I was enthusiastic to start Vagabond Temple’s 7-day detox programme because it was an opportunity to reboot my digestive system and perhaps shift my attitude towards food once and for all. After 26 hours of processed plane food and a lifetime of food angst it felt like the right time to take a break from food, physically and mentally.
The Detox Program: Juice Cleanse & Nutrition Workshop
Instead of diving straight into the detox, the first day focused on easing the body into a fasted state by limiting the diet to simple fruits and vegetables. This paved the way for a 5-day juice cleanse, which consists of unlimited amounts of fresh coconut water, sugar cane juice and herbal teas.
What surprised me was how easy I found the fast. My past experiences with fasting have been filled with frustration and failure. Yet at Vagabond Temple I genuinely enjoyed the detoxification process and wished it to last longer. I’m certain this was down to the environment, as The Temple offered me a sanctuary away from the stress of a 24/7 culture. I was able to slow down, reflect and reconnect with my self. Another real support was the juice-fuelled detox discussions. Every morning -when everyone else went to breakfast- the detox group would meet for a workshop on food, health and mindful eating. Kobi’s open-forum sessions were filled with fascinating food facts and practical ways to improve health. He also encouraged curiosity, guiding us through the process but giving us the space to be our own teachers.
Finding New Purpose in Food
My experience has made me really aware of the food conventions that dominate society. I rarely felt hunger and yet I longed for the ritual of mealtimes. This explains why the daily treatments were such an important part of the juice cleanse because they not only assisted with the detoxification process but also acted as a ‘pleasure-replacer’ in the absence of food. As my senses heightened I began to long for my lunchtime oil massage or reflexology session and no longer missed meals quite as much.
One of the most liberating parts of the process was freeing up my mind from food. During the detox I discovered so much more space in my mind and time in my day for other thoughts and activities, as I was no longer worrying about what to eat and when. I also managed to keep up with all of the classes and felt creatively energised throughout the fast, writing, reading and playing guitar way more than usual. There must be magic is Shina’s homemade sugar cane juice!
Yet the real benefits occurred after the fast. I feel hunger rather than thinking about it and I enjoy mindful meals- slow, present and undisturbed by television or work. I am seeing food not in calories but for its life-giving qualities and I am enjoying each and every bite free from worry and guilt. What I understand now is that food isn’t the enemy: food is our friend! It is what enables us to survive and flourish and it is in our very nature to want- and to enjoy- food. Don’t fight nature- food is life! But feed your body what it wants and needs: wholesome, unprocessed foods and a balanced, stress-free life.