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14-21 Day Travel Itinerary for Organic Vegan Raw Food, Hot Springs, Beach & Detox in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a new destination for your next detox holiday, you may want to consider Costa Rica in Central America. A year-round tropical climate offers plenty of fresh fruits such as papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut and passionfruit. Add mountains, volcanoes, beaches, hot springs, zip-line adventures and rain forest and you’ve got nature + raw food + sun…the perfect combination for a fantastic health holiday!

My suggestion for Costa Rica is to plan for at least 14-21 days; if you want to do a raw food retreat or fruit feast then plan for 28 days or even more. I recommend to hire a car for the first 2 weeks of your journey to give you a chance to get around more quickly and easily. After that, you may want to return the rental car and settle in to a retreat center for another week or two of organic raw food bliss. Scroll down to the end of this article for important tips on renting a car in Costa Rica.

14-21 Day Itinerary for Costa Rica

Day 1-3 at Playa Montezuma for Natural Beaches & Coastline

Fly into San Jose, pick up your rental car and head straight for Montezuma Beach. It should be about a 2-4 hour drive to the car ferry depending on traffic; the ferry takes you to Puntarenas, and from there, it’s about a 45-minute drive over partially dirt and pot-hole filled roads to Montezuma, but well worth it! This is a great place to relax, work on your tan, walk the beach, eat raw foods and have a nice introduction to Costa Rica. We stayed at Mariposario Bed and Breakfast which I really liked for a few reasons: 1. clean and quiet, 2. nice gardens, 3. nice owner, 4. wifi and breakfast included, 5. a small kitchen to make salads and chop fresh fruit every day and 6. a good price at $50 per night. Our days in Montezuma consisted of an early morning beach walk from Ylang Ylang Resort, in my opinion one of the most beautiful and easily accessible beach walks in the world, followed by a fresh juice or spirulina smoothie at Ylang Ylang’s gorgeous restaurant. Another option is to take the daily yoga class at 8:00am, as an outside guest it costs $12 pp.

The beach at Montezuma, Costa Rica

Ylang Ylang Resort in Montezuma, Costa Rica

Yoga Sala at Ylang Ylang Resort

Afternoon activities can include taking a surf lesson, sitting in the sun, wandering the shops in town or driving along the coast to nearby Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, both beautiful beaches worthy of exploration. My favorite daily treat was to walk 10 minutes up the road from Mariposario to Anamaya Resort and Retreat Center and use their far infrared sauna – a bargain at $10 pp for 60 minutes! Without a doubt, Anamaya has the best view ever from a far infrared sauna! Imagine watching monkeys play in the papaya trees and 180 degree views of beach and sea while sitting inside the sauna, contemplating health, love and longevity!

Infinity Pool at Anamaya Resort

Anamaya Resort, a Yoga Teacher Training Center

Slice of Paradise at Anamaya Resort

Organic Market in Montezuma every Saturday

If you’re in Montezuma on a Saturday, be sure to check out the organic fruit and vegetable market in the center of town starting at 11am. Raw food fans of Victoras Kulvinskas may want to look up his schedule of workshops and retreats offered from his home in the Montezuma area.

Day 4-6 at Nicoya Peninsula for Jungle Forest

Raw Cacao treats at the Cacao Bar

After a few days in Montezuma, you may be ready for some adventure.

On Day 4 head towards Nicoya Peninsula and stay at Pachamama for a few days to experience living in a hippie commune in the jungle forest with simply divine gluten-free food made by Alon, their Israeli master chef and yummy raw cacao treats at their Cacao Bar.

Choices of accommodation include camping, casita or cabin, depending on your budget. Daily yoga classes and meditation are included in the cost of your stay.

Plan on driving to Pachamama during the day since there is about 20-30km of dirt road and not the best road signs in that area in general. If unsure, stop and ask the locals.

Pachamama’s Tara Garden for yoga classes & evening talks

Daily Silent Meditation at Osho Hall in Pachamama

I stopped by Hacienda Del Sol Retreat Center which is also in the Nicoya Peninsula and actually very close to Pachamama, but found it to be pretty run down and energetically uninviting. The local staff member at the restaurant didn’t speak any English and told us the restaurant was closed; we were unable to find any other reception or staff; the grounds appeared overgrown and bungalows seemed shabby and no one ever answered my email enquiry sent several weeks before my arrival. I’m not sure if they were closed temporarily or what but based on my experience, I would not recommend this place for detox.

Day 7-8 to Zip-Line and Hike in the Cloud Forest at Monteverde

On Day 7, drive from Nicoya inland towards Monteverde via Liberia. It’s about a 7-8 hour drive but gorgeous views as the scenery changes from rain forest and beach to pasture to cloud forest. Plan to spend 2 nights at Monteverde, and if you can, book a bunk bed room at the Arco Iris Lodge for only $35 USD per night. We felt very lucky to find this resort with nice staff, beautiful gardens, banana trees and lots of flowers…a real gem compared to other places in town! Spend one day checking out the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and the next morning book a zip-line tour before heading off for the 4-hour drive around the lake to Arenal Volcano. From Nicoya to Monteverde to Arenal, plan to stock up on fruits at roadside stalls as there isn’t much in the way of raw food restaurants in these areas.

Cabin at Arco Iris next to Banana Trees

Bunk rooms at Arco Iris, a great bargain!

Nicer cabins also available at Arco Iris Eco Lodge

Day 9 for Natural Hot Springs at Arenal Volcano

Depending on your schedule, stay 1 or 2 nights in Arenal, Costa Rica. With only one night to spend there on our schedule, we headed straight for the hot springs. A great choice is Tabacon Hot Springs, the only 100% natural hot spring resort in Arenal. If you arrive after 6pm, you get a discounted rate of $45 pp (as opposed to the daytime rate of $60 pp). We decided to splurge on the all-natural experience at Tabacon and it was well worth it! A second day in Arenal would give you the opportunity to check out the National Park and have another evening at the hot springs. We tried to stay at the Arenal Backpacker Resort but it was full, so we checked-in next door at Sierra Arenal and actually enjoyed it very much, with a nice grassy garden area and a great view of the volcano for $35 USD per night.

Scenic drive from Monteverde to Arenal, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano…Gorgeous!

View from Sierra Arenal Hotel near Arenal Volcano

Day 10-14 for Raw Food, Detox and Nature at Finca de Vida or Farm of Life

On Day 10, plan to head south for more organic raw food and the chance to do a detox at Finca de Vida, or Farm of life, my #1 pick for a raw food retreat or juice fast in Costa Rica. If you are on a 14-day trip, you may want to keep the rental car and make the 8-hour drive from Arenal to the Dominical area to be able to experience Finca de Vida for the last 4 days of your stay. Or, better yet, plan for 21 days or more and spend your last week or two at the farm to rest, juice fast or fruit feast, take raw food cooking classes, enjoy daily yoga and meditation or join an organized retreat for a detox with colon cleansing. If staying longer, you may not want to waste money on a rental car; in that case drive the car from Arenal back to the San Jose airport to return the rental and from there book a 4-hour shuttle from the airport to Finca de Vida (they can arrange this for you).

Either way, on the drive from Arenal back towards San Jose for sure plan to stop at Lands in Love. This is a must-see for animal lovers. Anyone who wants to support the rescue cats and dogs can even stay longer, either in their hotel or as a volunteer. Lands in Love is an Israeli-owned rescue center for cats and dogs with over 200 animals on site. Their restaurant is a welcomed oasis on the road from Arenal with a good menu of salads, Israeli food, and several vegan and gluten-free options as well. For any veterinary students, surgeons or physicians looking for a international volunteer job, Lands in Love is perfect and in need of your expertise! What an opportunity to work in Costa Rica, experience the culture and sights but also put your skills to work with these gorgeous rescue dogs and cats that need your help!

A project of love, and this place is full of Love!

Israeli Salad at Lands in Love Restaurant, Costa Rica

Lands in Love Restaurant, Boutique Hotel & Animal Rescue Center

Natural mineral spring at Finca de Vida

From Lands in Love, continue south towards Domincal and then turn inland to find Finca de Vida.

This place is truly an oasis and is best saved for last, after all the driving and travel around Costa Rica you will be happy to reach the quiet, beauty and organic raw food at Farm of Life.

The owners, Brian and Jodi, set a top-notch standard in caring for their guests and with smaller groups and a limited number of bungalows, you’re sure to get more personal attention and a true sense of community between staff, volunteers and guests.

