Last Updated on April 5, 2019 by Fiona Maclean
Juice fasting detox retreat experience continued…
Welcome back to part two of my juice fasting and yoga detox at Moinhos Velhos, a place of sanctuary where I visited for a juice detox and yoga in the Algarve.
Table of Contents
Halfway there – Day Four
I was feeling brighter and more energetic today. At this point, I had completed three days out of the six-day juice fast – halfway through. The third day is normally the worst of a detox and it was great to know I’d pass that point! As usual, we were treated to a bright blue sky and the therapeutic sun warming our skin. And, on each walk up the path to the main house, I was greeted by the smiling golden buddha – and couldn’t help but smile back.
Here are Jonachan and Marianne on their way to the clinic for treatments. There’s a wide range of options including Acupuncture, Swedish massage, Herbal massage, Lymph drainage massage, Sacro Cranial Therapy, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Physiospect consultation, Bioscan SWA, Thai Massage, Tachyn Healing, Herbal Medicine and Nutritional consultation.
My schedule for the day was packed: The normal morning routine and yoga; Acupuncture treatments both morning and afternoon for energy release followed by a lymphatic drainage massage both amazing, leaving me feeling light and refreshed; some time on the Zapper to kill off those parasites (I was impressed enough to order one when I got home); A nutrition and diet talk during the afternoon juice from Ed covering nutrition. We are becoming very aware we need to have a more plant-based diet for many reasons. The evening sauna routine and broth followed. Truthfully the broth is getting to be a bit of a challenge and poor Bobbi really can’t take it anymore. She tries a green juice instead.
In the morning yoga session, there’s always a meaningful and inspirational daily reading. And, I tried out the Tibetan bowl today.
Crystelle helped by demonstrating how to get the best sounds. Its much harder than it looks to get a lovely resonating sound.
This evening instead of yoga and relaxation we were doing something more energetic. A dance in the temple! A Bio-Dance….
We were mystified!
When what would be happening was explained there were a few knowing looks and, particularly from the men, some worried looks. Were we really going to dance for an hour and a half without talking? Well, yes! and we did, almost.
It is hard to describe and something you really need to experience it yourself. We moved together, smiled and had fun together, we learnt to be looked after, guided and trust others to be our guardian angels to keep us safe as we danced around the room with our eyes closed, we became more energetic, refreshed and had more fun as the time went on. We ended the evening with caring embraces and lots of warmth to each other.
A lovely way to end Day Four.
Beach trip – Day Five
Of course, it was raining! Much needed, since it hadn’t rained in the Algarve for six months, it felt wrong to be churlish. Apparently, we were still going.
I was a little more tired and less energetic today. The detox process is up and down and how you feel can change frequently. For me, Yoga was hard yet a lovely class. We are adding to our experience all the time. My shoulder stands are going well and I’m progressing to the plough.
We learned about tongue cleaning today, its benefits and the special copper tool to use. A side effect of detoxing is the tongue gets very furry and white and then returns to pink when your system is cleansed. It’s good to tongue scrap first thing in the morning as routine. This is now part of my morning routine.
I have to confess by this stage I was finding the clay mixture hard to take. Most of us have started to countdown…Only 6 more juices and clay mixes and 2 broths!
Like others in the group, I was also starting to not want to take the tablets. We all kept going. A major factor in undertaking the fast is the teamwork, both the support of the staff and your fellow fasters. And, the trip to the beach as a good distraction at this stage.
We didn’t need to worry about the rain because by the time we arrived at the beach it had stopped. The drive in the centre’s minibus took about an hour. Despite feeling a little nauseous on the bumpy roads (and it was the first time in a vehicle for 5 days) we smiled through it.
We stopped off at a viewing site to take in the views and get some holiday snaps. No one would know we were fasting.
I didn’t think Crystelle was that tall, till I spotted she is standing on the rock. I think I should have stood there!
Just after this photo is taken I had my first reaction to the Niacin supplement we were taking. We had been warned it might happen. At first I though I was being burnt by the strength of the sun but no one else seemed bothered. I was red and blotchy all over – something called a niacin flush. Others have had a reaction earlier in the week. I think it is because I’m in the sun that I’m affected. It is quite harmless, a result of the niacin dilating the blood vessels which is part of the cleansing. It lasts about 20 minutes and disappears. If I’m detoxing well then ok.
After a short drive to the beach, we unloaded the minibus and made our way down to the seafront. At first glance we could have been on any holiday trip to the beach for a picnic, however, there was no food or booze in the coolers. By now we don’t have any cravings, well, until we spot the beach café with signs for beer, ice cream and snacks! There was a lot of joking about sneaking off to the café especially when people disappeared to the loo. We were all too dedicated to our detox process to risk it.
