This cornucopia of fresh, brightly colored fruits and veggies looks pretty tasty, right? Try eating it every day—at room temperature—and then get back to us.
Recently I had one of those vomit sessions that burst blood vessels and permanently stained my toilet bowl. I awoke at 5 PM hanging halfway off the bed, dizzy and fuzzy-tongued from a late-night champagne binge. I pushed myself off the mattress and planted one foot on the floor, which immediately led to a wobbly gallop to the toilet. I spewed Mountain Dew-colored acid across the bathroom before stumbling back to bed.
When I awoke, again, a few hours later, my bed was drenched in sweat. I smelled like stale champagne and beer mixed with bile, and it felt like poison was boiling deep within my belly. Its grumbles spoke to me: "It's time for an industrial-strength detox." Regardless of which method I chose, I knew I wouldn't be happy unless I had physical evidence; I needed to witness this evil exit my body to be certain it was gone. I googled around and found a book called The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush. It promised to restore my health and vitality, climaxing with me shitting out a bunch of multicolored stones—little Fruity Pebbles of bodily sin that would sprinkle my porcelain throne with success. Perfect. As I skimmed the book, I discovered that its author, Andreas Moritz, is a proponent of alternative medicine, as well as an artist (more on that later). He's written many other health-related books: Cancer Is Not a Disease, Ending the AIDS Myth, and Hear the Whispers, Live Your Dream. The basic point of the flush is to rid the liver and gallbladder of gallstones. It takes six days of preparation (adhering to a strict raw-food diet) and is followed by about 16 hours of actual cleansing (shitting out a rainbow of stones). It instructed me to drink 32 ounces of apple juice a day because the malic acid in the juice softens gallstones, making them easier to pass. Also, everything I ate or drank had to be room temperature. Andreas claims that cold food and drinks chill the liver, which reduces the effectiveness of the cleanse. Staring at the "ener-chi" painting for a week straight was easy for Ellis. It reminded her of those Magic Eye books that you stare at cross-eyed for a really long time until an image of Mickey Mouse appears. The first two days were hellish. I had a horrific headache, was moody as fuck, and lunch consisted of raw vegetables I'd thrown into a Tupperware. Other highlights included spending a Friday night buying my first enema kit (which I'd need for the end of the cleanse) and boiling beets. My weekend was spent at various barbecues and bars. I felt tortured, left out, frothing at the mouth at the thought of a cold beer. So, on Saturday night, I cheated and downed some vodka sodas with a shot of whiskey. I'm weak. By Monday morning, I had hit day 5 of my cleanse and felt great. I called up Andreas for a quick interview. Forty-five excruciating minutes later, I'd learned that he's an avid painter who has created a number of "healing paintings" designed to rejuvenate and restore the "chi" of an organ, which can be achieved merely by staring at them. They're called "ener-chi" paintings, for sale on his website for $23 a pop. I hung up the phone and printed out the liver-restoring painting, taped it to my monitor, and stared at it for a few minutes each day. I didn't feel energy coursing through my body, but Andreas had pointed out that printing the image yields fewer results because of pixelization. That makes sense. After her first colonic session, Ellis returned to the office with a dewy glow and a bounce in her step. Andreas suggests getting a colonic to prepare your body for the actual flush, so I spent part of the sixth day lying on a table in a dimly lit room. Hot stones and oil were rubbed across my stomach as a plastic tube sucked poop out of my butt. It was like taking an hour-long shit while relaxing on your back and getting a massage, i.e., fantastic. I'd already lost four pounds since I started the cleanse, and after my colonic I felt even lighter. The rest of the day I followed a strict schedule of downing gross liquids (Epsom salt disolved in water and olive oil mixed with grapefruit juice) before going to bed at 10 PM. At this point, according to the book, you should feel the gallstones release and make their way through your body, which in my experience meant feeling like I had really bad gas. A different type of potpurri that smells very, very bad. I woke up the next day at 6:30 AM. After drinking my third round of Epsom salt, I headed to the bathroom. As I peed, I hardly noticed that I'd dropped my first round of stones into the toilet. It felt like I was pushing tiny cirrocumulus clouds out of my ass. The stones were soft and, as promised, ranged in color and size: Most were green or tan and a little bit smaller than an apple seed, but a few were as big as a pea. It was vile, but I was delighted to see proof that my body had been purged. I spent the rest of the day working from home, in and out of the bathroom every hour, passing fewer and fewer stones each time. The grand finale was a self-administered enema (it helps get rid of any leftover stones), which just felt like a poor man's colonic. As my final cleansing act, I called up an old neighbor who's a doctor. I gave her a run-down of my past week and asked her opinion. Naturally, she was hesitant to say whether the cleanse had real benefits and instead recommended a healthy diet and exercise as the best way to maintain overall health. But she reminded me of one of life's truths: Everyone feels great after a good shit.