If you have the time, book a room for 1 month and to eat 100% organic raw foods, be in nature and enjoy having the time to heal. Be sure not to miss the on-site natural mineral spring pools and the nearby weekly local organic market.

Paradise found…view from the guest bungalow at Farm of Life

Staff and guests joining together for a Breath Workshop

Early morning view from the restaurant at Fica de Vida, Costa Rica

If you have more time, check out Osa Peninsula in the south of Costa Rica. We didn’t have a chance to get there in our 14-day trip, but we heard it’s amazing and worth a visit. To drive onto the peninsula, you will need a 4wd vehicle.

Budget for Costa Rica

Anyone who has traveled in Thailand or SE Asia will find the prices in Costa Rica to be very high! In researching online before our trip, it seemed that every hotel was a minimum of $80-100 USD per night. By looking around and not booking in advance, we managed to find places more in the $35-50 USD per night range. That said, with the rental car and cost of food (an average salad to be $10-15 USD), 14 days in Costa Rica was expensive. If you live in North America, you’ll save money and time on the flight so that is definitely something to consider. There are many other countries in Central America which are cheaper than Costa Rica, so research and plan according to your budget. If you have the time, consider volunteering for 1 month or more on an organic farm or at one of the retreat centers – it’s a reasonable way to experience Costa Rica for just a fraction of the cost.

Practical notes on renting a car in Costa Rica

Car rental rates in Costa Rica are not cheap since the car rental companies seem to require mandatory insurance which is not listed in any online booking form. Our 2-week car rental cost over $700 USD, but there was no way we could have seen as much as we did without a car. (One word of advice: do NOT use Thrifty Car Rental). The roads in Costa Rica are not marked and it’s easy to get lost…also the GPS is not very accurate due to many dirt roads that aren’t listed in the computer. The only real way to get around is to stop in every small town and ask which way to the next town. Well, it’s the old-fashioned way but it works! We were happy we didn’t bother with a GPS, and actually we rented a Toyota Yaris 2-wheel drive which we drove everywhere ‘Costa-Rica style’ and didn’t have any problems getting stuck on river crossings or 4-wheel drive dirt roads. January being dry season makes it possible to have a 2-wheel drive car (January to March is the high-season and best time of year weather-wise to go). If you rent a 4-wheel drive car, be careful to not rent the Jimmy or if you do do not leave any valuables inside; apparently it is very easy to break into and gets robbed more often than any other rental vehicle.

Safety in Costa Rica and Where to Stay Near the San Jose Airport

With all the warning about robberies and safety in Costa Rica, it’s always important to keep your street smarts; that said, we did not have any problems at all and found the Costa Ricans to be very helpful with directions and quite friendly and nice overall. If you need to spend one night near the San Jose airport either at the beginning or end of your journey, I highly recommend Hotel Pacande in Alajuela as a clean, safe affordable option with friendly staff. I hope you enjoy your trip. Eat lots of papayas and….see you on the road!

More Articles on Costa Rica

Read my article on Pachamama: Gluten-Free, Raw Food and Detox at Pachamama, Costa Rica.
My awesome experience at Finca de Vida: Fasting Retreat, Organic Raw Food & Total Relaxation at Farm of Life in Costa Rica.

More on Traveling Raw:

14-21 Day Travel Itinerary for Organic Vegan Raw Food, Hot Springs, Beach & Detox in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a new destination for your next detox holiday, you may want to consider Costa Rica in Central America. A year-round tropical climate offers plenty of fresh fruits such as papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut and passionfruit. Add mountains, volcanoes, beaches, hot springs, zip-line adventures and rain forest and you’ve got nature + raw food + sun…the perfect combination for a fantastic health holiday!

My suggestion for Costa Rica is to plan for at least 14-21 days; if you want to do a raw food retreat or fruit feast then plan for 28 days or even more. I recommend to hire a car for the first 2 weeks of your journey to give you a chance to get around more quickly and easily. After that, you may want to return the rental car and settle in to a retreat center for another week or two of organic raw food bliss. Scroll down to the end of this article for important tips on renting a car in Costa Rica.

14-21 Day Itinerary for Costa Rica

Day 1-3 at Playa Montezuma for Natural Beaches & Coastline

Fly into San Jose, pick up your rental car and head straight for Montezuma Beach. It should be about a 2-4 hour drive to the car ferry depending on traffic; the ferry takes you to Puntarenas, and from there, it’s about a 45-minute drive over partially dirt and pot-hole filled roads to Montezuma, but well worth it! This is a great place to relax, work on your tan, walk the beach, eat raw foods and have a nice introduction to Costa Rica. We stayed at Mariposario Bed and Breakfast which I really liked for a few reasons: 1. clean and quiet, 2. nice gardens, 3. nice owner, 4. wifi and breakfast included, 5. a small kitchen to make salads and chop fresh fruit every day and 6. a good price at $50 per night. Our days in Montezuma consisted of an early morning beach walk from Ylang Ylang Resort, in my opinion one of the most beautiful and easily accessible beach walks in the world, followed by a fresh juice or spirulina smoothie at Ylang Ylang’s gorgeous restaurant. Another option is to take the daily yoga class at 8:00am, as an outside guest it costs $12 pp.

The beach at Montezuma, Costa Rica

Ylang Ylang Resort in Montezuma, Costa Rica

Yoga Sala at Ylang Ylang Resort

Afternoon activities can include taking a surf lesson, sitting in the sun, wandering the shops in town or driving along the coast to nearby Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, both beautiful beaches worthy of exploration. My favorite daily treat was to walk 10 minutes up the road from Mariposario to Anamaya Resort and Retreat Center and use their far infrared sauna – a bargain at $10 pp for 60 minutes! Without a doubt, Anamaya has the best view ever from a far infrared sauna! Imagine watching monkeys play in the papaya trees and 180 degree views of beach and sea while sitting inside the sauna, contemplating health, love and longevity!

Infinity Pool at Anamaya Resort

Anamaya Resort, a Yoga Teacher Training Center

Slice of Paradise at Anamaya Resort

Organic Market in Montezuma every Saturday

If you’re in Montezuma on a Saturday, be sure to check out the organic fruit and vegetable market in the center of town starting at 11am. Raw food fans of Victoras Kulvinskas may want to look up his schedule of workshops and retreats offered from his home in the Montezuma area.

Day 4-6 at Nicoya Peninsula for Jungle Forest

Raw Cacao treats at the Cacao Bar

After a few days in Montezuma, you may be ready for some adventure.

On Day 4 head towards Nicoya Peninsula and stay at Pachamama for a few days to experience living in a hippie commune in the jungle forest with simply divine gluten-free food made by Alon, their Israeli master chef and yummy raw cacao treats at their Cacao Bar.

Choices of accommodation include camping, casita or cabin, depending on your budget. Daily yoga classes and meditation are included in the cost of your stay.

Plan on driving to Pachamama during the day since there is about 20-30km of dirt road and not the best road signs in that area in general. If unsure, stop and ask the locals.

Pachamama’s Tara Garden for yoga classes & evening talks

Daily Silent Meditation at Osho Hall in Pachamama

I stopped by Hacienda Del Sol Retreat Center which is also in the Nicoya Peninsula and actually very close to Pachamama, but found it to be pretty run down and energetically uninviting. The local staff member at the restaurant didn’t speak any English and told us the restaurant was closed; we were unable to find any other reception or staff; the grounds appeared overgrown and bungalows seemed shabby and no one ever answered my email enquiry sent several weeks before my arrival. I’m not sure if they were closed temporarily or what but based on my experience, I would not recommend this place for detox.

Day 7-8 to Zip-Line and Hike in the Cloud Forest at Monteverde

On Day 7, drive from Nicoya inland towards Monteverde via Liberia. It’s about a 7-8 hour drive but gorgeous views as the scenery changes from rain forest and beach to pasture to cloud forest. Plan to spend 2 nights at Monteverde, and if you can, book a bunk bed room at the Arco Iris Lodge for only $35 USD per night. We felt very lucky to find this resort with nice staff, beautiful gardens, banana trees and lots of flowers…a real gem compared to other places in town! Spend one day checking out the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and the next morning book a zip-line tour before heading off for the 4-hour drive around the lake to Arenal Volcano. From Nicoya to Monteverde to Arenal, plan to stock up on fruits at roadside stalls as there isn’t much in the way of raw food restaurants in these areas.

