Friday, October 21, 2011

Detox Diary Day 7.5 and Beyond...

Well, what can I say? I breezed through day seven, so much so that I felt that I could continue on with the program for another few days.  Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary happened on day seven..

the usual shakes, water, herbs and colemas, although in the final colema, instead of fresh brewed coffee, there was garlic instead.  This is to kill any parasites that may still be lingering inside the colon.

Fascinating stuff really.

I challenge you to google parasites in the human body, as you 99.9% have them - you will be repulsed, and I bet you run straight to the pharmacy to remedy the situation!

Finally, instead of our usual bedtime probiotic pill before bed, we were given a probiotic drink which had been fermented for ten hours.  It tasted surprisingly okay, and I managed to swallow it down without any drama whatsoever. 

We were also given special instructions for the morning. We were to have one final colema of just 10litres of water (instead of the usual 20) and then one hour after that, we were to give ourselves a probiotic implant - yup - up the bum! To replace all of the friendly bacteria that had been washed away over the past week.

I arose on day eight literally with a spring in my step.  Despite the fact that I knew it was my last day, I was feeling absolutely fantastic, and my skin and eyes looked so clear.  I looked at my brother, and he was also the same. I could not get over how bright and sparkly his eyes were!  Neither could he.  The eczema on his legs had also cleared up significantly, and all that seemed to remain was some mild scarring and few spots which may have still been part of the detox process. 

In any case, we both felt GREAT!

After we had finished with all the messing around with the finalities of the detox, we headed to the restaurant for our first meal. 

Watermelon and coconut water.

TOO exciting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Detox Diary - Day Six

6.30am - I woke up this morning STARVING, but managed to console myself as there is only today and tomorrow to go.  I start to get ready for the 7.30 shake, but the thought of drinking another one of those is not a happy one.  They were bearable on the first few days, but now they are vile.

I remember that I have committed myself to feeding some stray animals that have befriended a friend of mine, and plan my afternoon accordingly. It means I can leave detox bootcamp and drink a coconut in a different restaurant.  Suddenly I feel happy again and head to the bar. The day proceeds much like any other on the program.

12.00pm - I collect my herbs from the bar and go to the office to rent a scooter.  I don't quite have the energy to walk to my friends bungalow to feed the animals, and decide that a moped for the day is a much better way to get around, and also out of bootcamp.

12.10 - I stop en-route to the bungalow at a restaurant and order a coconut.  What can I say? It tastes amazing, as they always do. Her bungalow is just around the corner and I continue on my bike.

1.00pm - I continue to cruise on the scooter to the next town, one I haven't visited yet - it is much like the one before it, and I suspect much like the one after it.  I stumble upon the Art Cafe, and order another coconut.  I can't help myself, and I really needed the change of scenery.  There's a mini library in there, with shelves adorned with second-hand books.  It also stocks all kinds of detox products and superfoods.  I like this place, and know that I will become a regular customer when life resumes some sort of normality in the coming days.  

I head back to Ananda.

By 4.30, I am starting to feel weary.  I have my fifth last shake and continue on with reading my book in my hammock.

6.00pm - I go to the beach, and again find my brother there, also watching yet another spectacular sunset.

By 9.30, with my all of my shakes and colemas for the day, I return to my bungalow and tuck in for the night.  

I am excited.  Tomorrow is the last day,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Detox Diary - Day Five

6.34am - For some reason I wake up this morning absolutely starving... and then I remember, I am still at the resort and I haven't eaten now in FIVE days.  I am really starting to feel it. 

I feel at my stomach - the bulge that was there seems to have significantly receded. I get up and look in the mirror.  My face is definitely clearing up, and I swear it has a definite glow that wasn't there when I arrived.

7.30am - I head for the detox bar for my morning shake, and talk to my fellow detoxees.  The people who were here when I started are on their final day. I am envious, and although the past four days feel as though they have gone by very quickly, the thought of another 2.5 almost makes me crazy.

My bro appears, and I glance at his legs.  They appear to have completely cleared up.  I am amazed, and he is looking pretty happy.

10.30am - By now, the shakes have become more than a chore to swallow.  I am craving something, anything, solid.

12.00pm - I take my herbs and suddenly remember that I have approximately 50 episodes of This American Life on my iPod.  I grab it, and spend most of the afternoon listening to it, in between shakes, sauna and herbs.  It literally saves the day.

