Thursday, January 22, 2015

Detox weekend

I am probably not the only one thinking of my health and fitness in January. Last weekend my friend Christine put on a weekend of detox with yoga, meditation and organic eating, with much of the menu following the raw movement. I just went for the Saturday as she was full up in her B&B and I had a brilliant day. It had all the right ingredients of being educational, physical, good cuisine and a great social gathering.

Christine lives in Biot, which is one of those perfect little medieval villages above the coastal town of Antibes. She and her friend Noona joined forces and offered a program of yoga and meditation interspersed with juicing sessions and really tasty meals that were non-gluten, non-dairy and no sugar.

I only knew Christine and was happy to discover a delightful crowd of 6 others (German, English and French). I felt very relaxed with the others, some of whom knew each other already, and it set the tone of the day.

We started with a mediation session led by Noona and her perfect relaxing, soothing voice. I wasn’t the only to comment on how marvelous her voice was and I imagine it is key for a yoga & meditation teacher. She teaches classes in and around Antibes so refer to her website if you are in town -

It was my first time with meditation and I will certainly persevere in trying to master the art as there are many random thoughts running through my head far too often. Feeling relaxed, we all moved into the kitchen for a juicing session with Christine. Of course, juicing is the latest trend with people juicing for every reason - getting more of the right nutrients, fighting cancer, losing weight… I haven’t followed it and still might not when I learned how much a good juicer costs! We started with a celery, cucumber, apple and spinach juice that tasted really nice. Considering that I absolutely hate cucumber and celery that is quite a statement! Then we did a smoothie in a blender, which was pineapple and kale. It was that perfect little demo that was fast, instructive and you got to taste something too.

Then came breakfast with an amazing selection of yummy foods that were all great replacements to the usual milk, cereal and toast. Christine had sprouted buckwheat (one version with cocoa) that was served with homemade almond milk (plain or flavored with dates or vanilla). We also added a nut and dried fruit mixture that was prepared in a way that was as if it was a stand alonea healthy cereal in itself. There were breakfast bars/bread with fig upon which we spread almond or hazelnut butter or a berry jam. We were all full and satisfied.

Now off to yoga. Most people have done yoga by now, although you haven’t done it to Noona’s dulcet tones. Her style is integral yoga, which was perfect for me and kept true to the weekend’s theme of relaxation. 

After our session it was time for lunch already and we were lucky to be able to eat outside in the garden. Most foods served were raw, such as kale and orange salad, spinach salad, julienned raw beets, apple and carrot salad and the one non-raw entry of a cooked lentil, quinoa loaf with lots of interesting spices (curry for sure) to make it worth going back for seconds.

Following lunch, and feeling perfectly filled up, we had free time with options for a walk into Biot’s historical center, reiki with Noona or a massage with Christine. The day was so glorious that a few of us took a walk into town and poked around its little alleyways, perused restaurant menus for the future and went into the main church of Church Sainte Marie Madeleine, which is a hidden gem as it truly looks like nothing from the outside. You probably wouldn’t even know it’s a church.  Back at Christine’s house just in time for my massage, which was much appreciated and far too short – as are all massages.

We had our next yoga session, which was a variation on the morning’s session finished up with a dose of mediation. Thanks again Noona!

Before dinner we had some chill time and so I started looking through Christine’s books, read ing near the fireplace. The books covered organic eating, the raw food movement and detox methods. I find the topic interesting and enjoy reading about food and what can be beneficial and what can be harmful, but I do find it a bit overwhelming and plan to stick with my usual routine of healthy home cooked meals, along with some decadent moments too.

Now it was dinner time and we all knew by now that Christine wouldn’t disappoint us. Given it was winter her philosophy is that, although raw good is good, you need some hot cooked food as well. We started with a pumpkin soup that was divine and we are still all waiting for that recipe. Then she made a vegetable curry, focusing on green vegetables like broccoli, with a black rice side dish that had the perfect texture and taste. Then came her amazing dessert that I know I will not explain well. It was a sort of cheesecake consistency made up of what I believe were miso and ground cashews with a sesame crust. Really yummy!

As I was only a day guest I headed back towards home, leaving the others to chat around the fireplace and enjoy another day with Noona and Christine on the Sunday. Well done you two!

NB - all photos from Noona

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