I quite fancied a good swim in the sea but seeing the size of the waves and how the surfers struggle to ride I wonder how I could get past them. Not wanting to miss the opportunity I tried to get beyond the waves where it looks flatter. Hmmmm…well lets just say the waves won the battle. I won’t be sharing the video taken of me being wiped out by a big wave that took me by surprise.
Even on the beach – there was no escape from the clay mixture!! The watermelon juice was out of this world though.
We strolled along the beach and then enjoyed some R & R in the sun. It’s not too hot so we get the full effect of the healing sun and absorption of vitamin D without sunscreen.
On our return for the afternoon juice, we had a talk from Ed on the importance of healthy microbiome in our intestinal system. I knew about this from previous reading and it’s helpful to find out more. The importance of the detox process in removing toxins and the reintroduction of healthy bacteria into the intestine is explained fully.
I had my full Physiospect analysis and treatment session and learn a lot about the things I need to watch and sort out – quite a list. Mainly, I hope that the work of the Physiospect will help my body heal my endocrine system that is so damaged by stress.
That evening we took part in a traditional Fire Ceremony led by an experienced yogi who has taught in India for many years and now lives close to Moinhos Velhos.
Thanks to Marianne who took this and other excellent photos that she kindly let me use.
The fire ceremony is regularly used by many people. It is based on the Ancient Practice of Fire Ceremonies – that fire has the power to enchant you, purify you and empower you as it has done for countless others throughout the centuries. Fire can heat your food or burn down your house. It is a force of destruction, creation and purification. We can be engulfed in flames or on fire with inspiration. The raw power of fire was recognized by the ancients who infused this element with prayer, intention, and reverence. Today it still carries much value in our lives and can be used in positive ways. Fire can be used to enhance your spiritual practice or support you by helping you purify and set intentions in your own life. Many personal fire rituals are based on the ancient ceremonies handed down through the ages, in all cultures.
There are many types of fire ceremony/ritual. Our ceremony consisted of us singing over a small fire made of a piece of cow dung (all the way from India) fuelled by ghee butter. At a specific point, we discarded specs of rice into the fire to represent us letting go or casting aside any issues that are troubling us or baggage that is holding us back in life. I felt very light after the ceremony!
This is just one example of why the phrase ‘Love and Light’ is used so much at Moinhos Velhos.
The Final Fast – Friday Day Six
Today’s yoga was taken by our visiting expert from last evening. He was impressed by our proficiency and worked us hard. By now our sun salutations were fast and flowing. Our asanas were more extensive and held for longer. At breakfast juice, he talked to us about healthy eating and I am pleased he advocated a more balanced and relaxed diet including eating meat, albeit occasionally and organic only.
We all appreciate how tricky it can be to eat healthily all the time and within budget or to grow your own fruit and veg so here are a few hints: eat natural live yogurt full fat version of this an everything else as fat free is worse and full of sugar, raw honey, lots of fruit and veg. invest in a juicer and drink juice as soon after made as possible. Eat sprouts, preferably grow your own, you only need a window sill…
I enjoyed my last afternoon at Moinhos Velhos by wandering around the grounds, making more memories.
I finally managed to fit in a swim in the lake. How did the week go so quickly? There really wasn’t much time to get to the lake. It’s was a long hike there and I struggled to find a suitable place to get in. This inlet is the only accessible point and it’s not easy to scramble over the rocks. But, I persevered, lured by the clear blue water and finally, I was in and could swim all the way to the centre of the lake. A lot further than it looks. It was fabulous – I felt free and calm yet energised and happy. A symbolic swim to end the week.
I was pleased to see Anna waiting for me to come out of the lake after her run so we could go back together. An example of the bonding and support from others in the group.
We make our way back to Moinhos Velhos, chatting happily together.
Our Final Broth
In this photo, you can see we all have very happy faces. It is fair to say that while we were not left hungry and the broth wasn’t unpleasant we are getting rather bored by the menu. But we have made it through the whole week. And we are all feeling so much better than when we arrived.
We discussed how to break the fast well. This is very important so that the digestive system has time to adjust to real food again. It will take half the time to break the fast as the length of the fast so I’m looking forward to a few more pounds of weight loss. Yes, we all have lost a fair bit of weight – bonus.
A couple of our group were leaving on a flight very early tomorrow so we said our goodbyes.
The Spiral Walk Ceremony
I expected this to be outside in the garden using the special location, however, being October it is already getting darker and a little chilly earlier so ours was in the temple.
The ceremony was really beautiful and special and a perfect way to end the week. It was the final part of our personal journey for the week. We left with a candle symbolising what we wish to take with us. Another moment that I can’t really express properly here. You need to experience it for yourself…
Departure and Breaking the Fast – Day Seven
I awoke to the bell for the last time. I decided to change the alarm sound on my phone to a bell for a lasting memory. Maybe then I’ll get up feeling better and keep the good routine I’ve been practising during this week.
