefits. *cough*


Day 2, 10:41pm, Sunday Evening, 7/11/04

I was a bit worried about the Grade B, since I thought the bottle we had (which by the color I believe is Grade A, though it doesn't say on the label) was Grade A, and it did not taste good. I don't know if we'd describe it as this if it didn't come from a tree, but the stuff tasted very woodsy or barky, mostly as an aftertaste. Sort of oversweet, with a rooty essence.  The new bottle of Grade B is so much better tasting, especially when mixed with the lemon juice, water, and cayenne pepper. I almost enjoy drinking it now.

I went for my usual 3 miles of hills, hills, and more hills run this evening, and felt fine. Plenty of energy, and since I'd had 2 days off, my shins hardly hurt at all. I finished strong and everything. Returned from the run and drank a bottle of water on the drive home, then chugged a lemonade after that, took a shower, and had another one when I got out. Tastes better thanks to the new syrup, and I was really thirsty from a very sweaty run, so had no problem downing it. I've had 7 today, after barely tolerating 6 yesterday, so clearly it's growing on me. Or else I was really thirsty.  The minimum recommended is 6, with a max of 12, and I'll probably get up into the 10+ range, since I'm a bit hungry and I'll be up another 6 or 7 hours.

Our food cravings today are much less than yesterday, but we could both eat and eat and eat. More for the taste and crunching sensation than out of a need for food.  A few hours ago I got the most intense desire to eat toast.  Not even bread or raspberry preserves or anything. Just partially-burned, crunchy bread.  Purely for the chewing sensation.

It passed, eventually.  Though now that I think about it, a piece of toast with canola spread, raspberry preserves, and a fried egg with bits of onion on top would be possibly the best thing I've ever eaten in my life.

This too shall pass...


Day 2, 2:46pm, Monday Morning, 7/12/04

You know you're on a long diet when you can hold complete conversations, interrupted frequently by "mmmmm" sounds and lips being licked, with no more than names of food. We're sitting side by side at our desks, and someone mentioned "biscuit" and we spent 30 seconds imagining what that would taste like. A nice buttermilk one, with about 200 calories, freshly reheated in the toaster oven with the outside all hot and crispy, and the inside chewy and warm.

I topped that with "macaroni and cheese" and Malaya sighed with a lust I've only before heard in her voice when we walk past Tiffany's and she sees something especially shiny in the window.

We just watched Master and Commander, the sailing movie from last year with Russell Crowe, and drooled over the swill they were eating. You know you're hungry (Correction: we want to eat -- we're not actually in need of additional nourishment.) when sailor gruel in a movie makes you drool.

Basically anything edible makes us happy now. It's sad how much we want to eat after just two days without. We're like an old couple reminiscing about dead relatives as we mention baked potatoes, or clam chowder, or peanut M&Ms, or potato chips, or damn near anything edible.  They say the hardest part of a juice diet is the first few days, while your body gets used to not eating. I hope so, cause our willpower is crumbling like a sand castle before a rising tide. A tide of chocolate and butterscotch, with any luck.


-- sleep --


Day 3, 2:16pm, Monday Afternoon, 7/12/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 166.

Now that's what I'm talking about!  Four pounds since yesterday isn't bad at all. The herbal tea finally worked last night; either that or it was just the cumulative effect of all that lemonade. Whatever the reason, I had a semi-urgent need for the toilet when I got out of bed today, and the results were um... prodigious.

I'm now nuking the 4q of salt water to get it luke warm before I chug the whole thing, and that definitely works, as it sloshes around the colon and knocks loose some of the... post-digested food, let's call it. I've not seen anything interesting in mine yet, but that's probably because I've been on a low-meat, healthy vegetable diet for over a decade. Most people see undigested pork chops and cuts of sirloin they ate when they were in college; that sort of thing.  Malaya eats cow and pig, so I'll have to ask her if there's been any disturbing evidence yet.

The oddest thing about this diet so far? The dreams. Ordinarily I never dream, or at least I don't remember them. I also tend to need no more than about 6 hours of sleep a night. All three days since starting on this diet though, I've slept over 8 hours, and had constant, wild, weird, hugely involved dreams. My suspicion is that I always have dreams like that, I'm just remembering them now, since I'm coming up slightly out of sleep every couple of hours, where my conscious brain kicks in enough to download some of what the subconscious has been doing. What that's got to do with the herbal tea and lemonade is anyone's guess.

Malaya always has lots of weirdly vivid dreams (weird to me, since I usually have none), but I'll ask her if hers have picked up the last few days as well.


Day 3, 2:24pm, Monday Afternoon, 7/12/04

An email from Leo asks the question that many of you have probably been wondering:

I was reading your post today about this diet thing your trying. I then thought, is it a good idea for Malaya to be going to the gym having not eaten anything? General activity is one thing, but strenuous activity must surely require more energy/nutrients/whatever than this lemonade concoction can provide?

That's the beauty of the MC diet. It provides all of the nutrition and calories you need, at least according to the health guru who invented it. He says that many people feel more energetic on this diet than they do when eating normally, and that most people can continue their normal activities, even if there's physical labor involved.  Of course he also says that the diet is only to be used for 40 days, at most, except in extreme cases (people who are grotesquely overweight, I assume) which implies to me that it's not healthy for a lifetime.  I'm not taking his advice on other nutrition issues though.

Also, your body must digest food, liquefy it, in order to digest it and use the nutrients in it. With a liquid diet, you digest and get the nutrients and energy from your "food" immediately. Also, your body isn't devoting energy to breaking down and attempting to locate some nutrients in the frequently horrible food we shovel down our throats.  I have no idea how much of your daily calorie requirements are needed just to break even; to digest what you're eating in the first place, but eliminating those has to help cut your calorie requirements in some way.

Malaya worked out normally on Saturday and then again Monday (she usually takes Sunday off) and felt fine. I went for my normal high stress uphill run Sunday, and felt fine. We've had plenty of energy, after our bout with restlessness and boredom on day 1. The MC diet isn't like a water fast where you are getting no calories, and consequently feel weak all the time. (Most people feel weak, at least.)

