Entries in juice detox (2)

Wednesday
Feb262014

Health Holiday: Detoxing at The Spa Resort Koh Chang, Thailand

Ever since I filled up on fresh juices and emptied out my guts in Thailand last year I’ve been wanting to do it again. So a year later – this February - I found myself on yet another 6 days/5 nights juice detox, this time at The Spa Resort in wonderful Koh Chang - with Lara juicing and pooing alongside me.

Fasting 

If you’re new to the whole concept of fasting you might want to read my post on the Samui experience or one on fasting at home. In brief, you spend almost a week not letting anything solid pass your lips while you clean out the other end with gallons of coffee water. By the end you feel wonderfully light, clean and clear. Or I did. After seeing me do it last year, Lara had decided to fast for 3.5 days to see what the fuss was about. But as she said herself: fasting isn’t for everybody. As each day went by she got quieter and quieter and more and more introvert. This woman usually never shuts up, she crawls up robes and does box jumps at Crossfit, but at The Spa all she wanted to do was to lay by the pool with her book while all the life force slowly ran out of her. At breakfast after 3.5 days she finally got some sparkle back in her eye with a ‘Guys Breakfast’. You can read her experience with the whole thing here.

Anyway. I again enjoyed the feeling of alertness and clarity when the hunger had passed after the first couple of days. I did meditation and yoga every morning and as the teacher had a few days off to go to a wedding in Bangkok I ended up teaching some of the other fasters in the beautiful yoga shala.

The Colemas

Every day (or as often as you want - some of the programs have two a day) you flush out your bum with a coffee colema. You get a 5 liter bucket with coffee and vinegar solution. When in the privacy of your own bathroom, you fill it with warm water, lie back and empty out your body. You can read a more 'graphic' discription of the process here form my first experience with enemas here.

The Spa Resort Koh Chang

The Koh Chang venue is different than the one in Samui. In Samui you have the beach, the main road right out the door and lots going on (we were staying at The Spa Village accommodation in the jungle so in the afternoons and nights we were away from it all up in the hills). The Spa in Koh Chang is very secluded. It’s right on the water, but there’s no beach and the water’s not suitable for swimming. It’s great for kayaking, though and you have the beautiful pool for swimming - if you have the energy...

Each day the skilled Thai massage therapists would combine Thai massage and oil massage and rub our entire bodies with tiger balm. What bliss.

The rooms were amazing. The very helpful Guest Relation Manager, Beer,  had put us in a Lower Hill Cottage with a nice balcony overlooking the jungle. The huge bath looked amazing but it really was quite ridiculous as it was impossible to fill due to it’s size. If you had the time to run it the water would be cold by the end of it. Ah, first world problems...

The Food

We again did the mistake of only booking enough days to complete the fast with only one day to spare to eat. The last day is spent on breaking the fast with raw veggies, so again I didn’t really get a chance to sample the impressive raw, vegan and healthy menu. I did go a little nuts the last night in the company of the lovely Miss Mao and her German friend, Monica, and ordered both a salad and raw spring rolls. A bit much on an almost empty stomach. The day we left for Bangkok I brought more spring rolls to avoid spicy (and most likely meaty) curries at the bus stops.

So now there’s just The Spa Resort  in Chang Mai left to try. Next time we’ve decided to just go and eat delicious, healthy food without fasting. I want to go now.

So What's detox?

A growing body of research suggests that many of the chemicals we consume daily through food, water, and air can get stuck in fat cells in our bodies. These toxins include pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food, chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, pollution, drugs, and cigarette smoke.

Detoxification is the body's natural, ongoing process of neutralising or eliminating toxins from the body. The liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, skin, blood and lymphatic systems work together to ensure that toxins are eliminated from the body. You can aid this process by eating or drinking a diet of natural foods and basically flush out your system to restore the natural balance in the body and get rid of the toxins.

This is one side of the story. The other side represents doctors like Frank Sacks, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health who will argue that the idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins has 'no basis in human biology', as your immune system handles those duties, no matter what you eat. Please know that I am in no way a medical professional so please consult your GP if you want to take up fasting.

For me the detox is not only about cleaning the body of toxins. It’s also about clearing your mind and realising how much energy we use on food. Both on worrying about what to eat, how much to eat, but also how much energy the body uses on digestion. In my experience, fasting increases one’s awareness, one’s capacity to think, to digest, to feel and express.

Thursday
Jun272013

The Spa Koh Samui - Fasting and Pooing in Paradise

As I was lying on the colema board in a position I would usually only take at a gynecologist’s and thinking that coffee enemas might be just a little too extreme something shifted. Something made me feel light and new. Let's not make it into a spiritual occurrence or some sort of healing; it was just my body being rid of poo that had been in there for a very long time...

I'd done a few detoxes at home and felt like it was time to take it just a little step further. And that apparently means voluntarily pooing my guts out on a bounty beach Thai resort. Welcome to the Poo Farm - aka The Spa Koh Samui.

 

The pool at the beach resortHuts at The Spa Beach

 Why Fast?

Advocates of intestinal cleansing claim our high stress existences and over-processed diets have left us with clogged-up digestive systems, and that makes us disease time bombs, at increased risk from cancer, heart trouble, infertility, diabetes and premature ageing. The solution is to fast: to put nothing in one end, while simultaneously purifying yourself by squirting significant amounts of liquid up the other. Well, pass me the enema bucket and count me in.

