What hap­pens when you de­prive a restau­rant critic of food? We sent Fay Maschler to a Ger­man detox clinic to find out. The (dra­matic) weight loss was just the start of it...

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If you eat for a liv­ing — as ar­guably I do — even when not work­ing you must eat. Oth­er­wise the ca­reer would be cut trag­i­cally short. De­spite go­ing to restau­rants th­ese days be­ing a com­mon­place ex­pe­ri­ence, I still get con­cerned looks when it is dis­cov­ered that I am a re­viewer. ‘How do you man­age your weight?’ Only too com­fort­ably is an an­swer. How­ever, re­cent re­ports of the ther­a­peu­tic, cu­ra­tive and even re­demp­tive pow­ers of fast­ing be­gin to in­ter­est me — nat­u­rally I try, and let lapse, the 5:2 diet. I then read an ar­ti­cle writ­ten by the nov­el­ist Jeanette Win­ter­son about go­ing on an 11-day fast at the Buchinger Wil­helmi Clinic near Lake Con­stance (Bo­densee) in Ger­many and de­cide to give it a try. Win­ter­son is a skinny lit­tle thing so it is not weight loss but the more es­o­teric, pro­found changes that can be achieved she de­scribes. Re­boot­ing your im­mune sys­tem is an en­gag­ing im­age. Dr Otto

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