5.30pm - Not only am I feeling weary from all the detoxing, I am growing very weary of this place.  It is literally like a detox bootcamp!  

5.35pm - I have a wave of energy so I grab my camera and head out for a walk along the beach, just in time yet another magical sunset.  I find my brother and a few others also capturing the stunning sun down, and ask the Mariana, the Spanish girl to take a photograph of us.

9.00pm - I am starving, and am trying hard not to think about food.  I am also feeling very weak, and head to bed, only to be kept awake by loud chanting, clanging and bongo drums from the yoga hall next door.  There is some live music on, however it is not to my taste, and I grab my iPod and opt for Neil Young instead, hoping to drown out the yogi music.

I spend what feels like half an hour fantasizing about coconut water, and remember that I need to rent a scooter in the morning to feed some dogs and a cat at my friends bungalow on another part of the island.  Perfect.  I can escape for a couple of hours with a purpose, and maybe cruise around and check out other parts of the island... and sneak a sly coconut in...

I finally drift off to sleep, ready to take on day six.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Detox Diary - Day Four

5.14am - I lie in bed, wide awake.  It's the third time that I have woken up.  Each time I seem to wake from the most vivid dreams.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the detox.  I am assuming that it possibly does, given the mental clarity that most report experiencing by about day seven.

Unsurprisingly, I have begun dreaming about food, this particular time I was eating what seemed to be the most amazing ham and salad roll on a white bun.  I don't eat ham, and I rarely eat white bread... I must be getting desperate..

6.00am  - I get up to take a shower. Forgetting to get up slowly, I suddenly feel very dizzy. It passes as quickly as it came on and head across to the beach.

6.10am - I return to my bungalow and assume my place back in my hammock with my book and wait till the first shake of the day

7.30am - I am the first to arrive at the detox bar for my morning concoction of psyllium and clay.  I am beginning to grow very tired of them.  Alas, I have three more days.  I again marvel that I am still not starving. Hungry, yes.  Starving, no.

I feel my stomach.  I am definitely feeling leaner.  I must have dropped at least 2 kilos.  My brother arrives, and I am amazed at how much his skin has improved in the past three days.  When we arrived, his skin looked angry, red and weepy.  As if by magic, it appears to have receeded overnight.  He is looks pleased.

12.00pm - The day continues on exactly the same as the three before it.  I have my massage, my colema, herbs, etc...By about midday, I am beginning to feel very weak.  I glance at the other participants gathered around the bar, socialising with their carrot juice... then I remember that today, I am meant to start an aggressive detox, and there will be no such luxury for me.  I instead take my herbs and again retreat to my room, wondering how I will make it through the day without my daily coconut.

I pick up an 'Around Koh Phangan' booklet and see that there is a Saturday market on in Thongsala from 4pm till 10pm.  I inform my brother and he decides to join me.  We plan to leave at four.  Just for an hour or so.  I am desperate for a change of scenery and to be back out in the 'real' world again.

4.00pm - I have my shake that was scheduled for 4.30pm now, and go to fetch my brother.  He is far from ready, and I get annoyed with him.  My tolerance has dipped, and I am feeling weak and irritable. I can't understand how he cannot be ready, when we have literally had nothing to do all day.

4.30pm - I have calmed down by now, and we hitch a ride to Thongsala.  We don't speak any Thai, and the driver doesn't speak any English, so he drops us in the main street.  Unfortunately this is not exactly where we want to go.  We spend what feels like hours walking around asking for directions to the Walking Street Market, expending our precious energy.  We both feel very weak and find a coconut seller.

Coconut has never tasted so good.  Miraculously, within ten minutes, we have perked up again and proceed to the market, which much to our dismay, is not the kind of market we were hoping for.  Not only is it approximately 250 metres in length, it is predominantly made up of food and clothes stalls.  But bad clothes.

It's tough to be around all of the tropical fruit vendors, and even though I'm a psuedo vegan, even the barbeques are smelling mighty fine.

5.30pm - We decide that enough is enough and we catch a taxi back to Ananda.  Just in time for the sunset.  I grab my camera, and enjoy yet another natural visual masterpiece.

7.15pm - I am finally feeling very, very hungry, but instead must hope that my scheduled shake will help satiate me.  It kind of does, but again, I start thinking about my first meal when I leave on Wednesday.  It seems so far away right now.

