Later this month I’ll be departing from the relative warmth of California for the chill climes of Canada to take a ten-day vegan raw health cleansing retreat. As my friends and family gorge on turkey and potatoes, stuffing and cranberries and pie for Thanksgiving Day, I’ll be toasting with a glass of wheatgrass juice after a bracing walk on the shore and some soul-enriching group therapy. Why would I do this? Because I’m going to be writing about it, and because it’s a path towards potentially diminishing my chronic pain that I have not yet tried.
The program’s name is Fresh Start; it’s located at Ocean Resort, a remote seaside lodge on the east coast of Vancouver Island. From the photos, it looks spectacular. I can’t wait to get out onto those beaches myself. Yes it’s winter, but I’ve always loved to bundle up and walk on the beach when it’s windy and cold.
Fresh Start runs 5-day juice fasts, and 10-day and 14-day intensive semi-fasts. I’m doing the 10-day program. An early point in favor of Fresh Start–they got one whiff of my health history and told me that they don’t permit folks with significant health problems to do the 5-day juice fast. It’s for people who are looking to lose weight and start a healthier lifestyle, but who don’t require significant individual monitoring. The 10- and 14-day programs allow for personalization and modification as needed.
I’ll be eating small amounts of raw vegan food, drinking fruit and vegetable juices, and imbibing specially crafted organ cleansing cocktails made from heaven-knows-what. (Herbs, most likely.) They’ll be rousting me out of bed at 6am for 7 o’clock yoga. Ouch. To say that I’m not a morning person is like saying that snakes don’t fly. Starting tonight, I’ll be working on getting to bed earlier and earlier so that by the time I get to the retreat, I’ll be accustomed to early bedtimes and hopefully earlier rising as well. At the retreat, they’ll help by turning off the lights at 9pm each evening.
Also this week, I’m tapering down off the coffee and the processed sugar. Next week–replacing 1-2 regular meals per day with deep green salads or fruit salads, plus nuts. No vinegars, but dressings made with cold pressed oil, citrus juice, and herbs and spices are okay. The Fresh Start folks ask their guests to do this to keep our bodies from going into wretchedly unpleasant shock from a sudden and total change in diet within the first two days. Another point in their favor.
I’ll be blogging regularly throughout the retreat–that’s part of the deal. In the interests of Full Blogging Disclosure, Fresh Start is hosting my retreat. (But they’re not paying for any of the extra spa treatments. No free coffee-infused colonics for me!) So feel free to comment with questions–I’ll be able to answer in close to real time.