"You gotta be kidding me!" "Are you serious?" "You are crazy!" These were the typical reactions I got from my friends and family when I declared that I was going to fast for 10 days. I was about 140 lbs at the time and at my average height of 5'8", this was already pretty thin. My mom was probably the most apprehensive of all..."You are so skinny already" "You will disappear!" Haha...the truth is I thought a lot of these things myself and was pretty close to scrapping the whole idea, but fate had other plans... MOTIVATION It was the Spring of 2003. After suffering for over ten years from severe allergies to pollen and various foods, I was getting tired of modern medicine's idea of a solution, which is to take pills everyday and avoid certain foods for the rest of my life. If I ate anything that had even touched a strawberry, apple or avocado, my face would swell up and a couple of times I was rushed to the hospital. Pollen season was the worst...my nose would run like a leaky faucet for months without stopping and I also suffered from miserable sinus headaches. For a while I was on antihistamines and they helped some, but the allergies never went away and after one particularly bad spell, I decided to consult my trusty old friend Google to provide a real solution to my problem. SPRING CLEANING After much painstaking research (and more ads for Claritin than I care to recall) I finally discovered that allergies, like most immune dysfunctions are a product of an over-toxified liver. After years of eating processed junk food, preservatives, etc my liver and basically entire intestinal tract were too clogged with junk to do their jobs properly. Some more searches on liver cleansing and detox and I struck gold with the Master Cleanse. It's a fairly simple fast. Each night before bed you drink a diuretic tea of Senna leaves. In the morning you drink a quart of lightly salted water (the salt makes the water pass through your large intestine instead of your bladder) an hour or so later you pass all of the water along with the toxins and caked on garbage that is clogging your system. During the day, whenever you get hungry, you drink a concoction of lemonade, maple syrup and cayenne pepper which simultaneously breaks down the mucoid toxins stuck in your body, increases circulation and cures hunger pangs. Apparently this fast gives you enough energy to work normally and even get some light exercise in. I was pretty much sold on the concept after reading Stanley Burrough's book on this cleanse...it all made sense. The problem was that I just love food so much that I could not imagine 10 whole days without it! My date with the fast kept getting pushed back until allergy season was over and eventually I forgot about it. A KICK IN THE ASS That winter I started a job at a museum working for the head curator. His name was Jake and he was a heavy hitter in the art world who basically ran the museum as his own. This man is a true hustler and has several side businesses "just in case". To this day I have yet to meet anyone with so much drive and vision. He immediately commanded respect wherever he went and was a role model of sorts for me. One day I was ordering lunch and asked Jake if he wanted some Thai food. He told me "No thanks, I'm fasting". I actually laughed out loud because this was too much of a coincidence. It turns out that he was indeed doing the master cleanse himself and was on the 23rd day of his fast! Over three weeks with no food, and the dude had enough energy to run his businesses! It was just the jumpstart I needed. He let me try some of his lemonade, and though I was expecting the unlikely combination of cayenne pepper and maple syrup to be nasty, it was actually quite tasty! The next day I bought all the supplies: - Big sack of organic lemons - Jug of Grade "B" Maple Syrup (also organic) - Organic Sea Salt (don't use fake-ass table salt) - Measuring cup - Measuring spoons - Pack of "Smooth Move" Senna leaf tea - Peppermint Tea - Gallons of spring water (dont use tap) I was pumped and ready to challenge my mind/body in the test of will known as..