Cabin at Arco Iris next to Banana Trees

Bunk rooms at Arco Iris, a great bargain!

Nicer cabins also available at Arco Iris Eco Lodge

Day 9 for Natural Hot Springs at Arenal Volcano

Depending on your schedule, stay 1 or 2 nights in Arenal, Costa Rica. With only one night to spend there on our schedule, we headed straight for the hot springs. A great choice is Tabacon Hot Springs, the only 100% natural hot spring resort in Arenal. If you arrive after 6pm, you get a discounted rate of $45 pp (as opposed to the daytime rate of $60 pp). We decided to splurge on the all-natural experience at Tabacon and it was well worth it! A second day in Arenal would give you the opportunity to check out the National Park and have another evening at the hot springs. We tried to stay at the Arenal Backpacker Resort but it was full, so we checked-in next door at Sierra Arenal and actually enjoyed it very much, with a nice grassy garden area and a great view of the volcano for $35 USD per night.

Scenic drive from Monteverde to Arenal, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano…Gorgeous!

View from Sierra Arenal Hotel near Arenal Volcano

Day 10-14 for Raw Food, Detox and Nature at Finca de Vida or Farm of Life

On Day 10, plan to head south for more organic raw food and the chance to do a detox at Finca de Vida, or Farm of life, my #1 pick for a raw food retreat or juice fast in Costa Rica. If you are on a 14-day trip, you may want to keep the rental car and make the 8-hour drive from Arenal to the Dominical area to be able to experience Finca de Vida for the last 4 days of your stay. Or, better yet, plan for 21 days or more and spend your last week or two at the farm to rest, juice fast or fruit feast, take raw food cooking classes, enjoy daily yoga and meditation or join an organized retreat for a detox with colon cleansing. If staying longer, you may not want to waste money on a rental car; in that case drive the car from Arenal back to the San Jose airport to return the rental and from there book a 4-hour shuttle from the airport to Finca de Vida (they can arrange this for you).

Either way, on the drive from Arenal back towards San Jose for sure plan to stop at Lands in Love. This is a must-see for animal lovers. Anyone who wants to support the rescue cats and dogs can even stay longer, either in their hotel or as a volunteer. Lands in Love is an Israeli-owned rescue center for cats and dogs with over 200 animals on site. Their restaurant is a welcomed oasis on the road from Arenal with a good menu of salads, Israeli food, and several vegan and gluten-free options as well. For any veterinary students, surgeons or physicians looking for a international volunteer job, Lands in Love is perfect and in need of your expertise! What an opportunity to work in Costa Rica, experience the culture and sights but also put your skills to work with these gorgeous rescue dogs and cats that need your help!

A project of love, and this place is full of Love!

Israeli Salad at Lands in Love Restaurant, Costa Rica

Lands in Love Restaurant, Boutique Hotel & Animal Rescue Center

Natural mineral spring at Finca de Vida

From Lands in Love, continue south towards Domincal and then turn inland to find Finca de Vida.

This place is truly an oasis and is best saved for last, after all the driving and travel around Costa Rica you will be happy to reach the quiet, beauty and organic raw food at Farm of Life.

The owners, Brian and Jodi, set a top-notch standard in caring for their guests and with smaller groups and a limited number of bungalows, you’re sure to get more personal attention and a true sense of community between staff, volunteers and guests.

If you have the time, book a room for 1 month and to eat 100% organic raw foods, be in nature and enjoy having the time to heal. Be sure not to miss the on-site natural mineral spring pools and the nearby weekly local organic market.

Paradise found…view from the guest bungalow at Farm of Life

Staff and guests joining together for a Breath Workshop

Early morning view from the restaurant at Fica de Vida, Costa Rica

If you have more time, check out Osa Peninsula in the south of Costa Rica. We didn’t have a chance to get there in our 14-day trip, but we heard it’s amazing and worth a visit. To drive onto the peninsula, you will need a 4wd vehicle.

Budget for Costa Rica

Anyone who has traveled in Thailand or SE Asia will find the prices in Costa Rica to be very high! In researching online before our trip, it seemed that every hotel was a minimum of $80-100 USD per night. By looking around and not booking in advance, we managed to find places more in the $35-50 USD per night range. That said, with the rental car and cost of food (an average salad to be $10-15 USD), 14 days in Costa Rica was expensive. If you live in North America, you’ll save money and time on the flight so that is definitely something to consider. There are many other countries in Central America which are cheaper than Costa Rica, so research and plan according to your budget. If you have the time, consider volunteering for 1 month or more on an organic farm or at one of the retreat centers – it’s a reasonable way to experience Costa Rica for just a fraction of the cost.

Practical notes on renting a car in Costa Rica

Car rental rates in Costa Rica are not cheap since the car rental companies seem to require mandatory insurance which is not listed in any online booking form. Our 2-week car rental cost over $700 USD, but there was no way we could have seen as much as we did without a car. (One word of advice: do NOT use Thrifty Car Rental). The roads in Costa Rica are not marked and it’s easy to get lost…also the GPS is not very accurate due to many dirt roads that aren’t listed in the computer. The only real way to get around is to stop in every small town and ask which way to the next town. Well, it’s the old-fashioned way but it works! We were happy we didn’t bother with a GPS, and actually we rented a Toyota Yaris 2-wheel drive which we drove everywhere ‘Costa-Rica style’ and didn’t have any problems getting stuck on river crossings or 4-wheel drive dirt roads. January being dry season makes it possible to have a 2-wheel drive car (January to March is the high-season and best time of year weather-wise to go). If you rent a 4-wheel drive car, be careful to not rent the Jimmy or if you do do not leave any valuables inside; apparently it is very easy to break into and gets robbed more often than any other rental vehicle.

Safety in Costa Rica and Where to Stay Near the San Jose Airport

With all the warning about robberies and safety in Costa Rica, it’s always important to keep your street smarts; that said, we did not have any problems at all and found the Costa Ricans to be very helpful with directions and quite friendly and nice overall. If you need to spend one night near the San Jose airport either at the beginning or end of your journey, I highly recommend Hotel Pacande in Alajuela as a clean, safe affordable option with friendly staff. I hope you enjoy your trip. Eat lots of papayas and….see you on the road!

More Articles on Costa Rica

Read my article on Pachamama: Gluten-Free, Raw Food and Detox at Pachamama, Costa Rica.
My awesome experience at Finca de Vida: Fasting Retreat, Organic Raw Food & Total Relaxation at Farm of Life in Costa Rica.

More on Traveling Raw:

Gluten-Free, Raw Food and Detox at Pachamama, Costa Rica

Raw Cacao treats at the Cacao Bar

Pachamama is a place I recently discovered on my travels in Costa Rica: it’s a eco-community of about 80 residents from all over the world (mostly from Israel) with an organic farm, daily meditation, yoga classes and a simply divine raw cacao dessert bar! They offer various retreats on meditation, juice fasting and yoga and also offer accommodation for guests wanting to stay and simply enjoy the ‘Pachamama experience.’

It’s a place that has gained some interest in the raw food world in recent years thanks to supporters like David Wolfe and the film crew of Food Matters (it’s listed in the Food Matters’ International List of Detox Centers). I felt lucky to find this place and get a feel for it myself!

Raw Carrot, Pumpkin & Avocado Soup

The best thing by far about Pachamama is the food: they have an amazing Israeli chef (Alon) who adds the best kept ingredient of all to his food: love and joy! You can definitely taste it! I was very impressed to see a 100% gluten-free and mostly vegan menu for all 3 daily meals offered at Pachamama and decent raw food options as well – there were always ample chopped and shredded raw veggies to make a yummy veggie salad with homemade tahini salad dressing that left me feeling happy and satisfied!

For 80/10/10 folks, there is a store on the property that sells fresh fruit daily, so you can easily add more fruits to your daily intake. We bought fresh papaya, bananas and passion fruit to make an amazing fruit salad every morning. In addition, they have another small store selling superfoods, fermented coconut water (kefir) and goat’s milk and goat’s cheese for anyone who wants to add a bit more to their diet.

Tara Garden for yoga classes & evening talks

Yummy Raw Cacao Frozen Dessert Bliss!

