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What are the phases of the Master Cleanse?

The Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet, is a popular fasting and detox program. It was initially developed in the 1940s by Stanley Burroughs and has remained popular over the decades. The Master Cleanse involves drinking only a lemonade mixture for a period of 10-40 days. There are three main phases of the Master Cleanse – the ease-in, the lemonade cleanse, and the ease-out. Understanding the different stages can help you prepare for and get the most out of the Master Cleanse.

Ease-In Phase

The ease-in phase is designed to gently transition your body into the Master Cleanse. It typically lasts for 2-3 days before the full lemonade cleanse begins. During the ease-in phase, you slowly reduce your intake of solid foods while increasing your intake of liquids.

Day Diet
Day 1 Eat only fruit and vegetables along with plenty of water and herbal tea. Avoid processed foods, dairy, meat, eggs, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Day 2 Consume only fruit and vegetable juices, broth, herbal tea, water, and the saltwater flush (a mixture of warm water and sea salt) throughout the day. Avoid all solid foods.
Day 3 Drink only the lemonade mixture, along with water, herbal tea, and saltwater flushes. This transitions you into the full lemonade cleanse.

The ease-in phase helps minimize hunger, cravings, headaches and other symptoms associated with suddenly stopping solid foods. It allows your body to adapt more comfortably to the liquid diet.

Lemonade Cleanse Phase

The lemonade cleanse phase is the core of the Master Cleanse program. You drink 6-12 glasses of lemonade mixture each day and nothing else besides water, herbal tea, and saltwater flushes. The lemonade is made from:

  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 8 oz water

You can drink this mixture cold or heated as a tea. The ingredients have detoxifying and cleansing effects on your system. The cayenne pepper boosts circulation and metabolism. The maple syrup provides energy and nutrients. The lemon juice has an alkalizing effect and helps flush toxins from your liver.

The duration of the lemonade cleanse phase can vary:

Length Details
10 days The minimum recommended length for noticeable results and weight loss.
20 days A commonly recommended length to experience the full detoxification effects.
30-40 days For extreme cleansing results, but medical supervision is advised.

During this phase it’s important to get ample rest, avoid strenuous exercise, and pay attention to your body’s signals. Some hunger, irritability, fatigue, and headaches are common initially as your body adjusts. But these symptoms should improve with time.

Ease-Out Phase

The ease-out phase transitions your body from the Master Cleanse back to solid foods over a 3-7 day period. Rushing this process can overwhelm your digestive system and cause discomfort. Go slowly with introducing foods back.

Day Diet
Day 1 Drink lemonade mixture, herbal tea, broth, and fresh juices. You can also introduce well-cooked and soft fruits and vegetables like steamed carrots, banana or apple sauce.
Days 2-3 Continue lemonade drink. Progress to eating raw fruits and vegetables. You may add vegetarian soups, salads, or steamed veggies.
Days 4-5 Eat raw and cooked fruits and vegetables. Introduce gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa. Limit fats to healthy plant-based oils. You may also add seeds, legumes, and cooked eggs if desired. Keep drinking lemonade as needed for energy.
Days 6-7 Begin reintroducing lean dairy, poultry, fish, meat, and normal grains. But keep fat intake low. Limit sugary and processed foods still. Drink lemonade only if needed.

Throughout the ease-out phase, chew food very thoroughly to give your digestive system time to readjust. Don’t overeat or eat too soon before bed. Stay hydrated with water between meals. The slower you reintroduce foods, the easier it will be on your body after the Master Cleanse.


The Master Cleanse is a three phase program, starting with the ease-in, followed by the lemonade cleanse, and finishing with the ease-out. Understanding the phases and taking them step-by-step allows you to transition your body smoothly into and out of the fasting state. This can help you safely complete the Master Cleanse while minimizing discomfort. Be sure to consult a doctor before undergoing the Master Cleanse, especially if you have any health conditions. With proper preparation and expectations, the different phases can help you achieve your health goals on the Master Cleanse detox.