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Tribune Reporter Endorses Extreme Fast

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 8, 2008 4:00PM

2008_01_master_cleanse_ingredients.jpgWe're at home today fighting a cold and trying to take things easy. The last thing we need is to become violently ill reading a newspaper. Yet that's almost what happened when we read this story in today's Tribune by reporter Lauren Viera, endorsing the Master Cleanse fasting plan.

Created by alternative health advocate Stanley Burroughs in 1941, the fast - commonly known these days as the "lemonade diet" - is a mixture of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper ingested anywhere from 6-12 times a day. Combined with a glass of lukewarm salt water in the morning and a laxative tea at night as a top-down enema, the fast purports to flush the digestive system of toxins and other congestion. Like other fasts and fad diets, the Master Cleanse is not without its critics. While Viera admits that the Master Cleanse is controversial and discloses that she's been an adherent of the plan for years, she also claims that it's "misunderstood," calling the Master Cleanse a "resetting" of the digestive system at the beginning of the year for those of us not inclined to eat right and exercise.

Our main issue with the story isn't Viera's vigorous enthusiasm for the Master Cleanse; we have friends who also swear by it, only to fall back into the same bad habits and weight gain once they've completed the fast. Where we're concerned is the lack of objectivity to the story. Couldn't a better article about the cleanse have been written by a skeptic of the plan who followed it, rather than someone who already trumpets its benefits?