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Master Cleanse Substitutions

By Carol Kory ; Updated August 14, 2017

Since 1941, individuals have used the Master Cleanse program for detoxification and weight loss. The program's creator, Stanley Burroughs, listed substitutions for the original ingredients in his 1976 book "The Master Cleanser with Special Needs and Problems." Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Picco says, "There is little scientific evidence to support or refute the benefits of colon cleansing," and recommends that those interested in following such a regimen "check with your conventional medical providers first, especially if you take any medications or have any health problems."

Lemons and Limes

Burroughs's original program offered the choice between freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly squeezed lime juice. Along with vitamin C and at least 19 other essential vitamins and minerals, lemons and limes provide fresh enzymes.

Maple Syrup

Because of its mineral content, its calorie content and its availability, Burroughs recommended use of Grade B maple syrup in the Master Cleanse fast, but noted sugar cane juice as a substitute. Peter Glickman of TheRawFoodSite agrees. Other Master Cleanse websites including TheMasterCleanseRecipe and TheLemonadeSite advocate the use of agave nectar, because of its low glycemic properties, as a substitute for people with diabetes who wish to follow the program. Burroughs advised people with diabetes to use one tbsp. of blackstrap molasses in place of the two tbsp. of maple syrup. People with diabetes will want to discuss the Master Cleanse with their physicians before choosing to try it.

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The Saltwater Flush

Burroughs hailed a saltwater flush as a superior method of internal cleansing and advised against colonics as a substitute. He suggested use of laxative tea in the morning and at night. Glickman promotes the saltwater flush and suggests adjusting the amount of salt if necessary.

Cayenne Pepper

Burroughs considered cayenne pepper necessary to his program. Rather than substituting for it, Glickman advises that people who have trouble with it reduce the amount of cayenne. The website MasterCleanseRecipe suggests substituting cinnamon in its alternative recipe for people with diabetes.

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