I believe in juicing.
Wow I never thought I’d actually say that out loud! All those of you who’ve been following me on twitter, Facebook or reading a few posts here will know that I’ve been ‘giving it a go’. However I NEVER expected that I’d be making the above statement after only a few months. If my Mother was alive, she’d probably refer to me as a ‘juicing crank’, say I’m turning into my Granny or juicing as a ‘fad’. If Tish and Kerry were still alive, we’d be crazily swapping recipes and learning about the benefits of each ingredient.
So armed with the experience of my recent 7 day juicing programme (and how I felt during and after the 7 days), I wanted to take it further. I wanted to understand more about how I can maintain the level of health gained, understand more about the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, pectin, etc etc that can be obtained via just juicing. Is it sustainable for longer periods. Indeed is it advisable for longer periods. Although I know with the lifestyle I lead that practically it isn’t possible but how can I incorporate it best into my lifestyle? As I’m about to enter the world of full-time employment again I also want to know that I can continue to do it and feel fabulous whilst working a full week.
I looked around at different programmes and read many articles and information. However I knew that I realistically needed to immerse myself in it, with the experts on hand, to fully understand it.
I then found Juicy Oasis in Portugal. A Yoga, Fitness and Juicing Retreat.
Fortunately there was a place sharing a room with a stranger in the Retreat in less than a month. Before I headed to the Retreat I wanted to make sure that I was prepared – mentally and physically. I read lots, continued to juice twice a day with one small healthy meal for dinner or lunch. Last week I also joined in with the Big Juice Spring Clean – a 5 day programme of juicing as a community – via Facebook and twitter, all participants can keep in touch and also watch daily videos from Jason Vale (The Juicemaster) about the daily juices.
My flight left early on Saturday morning. As I packed my bag with lots of sportswear, a couple of pairs of trainers, swimsuits and a tennis racquet, I contemplated slipping into the case an emergency supply of nuts (ooh how my tastebuds have changed since juicing – previously it would definitely have been chocolate). However I decided that the only person I’d be cheating would be myself and carefully put the packet of nuts back in the cupboard.
The cost of the Retreat isn’t small however is good value for money. The Juicy Oasis itself is wonderful 5* luxury. The property has been recently refurbished to a truly high standard. The furnishings carefully selected and feel luxurious. The price also includes (as well as the juices and supplements) a programme of activity that keeps you busy both in mind and body throughout the day. I reduced the cost slightly by being able to use my BA frequent flyer points for my flights to and from Portugal.
I was met at the airport and ushered into a minibus with another ‘Juice Retreatee’ for the 1.5hr transfer. The journey flew by as we chatted but not without noticing that the vista changed from City to country to beautiful wilderness. As we cross a bridge, our driver pointed out the Retreat nestling the other side of the river. Wonderful.
Milly, the lovely Retreat Manager, met us at the door, checked us in and after dropping our bags into our respective rooms, took us on a quick tour of the Retreat. Wow Wow Wow! I just knew instantly that I was going to love it here. AND the sun was shining.
It didn’t take us long to settle in, meet 2 others who were there for a 28 day programme (including my roommate, Sati), enjoy our first juice and then head off to the gym to work off the ‘flight legs’.
Throughout the week you are able to join in with any or all of the activities. For some it was an escape from a busy life with a detox. Others joined with every activity. Most however dipped in and out.
Below is a little video of the ‘daily activity boards’ to give you an idea of our itinerary.
As you can see the activities were varied and filled our days. You could choose what you joined in with or indeed opted out from. I tried everything. With the exception of the final day I did the early morning walk. Leaving the Retreat and seeing some of the beautiful vista outside was a morning jewel for us all.
I couldn’t get the hang of rebounding…. any of you who’ve done any aerobic-type classes with me, will know that my balance and coordination can leave other exercisers bashed and bruised. What I will say, is thank heavens for the post on the exercise platform that I was able to hang on to as I bounced off the rebounder!
We were extremely fortunate that Jason Vale (AKA The Juicemaster) was also at the Retreat for most of the week. Ordinarily people pay to be at the resort with Jason and hear first hand why he’s got the name the ‘Juicemaster’, listen to his story and see first hand the energy and enthusiasm he has for creating a healthier society. Truly blessed to have some of his time. Oooh and play some tennis with him – boy is he competitive!
The films each evening were yet more education into healthy eating and juicing. Obviously there has to be an element of objectively watching them as they’re filmed by advocates of juicing and perhaps not as two-sided as they could be. I certainly learnt an enormous amount from them though and indeed if every you needed the motivation and encouragement to truly join the Juicing Revolution, I’d recommend watching all the films.. in that order!
Another truly wonderful thing about Juicy Oasis Retreat is the Eden Spa! In the ground floor of the Retreat is a special place. The main spa room smells and feels relaxing. Just entering the space sort of puts a spell over you. There’s a small warm pool to lounge in. Beds to lounge on. And the most wonderful Cacoons.
I so wish I could afford to have one of these in my garden. Within minutes of lying down in a Cacoon with the gentle rocking motion created by your breathing, I was asleep. Amazing naps which were so refreshing and deep.
