My time at the Fresh Start retreat is over and I am home. Now the hard part begins…taking lessons learned and incorporating them into my daily life.
Sometimes it seemed that my Fresh Start might never finish…especially after a particularly bad isotonic day. Yet the days kept passing, and suddenly it was almost over. No more isotonic drinks, and the introduction of solid food beyond apples. My 14-day program compadres enjoyed the break–they’re back to juice fasting on Day 11. We enjoyed two days of Raw Food Preparation classes in place of morning health lectures, to help us continue the good habits we’d begun. If you’re into coconut (I’m not–just a flavor thing with me), the desserts can be right tasty. I discovered a heretofore unknown liking for raw vinegar-free saurkraut. Live and learn.
Despite it being a tough experience at times, both physically and emotionally, I’ll miss Fresh Start and Ocean Resort. Heck, I’d even consider going back if I ever need a tune up.
One thing I already miss is the physical setting on the easter shore of Vancouver Island. Fresh Start couldn’t ask for a better setting to encourage healing. Doing Kripalu yoga or a guided healing meditation while listening to the Pacific lap against the shore as the sky lightened felt so calming, so peaceful–even for someone as anti-morning as me. Every day we took walks. Usually we picked our way down the rocky beach, and once out to Salmon Point along a mostly paved path. Ocean Resort takes great pride on its 80-foot labyrinth, constructed entirely of driftwood collected by the resort groundskeeper. I walked it on my second-to-last day at Fresh Start; the exercise helped not just my legs, but my mind and heart as well.
The clean, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free environment of the hotel and the retreat center make it a friendly place to work on health goals. I hope that as the program grows, Fresh Start can work with Ocean Resort to provide full-scale wheelchair access in both buildings.
I found the program Fresh Start provides to be well thought out, inclusive, expansive, and flexible. Despite the complexity of the cleanse/detox/education/evaluation/treatment/kitchen sink I experienced, most aspects of the plan can be modified or tailored to suit an individual’s specific needs. I think that every one of my group needed something different or extra at some point. And each of us got what we needed when we needed it. All 10- and 14-day Fresh Start participants get a health evaluation and individual recommendations for treatments. And indeed, despite the importance placed on colonics, the naturopathic doctor recommended against them for me (because my surgery happened too recently). She also preferred that I do only the most physically gentle body treatments, because of my pain. My fellow campers got very different instructions. Each individual participant’s physical and emotional needs are treated with care and concern. I like that.
What I’ll miss most is the people. Co-owners and operators Vasili and Ania not only believe wholly in the program they’re running, they practice what they preach. After meeting Ania, who’s got the figure of a teenager despite being the mother of two children, it’s tough to argue with the notion that a 90-98% raw diet can do good things for a body. Then there are the crew of massage therapists, bodyworkers, yoga teachers, and other health practitioners that Fresh Start has gathered from the nearby community to work with their clients. Then, last and most importantly, I had my fellow campers. Nothing bonds six strangers faster than poop–talking about poop, dashing madly past one another in the hallway to get to the bathroom, facing the fifth Isotonic Drink together… After chatting in the steam room, meditating together, and doing group sharing sessions, I feel like I’ve got five new dear friends. Though I need to break out a map of Canada so that I can figure out where they all live.
Finally…what about the results?
- I wake rested after only 8-9 hours of sleep, with enough energy to start my day.
- My pelvic pain has diminished by at least 25% continues to drop.
- My back pain has diminished by 50-75%.
- I’m taking less medication (and dropping to weaker stuff).
Fine. I’ll be striving to eat 75-80% raw at least 75-80% of the time. It might not work for everyone, but it certainly seems to be helping me.