If you want more anecdotes, Google on "master cleanser" and you'll find thousands of health sites and personal sites talking about the diet plan and their experiences on it. Or you can just check out the reader reviews for the Master Cleanser book on Amazon.com; most of them are 5 star ratings and many of the people offer their own stories of working normally, playing golf, etc. 


Day 3, 11:16pm, Monday Evening, 7/12/04

As predicted, the frequency of entries on this page have decreased as the novelty of the whole thing has worn off.  Either that or I just haven't felt like typing much on this today.

We went shopping today, and realized that this is not the diet plan to go on (at least not if you're doing the saltwater washes in the morning) if you want to leave the house early. On the MC you get up, feel the effects of the laxative tea you took last night (at least I did) and then once you hose off and crawl out of the bathroom it's time for your tasty 4 quart guzzle of salt water, which takes 30-60 minutes (in my experience) to work through you. During that time, you aren't going anywhere, unless it's to star in a documentary version of one of those "Where will you be when..." Imodium AD commercials. The salt water might all come out at once, it might just make you pee, or it might require multiple trips to the bad place to do the bad thing.  I would not want to do the salt water wash if I had to go to work (or pretty much anywhere else) within the next 2 hours.  Lots of people on the diet say they don't do it until they get home in the evening, which is a deviation from the diet master plan, but a necessary one, I think.

Anyway, our shopping trip, when we eventually felt safe leaving the house, was to purchase some limes, and a different brand of laxative tea, since the one we've been taking doesn't seem to be working, (Though it did on me last night, since when I woke up Monday my tummy was making amazing gurgling noises which sent me straight to the toilet.) and tastes like wet hay.

We haven't tried the tea yet, but we did make a few limeade drinks, for variety. They were unimpressive, not tasting much different than the lemonade ones. I guess the maple syrup and cayenne pretty well dominate the flavor.  They weren't bad, but since we've got about 15 pounds of lemons from Malaya's parents' backyard tree sitting around, there's no point in paying $.33 a piece for limes that are smaller, have less juice, and don't taste any better. Even if they are a pretty green color.


Day 3, 5:52am, Tuesday Morning, 7/13/04

Last entry of the day, as I'm brushing my teeth and soon to go to sleep. I don't know how long I'll stay asleep, since I chugged a mug of the new herbal tea about an hour ago, and my stomach has been non-stop gurgling since then. I have figured out why the first type of herbal tea worked on Malaya the first night, and never since though. Well, why it's never worked on her since then, at least. I dunno why it didn't work on me.

My theory is that the tea it works as a laxative if you've got food in your belly. The first night was before we began the lemonade, and while we ate lightly that day and went to bed hungry, we still had food in our systems. Since then we haven't had any food there, so the laxative tea is basically sloshing down with nothing to sink its teeth into, and with no food to work on it doesn't seem to trigger the body's need to excrete.  That's my theory anyway. It might have worked overnight on me yesterday, since when I woke up on Day 3 I had to go, and I mean go. That's how I got down to 166 so quickly, and I'm hoping for more of the same when I wake up later today, and begin Day 4.

And no, I've never before been so hopefully eager about taking a dump. This must be what new parents feel like when they're trying to potty train their kid. Come to think of it, we felt about like this back when we were trying to potty train Jinxie.


Day 3, 6:04am, Tuesday Morning, 7/13/04

I know I said the last one was the last one, but as I was closing the program I had a thought that didn't really fit in with the last entry.

As Malaya and I are adapting (with some struggles) to not eating, and enjoying feeling thinner, we're discussing how we can eat healthier, eat smaller portions, and keep the weight off. So much of food is habit and desire, rather than need, and I keep saying that, but it's never more apparent than when you're on a liquid fast. You *know* you don't need food, that your belly is full and that you have enough energy. But that does nothing to your desire to eat. It's easier for me, since I don't like food that much, and I've been off of most meat and sugar stuff (which seem to be the types of foods that are hardest to give up, as you'd expect given that they're also the least healthy) for years. Malaya has mostly given up cow since I moved up here, but she still craves it from time to time, and settles for craving chicken instead, usually the worst kind of chicken (fried). It's got nothing to do with hunger or needing to fill herself, and she knows how many calories fried chicken has (an ungodly amount), and she knows she could eat much more boiled or roasted chicken for the calories. But fried chicken has that crunchy texture and that oily taste, and it calls to her. Her precious.

For me, my craving weakness is fried stuff. After 3.5 days with no solid food, I feel like I could eat about 7 pounds of French fries, onion rings, fish fillets, etc. And as you might expect, Malaya's comments about how we should really cut down on the FFS are not things I want to hear. Much as she doesn't want to hear me talk about only eating healthy chicken, skinless, baked, that sort of thing.

I've long held that the things that most upset us about others are things we see and dislike in ourselves. I suppose a corollary to this truism is that the things we most enjoy eating are those that we're most likely to ignore the unhealthy aspects of and resist giving up, even if it's for our own good. I like chicken sometimes, but I'm more in touch with how bad for me fried chicken is, so while I can eat it, I almost always choose not to.  Meanwhile, I'm deep in denial about the calories a boiling bath of canola oil adds to those frozen French fries, which really don't have that many calories, according to the nutrition information on the side of the bag.

This isn't news to anyone who has ever read a sensible diet plan (which obviously rules out gimmicks like Atkins), but the real key to cutting your calories while still feeling full after eating is to increase the low calorie components of it. So if you have chicken with rice and veggies, you have more rice and more veggies, rather than another piece of chicken. And you use pepper and garlic for seasoning, rather than butter. It's common sense, really, but we humans so seldom use that when it comes to food that I think it's worth pointing out. Pointing out so it might finally begin to sink into the heads of Malaya and Flux, if no one else.

I guess this all boils down to us trying to grow up in our eating habits, and starting to cook like semi-gourmet adults. Mixed meals, salads all the time to fill up with low calories and healthy vegetables, steamed vegetables for side dishes, casseroles, home made soups, etc. And less chicken strips, pizza, FFS, mega nachos supreme, super burritos, etc.



-- sleep --


Day 4, 2:44pm, Tuesday Afternoon, 7/13/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 165.

The above isn't entirely true, since that's the "fresh out of bed after three semi-unpleasant bathroom visits" weight.  But since forcing the body into semi-uncomfortable bathroom visits is what this diet is all about, I can hardly complain, now can I? And I haven't even done the saltwater flush this morning; things seem to be loosening up nicely on their own, just from the lemon juice drinks.

