A few weeks back I was invited to join an intimate group for a weekend retreat based in Wicklow run by Maria from Life Cleanse.
November always feels like a nice month to take some time for yourself and try and eat well before the Christmas fun kicks off!
For the past three years my Summer holiday has been spent at Juicy Oasis ( read here or watch here) on juice detox for the week in sunny Portugal. I've always enjoyed the week and come home feeling revived, refreshed and invigorated.
What I have genuinely struggled with is bringing that vibe back home. My work is continously evolving and no two days are the same - a cliché but it's true. Routine can be tricky and eating on the go, and neglecting exercise happens more often than not sadly. I was really excited to see what could be achieved in a relatively short (Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime) period of time closer to home.
Maria has been running retreats for a few years now and, in my opinion, really has it right. There are two options- the one day city retreat based in her South William Street Yoga studio or the residential based in Wicklow. Arriving Friday evening for the weekend I didn't know what to expect but it exceeded any expectations I had.
The weekend consisted of the healthiest of healthy plant based food - think super greens, sprouts and no sugar whatsoever. It's intense on your system but genuinely effective.
On the first night and over the course of the weekend Maria was on hand to give tips and advice. She's a certified health educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute and genuinely knows her stuff and as much as I feel I'm quite up to speed I learnt lots from her. Below are a few simple things I have now made part of my routine as a result.
Use a Tongue Scraper
When Maria first gave us all these in our welcome packs I was very unsure. However using it first thing in the morning made my mouth feel so much cleaner than just brushing does. I actually bought one for Andrew and now I am totally hooked on this 2 second step that's now part of my morning routine. There's more info in this article.
Try Oil Pulling
I had heard of Oil pulling and tried it for a while (possibly about 3 days!! ) but had genuinely completely forgotten about it. We were given little sachets of coconut oil and while I was there I did it first thing in the morning. You simply put about half a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swill it around for up to twenty minutes. The theory is that a lot of toxins are oil soluable and drawn out with the coconut oil as a medium. You then spit it all out into a tissue then into the bin, never directly down a drain as it will harden when it cools and could block your drains. For more info see -> Here
When Juicing Stick to Greens
Progress is always far more important than perfection but what I learnt at Life Cleanse was how much better making small glasses of concentrated greens made me feel. Having spent days drinking smoothies and juices filled with fruit, dates and natural sugars and felt no improvement, I know that the pain is worth the gain. I am now really making an effort to reduce my sugar in all forms. I've been transitioning to vegan for a while and initially there is a tendency to rely heavily on dates, and high carb, which tends to be very fatiguing. I'm now making more shot like juices - rich in greens. Maria also added lots of sprouts to the juices. Maria showed us how to sprout and to be honest it's easier than I thought.
Proactively Take Time Out
The retreat is situated by one of the most stunning beaches - Magheramore which is an incredible space. When I was there it was October and both times I had the beach to myself which is a gorgeous feeling. After a few minutes of fresh air and walking in the sand my head cleared and I found myself deeply relaxing. There's so many indescribable benefits to just being around nature and the retreat reminded me of that.
By the time I left on Sunday I felt lighter, brighter and more charged up than I have in a while. If you feel like you need a weekend detox and some headspace this is definitely something to book in for.
I hope you're all having a lovely week!
The next Life Cleanse Detox Weekend retreat in Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow runs January 6th – 8th 2017. Book -> Here