Posted by: Richard | December 6, 2009

a detox fast…never again

Well, here we are after a week on Koh Samui packing our bags, listening to gorky’s zygotic mynci and drinking a Singha in a tall glass of ice with the air conditioning on….it isn’t heaven, but it’s pretty good.  Very good.

What a week this has been on the enchanted isle (or so they say).  A week of contrasts for us.  Not only is this island part of the trip very different from our past city and countryside adventures, but on this island, our 8 nights have been half fasting detox, half beach bum odessy.  Let’s start with the former.

I am fascinated by the idea of not eating.  Many of my work colleagues are Muslim and fast for Ramadan.  I have never been sure I would be up to it, so last year I fasted for a day.  It wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it for a lunar cycle.  But both Lynn and I are drawn to challenges, and I have often thought that not eating would be one of the harder things I could attempt.  So, when I saw the opportunity for a detox fast, I was interested. Lynn had a look, and she was interested too.

What is a detox fast?  Well, it started for me 3 days before, when I stopped consuming caffeine, sugar and alcohol.  Arriving at the resort, I had a last meal of raw veggies and carrot juice (with a lot of cayenne) before going without food for 3 days.  For Lynn, the fast produced a mild panic that manifested itself in eating 5 meals a day for the three days prior.  In the Bangkok airport Lynn did something she has never done while I have known her…she bought a BK value meal.  Veggie burger, large fries and coke.  My mouth watered while she scarfed it down waiting for our flight to Samui.  The entire time Lynn was ever so kind in offering me tastes saying “you’ll be regretting it Campbell once we are fasting!”.

Well, the fast was not just a fast, it was accompanied by detox drinks and a bevy of pills.  61 pills a day and about a litre of detox drink.  Almost immediately we started to feel horrible.  The resident health consultant nodded approvingly ‘you are starting to detox, this is good’.  Health consultant is a bit of a misnomer, as she wasn’t familiar with doxycycline and spent our group consultation telling all of us how all modern medicine is actually just making you sicker and none of it works.  I was too bashful to ask her to explain the increased life expectancy we have now versus 100 years ago.  You may be asking why, as I’m not a shy retiring person.  Well, it’s because it was an argument I would lose.  Another person had finished telling me that she only used homeopathic medicine, even when she had had dengue fever at the resort several years ago…..we quickly realized that Lynn and I were not the average people that come here.

That first day Lynn decided that the pills were not for her.  After about 40 of the pills, she realized they were making her sick and she stopped (smart of her).  Not me though, I thought that this detox might be a good idea, and kept taking them.  Bad idea.

On day two, I kept getting worse, while Lynn was getting better.  We were still fasting, and not too hungry surprisingly.  At the end of day 2 I follow Lynn’s lead and stop the supplements and detox drinks.  I feel terrible and think that the detox is making me sick!

Day three and Lynn decides to eat, though I am too sick to eat.  Lynn has the post fast breakfast and gets food poisoning….glad I didn’t stop fasting.  The day is spent with both of us huddled on a couch, shivering in 33 degree heat with frequent trips to the toilet.  Finally in the evening, we decide the only solution is to get some food, eventually taking down a green curry and a couple of singha’s (ohhh, how they soothed my detoxed body).

The following day, a few of the other fasters hearing that we had stopped early came and told us we were just getting to the good part, and the evacuations of our bodies were a dream they were hoping for “the perfect fast”.  I had many natural therapies suggested to get better, not one involving eating a curry and drinking beer (which worked incredibly well).

All was not lost on this fast though. Lynn and I developed a good perspective on food, which is what I had hoped for. Lynn also dropped six pounds.

This was the first half of our holiday, and we wanted to get off this island because we hated the entire island and thought it was rubbish.

The following day we walked North 15 minute and came to a dream bay called Silvers.  It is about 200 meters wide and we had the whole beach to ourselves.  We swam in warm water, body surfed in waves and had a great day reading (I was reading Wolf Hall – which was excellent).  This was a great day, and we were in great spirits as we came home.  We did yoga on the beach and followed it up with a great thai meal.  The trip was changing, and we were loving it.

The past three days have been the same.  Wake up and get a fruit plate, coffee and yogurt.  Laze over it all while we read the news.  Go to the supermarket and buy some water, then walk to our beach and spend 5 or 6 hours there.  Read our books, have a swim, listen to audio books, have a fruit shake, maybe split a beer and make our way back around 4pm.  Come back and share a green curry, then shower and enjoy some A/C before doing yoga by ourselves in the dusk at 6pm.  After yoga, go back and sit on the beach and just enjoy the waves, watch the crabs and enjoy our time here.

Overall, this has gone from a terrible week on a lovely island into a great holiday.  We can’t wait to see the karst cliffs of Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta next!

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