I'm sparring you readers most of the gruesome "what the hell is that?" details about the bathroom visits, even though they are what made that UK Guardian article so funny (for me, anyway), but that's partially since I haven't had anything so interesting as those high colonic enduring souls had.  Mine possess lots of mucus the last 2 days, which is what the book says will happen as your body detoxes itself and your organs stop producing excess mucus as a reaction to the crappy food you've been shoveling in.  Whether or not that's actually where the mucus is coming from, or why it's going out is unknown, I'm merely saying what the book says, and I can confirm it from actual practice. Transparent floating cloudy swirls in the bowl, basically.  Everything else is very particulate, mostly green or black, and most of it sinks, which is a bit unsettling in of itself.

Changing the subject, Malaya is out all day; a work meeting and then a friend meeting. The friend is also doing the diet now, and she started the same time we did. Her brand new fiancé is not doing it, which has to cause some friction. It's alleviated somewhat by them not living together, and him being far from health conscious. Of course that just means he could use it a lot more than she can, since she's slim and eats well, while he's overweight and doesn't, but it's not my battle to fight.

Anyway, Malaya made up a big jug of lemonade mix to take with her, so she could resist the temptation of food on the road, and killed off the last of the syrup in the process. I've got to head back to TJ's to get another bottle or two, and will do so, once I've passed a solid 15 minutes without need of another bathroom visit. Essentially, I have diarrhea, but it comes without the "oh god I'm sick I'm dying" feeling of usual diarrhea (Which I actually managed to spell correction on the first try! I can also spell "silhouette" without spell check help.), I just need to go squirt out a few spoonfuls every now and then. It was about hourly late last night, and it's about 4x that often so far this afternoon.  Since the last thing I consumed was herbal tea, this morning, before bed, at around 5, and I hadn't had any lemonade for a good 3 hours before then, it's a bit of a mystery where my body is getting the liquid to sustain my bathroom output, 15 hours later.

I'm torn on the saltwater flush; on the one hand it seems unnecessary, since I'm already unsettled in the colon, but on the other hand it might really wash everything out and get me clean for the start of Day 4.

My other issue is being torn with desire to eat half a pound of pretty much anything, since my diet partner/enforcer (we enforce upon each other; peer pressure is an ugly thing) is gone and I could get away with it.  But since I know that would undo most of the benefit I've so far gotten from this diet/detox, I shall resist.  After all, I never really get hungry until late at night anyway.


Day 4, 11:36pm, Tuesday Evening, 7/13/04

Ugh. Not feeling very well today. I've been up for over 9 hours, and I just forced down my third lemonade of the day. Since I had 9 on Day 2 and 7 on Day 3, and they've only got 100 calories each, I need to step it up a bit. I'm not really hungry though, and my stomach feels so gurgly that I haven't wanted anything going down to add to the party.  I felt about the same last night late, and went 3 hours without a lemonade to let my stomach settle down. I think I'm just doing too much citrus, and have been cutting back on the lemon juice per lemonade, even though that makes it taste a lot less yummy.

They say day 3 and 4 are often the hardest on the diet, since you're really missing food, haven't adjusted to the liquid entirely yet, and are usually detoxing as well. I'm definitely detoxing, or at least I feel unsettled and tummy upset and have to visit the bathroom regularly. It's tempting to say "fuck it" and have some soup and vegetables and bread. It would settle my stomach at least, but I'm going to stick it out at least another day and hope I settle down on Day 5.  If not, I might have to bail out on the diet before completion, which would make me unhappy, but when I spend most of the day sitting around, feeling like shit and not working, what's the point just to lose some weight and cleanse?


Day 4, 11:48pm, Tuesday Evening, 7/13/04

Something I was going to address earlier, except for feeling too shitty all day to bother typing anything, this or fiction.  In one of yesterday's updates I mentioned Atkins and other gimmick diets, and got an email from a regular reader who often takes me to task on things.  This one was no different.

It amuses me that you dismiss Atkins as a gimmick diet despite the fact that it now has nearly 30 years of science behind it (granted, most of that is very recent). I'm not on the Atkins diet, nor do I plan on ever going on it. But I at least understand the basic concepts behind it...not spiking your blood sugar, eating more of the things that humans evolved eating, etc. And then you (seem to) take a few Internet testimonials for the cleansing diet as evidence that "it really works!" You're funny.


Well, the vast majority of science I've seen about Atkins says it's unhealthy, causes heart disease, and doesn't work long term for almost everyone who tries it.  But I don't think that's the science Aahz is referring to, or that proponents of Atkins cite. More to the point, I define a gimmick diet as any eating plan that's designed for a quick fix by stressing some small aspect of nutrition, and that most people can't stick to long term and remain healthy.  And yes, that certainly includes the MC lemonade diet I'm on now.

However, the Master Cleanser program isn't designed for life long nutrition. Even the author of it book says that 10 days is all most people should stay on it for.  Furthermore, the MC "diet" isn't really a diet. I mean sure, most people lose substantial weight, but that's not what it's for. I read the book (it's very short, like 50 pages, of which about the last 20 are theology and recipes) and I don't recall more than 1 or 2 mentions of weight loss. The author, Stanley Burroughs, stresses the MC thing I'm doing for short term cleansing. He doesn't push it at all as a weight loss plan (though he might have if he were still alive and a more aggressive marketer), and in fact he says that some people actually gain weight on it, depending on their weight going in and how much lemonade they drink on it.

It's certainly a diet plan for me, since I'm taking in less than 1000 calories a day and no solid food. But the main weight loss comes from the colon cleansing, which I've previously described in probably a lot more detail than you wanted to hear.  I didn't lose noticeable weight the first 2 days, since I wasn't having any "movements" as the book calls them, despite exercising and consuming nothing but lemonade drinks. The last two days I've been having far more frequent "movements" than I want to, and I've lost half a dozen pounds.

In theory, if you did as the MC book suggests, and did a 10 day lemonade cleansing 3 or 4x a year, you wouldn't lose any weight on it, since 1) you'd probably be skinny already, and 2) you wouldn't have much built up gunk inside your lower digestive tract. The MC program has such dramatic 10-15 pound results for most people since most of us have filthy colons from a lifetime of food build up.

