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The Cayenne Pepper Diet – A Controversial Cleanse

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The Cayenne Pepper Diet review – Is this extreme cleanse worth trying?

The Cayenne Pepper Diet (aka The Master Cleanse, Maple Syrup Diet, or Lemonade Diet) has been spending a lot of time in the spotlight lately. Like any cleanse, the results can be dramatic. But is this a fad, or is it a legitimate option for detoxification and weight loss?

When it comes to the Cayenne Pepper Diet, opinions vary greatly on the subject. This is one of those cleanses that the medical community (and the general public) seems to either love or hate – with not much gray area in between!

Many celebrities have spoken out about having used this cleanse to lose weight or simply for general health reasons. Beyonce Knowles and Jared Leto said they used it to lose weight quickly for movie roles. Demi Moore, Robin Quivers and David Blaine say they use to the Cayenne Pepper Diet regularly just to stay fit and healthy.

So is the Cayenne Pepper Diet safe, and does it really work? To be clear: I have tried this particular cleanse only once.  Since we receive a lot of inquiries about it, I spoke with several community members who have also tried this detox diet plan, and have put together a detailed overview with enough info to get the wheels turning and help you decide for yourself if this may be for you.

Cayenne Peppers

History of the Cayenne Pepper Diet

The Cayenne Pepper Diet was created by a man named Stanley A. Burroughs in the 1940s. He was a naturopathic healthcare provider, and self-proclaimed nutritional guru that many turned to for advice about their medical concerns. He was also known for his extensive research into the role of toxemia in disease.

Born in Detroit in 1903, Burroughs passed away two weeks after battling acute pneumonia at the age of 87 in Newcastle, California.

Even though Burroughs created Vita Flex –  which combines light therapy and reflexology – he did not actually become famous until he created The Master Cleanse in the 1970s.

You may be interested to learn that in the early 1980s Burroughs attempted to treat a terminal cancer patient using only the Cayenne Pepper Diet and Vita Flex. He failed, the patient died and in 1984 he was charged with second-degree murder.

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However, he wasn’t convicted of this charge but later he was convicted for practicing medicine without a license,  and spent three years in prison. (The charges were eventually dropped and the verdict reversed.)

In the 1940s Burroughs published a book entitled “The Master Cleanse,” which was revived in the 70s, which outlined the Cayenne Pepper Diet (aka The Master Cleanse).

Burroughs originally created the Cayenne Pepper Diet to accomplish a long list of health objectives, such as:

  • Dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body
  • Cleanse the kidneys and digestive system
  • Purify all glands and cells
  • Eliminate all unusable waste and hardened material in the joints and muscles
  • Relieve pressure and irritation in the nerves, arteries and blood vessels
  • Build a healthy blood system
  • Preserve youth and elasticity regardless of age
  • To treat many illnesses
  • Weight Loss
  • To give the digestive system a rest

Burroughs also felt that anyone would benefit from doing this cleanse 3-4 times per year to maintain overall health.

The Master Cleanse – How it works

The Master Cleanse is a liquid only diet.

  1. Start every morning with the following routine (in order to cleanse the colon): Drink a full quart of lukewarm water and two level teaspoons of sea salt. Do this each day of the cleanse.
  2. Throughout the rest of the day, you will drink the following lemonade recipe.  Do this any time you feel hungry (6 – 12 times a day).

Lemonade Recipe to be used during the Cayenne Pepper Diet

Mix the following:Lemonade for Cayenne Pepper Diet

* 1/2 lemon or 2 tbsp of lemon juice
* 1-2 tbsp of pure grade B maple syrup (1 tbsp recommended for weight loss)
* Pinch of red cayenne pepper (adjust the amount according to your taste. A little goes a long way)!  Cayenne helps
stimulate the release of toxins.
* 8 oz of purified water (warm)

If you wish you can substitute the maple syrup with any type of Unsulfured Molasses (either Grandma’s, Barbados, Louisiana or Blackstrap—all of which are slightly laxative)

No food is allowed – you will drink ONLY the lemonade, with the exception of the following 2 teas (drink them without sweetener):

  • Mint Tea and its purifying Chlorophyll may also be used as a pleasant change and to further assist in the cleansing process
  • An Herbal Laxative Tea can also assist with eliminations

On Day 11 Burroughs says to drink as much Orangeade as you want (Orangeade is just diluted fresh orange juice – equal parts OJ and water). In the late afternoon of day 11, make a simple vegetable soup out of fresh vegetables. You can have a small amount of Brown Rice with the soup—but NO MEAT, BREAD, or CRACKERS are allowed.

On Day 12 feel free to add a little Fruit, and by Day 13 normal eating habits can be resumed; however, Burroughs recommends adhering to a vegetarian way of eating for as long as possible to maintain overall health.