The property itself is huge, and one thing I really like about Pachamama was the feeling of being in nature, with plenty of green jungle views and waking up to the sound of monkeys in the trees every day. It’s about a 1-hour walk to the beach (one-way); there is also a daily shuttle service to take you there ($3 pp) or the option of a private taxi ($40). While not an easy place to get to, a 7-8 hour drive from San Jose over some rough terrain, it’s a place to get away from the world, feel close to nature, de-stress and have access to healthy food. (Keep in mind, you can also fly there from San Jose, but there is a 12kg weight limit on the commuter planes). And the best part about the food at Pachamama: The raw cacao chocolate bar! Wow, what a creation! Every afternoon this seemed to be the place to congregate…people meeting over a frozen almond milk-cacao-date-tahini bar dipped in raw cacao and honey, all for $2.50 (by far, the best bargain there!).

The ‘Detox Counter’ or Prana Clinic

They also offer a juice fasting retreat: they call it the Body Cleanse, a 5-day organic juice detox held monthly at the center and run by resident detox experts at Pachamama. I was there during their January cleanse and had a chance to join some of the talks and speak directly with the detoxers. It’s a good program for a short, gentle cleanse. They offer all organic juices, daily enemas as well as daily nutrition and detox talks. The juice fast also includes a liver gallstone flush mid-way through the cleanse. My recommendation in doing their cleanse is this: Arrive 2-3 days before to relax, unwind and get a feel of the place. Do the 5-day cleanse, then stay an additional 5 days to eat the food and continue with your daily yoga and silent meditation practice. After all, if you are going to spend the time and money to get there, why not stay and enjoy?

Noni, turmeric & orange juice shots with beet and green juice

I highly recommend Pachamama as a health holiday destination for families with young children. With 26 children living on site and their own school, it’s a very kid-friendly place which is rare to find in the raw food and gluten-free world. Any parent of a gluten-free or celiac child would be grateful to find a place where their child can eat anything and also have other kids to play with too!

Cabin for guests, one of the accommodation options

Overall, I think Pachamama is a great experience, but it is important to remember that it is ‘an experience.’ Some people may feel overwhelmed but its remoteness or even intimidated by the ‘hippie-ness’ of the place, and for that reason I can say that it might not be everyone’s cup of herbal tea. I can assure that there were no naked people running around and the community is actually very organized and business-like, perhaps even too business-like for some! The prices are on the high side when compared to Thailand or with the rest of Costa Rica ($80-100 per couple per night, tax included, for a private room with bathroom), $40 to go to the beach (a taxi is the only option that fits into the detox schedule), extra costs for internet (the only place in Costa Rica where we encountered this, all other places we went it was free), and all food, raw food, etc is additional as well. (Note: They do offer camping at a reduced rate.) The cost of the detox does not include accommodation, and they have a rule of a 10-night minimum stay with all expenses to be paid 100% in advance and absolutely no refunds.

My question to a detox guest would always be this: how do you feel now vs. how you felt when you arrived? 100% of the time the answer is always: I feel better, lighter, and more healthy. It’s important to remember that! (I did a few video interviews with Pachamama guests for my youtube channel, and even with just a 5-day cleanse, I was motivated to hear their stories of transformation!).

Osho Hall for 7pm Daily Silent Meditation..all welcome to join

Daily Silent Meditation at Osho Hall in Pachamama

Enjoying a Green Smoothie at the Cacao Bar

Well, I still think back so fondly to the food and to waking up to the sounds of the monkeys…and I can appreciate so much what the community of Pachamama has created…after all, 13 years ago they arrived to the jungle with nothing and now have a beautiful thriving community with a gorgeous meditation hall complete with marble floors! It’s certainly been a lot of work to get to where they are today. If you have the money, I do recommend Pacahamama as a quiet place to be in nature, eat good healthy food and get to know some very interesting like-minded guests and volunteers on their work-exchange program.

Outside the meditation hall

Costa Rica is such a short plane ride from the USA and Canada and so much cheaper than flying to Thailand. If you are looking for something different and want to try a new destination for your raw food or detox holiday, then consider giving Pachamama a try!

One logistical note: There are actually 3 places in Costa Rica called Pachamama, so be sure you are going to the right one, and most important, be sure you have directions to the right one! Their website is: http://www.pachamama.com.

Video Interviews: 3 detox guests at Pachamama

Doing a Juice Fast Detox on your honeymoon?!

Meet Lior, yes..on her honeymoon for a 5-day juice fast at Pachamama in Costa Rica! Hear her experience with the liver flush on Day 4, dealing with food cravings during her fast (pasta), her emotional release during the cleanse and how she is preparing for fertility by doing a juice fast with her newlywed husband on their honeymoon! Thanks Lior for sharing your story!

What to Expect as a Volunteer in Costa Rica at the Pachamama Body Cleanse

Thinking about volunteering at an organic farm in Costa Rica? Meet Jenna from Canada; she came to Costa Rica to volunteer at Pachamama and decided to stay permanently! Listen to her talk about her first detox ever, how she dealt with hunger and how she managed to not cheat during the fast, her reaction from the liver cleanse, what her family thinks of enemas, what it’s like to volunteer at Pachamama and why she has decided to stay in Costa Rica. What a great woman, thank you Jenna!

From feeling toxic to fabulous: Juice Fasting on Day 5!

What’s it like for a regular guy to do a juice fast detox? No, this isn’t Joe Cross…but it could be! Meet Tim from Australia. He went to Costa Rica to do the 5-day Body Cleanse Detox at Pachamama after several months of toxic food eating in the USA. Tim talks about why he decided to do a detox, how stressful his life was prior to traveling, how he prepared for the juice fast, the mental discipline required to succeed, how he felt after the liver flush, his favorite part (daily yoga) and how now, on Day 5, he feels 20 years younger and went from feeling toxic to fabulous with just 5 days of a juice cleanse! Wow!

Check out my entire 14-21 day Itinerary for Costa Rica here!

More on Traveling Raw:

Sea Salt with Chemical Additives?! Check for E535 & E536 Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS)

A food additive to AVOID: Yellow Prussiate of Soda

Just when you think you are eating a natural, whole and pure diet, think again. It’s crazy that we now have to even check the label of the salt we buy, but it’s a true sign of the times. Can food manufacturers save money but ‘cutting’ their food the same way drug dealers ‘cut’ their drugs with fillers? You bet! And can the fillers be dangerous, the same way they can be in drugs? Absolutely!

It’s an interesting story how I discovered the latest culprit in my food additive most ‘unwanted’ list.

E535 or Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS) as a Non-caking Agent in Salt…What is it??

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. 
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. 

A client of mine recently completed a 10-day green juice fast and colon detox cleanse under my care. He broke the fast by eating only fresh raw fruits for 2 days and he felt amazing. On the third day of eating, he ate only fruits in the morning and the went to a friend’s house and ate a plain organic baked potato with salt (no butter, no margarine, no herbs or seasonings). That night, he suffered terribly with hot flashes, restless sleep (insomnia), headaches, irritability and general unease. At no point during or after the detox did he feel this way so it was a real surprise to him and he contacted me first thing in the morning.

When we spoke, I was sure he had ‘snuck’ something else into his diet. He was adamant that he only had a baked potato and salt. To be clear, I asked about any allergies or intolerances and he confirmed that he has never previously had any problems at all. Finally, I said, “Ok, let’s find about more about the salt.” He want back to the friend’s house and found a Morton Sea Salt with the following ingredients: Sea Salt, Yellow Prussiate of Soda. What is Yellow Prussiate of Soda and why is it in salt? I thought salt was just salt?! Not anymore.

It only took a fast bit of google research to realize that the Yellow Prussiate of Soda was what affected him.

Just an additive in salt? Yes! (What we should really be asking is Why does even plain salt need an additive now too??) Well, remember what I said about ‘cutting the drug’ with cheap fillers to make more money? Yep, it’s a sad, sick reality that the food industry is in the business of making money (NOT food).

First, I checked on Wikipedia to understand what the heck this stuff is. Here is what I found:

What is Sodium Ferrocyanide (Yellow Prussiate of Soda)?

Yellow Prussiate of Soda is Sodium ferrocyanide in its hydrous form (which means Sodium ferrocyanide with water). This is how Wikipedia describes Sodium ferrocyanide: “Sodium ferrocyanide is a chemical additive known as E 535 in the EU. It is added to road and food grade salt as an anticaking agent. When combined with iron, it converts to a deep blue pigment called Prussian blue. In photography, it is used for bleaching, toning, and fixing. It is used as a stabilizer for the coating on welding rods. In the petroleum industry, it is used for removal of mercaptans. Sodium ferrocyanide is produced industrially from hydrogen cyanide.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that definitely doesn’t sounds like something that is safe for human consumption!

