If you’re searching for a way to regenerate post-winter, La Crisalida in the Spanish Costa Blanca has the answer in its vegan, juicing retreats. How do I know? Because I tried it. As a carnivorous coffee addict, I took my exhausted, melancholic body and mind off for a few days to see what all this detox malarchy was about.
I had only four full days to soak it up. No caffeine, no salt, no added sugar and a whole lot of time for peaceful reflection and to practice the art of being. But what sounded terrifying and potentially madness-inducing was in fact calming and inspiring.
Opened in August 2013, the retreat was founded by Jon and Lisa Brant, who quit their busy London lives and went in search of a slower pace of life where they could promote the healing benefits of juicing (organic fruit and veg, all freshly pulverised so only the fibre is taken out and nothing else) and non-toxic foods. The couple still work most days at the retreat offering workshops, life coaching and nutrition advice. What they’ve created is a more holistic retreat experience that’s entirely flexible in terms of arrival and departure dates, and where all activities are entirely optional.
Lisa, a qualified nutritionist, recommends guests try 2-3 days of replacing meals with juice during their stay. Juicing allows nutrients to be absorbed by the body quickly and efficiently so less effort is required for digestion and the extra energy can be used for other things like healing cells and cleansing. For those who aren’t juicing, meals are light, delicious and eco conscious too; La Crisalida’s chefs focus on sustainable plant-based meals and use only locally sourced food that ensures a slow release of energy and promotes a sense of calm.
So, did it work for me? Understandably, the first few hours were difficult. After weeks on the go, surrounded by the relentless buzz of London life, I felt surprisingly nervous about hours spent relaxing, mostly alone. I knew that it was what I needed but I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted. Still, I was committed and was assured that temporarily taking meat out of my diet would help me to re-energize, alongside daily juices. I wanted to reduce bloating and was promised that cutting out dairy would do the trick. I attended the meditation and yoga classes, and went on daily walks to the nearby beach and lighthouse, soaking up some much-needed sunshine.
The result, as you might expect, was a far less frenetic, more balanced me. I left with new ideas about the nourishing properties of food and the importance of scheduling downtime into every week. Those around me too, many of them frazzled from an overly energetic Christmas, showed signs of transformation. In fact, with its affordable, authentic and unpretentious vibe, it’s easy to see why so many people who find healing at La Crisalida choose to return for a top-up dose.