Also in the spa were treatment rooms offering a plethora of pampering, sports and detox treatments. During my week I took advantage of the spa for both pampering and detox purposes. I’ve never had a colonic, despite a number of friends trying to persuade me previously. Before I left for Portugal I read up about the health benefits of a colonic. I read comments and reviews about any pain/discomfort etc. I attended the colonic talk on my first day and this confirmed that I would ‘try’ out this treatment whilst I was there. I won’t lie, the first one was a little uncomfortable – although I realise that I was a little more tense than I needed to be! I won’t go into more details but suffice it to say that I ended up having three colonics during my week. The first two with coffee (hey I had to have some coffee during my week’s Retreat!) and the last with wheatgrass. It’s difficult to explain how I felt after a colonic except to say lighter and more energised. Perhaps too much information for many of you and I’ll leave my comment there but suffice it to say that I do recommend them and will have more (when I find a good practitioner).
I also had a reflexology treatment booked with an English lady call Aoife. Wonderful treatment. Absolutely blissful, relaxing and clearly this lady has magical hands. During this treatment I mentioned problems with my knee since my fall in Australia and that I’d noticed that Aoife offered Myofascial massages but that I understood her appointments to be fully booked this week. Kindly she offered to work for another hour on Thursday so that I could have treatment on my knee. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. Myofascial release is a soft tissue therapy for skeletal muscle immobility and pain massage.
It didn’t go unnoticed to me that Phyllodes is a soft tissue sarcoma that is within the connective tissue of the body either.
OMG Aoife really does have magic hands. For an hour she gently manipulated the skin, gently massaged and touched my legs. I can’t explain more about what she did except to say that whatever it was it felt fabulous. After the treatment I rushed upstairs to join everyone for soup i.e. ‘warm juice’. I suddenly stopped at the top of the stairs stock still as the reality dawned… no pain in my knee! For over a year I’d been unable to walk up steps and stairs without shooting pains. It’s gone. Totally. For the rest of the week I cautiously walked up and down stairs waiting for the pain to return.. so far it’s still missing! Wow – what a joy. Incredible. More information about UK practitioners here.
Finally I also indulged in a deep tissue massage. I hate touchy feely massages. If you’re going to massage, then get right in there1 Oh Boy she knew how to do that. Fantastically and skilfully manipulated and pummelled.
As a solo traveller to the Juicy Oasis Retreat I was unsure who my fellow Retreatees would be. Shortly after arrival I realised that we’d have a ball all week. A grand mixture of people from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Dubai, Spain and, of course, England. I’d not, however expected there to be four of us from within a square mile of my house!
We made up a mixed bunch of lovelies. Ranging in age, both men and women and, of course, levels of fitness and health. But what we definitely were also was supportive of one another. We had a jolly good giggle too! The daily schedule of activities meant that there were many times when we you busy doing something and seemed to only catch up with some others at juice times! Or me and my roommate at bedtime.
Oh and to answer the question that seems to be most asked about my Retreat. Did we just have juices? YES! As you can see from the programme they were spaced throughout the day. Varied in deliciousness. Full and balanced with nutrients and vitamins. As we were on the ‘Winter’ programme at the Retreat, our evening Juice was warm… i.e. Soup! On our departure day we were allowed to order food for lunch or takeaway for our journey…. every taste of my salad was an explosion in my mouth. Amazing how much I craved good healthy salad food.
So what did I ‘gain’ from doing the Juicy Oasis Retreat?
I strongly suspect that you’ll be seeking the answer to ‘how much did she loose’ question… I would too. However what I actually gained (and lost) was so very much more than that. Weight-loss is a by-product of the experience… a welcome one.. but not one that is anywhere near the top of my list.
My headaches are gone. At least I’ve not had one single headache/migrane since part way into my first 7 day juicing experience. There’s a part of me that is constantly checking that they’re still not there. Certainly there’s a part of me that’s celebrating that I wake up when my body wants to wake not when the ‘nighttime’ headache gets too bad to bear. Finally I’m able to think more clearly without the drumming in my skull. I don’t need to lie down in a darkened quiet room. I can read without feeling as if I’m looking through a windowpane in the rain. I’m also no longer popping prescription and non-prescription medication to find some relief from the continual headaches. Gosh if I’d known I could shift them with juicing months/years ago, I’d have done it in a heartbeat… Hmmm maybe I should tell the neurologist, Dr, MRI team etc how I shifted the headaches?
I no longer have shooting pains in my knee when walking up steps – thank you to the myofascial massage skills of Aoife.
My skin is glowing with health (and noticed by quite a few people).
My eyes are brighter and the whites truly white!
My teeth are whiter.
My energy levels are soooo much better than they were before. I now wake up earlier and have a list of active jobs to achieve each day that no longer seem ‘impossible’ to do.
My digestion has improved.
I feel lighter and less ‘clogged’.
I’m feeling ready to take on new activities. Looking for a bike. Joined a tennis league to accompany the tennis coaching sessions.
I work out how I can fit in a walk to the shops/friends/activities into my day rather than leaving it until the last minute and jumping into the car.
Oh and yes I did lose weight. 😉 2kg (4lb) lost – however given the exercise that I was doing on the programme and in the afternoons playing tennis, I wonder if some weight was gained in muscle! I did however take four measurements before I left (waist, bust, belly and thigh) – total lost was 28cm!
Would I recommend it? Would I go again? Hell yeah!
PS I think Jim Carrey’s clip on YouTube explains a lot. There’s a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to live and a time to juice!