So I decided to search a bit further and look for the MSDS for Sodium ferrocyanide. Every chemical made by man has what’s called a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) which by law has to list what the chemical is and what type of harm can be experienced if ingested, if inhaled or in exposed to on the skin. On sciencelab.com, I found this:

Morton Salt MSDS

“Potential Acute Health Effects: Extremely hazardous in case of ingestion. Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation.” Scrolling down a bit, I read this: “Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Loosen tight clothing such as a collar, tie, belt or waistband. If the victim is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Seek immediate medical attention.

Just to be sure, I checked the Morton’s Sea Salt label again. I didn’t see anything about any warning of ingestion.

Instead, the label claims, “Morton has selected a sea salt perfect for all types of cooking and seasoning.”

Well, it seemed pretty clear to me that my client suffered a serious side effect from the additive in this sea salt. Since he had just fasted for 10 days on juice, his body was even cleaner than most and I’m sure that’s why his body reacted. But how many people are reacting to this additive every day and have no idea that the cause of their troubles was in their sea salt? And how many children are affected, their bodies being so much smaller than an adult and therefore having the potential of a more serious reaction? I mean, a chemical additive made from cyanide?!?!

I had to do something. So I went to the Morton website and filled out their contact form. This was my comment:

As a consumer, I am asking you to reconsider your choice of toxic ingredients in your salt. Have you looked at the MSDS for Yellow Prussiate of Soda? I would not even take a bath in your salt for fear that the toxins would enter my skin (would you take a bath in arsenic???) Seriously, there is simply no need to add a chemical to salt. Salt is salt. This country needs more natural whole and pure and less poison. My client was awake all night last night with hot flashes, restless sleep and a headache after having potatoes with nothing but potato and your Morton Fine Sea Salt. I am so sad to see what so-called food companies are peddling as food.

I was so angry and I felt betrayed, because my client had trusted me, and I did not even think to warn him about eating salt!! It was an immediate reaction to the feeling that I want to protect people from this crap, and I didn’t expect a response. But, to my surprise, they responded immediately. They asked if I still had the sea salt and would I be willing to send it in for testing. A spark of hope entered my mind…maybe these food companies aren’t that bad, maybe they had a bad batch with too much of the Yellow Prussiate of Soda and maybe they are doing their best to resolve the issue. I really felt hopeful that somehow Morton was going to ‘fix’ this problem. I instantly replied, offering the sample and asking how it should be sent. They responded by asking for my address saying they would send a mail packet for me to return the sample to them at no cost. I was actually excited!

Days passed and I did not receive the mailer. 2 weeks passed. 3 weeks passed. I thought, hmmm..this is strange. So I emailed Morton again asking for an update on the mailer. And guess what?

They never replied. And they never sent a mailer. In short, they didn’t do anything.

Should I have been surprised? Not really. All of this only confirms and reaffirms what I have been saying all along: The food industry is in the business of making money (NOT food).

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in table salt in Bali

Even with ‘normal’ salt, you have to check the label. Look at this container of table salt I found in Bali, Indonesia at many ‘so-called’ health food and even raw food restaurants…yes the second ingredient on the list is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), and it’s right there in the label for the world to see. The third ingredient is a new way of listing Ribonucleotideas ‘Ribotide,’ another excito-toxin food additive and flavor enhancer that can give you the same reaction as MSG and an uncontrollably itchy rash to boot.

So if you got a screaming migraine headache after eating your hippie raw food salad next to the rice fields in Ubud, it was probably not from the spirits or the full moon.

Do you see Anticompactante YPS on this list of ingredients?

Here is yet another offending salt I saw when I was recently in Costa Rica. Do you see the ‘Anticompactante YPS‘ on this label? That sure sounds like Yellow Prussiate of Soda to me! Luckily I found this on my first morning in Costa Rica, and I avoided adding any salt to my salads for the remainder of my stay.

People think I am crazy for pointing this stuff out, but do you know how many people suffer from headaches, anxiety and insomnia and are on medications for it? What’s crazy to me is that I am the only one talking about this!!

For anyone who has done a detox, juice fast, colon cleanse, liver flush or raw food diet, please be aware that when your body is cleaner, you will most definitely be more sensitive to these types of chemical additives, and you may find yourself reacting to a food that previously you were able to eat with seemingly no problem.

Get into the habit of reading all of your food labels, including salt!

Ferrocianuro de sodio [E-535]: Yellow Prussiate of Soda

And again, another salt I found, this time in Colombia (and also Ecuador). In this salt there is added fluoride, which most expats in South America know is bad so many already don’t buy it. But, no one seems to be talking about the obvious offender.

Do you see ‘Ferrocianuro de sodio [E-535]‘ on this 130g. container of Refisal brand Sal? In Spanish, you may also see it listed as ‘amarillo prusiato de soda (YPS)’ on a label. Both of these are, yep you guessed it….Yellow Prussiate of Soda. E-535 is the universal food additive number for this chemical additive.

In some countries, the additive name – Yellow Prussiate of Soda – will be listed on the food label, and in other countries you will see the chemical additive number. As a number, Yellow Prussiate of Soda can be listed as E535, E-535 or 535. In the above example, they’ve listed both.

Yet another example is this so-called “heart healthy” salt sold in Israel. As you can see, it contains E535 right there on the label. (By the way, the “normal” unhealthy salt in Israel also contains Yellow Prussiate of Soda too!).

This “healthy” salt in Israel contains E535 or Yellow Prussiate of Soda!

Since I’ve been made aware of this additive, I have noted people’s reactions to it, anything from hot flashes, itchy rashes, red bumps on the skin, cracked skin rashes, irritability, increased heart rate, achy joints and insomnia to general malaise.

When removing the chemically-infected salt from their diet and replacing it with a Himalayan or pure sea salt with no additives, all symptoms disappeared, permanently.

Be sure to watch out for other derivatives of cyanide also used in salt: E536 Potassium ferrocyanide and E538 Calcium ferrocyanide. The most common one used is E535 Sodium ferrocyanide. In Europe, I’ve noticed that you will see E536 as an additive in the sea salt you find there. Below is an example of a sea salt purchased at a health food store in Holland. Yes, even in the European Union (EU), you will find additives in your food! (This salt also has added fluoride, another reason to avoid!)

Here is an example of a sea salt from Holland containing  E536 or Potassium ferrocyanide. (This salt also has added fluoride, another reason to avoid!)

Sea salt from Holland containing E536 or Potassium ferrocyanide.
(This salt also has added fluoride, another reason to avoid!)

I personally use medium/coarse Himalayan salt crystals in a grinder. The brand I recommend is called Sherpa Pink Himalayan salt, available for sale in 5-pound bags on amazon HERE.

As Dr. Fred Bisci, a 80-year old 100% raw food vegan wisely says, “When in doubt, leave it out!”

More on Food Additives:

Benefits of Flax Seed, How to Grind/Store and How Much to Take Daily

Flaxseed (or linseed) is a very small shiny seed with a lot of great health benefits, from reducing cholesterol to improving blood sugar levels for diabetics. The reason why it’s a Superfood is because flax is very high in dietary fiber, it’s a plant-based source of omega 3 fatty acids, and a high source of lignans (phyto-nutrients possessing powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties).

Adequate fiber in the daily diet is key for good digestive health.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Benefits of Flax Seed, How to Grind/Store and How Much to Take Daily

You can buy flax in a few different ways – in whole seed form, already ground into powder form (ground whole seeds) or as flax seed oil. While flax oil does have many health benefits, it is lacking the valuable fiber of the seeds themselves (because the seeds are pressed, separating the fiber from the oil).

Whole flax seeds contain both the fiber and oil, giving you all of the nutritional value in one. However, flax seeds need to be ground before eating so the body can absorb their nutrients. If not, they will simply pass through the digestive track in whole form and that means their nutrients will pass through too!

Mini-food processor to grind flax seed at home

The freshest way to consume your flax seed is to buy the seeds whole and grind them yourself at home. It’s the most inexpensive way to add them to your diet too. Look for organic whole flax seeds in the bulk food section of your local health food store or in your supermarket near the cereal or baking section. You can use either a mini-food processor or coffee bean grinder to grind your flax seed into powder form. Simply add the seeds to the grinder, and grind. You should add the seeds dry and end up with a dry powder. Do not add water to the grinder. Also, be sure that your grinder is clean before you start (clean out any coffee bean residue if using a coffee grinder). For an inexpensive mini-food processor, check on ebay or at local yard sales (many people sell them as ‘baby food makers’). I usually keep about a 2-4 weeks’ supply of ground flax seed in the refrigerator at any given time; that equates to 2 cups or almost 500ml.