The rest of the evening continues as the day before, and the day before that, except this time, to break up the monotony, we watch a movie.  Along Came Polly.  I have avoided seeing it for ages, on account of the fact that it stars Jennifer Aniston, however, much to my surprise, it is actually hysterical...

10.30pm - I tick off yet another day, and retire to bed.

Three more days to go.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Detox Fast - Day Three

Today I am feeling weak.  Not so much tired, as there is plenty of time for relaxing, in fact that's all there is to do.  Just weak. My face has broken out in a few spots around my chin and forhead, and the right side of my neck which seems prone to eczema has also started to itch again - I am now in proper detoxification mode. 

The day went by fairly slowly, interspersed as usual with shakes, herbs, beach, sauna, beach, massage and of course, colemas.  

The manager found me during the day to ask me that given my background with the big C, if I was interested in doing a more aggressive detox.  She also recommended it for my brother as he has really been suffering with bad skin due to eczema. Aside from twice daily colemas and fasting, I wondered how the program could possibly be more aggressive.  

In short, it would mean not having my 12pm carrot juice, my beloved 3pm coconut water and the 6pm veggie broth.  Just water and herbs.  None of the three things that have become the highlight of my day!  I told her I'd think it over, but have since decided that I will give it a go - even though I might have to get a coconut water from outside, on the sly.

I can understand why the carrot juice and the broth would be removed, as carrots are very high in sugars when concentrated in a juice, and the broth may have some residual fibre in it which may affect the digestion/detoxification process, however, I don't understand the need to remove the coconut water.  Fresh coconut water is a natural electrolyte and full of enzymes and minerals. Perhaps it is because it too contains sugars..? In any case, it is sooo good for your skin and anti-aging, I can't see how my brother would benefit from abstaining.

Predictably, I've had loads of reading time, and am halfway through the book that I'm reading, Bricklane by Monica Ali. It's a great read, and reading it here in this tropical climate evokes so many memories of my time spent in India last year.  

Before retiring to bed for the night, my brother and I played Rummy.  Foolishly, we played at the tables in the restaurant and watched with great envy and desire, the plates of food being brought out of the kitchen.  I asked him what his first meal will be when the program is over.  I am thinking papaya salad right now, and maybe a tom yum soup - something light, but delicious.  ...and of course, many, many mango shakes :)

Four more days!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Detox Fast - Day Two

Given that the days are governed by a fairly regimented schedule, day two was much like day one.  Surprisingly, although I'm hungry, I'm still not starving.  I woke up feeling a little light headed, but nothing too drastic.  

At 9.15am, I went for my scheduled daily massage, only to find that the masseurs did not turn up for the day. A real bummer, as I had been looking forward to it.  I got talking to Manuel, one of the other detoxees who was also due to have one at the same time as me, and he told me about Papaya Massage, an amazing massage place, two kilometres up the road.  We instead decided to go there in the afternoon, after our coconut, and before our broth.

The massage was incredible.  Possibly one of the best I've ever had, however the pain was excruciating.  I was warned before I went in that they strong.  Very strong.  So strong, that when Manuel saw the lady who massaged me, he outright refused her services, claiming that she was TOO strong, referring her to me, and instead opting for one of her colleagues! 

Oh. My. God.  

...and here I was thinking that he was being a bit precious. 

When I say she got into every nook and cranny, I mean she got into every nook and cranny! 

The truth be known, I was in agony for about fifty per cent of the entire duration of the massage, so much so that after my fourth yelp, she motioned for me to hold out my hands, into which she poured a few drops of menthol.  She instructed me to rub my palms together, and inhale the vapors in order for her to continue with manipulating and contorting my body.  I've never experienced this before.  In my experience, when the pain is unbearable, they usually go a little more gently on you... but not this time. She meant business, and in order to manipulate those muscles properly, unfortunately it was going to hurt.  At one point, I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  I chose the former, and with my hands over my face, I desperately tried to inhale as much of the menthol as I could. In fact, maybe it was the reason I couldn't stop laughing despite the excruciating pain.

