The best advert for Amanda Hamilton’s juice detox breaks is Amanda herself. The nutrition expert has a perfectly proportioned, slim, toned body, glowing complexion and thick, shiny hair. If this is what detoxing does for you, I’m in!
I headed off to Amanda’s course at the Champneys Tring resort with 18 others, who ranged from their late 20s to their 70s. Amanda was fasting with us – she practises what she preaches!
Those who’d been on a juice detox before claimed they’d lost weight and felt clear-headed with boundless energy at the end – would I be the same, I wondered? Amanda’s juice fast isn’t just about losing weight – that’s an added bonus.
Amanda admits she likes a glass of wine, a coffee and chocolate now and again, but says that every few months a juice detox is a great way to reset your body’s balance. ‘See your body as a vehicle that you’re putting in for a service,’ she says, explaining in her opening talk that a juice fast is not safe for the long term, but over three to six days we should get all the nourishment we need.
Looking down at our glasses of orangey liquid, we weren’t too sure! She explained that detoxing is what your body does naturally – a juice fast just accelerates the process by giving your body a break from on my belly, so I was the perfect candidate to try it! I must confess, I really didn’t think I would get past the first day.
I love my food and drink, and have a passion for entertaining and eating out. I expected I’d be chewing my own arm off and fantasising about hot, buttered toast within the first few hours – but, amazingly, that didn’t happen, and I stayed upbeat despite worrying that I’d become snappy and irritable.
I was dreading drinking vegetable juice, but most of what we had was actually veg-based with one fruit – each different and all surprisingly tasty. To provide us with omega-3 and fibre, we stirred in a heaped teaspoon of milled chia seeds or psyllium seed husks, which slowed the absorption of the fruit sugars, so we didn’t get blood sugar highs and lows.
The break also includes two sessions of thallasotherapy, which involved sitting in a giant Jacuzzi of mineral enriched warm water. This stimulates lymphatic drainage, boosts circulation, revives and de-stresses. Bliss!
In the evening, we were treated to a broth – I have never seen so many people look so excited about small chunks of vegetables! It was so good, I went back for seconds. At 9pm, we had warm juice served in a teacup. It tasted divine, containing orange, strawberry and mixed spice – the perfect alternative nightcap. By 9.15pm I’d drifted off into the most blissful, deep sleep I’ve had in years.
The next morning, we were encouraged to dry brush our skin all over and take an hour’s guided walk through the countryside, which was thoroughly enjoyable. The rest of the day flew by as I took advantage of all of the brilliant classes and facilities available at Champneys. I opted for a detoxing seaweed wrap, and a head massage soothed away the slight headache that had started that morning due to caffeine withdrawal. Four juices, one broth, lots of downtime reading, two quite energetic and testing fitness classes and another thalassotherapy session later, and another day was through.
Amanda predicted we’d all feel lighter and brighter by day three. And she was right. My waist seemed more defined and my tummy flatter. Then came the moment of truth – the weigh-in at the end. We’d all lost between one and five pounds in just two and a half days, and the collective inchloss total was phenomenal.
The final talk from Amanda was all about intermittent fasting – think 5:2 diet – with its weight loss and anti-ageing benefits. Having achieved so much in such a short time, I felt inspired to give it a go. Amanda also dispelled a few myths about certain fad diets and weight-loss products. S
ome of the things she told us will stick with me forever – a small glass of wine (175ml) in the pub has the same calories as a Twix bar! You wouldn’t dream of eating four chocolate bars in a row, but so many of us happily drink four or more glasses of wine on a night out.
Would I do it again? Hell, yes! Losing two pounds and one and a half inches off my waist, wouldn’t you?