Juice detox! by Santa Montefiore
It seems to be the thing now, the detox. I often read that the body detoxes by itself and that we don’t need to starve ourselves, or flush out our bowels, or drink special cleansing potions, but even if that’s true, there’s still something very satisfying about giving the body a rest from booze and sugar and catching a glimpse of the svelte figure I lost twenty years ago, before I resume all my bad habits and lose it again! Last year I went to Yeotown in Devon with some girlfriends. We were allowed very small portions at mealtimes and a few meagre nuts as an afternoon snack, cutting out seven food groups like gluten and meat. All we talked about as we hiked, biked and did yoga, however, was food – until we adjusted, got into the rhythm and no longer felt so hungry. This year, for a change, we decided we’d go somewhere hot, but not deny ourselves food. That was the intention. How wrong we were. We unwittingly booked into the LifeCo juicing retreat in Bodrum and starved ourselves for seven extremely long days. It was an enormous challenge, especially as I had specifically not wanted to go hungry, but one that I am very happy, with hindsight, to have endured.
The LifeCo is a discreet, tasteful retreat a few minutes from the beach. The rooms are functional and clean but not luxurious. The best part is the pool, which is beautiful, limpid and surrounded by big foreign flowers and bushes. The yoga ‘room’ in the garden has a very Indonesian feel with open walls and wooden floor, and I adored the hour and a half I did every morning (possibly the only time I was not thinking about food!). You’re given a medical on arrival and they weigh and measure you and then you’re given your schedule. It’s weird to have days that are not punctuated by meals. The hours are long.
I was awoken every morning at eight by a knock on the door and a man with a tall glass of juice, assortment of pills and a couple of shots. The juices, let’s be honest, are tasteless so you know they’re doing you good. They contain something that takes the edge off the hunger, because truthfully, although mildly hungry all the time, I was never clawing the walls. I did forty-five minutes of meditation on my own on my terrace (in the sun, nice!) and then yoga. The rest of the day was punctuated by juices, more pills, more shots and more discussions about our favourite recipes and what we were going to order on Ocado for when we got home! I sunbathed, read, wrote my book, had the odd heavenly facial or massage and thought a lot about food – and wine. I decided that, if I could have a big glass of chilled Pinot Grigio every evening, I’d happily go without food! But I got neither, just a constant ache in my belly.
But then on day three I awoke to a different me. A slimmer (hurrah!) brighter-eyed, clearer-skinned, bouncier me. Strange that one can feel full of energy without giving the body any fuel. I felt lighter and very satisfied. The issue of not eating was no longer such an issue, because I was getting so slim. As Kate Moss famously said: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I know what she means, but ultimately, after seven days, the allure of taste overrides the giddy joy of being skinny and the other famous saying: Life’s too short, overshadows the other and one reaches for food with desperate hands!
We all returned looking great, clutching the report having been weighed again, which told us how many kilos we had lost. I was down from seventy-two to sixty-seven. I can honestly say that we looked younger, healthier and felt fantastic and everyone said so. The trouble is, once in the real world, the effects are unsustainable. If you literally eat nothing for a week, you’re going to lose weight. If you then start eating, you’re going to put it on again. It’s unavoidable. However, we’re all trying to avoid sugar, bad carbs, too much alcohol and red meat etc and I did my first sixteen-hour ‘intermittent fasting’ on Sunday – which was recommended and was strangely more of a challenge than the entire week I spent in Bodrum (probably because my house is full of delicious things!). Would I go back? I don’t think so. I just don’t think I could put myself through that again. I’m much too greedy!
The Forget Me Not Sonata is out now in a glorious new edition.