And as with any cleanse, easy out of it gently!  Don’t go crazy and eat a bunch of processed food or junk unless you want to (a) feel sick and (b) UNDO the work you’ve just accomplished.

IMPORTANT DIETARY NOTE: The preceding information is only a broad overview of the Cayenne Pepper Diet; it should NOT be used as a primary guideline. I just wanted to give you a general idea of how it works in case you are considering trying it.

For those wanting to learn more about the cleanse, as well as more in-depth details about Burroughs’ overall strategies for maintaining health, you may wish to purchaseThe Master Cleanse Book on Amazon.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT DIETARY NOTE: The Cayenne Pepper Diet should only be attempted by healthy people; if you are diabetic, pregnant, have kidney problems, had an organ transplant or are on medication you MUST consult a physician before making any radical dietary changes (and even if you’re healthy it’s a good idea to consult a physician first).

BlenderBabes.com is full of additional resources on gentle detoxes and cleanses, like our 7 Day Blender Cleanse which is safe and effective and provides you with lots of nutritious full-fiber juices. In our opinion this (or something similar) might be the way to go in many cases, especially if you are wanting a cleanse that will not leave you feeling overly hungry.

With that being said, I have reviewed the research and opinions on the famous Cayenne Pepper Diet and have put together a list of the most common opinions and testimonials on both sides of the fence.

Lemonade GirlThose who LOVE the Cayenne Pepper Diet report that their results include….

  • Remarkable euphoria and a calming sense of serenity
  • Heightened mental acuity and overall level of senses
  • Deep restful sleep coupled with vivid dreams
  • Increased ability to deal with the stresses of everyday life
  • Boosted overall level of immunity
  • Dramatically increased energy and flexibility
  • Lustrous hair, radiant skin and fast rapid reflexes
  • Zero sugar cravings, dramatic weight loss, and far less desire for all forms of junk food
  • Eliminated alcohol, tobacco and drug dependency
  • The loss of all food addictions and obsessions, as well as the overall preoccupation with food altogether
  • Reduced pain and swelling
  • Vanishing levels of arthritic and joint pain…

And like any other diet, there are also people who claim have had negative results with this cleanse and here are those side effects:

  • Incredibly low levels of overall energy
  • Inability to concentrate and ceaseless brain fog
  • Jaw aches and stinging tooth pain
  • Tingling sensations throughout the entire body
  • Massive headaches and crippling irritability
  • Unending hunger and intense diarrhea
  • Severe exhaustion and the inability to fall sleep
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Constant chills

The Cayenne Pepper Diet – Final Thoughts

Overall, fasting has been used since ancient times, for a variety of reasons. Currently various cleanses are wildly popular – primarily to achieve fast weight loss. The more extreme your diet or cleanse, the more dramatic the results will be.

However, the other side of the coin is that dramatic cleanses often result in the yo-yo effect, meaning you may indeed put back any lost weight (and perhaps a few extra pounds as well) to offset the feeling of deprivation during an extreme cleanse.

As always, every body responds differently to fasts and cleanses, so I don’t want to officially endorse OR steer you away from trying it yourself. Chances are you will know pretty quickly if this is something your body, mind and lifestyle can endure.  If you stick with it, be sure to EASE OUT of the Cayenne Pepper Diet with moderate portions of healthy, plant-based meals. Check out this article where we have compiled many detox friendly meals that you can use during this phase.

Fresh juices and smoothies are an excellent option for some of your Cayenne Pepper Diet Smoothiemeals during the ease out phase; this will help
your digestive system adjust to the re-introduction of more substantial meals without shocking your system and causing you to bounce right back to your previous weight.

Even if you are simply cleansing for health reasons vs. weight loss, easing out is crucial to prevent you from feeling sick or bloated (and treating yourself to things like pizza or ice cream will almost certainly have that effect – trust me on this one)!!

If you’d like to check out a more gentle cleanse, there are many great options that will still help you lose weight and detox, while providing lots of nutritious smoothies or juices (and enough sustenance to keep you going so you can still meet the demands of life). As I mentioned, the Blender Babes offers a gentle 7 Day Cleanse where you can download everything you need for free – recipes, instructions, and meal plans for your ease in and ease out phases.

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Tarashaun Hausner
Tarashaun Hausner
Tarashaun Hausner is the founder of Blender Babes®. She credits using a blender daily for helping her heal an unhealthy relationship with food. A passionate advocate for self-care, she is committed to helping others pursue optimal wellness by balancing and healing their bodies and minds. She offers several opportunities to help people improve their health including free challenges and downloads, a gentle whole foods 7 Day Blender Cleanse™ and her holistic mind, body and spirit Slim Down Solution™ Womens Coaching Programs.

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