Adding whole, unrefined high fiber foods to the diet can help strengthen the digestive system, decrease toxicity in the body, stabilize blood sugar levels, clear the skin and even improve kidney and liver function. It’s a small amount of time and money invested that offers a high return: your health!

Organic ground flax seed

Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature in a container or jar. When the flax seed is open (into a powder or pressed an oil), it becomes temperature-sensitive and will turn rancid if left at room temperature. Once ground, it is important to store your flax seed powder in the refrigerator (and preferably in a glass container).

If you are reading this article and have your freshly ground flax seed stored in the cupboard, please do not just move it to the fridge and think that it’s ok. It’s best to throw it away, grind a new batch and store the newly ground flax seed in the fridge. Store-bought ground flax seed should be stored in the fridge after opening.

Flax Seed FAQ:

How much ground flax seed should I eat every day?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. I was admittedly impressed to read the following statement in the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010): “Most Americans greatly underconsume dietary fiber, and usual intake averages only 15 g per day. Breads, rolls, buns, and pizza crust made with refined flour are not among the best sources of dietary fiber, but currently contribute substantially to dietary fiber consumption because they are ubiquitous in typical American diets. To meet the recommendation for fiber, Americans should increase their consumption of beans and peas, other vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other foods with naturally occurring fiber.”

Ground flax should be stored in a glass container in the fridge

2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed has almost 4 grams of total dietary fiber. I recommend that you start with adding 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed to your daily diet, and slowly increase to 3-4 Tbsp. per day. Some people consume 6 Tbsp. daily and are very comfortable with their digestion, often finding relief from constipation and other digestive problems just from the simple increase of fiber in their diet.

Imagine someone consuming 15 grams of fiber per day who adds 4 Tbsp. of ground flax or 8 grams of fiber to their daily diet: without changing anything else; they are now consuming 23 grams of dietary fiber daily! It’s so easy!

What if I buy a package of already ground flax seed? Do I store that in the fridge?

You can buy flax seed already ground. Be sure to store it in the fridge immediately upon opening the package.

Is it better to buy the light brown or the dark brown flax seeds?

The best type of flax seed to buy is 100% certified organic, of course! I’ve tried both the light (or golden) and dark brown flax seeds, and I do make a conscious effort to add variety into my diet so sometimes I buy the golden brown and sometimes I buy the dark brown. When I’m feeling a bit wild and crazy, I even blend them both together and store the mixture in the fridge!

Is it possible to eat too much flax seed?

I do think that any one food eaten in too much excess is probably not a good thing. The key to good health is variety and balance in the diet. In this case, if you were eating 10x-20x the normal recommended amount of daily dietary fiber, you may be in store for some serious buffalo-sized poo! As I said before, start with 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed daily and slowly build up to 3-4 Tbsp. with a maximum of 6 Tbsp. per day. Think nice human-size poo and you should be fine!

What about the fat content in flax seed?

This question always amazes me. It’s most often asked by my female clients who have been struck with the ‘no-fat’ or ‘low-fat’ mindset. These same women will turn down such a high nutrient-dense food like flax for fear of excess fat, but continue to indulge in a daily latte or afternoon chocolate bar. I am often left very perplexed by this logic!!

According to the USDA, 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed weighs 14 grams, has 75 calories, 5.9 grams of total fat and 3.8 grams of total dietary fiber. While true that ground flax seed does contain fat (5.9 x 9 calories per gram = 53.1 calories of fat per 2 Tbsp./75 calorie serving), it’s important to keep things in perspective. If you’re eating 53 calories of fat in a 1500 calories per day diet, that equates to 3.5% of total calories in fat. Move up to 4 Tbsp. per day and you’re at 7%. Now do the math on your latte and chocolate bar and factor in their nutritional value then re-evaluate who is your friend and who is your foe. The answer: 2-4 Tbsp. of ground flax seed is not a high-fat contribution to your overall dietary intake of food.

What about the photo-estrogen in flax seed – is it dangerous?

This is another important factor to consider and a question I get asked occasionally. Remember, we are talking about adding 2-4 Tbsp. with a maximum of 6 Tbsp. daily of ground flax seed. Keep in mind too that I am recommending the whole ground flax seed, and not the oil (which would be more concentrated in phyto-estrogens). It is true that flax seed does contain photo-estrogens but there are mixed reports on whether the estrogen from flax seed alone is affecting people’s glandular and hormonal systems. I do believe if you were eating a bucket of flax seed at every meal, this would be an important issue, but we are talking about a few spoonfuls, and the other health benefits of this natural, whole and pure food are major reasons to keep it in the diet.

Keeping variety in your diet is the best way to give your body all the important micro-nutrients it needs without over-whelming it with any excess amount of anything. Of course, if you have an estrogen-related health condition or specific medical concerns, it’s best to consult with your medical doctor.

  • Add 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed to your Green Smoothie daily.
  • Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed onto a fresh fruit salad.
  • Mix 1-2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed into a homemade salad dressing or raw food veggie salad.

More on Superfoods:

How to Improve Your Detox: Top 5 Detox Tips

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Taking the time to do a detox is a commitment to health. The money spent is an investment in your future. Energies used to travel are well worth the effort.

Finally, you have the opportunity to recharge, rebuild, cleanse and heal.

With a ‘reboot,’ moving forward, you can continue with positive change in all areas of your life. With all things considered, don’t you want to get the most out of your detox?

A few simple tips can help you maximize your results.

Eliminate Salt for 1-week before

Don’t forget to do your work at home. It doesn’t matter how mant fasts you’ve done; everyone needs to prepare correctly for a detox just the same.

For at least 7 days before the start of your program, eliminate all salt from the diet. Keep in mind that most salt is hidden in foods and not actually added. Look out for restaurant food, airplane food, sauces, salad dressings, curries, pickled foods and packaged snacks.

Having no salt in the diet allows the body to start loosening built-up plaque and toxins in the colon. A no-salt diet for 14 days as a pre-cleanse is ideal, but at a minimum, try to commit to 7 days. By doing so, you will maximize your results during the detox.

Bring Herbal Teas

Most detox programs offer various fresh juices in addition to herbs and detox drinks. They also allow for herbal teas using fresh or dried herbs, but often charge more for tea or may not mention that organic herbal teas are permitted. Herbal teas support the organs during the cleansing process, and even better, they provide a nice flavor to enjoy while fasting!

Be sure to buy organic and bring a variety of flavors to choose from. Peppermint or ginger tea are great for nausea. Turmeric tea is very cleansing for the liver and tastes delicious! Parsley or uva ursi tea help to support the kidneys. Juniper berry tea is excellent for the heart and circulation. Coriander tea supports heavy metal detoxification. All can be bought as dried tea bags at any local health food store.

Avoid Gossip, Drama & Violence

Many people successfully achieve the physical act of detox, but leave behind the emotional and spiritual sides. I can’t even count how many nights over the years that I’ve seen a tv room packed with fasters, all eyes fixed on a horror flick or violent drama. How can the body let go and heal when the mind is being distracted with such images?

Be careful, especially when doing a detox, to avoid negative talk, images, news and events. The body is so sensitive while cleansing. The more you surround yourself with positive energy, motivational stories, happy people and inspiring thoughts, the more your body, mind and spirit will benefit.

Negative energies can attach to toxins in the body. The more you let go of those thoughts, the deeper you can go in your cleansing. It’s true! For more information on the science of this, I recommend Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life.

Get Adequate Rest

Most detox programs offer a full day of activities to choose from, including meditation, yoga, group walks, tai chi, chi gung, pilates, water therapy, massage, colonics, nutrition talks and more. It’s easy to get quickly overwhelmed with all the choices, and you may actually find yourself feeling stressed, trying to run from one program to the next.

Be sure to listen to your body and make time for yourself, even if that means skipping a few activities. The more you rest during your detox, the more the body can internalize its energy and go deeper into healing. As Daniel Reid says in the book Tao of Detox, ‘Save you breath.’

