is very nice. Then there is a talk by the nutritionist, who is also a master herbalist and naturopath and is horrifically well informed, about digestion, the benefits of fasting, which supplements to take, a word on psyllium husk (which we are encouraged to take during the next few days as it puffs up in the stomach to mimic feelings of fullness — allegedly), and how to use the Clysmatic. The what? Oh, and how to oil swish and body brush.
Nope, me neither.
We are given an avocado and pea protein smoothie, to ease us into the fast, and encouraged to drink lots of water and herbal teas. There is freshly made juice every three hours, which means our blood sugar doesn’t crash. I feel quite tired and spaced out by lunchtime. And with a banging caffeine withdrawal headache. In fact, by the afternoon, I’m like a hybrid of the less joyous members of the Seven Dwarves — Dopey, Grumpy, Sleepy. Time stretches, and despite the heavenly surroundings and my initial optimism, I feel a bit meh.
I have a one-to-one meeting with a member of the team, to find out what I’d like to get from the week — everyone is here for different reasons, from needing a break from the world to dealing with bereavement and emotional upheaval to reprogramming behavioural patterns around food and drink, or relationships. I want to break my chronic lifelong sugar addiction. Since I quit alcohol aged 38, my sugar intake has increased, making me fat and cravey. No matter how hard over the years I have tried, I cannot kick it. I’m hoping this week will be my sugar rehab.
That night, I have jerk-upright nightmares involving giant spiders and Donald Trump. I’m reassured that such nightmares are part of the detox process. As are the teenage spots that are popping up on my middle-aged face. (unlike the blood, the lymph system doesn’t have its own pump).
The ethos at this retreat is very much about knowledge, education, and taking responsibility for your own physical health and emotional wellbeing, rather than passively receiving beauty treatments while sipping fruit tea. I thought I already knew a lot about nutrition, but this is next level; I am learning huge amounts about the body, how to nourish it, and how to properly look after it at a preventative level.
And then in the late afternoon I have a massive dip.
The retreat’s FAQ page says, with some understatement, that, “It’s not for the faint hearted because it can be quite tough at times”. Sure enough, 48 hours after arrival, I want to go home. WTF am I doing here, my head rages. Why am I putting myself through this. I hate everyone and everything and am so hungry I’m almost licking the food emojis on my phone. The goats peacefully grazing outside my window are starting to look tasty (I’m vegan). People are sailing around beatifically, and I want to punch them. I hate being on my own in the eco pod, but cannot bear the thought of company. The idea of four more days of this feels like infinity. I draw on all my mental resources, but my overriding urge is to run away.
So I speak to one of the team and tell her I am struggling (the team complete this fasting process together once a year, while not supporting clients, so know exactly what it feels like). She assures me that these feelings will pass, and gives me some supplements. Trust the process, she says. I realise that this is probably the darkest hour, and resolve to tough it out. Mind, body, spirit: the daily detox routine for Suzanne ( pictured included walks, massage and yoga