So yes, it's a gimmick, but it's an effective one in the short term, it is a sort term cleanse, not so much a diet, and unlike Atkins it doesn't increase your chances of heart disease while requiring you to permanently stop eating tons of healthy food like fruits and vegetables.  Or promote the fantasy that you can eat shit like greasy double bacon cheeseburgers while staying healthy and losing weight.  And yes, the actual Atkins diet plan is more or less reasonable and can work for long term weight control. It's just that the vast majority of people don't follow it responsibly, and end up being hurt more than helped. And no, I have absolutely no figures at all to base that assertion on.


Day 4, 12:12am, Wednesday Morning, 7/14/04

You know you're hungry when even the sight of a character eating a sandwich in a comic strip makes you moan.  And sadder yet, I'm not hungry. I'm just craving solid food.  Damn near any kind. Just so long as I can chew it.  I thought I wanted dry stuff, crackers, granola bars, FFS, sandwiches, chicken taquitos, etc. But then a reader mailed with his own story of being on a liquid diet, when he had his jaw broken years ago, and he ended it with this:

I can sure relate to your cravings for solid food, though. I have a very detailed memory of eating that first plate of spaghetti after the wires came off...

Best of luck with the diet.

And ever since, I can't think about anything but pasta. I wouldn't do spaghetti, even though I've got a big tub of my home made sauce with stir fried peppers and mushrooms and such in it in the freezer right now. I'd chop up pepper strips, mushrooms, zucchini, red onions, etc, stir fry those in the wok for a bit in olive oil with heavy Italian spices, garlic, and red pepper, and then eat it over bow tie pasta, with a bit more olive oil for lubrication, and some cheesy garlic bread.

Well, to be honest I would do spaghetti, if I were having it right now, since we have zero vegetables here (other than some onions) and that pretty well rules out the fresh stir fry option. So I'd have spaghetti now, with my thawed sauce, and then bow ties with stir fry tomorrow.

Well, to be honest I'm so eager to start eating again that I want to try a wide variety of food the first day or three, and there's no way I'd have pasta two meals in a row, not with veggie burgers and FFS and pizza and burritos calling me.

In light of second thoughts, I guess you can disregard this entire entry, other than as more evidence of what not eating solid food for 5 days does to a man's mind. 


-- sleep --


Day 5, 9:12pm, Wednesday Night, 7/14/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 165.

No change in weight since yesterday, and that's mostly due to skipping the herbal laxative last night. I just didn't feel up to it, not after feeling like shit all evening. Malaya was with me on that one, as we both got very sick of the maple syrup taste of the lemonade all at once. Serious thought was given to bailing on the entire diet, and we both went to bed hungry rather than forcing down another dose of the medicine.

Fortunately we felt better in the morning, and after rather successful salt water washes we decided we wanted to stay with it, at least for another few days. We couldn't imagine doing the maple syrup again though, so we looked into other possible recipe options. The MC book lists sugarcane juice as an alternative to the maple syrup, but we couldn't find that anywhere. None of the local health food stores listed it on their websites, and when I called Whole Earth Foods I got passed around and put on hold for 5 minutes until I gave up.  We did find sugarcane in powdered form at a health food store over in Concord though, and figured that would be close enough. A good sized bag (more than we're ever likely to use) cost us $6.50, and since neither of us had consumed anything more than salt water all day, we were eager to get home.

Not so eager that we couldn't stop at Trader Joe's though, to pick up some orange juice. We got a can of organic concentrate and carton of organic juice, since when you end the fast you're supposed to go easy for a day or two and drink things like OJ, vegetable broth, etc, so you don't shock your body by stuffing a ton of food into your gaping pie hole.

Home safely, we mixed up a glass each with the organic cane sugar, (15 calories a tablespoon, so we went with 6 of them to equate to the calories in our maple syrup lemonade) which is brown and crumbly. We did the same ingredients, 2 tbsp of lemon juice with a few shakes of cayenne, and just substituted the cane sugar for maple syrup. We're going a bit off the book, since it says sugarcane juice, and says to use a ton of it, like 8 ounces, so obviously that stuff isn't all that sweet.

Malaya liked it, and I finished my glass, but it was dreadful. Very vegetal, to use a wine-tasting word. The aftertaste was the real killer though, making me feel like I had a stomach full of ground kelp, or perhaps pond scum. Just awful. I felt better with some energy in me though, and with my mind working again I recollected a package of organic cane sugar I'd brought up here with me from San Diego. I'd purchased it after going years without any sort of sugar in my spice rack, with the thought of sprinkling it on some flavorless strawberries. It wasn't any good for that, proving to be pretty untasty, as all unrefined sugar seems to be. (Funny how everything raw and natural tends to taste awful, compared to the manufactured, sweetened, artificially-flavored versions we're used to.)  I wanted something natural though, since I was on a healthy food kick back then. Pity it wasn't any good, and after using it a few times I packed it back into the cabinet and tried to forget about it. Afterwards, I took an old spice bottle over to my dad's house and took a few scoops out of his sugar bowl, and said what the hell to the processed nature of it.

I of course forgot we had that here until after we dropped $6.50 on the new package of unrefined sugarcane today. I'm not really sure what the difference is between them, but the new stuff is brown and crumbly and claims to be almost totally unprocessed. The old stuff is clear in color, shaped like very small rice grains, and says it's evaporated sugar cane juice.  Both claim to be organic and all of that, so we suppose they're good enough for our diet; better than milled and processed and bleached white sugar, at least.

Unfortunately, the old kind of cane sugar wasn't much better than the new one. Less rotting algae tasting, at least to my palate, and Malaya liked it more than the brown stuff, which we'll now have sitting in our pantry until the end of time, with a dozen teaspoon scoops missing.  As I said, I didn't like it, but it did at least clear my memory of how sick I was of the maple syrup option, so I quickly had a 3rd glass with the original recipe, and it wasn't good either, but at least it was different.

Unfortunately, at that point I'd had 3 12 ounce glasses of lemonade in about 15 minutes, and spent the next quarter hour feeling very bloated until I was able to begin peeing it out.  I feel better overall though, with some energy now, and the desire to stick it out on the diet for the next few days has returned.