Try to spend at least one hour a day on your own, reading a book or listening to music, without talking to or engaging with others. Getting back in touch with yourself is one of the great benefits of doing a cleanse.

Powerful Affirmations

You can easily optimize your cleanse with your choice of thoughts and words. Be sure to spend a few minutes each day focusing on what you want to achieve as a result of doing the detox. Visualize yourself at home in a continued state of excellent health, high energy and balanced spirit.

Affirmations really help in training the mind to think positive thoughts. On the first day of your retreat, write 10 affirmations of things, people or feelings that you would like to have in your life. You can write them in the form, “I am…” or “I have…” Every day, spend 5-10 minutes alone, repeating your affirmations to yourself. You are creating an energy of success that the physical body will have to follow!

Some examples include: “I am healthy, balanced and strong.” “I attract positive, loving people and relationships into my life.” “I make the best choices for my health and my body every day in every way.” “I love myself and others love and support me too.”

‘Fasting helps reverse the ageing process
for a healthier and longer life.’

-James Balch, M.D., Co-Author

More on Liver Cleansing:

Okra Pepsin Small Intestine Cleanse

Okra Pepsin Formula

The Okra Pepsin is a type of a cleanse which is specially formulated to remove any residual plaque and/or toxins from the small intestine. It is an old formula using concentrated okra vegetable enzymes. Okra is a very ‘sticky’ vegetable, and because of that, it stays longer in the small intestine than other foods. The enzymes of the okra are especially good at ‘eating away’ old fifth that may be blocking the micro-villi within the small intestines.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

It is usually recommended to do this cleanse for 10-14 days. You can still eat during that time, but ideally you would not be drinking any coffee or alcohol, and avoiding wheat, sugar, processed foods and meat as much as possible. The Okra Pepsin cleanse is a great pre-cleanse to a normal 7-day ‘fasting’ program, because it gives the body a chance to loosen a lot of ‘gunk.’ Going from that into 2 enemas a day and 7 days of only juice is a perfect combination, especially for those who have done a 7-day program many times already.

Some people recommend this cleanse to celiacs and anyone suffering from bowel dis-ease, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and colitis. I have personally know a few clients who did this cleanse and mid-way through, they expelled a huge pile a ‘black slimy sludge.’ Can you imagine how something like that could seriously affect the function of the small intestines?

I personally tried this formula, and I used it for 12 days. The main reactions I experienced were: nausea, fatigue, cramping in the abdomen, foul-smelling stool, sweating, excessive heat, itchy skin and low appetite. All of these symptoms came and went over the course of the cleanse. Sadly, I did not release any ‘black slime’. A few days after finishing, I started a 7-day colon detox with juices, psyllium and 2 enemas daily. After the entire cleansing combination, I felt great.

Okra Pepsin Ingredients

Not many people know about the Okra Pepsin, and it’s not an easy herbal formula to find. The best company that still makes it is called Standard Process. In the US, one normally has to order this herb through a naturopath. It is sometimes available for sale on amazon.com. Outside of the US, I was able to find it in one health food shop in Hong Kong.

One final thing to note with the Okra Pepsin is that there is also a cow hormone/extract in the ingredients. For strict vegans, this cleanse would therefore not be recommended. I struggled with the decision to do the cleanse myself, but for the sake of my clients and being able to share my personal experience, I decided to try it once. If you are still wanting to experience the effects of the okra enzymes, you could consider doing a 7-10 day fast taking only green vegetables juices and eating fresh okra and green salads every day.

More on Liver Cleansing:

Juice Fasting, Water Fasting or Colon Cleansing? Breaking a Fast on Fruit or Salad?

Which is better?

Fasting Once A Year or Every Six Months?

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Many people wonder what the best type of cleanse is and how often one should cleanse. It’s a difficult question to answer since every person has a different ‘re-tox’ level in between their cleanses. But, on average, every 6 months is actually considered ideal. If you don’t have the time or resources for that, consider doing a ‘mini-cleanse’ on the 6-month mark and doing a full 7-day program yearly. For your ‘mini-cleanse,’ you can do 3 days of 100% raw food or 5 days of the Master Cleanse or even 7 days of 100% Green Smoothies.

Anything you do will be better than nothing!

Juice Fast Bliss

A lot of you may have done colon cleansing for your 7-day program, but did you know there are other types of fasting as well? Juice fasting is when one only takes juices and usually no supplements or detox drinks of any kind. In this fast, there can be daily enemas or not – it depends on the type of cleanse.

People can juice fast, or ‘Juice Feast’ for anywhere from 40 to 60 days. Remember, your body is still getting all the nutrients it needs from the juices!

Water fasting is much more intensive and involves only ingesting water with no supplements, juice or detox drinks. With water fasting, the main focus during the fast should be to rest as much as possible. This type of fasting is extremely effective at cleaning the tissues and cells very quickly. People can safely fast on only water for up to 40 days. But, this type of fasting is not to be taken lightly. Going into and coming out of a water fast needs to be done very carefully. If you have never done this before, I advise you to do a guided program. I personally have done 40 days of only water and I can tell you that it is an amazing experience. My eBook, 40-Day Water Fast: Comprehensive Guide & Personal Journal, details my experience and explains how to do a long water fast.

Green Smoothie Break-Fast

So, when breaking a fast, what is the best meal? Well, there are many different opinions out there. For a water fast, the breaking of the fast is much more strict, but for juice or colon cleansing, you have a few options. I usually suggest breaking a fast on fresh fruit with high-water content, such as watermelon or papaya.

You can also break a fast with a Green Smoothie. Because the smoothie is already blended, it is actually a great transition from liquids (juices) to solids (food).

Some people break their cleanse with a green salad and I would say this is also ok, but be sure to chew your food very slowly and avoid nuts and high fats, such as avocado, in the first few days after the cleanse.

More on Raw Food:

Day 8: Detox & Juice Fasting in Koh Samui, Thailand

I'm fasting and I'm feeling fine...

I\’m fasting and I\’m feeling fine…

Well actually I think the ‘breakthrough’ happened on Day 6 for me..but I’ve been too busy to write these last 2 days. Sunday was my 6th day on the program but technically my 7th day of fasting, and I decided to use the opportunity to treat myself for having gotten through the first week.

The first thing I did was buy a juicer. And all I can say is WOW!

My entire world has changed since then!! I am so happy to have the freedom to make whatever juice I want whenever I want! I came home with the juicer and after cleaning it out went straight for my first concoction on this nice clean virgin juicer – love the sound of a good motor – I combined fresh pineapple, apple and ginger and I honestly think it was one of the BEST juices I have ever had!! Somehow it was the perfect amount of each, all at perfect freshness, and ok after 7 days of fasting it may have tasted a bit better than normal, but it was pretty close to heaven on earth for me! I must add that I had not bought one previously because I don’t actually have a kitchen in my bungalow and that has put me off wanting to mess around with the hassle, but I can tell you it is only a hassle if you make it one – it’s really not bad, and since I’ve been making a lot of smoothies and salads at home anyway, the juicer was the next logical step.

In addition to the juicer, I bought a $3 tray table which is now officially my new kitchen. Up until now, I have been cutting up fruits and veggies on a cutting board on the floor of my bungalow and it didn’t really bother me but I knew there was room for improvement. Can I tell you how incredibly happy I was to even get 10″ off the floor?? I was absolutely THRILLED!! So there I was using my new setup cutting up everything for my new juice. You may think I am a bit simple, but keep in mind that I did cook all my meals on the ground outside in all weather conditions imaginable for 6 months when I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, so even preparing meals on a clean tiled floor was pretty luxurious for me. We really don’t need as much as we think we do in life!

Then I proceeded to prepare some dishes for my friends who were having a Mexican Feast at their house that night. I wasn’t too crazy about not being able to enjoy the foods, but I still wanted to be social, and really it is only one meal missed in the course of many gatherings amongst friends in life – not a big deal to let it slide. For some reason I seem to love cooking when I am fasting – I think it’s because you really take the time to smell and feel the foods and there is no urgency to throw it together because you can’t eat it anyway so you tend to take your time and actually enjoy the art of preparing. With my new ‘kitchen’ again I was thrilled…I had my music playing and my door open to the view of the sea and I just took my time chopping and mixing and loving life.

Simple moments..

Anyway I made a guacamole and fresh salsa…I don’t tend to use recipes much; I just see what feels right and I swear somehow that day the combinations were channeled to me – I was in a zone and just mixing together the perfect blends and textures, without ever even being able to taste the food.

