“I want to lose weight,” was my ignoble admission at my first morning circle at Hacienda del Sol, where I’d come for a weeklong juice fast and colon cleanse. I followed that first honest confession with my hope that in completing the process, I would be able to let go of food as my emotional crutch.
Thus, I joined 11 people on a path of discovery at the retreat in San Juanillo, 15 kilometers north of Nosara on the northern Pacific coast.
The first evening commenced with a rawfood dinner prepared by the “great uncooker,” Hacienda del Sol owner Menlha Bruneau, a 17-year health food and rebalancing guru from British Columbia, Canada.
I ate a delicious selection of dehydrated crackers, avocado spread, salad, seed cheese, quiche, mushroom zucchini pasta and a chocolate mango mousse pie. This was followed in the morning by a breakfast of raw oats, carrot cake and fruits.
Then the juice fast began – along with a horrendous headache prompted by the detoxing in my body.
Bruneau recommended a hormone tea because of my age, and I also found relief in short naps and the first of the nightly 30-minute meditations.
Each morning began with a lemon juice and cayenne pepper concoction to get things inside my body moving. A light yoga practice suitable for a non-food regime followed.
We then sat in our support circle, sipping a delicious “green drink” of spirulina, agua de pipa (coconut water), coconut meat, bee pollen and maca, a root that helps rebuild weak immune systems, re-mineralize poorly nourished bodies and increase energy and endurance.
“The juices are so the digestive system doesn’t have to digest; by liquefying food, all the energy we would use for digesting is given to cleaning and healing the body,” Bruneau explained. “The colon has toxins in it that this process is working to eliminate. You will also take fiber twice a day that acts as a broom, which expands in your system. It will go through the colon to get the food and toxins that have been lodged in there for years and years out of there.”
After the headache passed, I was tired, perhaps from the colemas, self-induced enemas with water introduced to the body via gravity. Bruneau explained that aside from the physical elimination of mucoid plaque – which looked like two-sided pearl necklaces – the colemas were important for “moving emotional blocks.”
A few days into the program, my energy started to increase.
The midday juice was carrot and garlic, ginger, beet and spinach – very strong, and not pleasing. As the days wore on, I was not hungry at all.
I liked the afternoons when I’d get watermelon juice, but not those days when the retreat served up noni juice, made from that potently healthy tropical fruit that tastes like smelly cheese.
One afternoon, Bruneau gave me a rebalancing bodywork session to get my body aligned. Using her arms, hands and whatever other body parts she needed to accomplish the task, Bruneau took away the aches in my neck and shoulders.
On our second-to-last night, we did a liver cleanse instead of our dinner juice of agua de pipa, cucumber and celery or kombucha, a fermented tea made from a “mushroom” of microorganisms. In the evening at 6 and 8 p.m., and again in the morning at the same times, I drank Epsom salts and water to open the liver receptacles for the 10 p.m. olive oil and orange juice. I was told this would squeeze out all the toxins and bile settled there from who knows when.
Mostly, I was nauseous, and conscious of green bile pellets being eliminated. It took everything in me to drink my regular juices and fiber, including the evening hot vegetable broth.
Eventually, we broke our fast with papaya. The taste burst pleasantly in my mouth – amazing, considering I am not normally a fan of the fruit.
After pizza for lunch – dehydrated cracker crusts, various avocado and olive spreads and seed cheese, along with a big salad – I felt really alive, my senses heightened.
I believe this week of juice-fasting helped me accomplish my goal of letting go of food as an emotional crutch, and allowed me to go back to my life with better knowledge about the relationship between food and my body.
For information about Hacienda del Sol’s retreats and courses, call 8828-4080 or 2682-1257, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.sunvacation.org.