Day 5, 9:33pm, Wednesday Night, 7/14/04

The other odd thing today is that both Malaya and myself have a constant gummy taste in our mouths. One odd side effect of the MC diet is that it turns almost everyone's tongue white and sticky around day 2 or 3. That usually passes in a couple of days, supposed once the toxins have been purged from your body. It ain't passed for us yet, and we've both got weirdly white tongues, and today we've added the gummy mouth feeling. It's a bit like I've just eaten a big mouthful of raisins, or maybe chocolate syrup or honey. It doesn't taste like anything, but my cheeks and gums and tongue feel coated with goo.  It's not horrible or anything, just sort of unpleasant. Not to mention weird.  It makes me want to go brush my teeth after ever glass of lemonade, which probably isn't such a bad idea just on general principles.


Day 5, 9:41pm, Wednesday Night, 7/14/04

I brushed. Didn't help.  Bleh.


Day 5, 12:05am, Thursday Afternoon, 7/15/04

This is getting hard. I am so hungry, with just 4 drinks (not counting the salt water flush this morning) all day, maybe 300 calories total, and I have absolutely no desire to drink another lemonade of any kind. The lemon is fine, the water is fine, and the cayenne is fine. It's the sweetener, which is funny. Who'd think that with 3 different types of natural sugar, I couldn't find one I like? I mean Christ, it's sugar. It's supposed to make other things taste good, not need other things to make it palatable. This distresses me. It's like being on a candy diet and suddenly hating every flavor of chocolate ever made.

Still, I'm so hungry my hands are shaking, I keep sighing deeply in depression, and I can't concentrate at all on my writing, which was going well several hours ago, when I still had energy. So I guess I'll force myself to drink another one. Flavored with... something.  I'm not far from resorting to just plain granulated, over processed, bleached, sugar.  It wouldn't be as good for me as natural sugar, but at least it wouldn't taste like the inside of a tree, or the bottom of a pond.

My specific food cravings have given way to generic food cravings. Anything, literally anything. So long as there's enough of it to fill my aching tummy.  The worst part is that I haven't lost any weight today, since I haven't done any more than drink lemonade and pee it out 20 minutes later all day.

CotD: May you come to miss diarrhea.


Day 5, 12:12am, Thursday Morning, 7/15/04

We just went and forced one down each. That's 5 for me on the day and 4 for Malaya. She's still doing the sugarcane stuff, and not hating the taste too badly. I'm back to the maple syrup, and it wasn't that bad. Perhaps since I was so hungry. I also feel a burst of energy coming in now, less than 5 minutes after chugging it.

There's bad news for Malaya though; she says the sugarcane isn't keep her as full (well, as non-hungry) as the maple syrup did; that maybe there's something to the syrup that sticks to your ribs or fills you up more than just dissolved sugar crystals, regardless of the caloric equality.  Guess it's lucky for me that the syrup is palatable now, after I choked down those two swamp-tasting sugarcane ones earlier.

The bad news for me is my realization that Malaya can chug down a glass in literally half the time I can. We start at the same time and she's finished hers and rinsed out her glass for next time before I'm done. And I'm drinking as fast as I can, without any pauses to breath. She just has a larger throat capacity, or something. For a couple of days I thought the glass she was using was smaller than mine, but when I finally poured water back and forth between them, they both held about 16 ounces (about 470ml, if you swing that metric thing). In fact, since mine gets wider as it goes up and hers is the same diameter all the way, she might be drinking more, since we're filling them both about 80% full.

At least we know now, if we're ever on the Amazing Race or some other couples contest show, and there's a "drink this really fast" event, who'll be doing the drinking. She's a lot less likely to puke up the horrible stuff those shows make you eat and drink, too.

As Malaya often points out, I'm just a big damn himbo, when you get right down to it.


Day 5, 6:00am, Thursday Morning, 7/15/04

Five days almost done, and the last two have not been easy. We're still going though, and as always, sleepy time brings new hope. I won't be hungry while I'm sleeping, at least, and with any luck morning will bring more colon activity, and the permanent loss of another pound or two.  I feel pretty good now, actually. Not spacey, not bored, not stomach upset. This is not always the case.

Malaya felt terrible come her bedtime, around 3:30. Upset stomach, hungry, headache. I think the sugarcane crystals are lacking in some nutrients or lasting energy that the maple syrup delivers (believe it or not) since I've felt pretty okay most of the evening.  At least since I was able to force down two lemonades around 2am, and another one an hour later.  No matter how bad they taste and how little we want to drink them, the energy and illusion of stomach filling they bring makes it worth it.

I'm getting hungry now, but I'm going to bed soon, and being hungry never bothers me when I'm asleep, and then when I wakeup I'm not hungry anymore, through some odd dream-eating process I've never pretended to understand. I drank the slow acting herbal tea a couple of hours ago, brushed my teeth afterwards, and I'm probably going to go brush them again before I sleep. That gummy feeling is stubbornly persisting.


Day 5, 12:12pm, Thursday Morning, 7/15/04

The new bad news is what we're supposed to endure when we get off the diet. The book has detailed menu instructions for that as well, and it's not exactly "eat a steak the 11th day." (The book's author strongly urges a largely liquid and entirely vegetarian diet, so no, steak isn't exactly recommended, and we're not exactly going to follow his suggestions to the letter.) It's more like orange juice only for one day, then OJ and some very light vegetarian soup broth the 2nd day (recipe included in the book), and then more OJ, more soup broth, and maybe a plain salad (I.E. a bowl of lettuce) for dinner the 3rd day. After that you can return to eating normally, though he sincerely hopes you'll clean up your diet and begin to stress fruits and vegetables and by all means not drink any milk.

I suspect that most people ignore all of these day 11-13 suggestions, since they're so hungry and so craving food that they just can't wait another 3 days without it. And really, the 11-13th day recommendations are an extreme diet, for most everyone. He really does recommend nothing but OJ (cut with water if it's too strong for your newly virginal stomach) on the first day after the diet. Can you imagine going from your normal eating habits to just having 4 or 5 glasses of OJ one day? You'd gnaw a hole in your keyboard out of hunger. Yet after sticking to the MC diet for a week or more, OJ is a fricking indulgence.

