By Mavis Teo
I would consider myself a veteran detoxer, if there is such a word. Master cleanse, juice cleanse; you name it, I’ve tried every detox diet that promises to reboot the system.
A believer of the adage that I am what I eat, I have always felt that the panacea to my ailments like allergies and indigestion lies in changing my eating habits. Though by no means reckless with my diet, I still find it hard not to indulge in foods proven to be inflammatory or allergenic for the body such as red meat, wheat and dairy. As a result, I have been living with these ailments for years.
Detox diets give me hope, but are never easy to follow because of the hunger pangs and sense of deprivation that always accompany them – the latter usually leading to binge eating straight after coming off the detox, completely reversing its short-term benefits. Lack of rest has also caused my digestive processes to be very sluggish. I decided to end this vicious cycle by going for a wellness retreat where experts would customise an empowering programme for me to set me on a path to healthy eating for the long term.
No one-size-fits-all programmes
To fully reap the benefits of a wellness programme, I decided to get away from Singapore, where I am based, and head to an environment that supports healing. My choice was the Absolute Sanctuary in Koh Samui, just a 10-minute drive from the airport, on a hillside with views of the Gulf of Thailand. At first glance, the architecture and décor look more like they belong in Morocco. The pumpkin hues complement Absolute’s sunny vibes and the warm, caring demeanor of their staff, who always have a ready smile, even for a client experiencing the emotional swings of a detox.
To start my programme, I met Cherisse Yang, the resident wellness consultant after a bio-impedance analysis that read my weight, fat and muscle mass. From this, Cherisse designed a programme for me for the next six days. I was put on a semi-detox diet, which meant clean and vegan, so no processed food, dairy, wheat, sugar or meat. And she recommended lots of sleep, as she sensed that I was very tired. “Your body needs to be well rested for your metabolism to work properly,” she told me. Wise words, but so hard to adhere to in practice.
Though I was sceptical about the efficacy of Cherisse’s plan as I was not used to detox programmes that didn’t make me feel like I have suffered, I decided to trust her since her suggestions meant that I could sample the offerings from Absolute’s Love Kitchen, which is well known for its delicious and creative creations. I started each day with a detox juice, chosen from a comprehensive menu of choices designed by Absolute to help the body, detox, heal and rejuvenate. I have a second juice in the afternoon. In between, I had green shots full of antioxidants and superfood goodness, and a coconut to replenish lost minerals. The latter is said to be hydrating and supports the kidneys in flushing out toxins during a cleanse. Being able to eat a solid meal at lunch and dinner meant that I didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or lethargy, as one would usually with a detox. It also meant that I had the energy for exercise.