I was not exactly sure what I was getting myself into. I had a student from Yoga Sutra Shala recommend that I reach out to a juicing retreat less than hour away. I knew that I wanted to spend a few more weeks teaching yoga and the fact that it was so close and I did not have to search too hard for an opportunity seemed appealing. Everything happens for a reason.
Gareth, co-owner of D-Toxd retreat center, and I hesitantly emailed each other a few times for about two weeks when suddenly he messaged me to come up to the retreat. I say hesitantly because D-Toxd has only brought on former guests as volunteers and on my end, I had no idea who the hell these guys were.
I will not lie, my first impression of the retreat was ‘posh’ as the English would say, but upon arrival and meeting the owners, Gareth and Jeroen, I quickly learned these guys are pretty down to earth. D-Toxd is geared toward a happier and healthier lifestyle. The program starts with two days of juicing and then the third day provides raw food to ease people back into eating. Guests have the option to continue juicing as long as they want or eat healthy, home cooked meals created by Gareth from scratch. His experiments range quite extensively, yet all the tastes I encountered from the kitchen were delectable. Luckily, Gareth has chef-support from Julia in the kitchen and a volunteer to clean up in order to keep the ball rolling.
I was surprised how nourished the juices made me feel. Granted, after I saw how much fruit and veggies went into each one, I knew why I felt so full. The morning and afternoon boost were also essential to carry me from meal to meal. Most of you know I do not need to lose any weight, quite the opposite actually, so I made sure to sneak a snack from time to time.
The program is not about cutting all the delicious cravings out of life, but developing a healthy balance with them so they become more of the treat they are meant to be. Both Gareth and Jereon have had their own struggles in the past, which makes them much more approachable and relatable. What I appreciate most about these guys is there sense of humor and lightheartedness.
A competitive game of Piranha Ball, which was like an aqua basketball/handball combination in the pool, was one of my favorite activities available throughout the week along with hiking. The support of all the employees and trainers felt genuine as well, overseeing our well-being and not being too pushy, but motivating.
Beyond fitness and nutrition, D-Toxd brings attention to mental and emotional stimulation as well. ‘Mind Fit’ sessions are sprinkled throughout the week in addition to meditation/mindfulness practice and doodling/art. Yoga is offered just about every morning and evening, which I find is a good middle ground to combine mind and body.
I spent majority of my time at the retreat in the hottest space possible, the kitchen, and it was all because I could not stop laughing. Between the barrage of jokes targeting my American vulnerability and accent, as well as yoga, an open and personal discussion came about between Gareth and I, creating a friendship.
Standing for hours in the kitchen, mostly in someone’s way, I discovered the heart and soul that was put into every meal. It was beyond food. It was an art. I was behind the scenes, witnessing the masterpiece as it was being created, assisting (sampling) when necessary. Each plate was a canvas. Each course was an image and each flavor was a color. Down to every last crumb, perfection was achieved. To see the flood of emotions, passion, and dedication that went into each individual dish, even how it was finally served on the table was an honor. I was honored to witness an entire production, beginning to end, of an artistic, culinary genius.