The risk if you go off his plan and eat a bunch of solid food of all types? Nausea and probable diarrhea. As if we haven't been dealing with that the last 3 days while on the diet.

Malaya's idea is to get to broths and soups more quickly than the diet recommends, since we're not really down with 36 hours of straight OJ. I'm pretty sure I'd get diarrhea from that, if nothing else.  She thinks some Chinese soup, something very plain and without ingredients, would be a nice treat the first day, perhaps in the evening, and while I'd love to eat that, my experience with Chinese soup is that it's pretty spicy and flavorful. And might be more than our desiccated tummies can take, so soon after breaking the fast. I also don't know if I can possibly eat Chinese take out soup without gobbling down the entire package of boiled rice crisps they always give you with take out Chinese soup, since they're always the highlight of any kind of Chinese soup meal, for me.

So we've not decided what to eat after we go back to food, and we're still talking it over. Whatever we decide to do, I'm very curious to see how food tastes again, after going so long without it. Even if we break and go back to food tomorrow, we've now lasted five days without a single thing to eat, which is far and away the longest I've ever gone in my life. Will we eat more slowly, pausing to appreciate the tastes and flavors? Will we stick to smaller portions, remembering how our bodies were perfectly happy (well, some of the time) on nothing but half a dozen lemonades and 600 calories a day?

Probably. For about a day.


-- sleep --


Day 6, 4:12pm, Thursday Afternoon, 7/15/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 164.

At least that's what I think it was; I've been out of bed for hours and didn't get around to updating this journal until now.  Only a pound since yesterday, unfortunately. I might go with 2 saltwater washes today, since we're really considering ending this tomorrow, or the day after, and I wanna get everything out that I can before the sweet siren lure of food claims me.

OT, but remember how on like Day 1 or 2 I said the entries would diminish in quantity once I was on the diet for a few days and it was no longer such a novelty?  Bonus points for you if you knew me well enough to scoff at that.

OT2, Day Half Dozen is bright and sunny and not too hot. Really been gorgeous weather here the past couple of weeks. Not that that's got anything to do with the diet of the damned we're on, but I just thought I'd mention it as I sit here, comfortable in shorts with the window and sliding glass door open. It's been about 75-80 high in the days, and down into the 50s at night. Haven't needed to run the fan, and it's cool enough at night that we can just keep the windows open until 11 or 12 to cool it down, and then shut them and be comfy until we wake up the next day.  I'm still eager for winter and cold weather, but then I'm always eager for cold weather.

As for the diet... ehh. Herbal tea and saltwater wash both did some substantial damage today, for both of us. That's a good thing, if you're wondering, since the whole point of this prolonged starvation is weight loss, and most of the weight comes out of our colons.  My little pot belly has definitely declined, though I'd imagine I've lost a pound or two from the rest of my body as well, just due to lack of food/calories.  It's not been from exercise, unfortunately, since I haven't gone out the last two days. Shins hurt Tuesday, and yesterday we were out running errands in the evening and when we got home we were trying the sugarcane sugar for variety, and I hated it, and felt weak, etc. And by the time I got my shit together with some maple syrup lemonade, it was well after dark.

I should just go now, since I feel fine and have had 2 lemonades in the last hour, but we're doing some housework and then heading out to run some errands once rush hour traffic dies down. Hopefully there will be time and I'll feel up to it when we get home; it's light out here until after 9pm, so I've got time for my 45 minute work out.


Day 6, 4:33am, Friday Morning, 7/16/04

Well, it was a good run, but the strict MC diet ended, for me at least, late on the 6th day. After forcing down 7 lemonades and even going with a second saltwater wash in the evening, I just couldn't bring myself to drink another one after the saltwater cleared out of my system. My mouth felt like I'd been chewing on a candle, I'd tasted syrup every time I burped for 5 days, and I kept feeling weak and jittery, probably because I could no longer stand the taste of the syrup in the lemonade, and was using about half the recommended amount, which meant I was taking in like 350 calories a day. Also, I hadn't felt well enough to go exercise in 3 days, and I kept zoning out while sitting at the computer, which meant I wasn't getting much work done. Those were both factors, since I figure I'm better off consuming 1000 calories and running for an hour, vs. 600 calories and feeling too punked to do a damn thing physical.

So I gave up, partially, and filled a glass with about 75% water, 20% orange juice, and 5% lemon juice. No cayenne.  It wasn't any good, but at least it was different than the syrupy lemonade I'd come to dread. Even with that weak concentration of OJ, it tasted quite strong to my system, so I drank about half of it, then filled my glass up with water, and poured the rest of the squeezed lemon juice in. That made it very weak, and not very tasty at all, but I didn't feel like I deserved any better after giving up before the 7 day point.

Malaya is still going, though she only choked down 5 glasses on Day 6, and is planning on fighting through tomorrow until the late night, when she'll probably go for some diluted OJ as well. I'm going to drink nothing but weak OJ with some lemon juice in it tomorrow, and I'm still doing the herbal tea tonight and a saltwater wash or two tomorrow as well, so I'll certainly keep very low calorie, and hopefully lose another pound or two as I continue to cleanse my colon. I just couldn't stand any more of the damn syrupy tasting lemonade.  I really have no idea how some people manage to keep on that thing for 20 or 40 days.

After Day 4, when I was still sort of enjoying the drinks, I posed myself a question. If I could be guaranteed to live to 150, healthy the whole time, vigorous, mentally sound, etc, but as a price I had to drink nothing but that lemonade for the rest of my life, would I do it?  At the time I had to think a little bit, since I really want to live forever, but since I'm hoping to get well past 100 with real food, I said no. Asking myself now, I can again answer no, this time with no hesitation at all. 


Day 6, 4:53am, Friday Morning, 7/16/04

Oddly enough, now that I'm not on the diet anymore, I'm not having food cravings nearly as bad. I drove Malaya over to Borders Thursday afternoon, where she picked up three diet books on sale, at a "buy 2 get 1 free" price. It's part of our "let's start eating healthier and with more variety" plan, and we spent a couple of hours going through the books while watching Iron Chef  Thursday evening. Needless to say, virtually everything looked good. We also bought a grill pan at BBB with one of the 20% off coupons they mail us every other month, so we're eager to try grilling something on the stove.