My morning routine now consists of: not immediately looking at my iPhone to check emails and social media; stretching and getting up; loo visit! tongue scraping; neti pot, lemon tea and yoga. I so want to keep doing this even if occasionally I can’t or don’t. (And I won’t be harsh on myself if I don’t. Change takes time to embed). And the yoga doesn’t have to be a full blown hour practice, even 15 minutes with a few sun salutations is better than nothing.
I’d packed most things last night so I had only a few things left to sort before leaving at midday. I donned my yoga kit and climbed the hill from my room to the house for the last lemon tea with new friends.
Yoga is great and got us relaxed energised for the day and trip home. We have all improved loads and I almost did the crow. Bobbi actually got there!
I find yoga really helps my hips and back soften and be more flexible. We hold a lot of tension in our hips especially if you sit at a desk, drive and are not mobile during the day. This blocks a lot of energy and doesn’t help the body function well.
With anticipation, we left the Temple for our first ‘break -fast’. Instead of the normal jars of clay and juices, the table has plates and forks, not needed until now, two large plates stacked with chunks of watermelon and mint. There is a glass of orange juice but no clay jars in sight. Bliss.
We are quite apprehensive as to what it feels like to eat something solid. Thankfully the watermelon is mainly water and didn’t take much eating.
It took ages to eat and we couldn’t manage very much as our stomachs have shrunk so much. We are provided with a bunch of probiotic pills to take before each meal for the next few days. This is to replenish our gut with good bacteria quickly so we can start digesting food ok.
After saying goodbye to those that are leaving first I headed back to my room. The intention was to shower, dress for the journey home and pack my remaining things. Then bizarrely, despite saying ‘goodbye and good riddance” the day before, I decided to do one last cyclsmatic! Well, it was my last chance!
Maurice and I were sharing a cab to the airport so we collect our take away lunch salad and make our goodbye. Even though I’m used to having juice at 1 pm I’m not hungry and wait to have the salad on the plane I take a half hour to eat some lettuce leaves, slices of cucumber, 3 slices of tomato and some dressing compared with the five minutes my neighbour took to eat a large roll! No issues on the flight, however, I did need the loo a couple of times before I was able to leave the airport. My intestines are definitely clear and working quickly.
Breaking the Fast at Home
I took till Wednesday, gradually eating again and introducing food. This is one of the first salads I ate on Sunday for lunch. I visited a quality deli which I know stocks organic vegetables and find two different types of sprouts. These are one of the best things you can eat, packed full of nutrients and vitamins you can sprinkle them on to anything.
If you don’t have a garden or anywhere to grow your own vegetables the one thing you can do is grow sprouts. So until I can start to grow them on the windowsill at home I will have to buy them.
Some Questions Answered.
How much weight did I lose?
About 5 lbs in the week there and another 2 lbs on return, so a total of half a stone which makes a big difference. I have been able to keep most of it off after a few weeks. Most of us lost this amount. The main difference for me was that my abdomen was no longer bloated and my digestion now works better.
How did I feel?
Amazing and Light. My head is clearer, my body works better, it’s less tight and more flexible. I’m calmer, more relaxed and have made some significant work and life decisions. As to any long-term health benefits, it is difficult to say; it’s a very good kick-start to a healthier way of life. It certainly improved my health and wellbeing.
How about now you are home?
Well, as to be expected, it’s not as easy to maintain all the disciplines. I don’t do as much yoga, breathing and meditation as I’d like. I’m eating relatively healthily, more vegetarian and plant-based meals, however, I do enjoy my meat albeit less frequently. I slip from time to time with sweet treats and I’m not abstaining from alcohol and fine food. This is a real life and it’s about balance. I do still feel better and adopt many of the healthy things from the week.
So what more can I say?
I absolutely loved my time at Moinhos Velhos. It was a challenge physically, mentally and emotionally yet made easy with the support of people and the beautifully peaceful environment. A journey well worth travelling. It’s helped me take the next step on my life journey. Who knew fasting could do all that! There is great value in fasting and detoxing your life regularly and doing lots of yoga. I definitely want to go to Moinhos Velhos again.
Go on, book a week in 2019 and find out for yourself. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience. Go to the website and find out much more and what others say about it.
Fact Box – Moinhos Velhos, Portugal
Prices start at Euros 1150 per person for seven days based on two sharing.
The price includes accommodation, juices and supplements, daily meditation and yoga plus use of the pool, hot tub and sauna. Extra treatments cost €40 to €85 per session.
Dates and further information from Moinhos Velhos website
I flew to Faro with Easy Jet. Moinhos Velhos can arrange transfers from Faro airport
Cotifo Box 951F
Lagos 8600-077 Portugal
Phone: (351) 282 687 147
I was a guest of Moinhos Velhos, but all content is editorially given.
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