Detoxing in Portugal

SBG The Group On The Beach

Juice all day, tormented by termites, lost in Luella and still, I have no complaints. What’s going on here?

For the first time in my life, I was experimenting with a healthy lifestyle. A detox seemed like a good idea, so I went to sunny Portugal to try the 'soft option', a juice fast.

I imagined a nice bit of fish with salad, maybe chicken, doable, no question. What I didn’t imagine was what Vitalise Portugal had in mind: four glasses of juice, loads of herbal tea, water and SOUP. Every day, for one week.

Strangely, I didn't get hungry. And even stranger, I had energy to attend the exercise program like they intended! Beginning at 8.15 with morning walk and stretch class, ending with relaxercise at 18.15, with soup in between. The highlight of the day (apart from the soup, OK, enough about the soup) was the fast morning walk into the gorgeous countryside around Vila Mimosa, a small hotel with 14 rooms. This is the place where, 17 years ago, a Dutch hotelier worked out this regime with a doctor: 800 calories a day, lots of exercise, and no hunger.

Vila Mimosa

The instructors were lovely girls and very professional, in fact, the whole set-up was utterly professional, from the blood pressure measuring every morning to the cozy hot water bottle in the evening (to encourage kidney functioning!). Villa Mimosa isn't a fluffy towel place. It’s minimalist, but there is always a wood fire burning, and juice delivered to you wherever you happen to be. There are whirlpools, saunas, and a wonderful very warm pool (in which to do your Aqua jogging). Massages, facials and other treatments are are on offer, some not for the squeamish, and people emerge feeling truly pampered. The group rarely exceeds 10, and with a staff of nine, the care you are given is exceptional.

And then the termites struck. They simply took over my sunny room, and I had to relocate. But strangely I was very chilled about it. They combated the evil creatures successfully (and with extreme embarrassment), but when you are in the middle of beautiful wild flower meadows, few termites don’t overawe you. To get a little culture, we went to a nearby old town to go shopping, and I was so chilled I got lost. Again, no problem, the taxis were happily waiting with my new-found friends, and not a murmur from anyone. What do they put into that soup?

The other guests were very friendly, and I amazed by the variety of people, ages, and conditions. There was a young IT consultant, a chubby sweet shop owner, a lithe yoga teacher, an uber-fit hairdresser, an attractive marketing executive, an older civil servant, and a therapist. Some were looking to shed pounds, some to get in better shape, and others to have a healthier lifestyle. Personally, I had never done so much exercise in my life, and I felt so much better for it. Plus I lost 3k and a few centimetres where it mattered.

SBG The Group On The Beach

The exit interview confirmed my new-found state: healthier BMI, heartrate, and visceral fat levels, all in a week. It's amazing what a body can do with the right support (and the right soup).

But what will stay with me forever was the beautiful wild flower meadows all round. A true feast for the eyes!

SBG Meadows

Click here to visit Vitalise Portugal's website.