The pan is actually a cast iron, very heavy, with raised ridges on the cooking surface. Useful for cuts of meat, but also great for quick shish-ke-bobs, strips of vegetables, etc. I'm now dying to make some shrimp or chicken fajitas, and Malaya's dying to try some of the rice stir fry recipes from the new vegetarian cookbook, so we're definitely ready to begin eating again, hopefully while keeping an awareness of our bodies, the calories we're taking in, and how hungry we really are. If we could just end the days of eating/snacking when we're not really hungry, we'd never have any weight loss problems again, while enjoying it when we do eat even more.

At least that's the plan.

So tomorrow, Day 7, we'll be weaning ourselves off of the diet, slowly. That will continue on Day 8 when we're planning on having some very light vegetable broth in the evening, to go with our OJ. On Day 8 or 9 we'll finalize our recipe plans for the next few days, and then go shopping, since the fridge is empty and we need a lot of vegetables, not to mention a wide variety of new spices to match up more closely to what the recipes require.

I'm looking forward to making the diet changes, eating healthier, snacking less, making new things, and learning new recipes. I can make a narrow variety of food now, and I make all of it pretty well, but I'd like to learn make a lot more stuff, while keeping a closer eye on the quantity and calorie content of what we do eat.  And Malaya seconds me in all of that.  Taking 30 or 45 or 60 minutes to prepare an entree and a couple of side dishes seems like a lot of time, but if the food is good and healthy, it's certainly worth it. Also, if I'm controlling my food urges and only eating two meals a day, and Malaya is helping prepare them, or making one outright, it's not a big time expense at all. 


Day 6, 5:02am, Friday Morning, 7/16/04

So with the MC diet over, sort of, what becomes of this journal? I'll keep going for a few more days, as I transition over to normal food again, and perhaps even update a few times on how the new recipes are going. But I doubt I'll be detailing my every bowel movement and drink of liquid, as I have been doing. News that I imagine most of you will greet with great relief.


-- sleep --


Day 7, 5:27pm, Friday Afternoon, 7/16/04

Fresh out of bed weight: 164.

Not a lot of sleep, since I went to bed at 7 and my stomach woke me up at 1. Very gurgily and uneasy, but when I went to the bathroom I could only pee. Went back and laid down and 10 minutes later I returned to the bathroom, in a greater hurry. And there I stayed, for some time. That herbal tea does go to work overnight, I'll give it that much.

An hour or so later I indulged in the saltwater chug-a-thon and that worked through almost instantly. I'm talking 10 minutes and I was back in the bathroom, and ugh.  Just in case I'd been under some illusion that my colon was all cleaned out after 6 days of lemonade... Yeeeesh.

Malaya has joined me in giving up the diet. She said that just the thought of drinking another one of those lemonades was enough to make her want to vomit, and I certainly know how she feels. I thought about having one today and almost urked up some bile into my throat.  So we're on to diluted orange juice, though she's still working through her salt water wash and hasn't started on any OJ yet.  We're going to head over to Safeway and look at other juices as well, just to consider some variety if we can find something else organic and singular in ingredients. We're also getting some rye crackers, since the MC book recommends those as easier to digest and less processed than wheat crackers, which are all we have in the house now.  Maybe we'll just head to TJ's for their wider selection of healthy stuff, and pick up some vegetable broth as well, if diluted soup seems like a good idea later tonight or tomorrow.

It's strange to think about eating again, as other than some distant future event, and since I had my first bit of OJ last night, I really haven't had any food cravings at all. It's like even the slightest change/improvement in my diet has my body so happy that I could exist on this indefinitely.

It's funny how much of food is perception and what came before. Some spoiled rotten fat dumplin' of a child could scream and feel deprived by anything less than six candy bars as a treat, since he was used to Twinkies and Coke, while I'm used to and sick to death of the lemonade syrup, so even a glass of OJ that's about 80% water and the thought of maybe a few rye crackers to nibble on is a thrill..  And after drinking nothing but 2 glasses of very weak OJ and a lot of salt water in the last 18 hours, I'm not a bit hungry.


Day 7, 5:40pm, Friday Afternoon, 7/16/04

One nice thing about being done with the diet is that we can get the kitchen back to normal. It's been weird using no dishes other than glasses, mugs, saucers, a 32oz measuring cup, various knives for cutting and stirring, a cutting board, and the lemon juicer. And we each had a glass that we kept reusing all week, since after all, we were drinking it down 6 or 8 or 10 times a day, and rinsing it out afterwards.

So for most of the past week we've had a bunch of glasses and cups sitting around the sink, the cutting board lying on the counter all sticky with lemon juice and drips of maple syrup, big 2.5 gallon water containers on the counter by the fridge, various knives for cutting and stirring lying on the cutting board, teaspoon and tablespoon measuring cups lying out, etc. Messy, and unchanging since we didn't eat anything, didn't prepare any food, and didn't get any plates dirty.  With the end of the lemons and syrup I cleaned everything. Put all the containers and utensils into the dishwasher, scrubbed off the counter top and sink, wiped down the cabinets, and even washed out the fridge, which had taken on a very meaty stink.

I don't know why, but every time we opened it up lately we could smell the stink. The sour cream was bad, but not very, and it was in a sealed container. Yesterday I took out the two partial onions we had in there and threw away the white one since it was soggy, but the purple one was fine after I pared of some soft parts and put it in a new bag. And they didn't smell anyway. Whatever the cause, the fridge was smelly, and with almost nothing in there it was very obvious how dirty it was inside, just from drops of this or that or crumbs of food building up over time.  So I took out the drawers and bottom panel and washed those, wiped down the inside, and after it stood open for 20 minutes during the cleaning, it aired out and smelled fine. I can live with mystery stinks if they vanish that easily.

And now with everything clean and out of the dishwasher, and the counters and sink clean, it feels like a whole new room. One we can soon begin making dirty again with actual cooking and new recipes and all of that.


Day 7, 9:33pm, Friday Night, 7/16/04

Best... cracker... ever...