Be that as it may, I emerged from the massage feeling like I was floating on a cloud.  She really did work wonders, and it completely made me forget about any hunger pangs or weariness.  I jumped on the back of the scooter, and we headed back to Ananda in time for our 6pm broth.  Two 'dinners' down.. Five more to go...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Detox Fast - Day One

7.15am - My alarm sounds and wakes me from my long overdue sleep.  I get up and make my way to the 'Detox Bar'

7.30am - A young girl in her early 20s from Myanmar makes my first shake - a concoction of bentonite clay and psyllium husk. The bentonite clay draws toxins out of your body and assists the psyllium - a fibrous bulking agent that sweeps toxic build up out of the intestines, much like an intestinal broom, during the elimination process.

A Spanish and an American woman also appear for their morning shake, as does my brother.  The Spanish woman is on her third day, and the American is on her second.  We all exchange names and stories of the program so far.  I grab my daily ginger tea and retreat to my room.

9.00am - I take my herbs

9.15am - Excited by the prospect of a daily massage for the next seven days, I make my way to the massage area, a breezy open room.  My masseur, a cheerful young Thai girl is waiting for me. She instructs me to lay down on the mattress on the floor, and I allow her to work her magic, all whilst inhaling the fresh sea air and subtle wafts of aromatic incense; I feel like I am being massaged in a Buddhist temple, and suddenly feel very, very zen.

10.30am - Shake

10.45am - Time for the first colema.  I meet with the manager and am shown to the room where all the action is to take place.  This detox ashram is filled with wall to wall small blue tiles which give a peaceful, cooling feel to the room. Sitting high on a blue tiled shelf is a 20 litre bucket filled with warm water and freshly brewed coffee and a rubber hose.  I laugh to myself as I recall a former housemate of mine, a naturopath who gave herself weekly coffee enemas.  The caffeine supposedly stimulates the liver into rapid detoxification mode.

The manager runs through the equipment, and even though I've done this before, I can't help but giggle and blush at the mention of the words 'anus' and 'bowels', possibly because she seem so serious.  It always makes me wonder why we all seem to revert back to some sort of infantile silliness at the mention of these bodily parts.  Why are they so off limits, and the butt of all jokes (excuse the pun!)?

After her directions, she leaves the room and I am left to begin the process.  The session takes about 40 minutes and goes along smoothly without any hiccups.

The remainder of the day is broken up into 1.5 hour intervals for either a shake or herbs, swimming in the warm tropical ocean, and lounging on the beach.

2.30pm - I am starting to feel slightly peckish, although I can't help but marvel at the fact that I am not yet ravenous.  It must be a combination of of the heat, the amount of liquids I've been ingesting, and of course the psyllium husk.

2.40pm - I join my fellow detoxees in the herbal steam room.  It must be about 45C in there, but it feels fantastic.  There is the predictable banter about the degrees of hunger everyone is experiencing, and how much longer we each have to go till we can eat again.  I sit there in silence, envious that I am only on day one, and also slightly concerned by the tales of hunger and weakness those on their third and fourth days.  I remind myself that by day five, I will be feeling incredible, and my skin will once again be glowing.

3.00pm - We leave the steam room and rinse off by the salt water pool, in time for more herbs and a much anticipated coconut water.  Despite the fact that I ordinarily drink one of these at least once a week, for some reason, this particular one tastes like something sent from heaven!  I savour every sip, and stretch it out for as long as possible.

I'm joined by Manuel, a handsome young guy from Peru who proceeds to tell me that he has been at the resort for 7 months, doing intensive course after course of yoga.  He is like every other yogi person I have ever met; unusually high on life and full of positive energy and joy.  I can't figure out if I find it all a bit slightly annoying, but in any case, it makes me reconsider my decision not to attend our free daily yoga class and lecture.  I want his energy.

5.00pm - I need another coconut, but as we are only permitted one per day, I am forced to have it on the sly.  I grab my brother and we decide to head to Sri Thanu, the closest next town.  He needs to buy a pair of flip flops, and I also need to get a sim card.  It's nice to be away from the resort, albeit, briefly.

6.00pm - We make it back to the Detox Bar in time for our 'dinner' - a warming glass of vegetable broth, strained from boiled vegetables.  Although I am still not too hungry, it tastes amazing.  I watch the American and Spanish girls wearily lay down on the deck chairs by the pool, and it dawns on me yet again that  I still have 6 more days to go.

7.30pm - Now feeling like a seasoned pro, I once again head to the 'detox ashram' for my evening internal cleanse, however this time, thankfully, I do not need any further instructions, and am left to manage on my own.  I emerge at 8.15 and head back to my bungalow - full of water, shakes, broth and herbs, but still not starving  As a very hungry person ordinarily, I am amazed by this feat.

