Life in Nosara is full of opportunities to both abuse the body and nourish the body, and having done enough of the former, I decided it was time for some healing in the form of a seven-day cleansing at the retreat center in San Juanillo name Hacienda del Sol.
The focus on their program is putting healthy things into one end of the body, in the form of a six day liquid regimen, and flushing the bad stuff out the other end. Cleansing programs focused on cleaning the colon and other organs have been around for decades, and this program also includes a focus on raw foods and body pH balance, which are newer and perhaps trendy types of alternative therapies.
Needless to say, you should do your own research to establish your own comfort levels with alternative approaches to diet and medicine.
Upon arrival at the retreat, our dinner was a multi-course raw food meal that was incredibly delicious, prepared by local raw food chef Jan Paul Kahlen. It would be our last solid food for six daysRaw food advocates say beneficial enzymes in vegetables and fruits, which play a key role in providing energy to the body, are destroyed by heat.
While there are some proponents of an all raw food diet, others recommend a balance. Part of this retreat program includes daily acupuncture and a diagnostic consultation with Mitra Politi, and for me he recommended a mix of raw and cooked food, with a custom list of recommended foods.
Menhla Bruneau, who runs the retreat center and designed the program, also focuses on the pH value of food, whether they are acidic or alkaline in the body. The gist is that we consume too many foods, like meat, sugar and white flour, that make our bodies too acidic, and that in turn allows disease and possibly cancers to develop. There is a growing body of research in this area, showing that alkaline foods change the pH of blood, fluids and organs, but these ideas are not embraced by mainstream medicine.
It is an increasingly common view that mainstream medicine is too symptom and pill- oriented, which has created the growth in alternative medical practices, but if you’re bleeding from a surfboard fin across your head, eating goji berries will not help.
Into the program, extra energy kept me up at night reading, and whatever weakness I felt in the morning was restored by yoga and acupuncture. There was a preponderance of young professional women from the U.S. on the retreat, and some of them struggled, with two of them succumbing to strong flu or cold-like symptoms for a couple of days before recovering.
Menhla said it is not uncommon for people to have symptoms or weakness, and emotions as well, as the body rids itself of toxins. We had a group ‘check-in’ in the morning to share our various experiences. In spite of the low calories, hunger was not generally an issue.
On different days, coffee, lemon juice or garlic are added to the mix. On the fifth day a liver cleanse option is designed to flush out gooey balls from the liver that may have been lodged there for years.
Cleanse proponents point to many benefits, from curing and preventing disease, to increasing energy, to weight loss. I was looking for more energy, especially after the heat of March and April. While I didn’t experience or expect any miracles, I do feel like I have more energy and focus now, and lost about 10 pounds as well. Both my mind and my body already feel the benefit from this program.
For more info, visit: www.haciendadelsolcr.com and www.inwardbound.com