Trader Joe's didn't have any rye crackers, just weird little bitesized rye toast nugget things, so we had to go to Safeway, and past all of the brightly-colored cartoon animal enriched and processed wheat dust crackers, we found some rye ones. Wasa Light Rye Crispbread, to be specific. Fat Free, All Natural, and Whole Grain, I might add.  You see one here, with a glass of water, and yes, this is dinner around here.

Actually, we had one each when we got home an hour ago. You see Malaya's second cracker, eaten just a few minutes ago, to the right. She ate it in small bites, but they were actual bites. The first one, she ate by breaking off tiny bits (I'm talking fingernail sized) and eating them one at a time, chewing and savoring each morsel with a raised chin and a blissful expression. You'd have thought it was the best thing she'd eaten all week!  Oh wait...

Healthy though they may be, they're actually quite tasty; I can imagine eating those instead of Ritz or whatever other bleached enriched wheat with heavy salt crackers I normally eat.  They would be glorious with some cheese and lunch meat on them, but it'll be some time before my diet once again sinks to that level.  I give it a week.

We also picked up a couple of cans of organic vegetarian vegetable soup from TJ's, and a carton of vegetable broth. I haven't eaten for an hour after my big cracker, and I'm going to wait a bit longer for my tummy to empty out before I do another 32oz saltwater wash. I'll be doing it alone, you should note. As Malaya just said, "I'm done." She did her fast, and now she's hungry and ready to get back into eating, albeit eating sensibly.

Anyway, once I've cleansed the saltwater, we should be hungry (the girl part of "us" already is) and we'll heat up a couple of mugs of the vegetable broth and eat that with a cracker or two. It's like it says "excitement" right on the menu!

And if you're wondering, I feel fine. Plenty of energy, clear-headed, and not hungry, despite being awake for 9 hours and eating 1 cracker, drinking 2 glasses of very diluted OJ, and 8 glasses of warm saltwater (though you don't so much drink the saltwater as you rent it). As I've said repeatedly of late, eating really is largely a state of mind and a surrender to cravings.  I figure I need maybe 33% of the food I eat, or perhaps 50% if I'm doing some heavy physical labor. How long I'll be able to remember and stick to that is another matter entirely.


Day 7, 6:11am, Saturday Morning, 7/17/04

Just to cap off the day, as I'm brushing my teeth and going to bed now that I'm too tired to keep editing away on the novel... the vegetable broth wasn't great, but in our conditions we enjoyed it. And the rye crackers were damn good, dunked in it. We each nuked a big mug full and drank that with 3 crackers each, and from that mighty meal, I felt stuffed. Damn near bloated. Yes, that's less than an hour after drinking down 32oz of warm salt water. Funny how it's different when you mean to keep it inside of your body for longer than an hour.

After dinner we had another OJ each, and Malaya had a couple more rye crackers, and then after she went to bed I had a medium apple, figuring that was fruit, and would be fine. I didn't wait for her to go to bed to sneak it or anything, she just goes to sleep 3 hours before me, and I get hungry.

And yes, there it is again, "hungry."  I wasn't really that hungry, not painfully, I just wanted to eat. So to answer the question I asked in the last sentence of the previous entry, I lasted about 8 hours.

The plan for tomorrow is to do a lot of soup, and more OJ and rye crackers. We're soaking a 17 bean/lentil mixture from TJ's, and I'll be chopping up and steaming some other veggies to go with it (carrots, potatoes, and onion; all we have here that lasted the week, since we're not going shopping yet), and we've also got a couple of cans of organic veggie soup from TJ's, and the other half carton of the veggie broth we had earlier today.

The MC diet is over, other than this slow winding down, or perhaps it's a winding up, as we prepare to return to real food. I'm sure we could both go back to veggie burgers and FFS and nachos and such tomorrow, but we're trying to stay on the sensible diet plan for a while longer, and if we can keep our shrunken stomachs happy for another day with just light vegetable soup and rye crackers, that'll probably save us a pound in the long run.

As for when this diet blog/journal will end, I imagine that'll be pretty soon. The MC part is over, after all, and not a minute too soon, judging by reader interest. Yesterday's traffic was the lowest in months, the day before was the 2nd lowest, so there are either server problems, site stat errors, or near-universal reader disgust with the potty/diet-content of the last few updates.


-- sleep --


Day 8, 11:54pm, Saturday Night, 7/16/04

Fresh out of bed weight: Unknown. I weighed 166 in the early evening, with clothing on, which isn't too bad.

I didn't bother to weight myself when I got up since I didn't drink herbal tea last night, or go to bed starving, or force 32oz of salt water down my throat upon waking, or any of the other fun stuff I've been doing for the past week. Yes, the diet is over.

We're still going easy on the food, though. We had just some OJ and rye crackers in the day, and each had a big, delicious bowl of homemade soup. TJ's sells a small package of 17 bean/lentil soup, and they suggest you soak it overnight in a pan, drain it, add vegetables and water and some spices, and eat that after you simmer it for an hour. And that's what we did, though I added a lot more spices than they recommended, and sautéed the vegetables in canola for a while, before adding them with the beans. I also substituted vegetable stock for some of the water, and dumped in a good dollop of salsa as well. It sounds strange, but try pouring some salsa into any homemade soup you're doing, especially if it's mixed vegetable, meat or no meat. It gives it an instant added zest, spiciness, and tomato flavor.  Props to my dad for the recipe tip, since he always does it, even though he uses wimpy mild salsa.

Anyway, this is going to be the last entry on this page. It's been fun. Well, the diet wasn't much fun, but writing this page was pretty okay. I lost more than 10 pounds in less than a week, I saw and rid myself of some small percentage of the horrid things I've built up in my colon over the decades. I just hope the damage I've done to my opinion of the smell of lemons and limes isn't permanent. Saturday afternoon I was walking through the bulk produce selection in CostCo, and just the smell of their cases of lemons and limes conjured up an instant disgusting syrup taste in my mouth.  At least I still like cayenne pepper.

We've no current plans to do the MC program again, but I wouldn't mind going a week on a liquid diet or some kind every 6 or 12 months. It's a good way to lose some weight, spend time not eating, and cleanse the body. I just need to find one with a liquid drink that doesn't make me want to hork by day 3.


Thanks for reading; hope you enjoyed the show.

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