The toothache that has been bothering me on and off for the past four months and most of the day seems to no longer bother me.  Even though I am sure it's gonna need some serious dental work, I am relieved and pray that it remains painless for the next six days.

9.00pm - I take my final herbs for the day, as well as my pro-biotic and retire to my room, relieved that I have successfully made it through day one.

Six more to go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Diary of a 7.5 Day Detox

I have completed another semester for the year, which gives me approximately 5 months break until we start back in 2012.  

I am beyond happy.  

I have a few projects in mind for the break, but the first one will be a quick 3 and a half weeks in Thailand. 

Yep - nothing much has changed: another year over, another summer in Thailand... 

But like last year, this time I'm here to specifically stay at a health resort where I intend to embark on the second of what is to become my annual 7.5 day detox fast.  That's right - seven and a half days of consuming only water, vegetable broth, coconut water, herbal tea, bentonite clay and thrice daily herbal supplements ...and twice daily colemas.  Colemas are somewhere in between a colonic and an enema.  

It takes 7 days of fasting to cleanse the entire bloodstream of toxins and 7 days to thoroughly cleanse the lymphatic system. After 24 hours of not consuming any food, the body switches from digestion mode to detoxification mode resulting in the rapid removal of parasites, toxins and potentially cancerous cells.  This waste is dumped into the bloodstream for excretion through the liver, colon, lungs and skin, hence, the colemas, liver detox drinks and herbal steams.

From what I can recall from last time, days 3 and 4 are the worst.  The hunger and weakness is almost too overwhelming: the theory is that the reason you feel so tired, weak and headachey is because your body is rapidly detoxifing, and not because you are hungry... but I don't know, like I said, I did the program last year, and as a generally hungry person, I'm not sure I agree 100% with that.

I do remember that by about mid-way through day 4 last time, I turned a corner and felt that I could carry on with the fast for much longer.  In addition to that, the face I saw looking back at me in the mirror each morning was getting progressively clearer, as was the rest of my skin, and my eyes had a distinct twinkle in them.  

And so after approximately 12 hours in transit, I finally arrived in Bangkok on Sunday night where I met up with my brother, and despite chaos of the impending floods, we managed to get an overnight train down to Surat Thani in the South of Thailand on Monday night, followed by a bus and a ferry to Koh Pan Ngan yesterday morning.

We checked into Ananda Wellness Resort a little after midday and were shown to our rooms.  A large double room each with a separate attached bathroom and space for hanging clothes.  I was delighted to see a hammock swaying gently in the breeze on each of the bungalow patios.  This coupled with the soporific sound of a trickling water feature makes one feel that they have just checked into Rancho Relaxo.

At 7.30pm, we met for a briefing of the following 7 days with the manager of the resort, a petite Greek yogi who appeared to be lost behind her enormous desk, and who seemed to take herself very seriously.  After filling out the requisite forms, we were given the schedule that is to govern us for the next week.  It looks a little something like this:

7.30am - Shake (psyllium husk & bentonite clay)
9.00 - Herbs
9.15 - Massage
10.30 - Shake (psyllium husk & bentonite clay)
10.45 - Colema
12.00pm - Carrot juice and herbs
1.30 - Shake (psyllium husk & bentonite clay)
3.00 - Herbs and herbal sauna
4.30 - Shake (psyllium husk & bentonite clay)
6.00 - Herbs
7.30 - Shake (psyllium husk & bentonite clay)
7.45 - Colema
9.00 - Herbs and pro-biotic

She also weighed us, and much to my horror I weighed in at 72.2 kilos - 3 kilos more than when I left Australia!

'There must be some mistake!' I claimed, although I think my humour was somewhat lost on her. In any case, I blamed the excess food I took with me on the flight over.  Rather than eat plane food, I thought it wise to BYO food however, I packed too much for one, and ate the lot out of pure boredom.  Next time, I will know better...

Nevertheless, it will be fascinating to see how much I weigh on the seventh day of the fasting and elimination program.  Like most women I know would've been, I was secretly getting excited about the prospect of rapid weightloss and wondered for how long I could keep it off post-program!  Last December when I did a similar program, I dropped about 5 kilos, but somehow managed to put it all back on by around February - too much Christmas cheer!