The wake of holiday binging is over. No more excuses and no chronic Last Pigouts. Now is the triumphant moment to reclaim your body and your health. But where to begin when left with the bloated and weighty repercussions of intense end-of-the year gluttony? It's not easy to detox when you're caught in crave-the-entire-bread-basket before-your-appetizer-has-even-arrived cycle. Not to mention that you're lethargic from not enough sleep and too low on energy to hit the gym. Rather, you're filled with endless excuses as to why tomorrow will be a better day to get back into the routine of healthy living.
This Isn't Just Laying Off The Booze For a Few Weeks
"Just like the spring and winter cleaning you do for your home, it's great to do the same with your body and detox twice a year as the seasons change," said Mary McGuire of American Yogini in Remsenburg, New York's [www.americanyogini.com].
Detoxing is quite the test of discipline and dedication. Past detoxers swear it boosts energy, increases mental clarity and has skin glowing. For first time detoxers optimal results come to those who spend a few days away at a retreat where they are completely immersed in the lifestyle and virtually sequestered from everyday edible toxins. Forgoing meats, dairy, grains, fish and fiber and subsisting only on fresh, organic fruits and vegetable juices is easier to maintain when far away from home and with others 'toughing it out' and sharing in the experience. Three to five day retreats welcome the return of energy, restful sleep and overall good feeling. A two-week retreat brings on significant yet natural weight loss. Most people see 5-7 lbs melt off in a week and as much as 20 lbs in two weeks. After the initial three days of the more challenging discipline, detoxers find that hunger pangs, cravings and nausea from low blood sugar disappear.
We're Not Talking Master Cleanse Here
You aren't going to subsist on only lemonade or tomatoes for a week at these retreats. Rather you're getting 2-5 juiced meals of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables (plenty of water and tea too) to keep you properly nourished. (How often are we eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables to get the proper amount of nutrients anyway?) Under each retreat's strict dietary regimen, detoxers at least for the time you are there, change eating habits and learn to take care not to consume the various toxins and contaminants found in non organic foods, meats, dairy, sugar and caffeinated items.
"After going through our program, many people continue healthy eating and eliminate foods and add raw fruits and vegetables to their diets," said Birchcreek founder Julie Odato. [www.weightlossretreat.com].
According to Odato, Birchcreek located in the Catskills prepares detoxers for their return to the real world and healthy living. She teaches and guides guest to, "begin eating again by starting with salads and raw fruits and veggies as an evening meal for a week after fasting. After that, we set up individual programs for getting back to eating and continuing to lose weight and detoxing - depending on a persons particular situation."
Here are five places to go unload, unwind and come back renewed.
American Yogini: A picturesque Hampton's yoga retreat with side excursions that range from colonic spa treatments to surfing at nearby beaches. On-site is a pool, massage bed, steam room, and a masseuse visits based on prescheduled appointments. Guests use the time to relax, read and catch up on movies, between daily yoga classes and afternoon activities. Expect two raw, but non-organic juices a day with broth and quinoa in the evening. American Yogini also hosts retreats in the Bahamas and Giverny, France. American Yogini Remsenburg, New York 631.325.3492.
Birchcreek: A Bed & Breakfast style retreat located in a wooded part of the Catskills mountains that thoroughly focuses on explaining what foods do good and bad to the body. "You should digest your food in four to six hours," say Birchcreek director, Ron Odato. "Meats and dairy takes 24-72 hours to leave the body. Now, would you eat a steak or cheeseburger that was sitting outside for 24-72 hours? Because that is what it's doing in your body."
Guests go on daily, rigorous hikes, use the nearby lake for boating and swimming. On-site is a pool, sauna, RN, hot tub and a masseuse visits based on prescheduled appointments. Birchcreek has become a popular destination for non medical diabetic treatment as well. Expect six fresh, raw and organic blends of fruit and vegetable juices a day, with a focus on the importance of carrot juice. Birchcreek also hosts retreats in the Virgin Islands, New Mexico and South Carolina. Birchcreek Pine Hill, New York 845.254.4004.
Atsumi Healing Center in Phuket, Thailand [http://www.atsumihealing.com/]
Moinhos Velhos in Lagos, Portugal [http://www.moinhos-velhos.com/]
Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. [www.wecarespa.com]
Organic Avenue in the Lower East Side of Manhattan [www.organicavenue.com]