Juicing is all the rage — everyone is extolling the health benefits of smoothies as an easy way of getting nutrients and vitamins from fruit and vegetables. But what about just having smoothies for all your meals? Surely that’s just taking things too far? Well, according to some, it’s a fabulous way to detox the body and it’s claimed a course of ‘juice detox’ can help improve energy levels, improve sleep and even jumpstart weight loss. We sent our food-loving Spa Inspector to investigate on a five-day juice detox course at the Milestone Detox.
The clinic is in a beautiful newly renovated 300-year-old Cotswold stone property just outside Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. The centre itself exudes bucolic charm, yet everything is as modern as one could wish. The decor is pleasing with simple, peaceful rooms. Helena and Jonathan run the centre with their team, which includes the lady who juices, a visiting Pilates teacher, a masseuse and Mandy who visits to administer colonic hydrotherapy. These people are all friendly and we are welcomed into the large country kitchen with genuine pleasure and concern. No empty ‘Hello, how are you?’ here.
There’s no easy way to say it: Spa Inspector is an elderly, overweight lady with minor mobility difficulties and reduced vision. Frankly, any help is gratefully received! Most of all though, Spa Inspector wanted to have a bit more energy and was also keen to start weight loss.
Spa Inspector and her fellow detoxers had juice four times during each day (9, 12, 3 and 6 o’clock) and a nourishing hot broth before we retired for the night. We could have unlimited water, too, but nothing else — not a chocolate biscuit in sight.
While the juice detox is the main focus, it’s actually just one aspect of the programme that’s offered. Another key component is the colonic hydrotherapy. When it was explained exactly what this was (think garden hose) it rather alarmed some of us, but the therapist was great fun and helped relax us all, so our fears were allayed and we each felt refreshed, cleaner and lighter.
The Pilates sessions were tailored to our individual capabilities and the mantra was: if it hurts, stop doing it. Our teacher had impressive knowledge of anatomy and combined our exercise with detailed information about how and when to breathe.
We each had lymphatic drainage massages, again done with knowledge and concern for comfort and information about the procedure. It was gentle and calming.
We had demonstrations of how to create simple but healthy, nutritious dishes, using unprocessed ingredients.
Each day we all undertook a guided walk. This Spa Inspector is not very steady on uneven terrain, so every day she was taken on a less taxing route and each day it was slightly extended to ensure progress.
Spa Inspector was initially a little wary of the idea of nearly a week without food, but she need not have worried. By the end of her stay she had lost four pounds, her breathing was better, she had increased stamina, she had greater flexibility in her joints and above all she felt better.
The medical view
Dr Max Pemberton: From a medical perspective, the body doesn’t really need ‘detoxing’ as it does this for itself — organs such as the liver detoxify and remove waste products from the body perfectly effectively. However, from what I can see, the main benefit of this programme is the emphasis it places on good, healthy nutrition. For me, this is the main selling point.
The feelgood factor
Wonderful. The entire experience was an unexpected joy from the delicious juices through to the lovely walks and even evensong at Gloucester cathedral for some spiritual cleansing. And, most incredible of all, Spa Inspector did not feel hungry the entire programme, and didn’t even think about chocolate biscuits (that’s not entirely true).
A two-day detox starts at £375, double occupancy, all inclusive. A five-day detox starts at £826. For bookings call 01242 819909 or visit themilestonedetox.com.