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Diet is nearly done ... and food looks good

It's my last day of the Master Cleanse, and I'm really craving orange juice right now. Food is starting to smell really good, too. Last night my host boiled sweet peas on the stove, and the smell warmed up the whole house.

My renewed relationship with food is around the corner, and I can't wait. Burroughs recommends that for two days after the detox, you drink orange juice, diluted with water, as needed. The third day, you drink orange juice in the morning, and eat fruit at lunch and fruit or a salad at dinner.

Beyond some physical benefits I've gained on the diet, which might be temporary (softer skin, losing a few pounds), I appreciate food more now. This diet is entirely mind over matter. Cutting out something that is both vital and pleasurable, but can also be problematic (if you over-eat, under-eat, or use food to calm anxieties) can re-educate your eating habits. It also re-educates your palette to crave foods your body needs.

Part of me wishes to continue the Master Cleanse for another couple of days. My tongue is still a little white, meaning the toxins that came to the fore are lingering in my body somewhere. And people who have done the diet for the recommended 10 days say you really reap the benefits after the halfway point. But I'll stick to my plan of five days, especially after talking to my doctor this morning. He suggested that I stop and immediately drink some orange juice.

Probably like many physicians, he doesn't think much of detox diets and endorses a slow, steady approach to diet and exercise. He said the diets are dangerous for people with conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. He thinks they are also unwise for most people, especially smaller people like me, who won't necessarily have resources to sustain such a fast. Electrolyte levels can get too low, causing days of diarrhea and then dehydration.

I recall my conversation with the naturopath at the beginning of the week, who also cautioned against a liquid diet. She advises a less extreme, whole-foods detox. It involves eating primarily raw fruits, vegetables and gluten-free products to ensure the right combination of herbs, vitamins and minerals to release the body's toxins.

If I'm ever inclined to do another detox, I will stick to one that involves eating solid foods, like the three-day fruit flush that includes fresh fruit every couple of hours, a vegetable salad at dinner with olive or flaxseed oil, and a protein drink. For more information: www.jayrobb.com/cat_fruitflushdietebook.asp

In any case, I do feel that at least some of that vending machine food from the last year is out of my system. Soon I will head to the vending machine – for some orange juice.

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