 

Disney World for Health Freaks

The Spa is basically Disney World for 30-something health freaks. You go there to flush out toxins from your body with a combination of detox drinks (pineapple juice, psyllium husk and other powdered fibers) vegetable juices, wheatgrass shots, spirulina shakes, herbal supplements and yes -  coffee enemas that go in the other end and make your colon clean as a whistle. You can do different kinds of fasts depending on how much time you can spend. I went for the 6 day juice fast.

 

 

Lunch

Life saver

The Fast

The fast started - or rather the eating ended - with a 'cleansing salad'. My last meal for the next five days. After that it was just juice all day apart from one fruit plate (with watery fruit like watermelon and pineapple) every lunch. Lunch was heaven. The activities at The Spa made my pretty busy throughout the day so I didn't have much time to feel hungry - and it was almost always time for another delicious juice or coconut water (oh, the coconut water!). There was a yoga class every day and a Thai massage that would turn my body inside out and make everything crack. And then there was the pooing.

On the first night of the fast I was to go and watch a video and have an instructional session with Mike, one of the health workers at the venue. It was just me and an Australian girl, who I nervously chatted to before the big show not knowing what to expect. The video showed a guy set up the colema board and go through the ‘technique’ of squirting coffee solution up your bum. After the video, we went to the Aussie girl's room to set up the colema board for real. Mike rigged everything up and Aussie girl felt faint and had to sit down. And then it was time to go and collect my own bucket of coffee extract (the cappuccino) and have a go myself.

The Pooing

You get a 5 liter bucket with coffee and vinegar solution. When in the privacy of your own bathroom, you fill it with warm water and hang it above the loo. You put a long hose in the bucket, attach the colema tip on one end and insert the other end in your (ahem) behind (you've also got your very own jumbo sized tube of lube). Then you lie down on a colema board (a board between the wall and the toilet with a hole in one end above the loo). You use a bulldog clip to squeeze the hose to control the water. I had to take a few deep breaths before letting go of the hose and letting the water run in my backside, but as the water was pretty much body temperature it wasn't that uncomfortable. Turns out filling the intestines with water was the easy part. But it has to get out too. Have you ever tried laying down and trying to.. er...release? Well, it feels very wrong.

 The colema board set upMy very own colema set (and that's coffee in the bucket!)

You start with just taking in half a liter. Massage it around for a bit and then release it. If that went alright you can start taking in more and more until you feel like you really have to go - slush it around for a bit and then let go. The hose stays - to my big surprise - in the (w)hole time and the session takes almost an hour. Imagine crapping for 45 mins straight. Every day for 5 days.

You are encouraged to use a strainer to see what your poo looks like (!) so you can know if mucoid plaque (the bad stuff that gets built up over the years in your intestines) is coming out. I'm aware that this must be totally disgusting to read, but let me calm you down by saying that if you only drink green juices; that's pretty much what comes out (along with watermelon pips). One day it even smelled like wheatgrass... (Too much information?)

The tale of the place is that someone once pooped out a marble that he swallowed when he was a kid. I’m afraid I never evacuated anything very exciting (not eating meat might have something to do with that as it’s often red meat that stays in there for decades). I did feel like I outshat myself a couple of times, and let me tell you the truth - it feels pretty amazing to be rid of all that....stuff. Unfortunately I didn't experience any rubber-like stuff (which plaque is supposed to look like) like some people bragged about. As you can imagine (or actually, maybe you can't) there was a lot of talk about poo when returning the empty bucket at the detox desk and people bragging about what they found in their strainer.

 

And yes, it is extreme. But it's also liberating to rid yourself from old crap. I definitely felt something shift. I felt that I could relax in a different way. I know it sounds weird. And it is. But there you go.

 

The detox counter

The Spa

The place is beautiful. White sandy beach and palm trees. And then of course it’s Thailand where everybody is so darn cute and helpful. We stayed at The Spa Village, which is in the mountains, in a lovely hut and went down to The Spa Beach - the main venue - during the day. Our bathroom had it’s very own colema board, but if you don’t want to crap where you sleep you can rent a colema room. We were very happy staying at the Village away from the noisy main road and the people. There was a free shuttle bus running back and forth every hour.

 

The beach

Our hut at The Village

The view from our balcony

The Spa Restaurant is amazing. Well, the menu looks amazing and what Lara had looked delicious (although she mostly opted for the Pad Thai at the Thai place across the road). All of it is vegan and lots is raw. Of course I didn’t have any of it so I'll have to go back, do the fast again and then stay on to try every single thing on the menu. There's a special fasting menu with broth (ew), coconuts and herbal teas that I could order from. The coconuts got me through the day. Then there's a Breaking the Fast menu with stuff you can eat as your first meals on a completely (literally) empty stomach.

Me getting way too excited over salad

I broke the fast on the 6th day with another cleansing salad and treated myself to a raw chocolate and orange shake from the Breaking the Fast menu. It made my toes curl with pleasure. All the flavours were stronger than ever and I got so excited over every little vegetable in the salad. I didn't poo for three days, though. But they say that's normal and to tell you the truth it was quite nice to have a break from it...

I love Thai

The fast was an amazing experience. Only once I was a little grumpy, but most of the time a had lots of energy. The yoga and massage and just laying at the beach kept me busy and the drinks kept me full. The enemas weren’t horrible at all once I got used to the feeling and felt that I knew what I was doing. I left The Spa feeling light and energised and I can’t wait to go back. Or go to the resorts in Changmai and Koh Chang as well.

Go try it. Happy pooing.

The pool at The Spa Village