Kind-of like Beethoven composing the Ninth Symphony when he was deaf – ha! That’s how it felt anyway!!

The guacamole was basically fresh avocado, onion, garlic, tomato, cayenne pepper, fresh chilies, fresh chives, black pepper, fresh lime, salt, yellow bell pepper, and olive oil. The salsa was a masterpiece – tomato, fresh coriander, onion, vinegar, olive oil, cayenne pepper, fresh chillies, fresh lime, fresh chives, salt, and fresh pineapple. Will definitely be attempting to re-create them again once the fast is over.

Sunset at Kamalaya...A Great End to the Day

Sunset at Kamalaya…A Great End to the Day

After all that it was time for my next ‘treat.’ I headed down to Kamalaya Spa in Koh Samui and splashed out entirely for a proper colonic hydrotherapy. Believe it or not, it was my first ever! All these years I’ve been quite happy using enemas and colemas and I didn’t really see the need in spending the money for anything else. Still I was curious…well perhaps the details are best saved for another entry but I can say that I was very happy with the results and was happy with the decision to try it and I would definitely consider doing it again while fasting.

From there I went to the Mexican night and I can report that the reviews for my creations were excellent. Even though I couldn’t indulge, it made me happy to see others enjoy.

All in all a wonderful day of fasting.

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Day 5: Fasting, Juice & Colon Cleansing in Koh Samui, Thailand

5th day of fasting and feeling fine!

5th day of fasting and feeling fine!

I was going to make that ‘fantastic,’ but I don’t think I’m at that level YET…Everything is going pretty well so far – main problem I am having the last 2 days is time management. Can be difficult to work while fasting and I am ok with it but find I need to have A LOT of down tome after. Luckily I have plenty of books to read and DVD’s the watch to keep me occupied. Because of that I was not able to exercise or have a massage or steam for the last 2 days, and when I’m fasting I generally require at least 2 of those 3 on a daily basis. (Actually, even when I’m not fasting – ha!) Tomorrow I am hoping to get all 3 in, plus more rest. Many people I see never seem to rest during the fast – they go shopping, travel around the island, go walking/running even lift weights, and more than a few even go diving and jet skiing.

Chaos for a body trying to heal itself!

There is plenty of time for all of that ANYtime…why would you burn the candle at both ends during the one time you have set aside for cleansing? Any enzymes and energy set aside for the cleanse will be immediately used up by all of those physical activities.

So in the resting mode I remain for the evening tonight.

I shall continue to stay focused and inspired through reading books such as TNT The Power Within You (the original ‘Secret’) and of course Cleanse & Purify Thyself Books 1 & 2 which I re-read at the beginning of every single fast I do. There is so much valuable information in those books, and every time I capture something new.

Also while cleansing I think it is so important to stay positive and to surround yourself with positive people.

Energetically we are much more sensitive during the fast, and it’s always best to keep the mind full of positive, loving thoughts. I definitely do not think it is a good idea to watch violent or disturbing films during this time, but you would be surprised how many people do, and think nothing of it as well. In order to cleanse the body, you must also cleanse the mind. Keep the movies light, simple and funny.

I’m focused now.

Have my goals in sight.

Lots of healing happening, and yes, feeling fine.

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Day 3: Juice Fast Detox in Koh Samui, Thailand – Time to Focus

All is going well on the eliminating side of things here on Samui…I am into Day 3 of the fast now and am getting more focused which is good – it always seems to take me a few days to settle my mind into the not-eating mode. I usually like being at the end of day 4 because if I choose to do 7 days then I am already half-way and if I go on to 14 then it’s a simple 10-day countdown left. Generally once I get cleansing I don’t think about it too much…there just always seems to be a lot of ‘mental negotiation’ in the beginning for me.

Fasting Guidance Comes from Within

Fasting Guidance Comes from Within

The weather here has been overcast, rainy and even what I would consider as ‘cold’…I’m guessing that means it’s about low-twenties Celsius which I think could even be in the 70’s F. Today I had a jumper on all day – that is cold for the tropics believe me. I do kind-of like it for fasting though, because when it is bucketing down a loud, torrential tropical rain, there is no pressure to do anything but stay indoors and relax, which is exactly what one should be doing while cleansing (the relax bit that is). I felt no guilt staying home, watching movies and reading all day.

I may be revising my one colema + one enema per day plan to 2 enemas per day, mainly because I do prefer doing my ‘washes’ in the privacy of my clean bathroom at home. I still find that I get adequate volume expelled with the enemas so there is no problem there.

I am having 4 coconuts per day + one or more juices…today I had the green vegetable juice. I don’t really care what the Spa says about juice – like I said before I follow Dr. Anderson’s program and I believe that for me the extra minerals and electrolytes in the coconuts are fantastic. I get my coconuts for 45 cents a piece, and I am well worth less than $2 a day of wonderful nutrition!!

Other than that everything is fine, the fast so far is going according to plan. Oh yes, Guidance…that is the card for me for today, and seems appropriate:

Whatever you choose is always the right path

Whatever you choose is always the right path

The angelic figure with rainbow-colored wings on this card represents the guide that each of us carries within. Like the second figure in the background, we may sometimes be a little reluctant to trust this guide when it comes to us, because we are so accustomed to taking our cues from the outside rather than from the inside. The truth of your own deepest being is trying to show you where to go right now, and when this card appears it means you can trust the inner guidance you are being given. It speaks in whispers, and sometimes we can hesitate, not knowing if we have understood rightly. But the indications are clear: in following the inner guide you will feel more whole, more integrated, as if you are moving outwards from the very center of your being. If you go with it, this beam of light will carry you exactly where you need to go.

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Day 1: Juice Fast Detox at Spa Samui, Thailand & Reasons to Cleanse

Fasting makes life better :)

Fasting makes life better 🙂

Today marks the start of another fast for me…only time will tell how long I shall go, but I do hope to do more than 7 days.

Yesterday I did a water fasting day, for no real reason except I wanted to start cleansing but didn’t feel like taking all the pills and drinks just yet.

So I gave myself a day of ‘no schedule’ fasting.

Best always to listen to your own body, and for some unknown reason that is what my body told me to do.

For this fast I will be taking some extra supplements in addition to the Arise and Shine – Cleanse & Purify Thyself Dr. Richard Anderson products – Chomper and Herbal Nutrition. I am taking Black Walnut (in both a tincture and pill form), fresh garlic and Grape Seed Extract – all for any lingering parasites and bacteria; Cayenne Pepper capsules for circulation and the liver; Milk Thistle capsules for the liver; Spirulina for minerals and chlorophyll; Flora Grow and HSO probiotics for natural bacteria and many herbal teas, including Pau D’arco for parasites and Red Raspberry tea for the female system.

Sunset in Lamai, pre-fast bliss!

Sunset in Lamai, pre-fast bliss!

My ‘daily washes’ will consist of one morning enema and one afternoon colema. I used this combination for my last fast and it seemed to work very well for me. For the enema I generally do a few water flushes first and then I take in a proper coffee enema as described by Dr. Richard Anderson, this in an attempt to help cleanse the liver. In the afternoon colema I usually add herbal teas to the water instead of coffee. I ensure obviously that all of my teas and coffee are totally organic; for the teas this time I shall be using Red Raspberry or Pau D’arco or Milk Thistle or even Chamomile if I am feeling any aches or pains. The teas I adjust according to how I feel. I add the tea bags directly to the colema water and usually 4-5 bags seems to be sufficient.

Usually when I am fasting I spend a lot of time on my own, either reading inspirational books or just relaxing and watching health-related videos.

I try to keep my conscious mind focused on good health – this helps me to stay motivated throughout the cleanse.

I also make a concentrated effort to walk every day, meditate every day and always allow time for a massage or an herbal steam if needed. It can be difficult to juggle work on top of all of that, but it is possible and just requires prioritizing.

A lot of people ask me how often do I fast, and my answer to that is ‘it depends.’

If you are feeling well, eating well and living a healthy lifestyle then I would say every 6 months is ideal but once a year is ok too. When you are unwell or out of balance, it takes more work and usually more fasting to get the body to heal, so in that case it would have to be much more frequent. If you smash up your car, it generally will have to be in the shop longer than just getting a maintenance check. Same concept.

So I wish all you fellow fasters and cleansers all the best with your own healing journeys…and perhaps I will see you at the Spa Samui (Lamai Beach) detox counter~!!

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