Koh Chang resort offers a fast way to detox
Fasting for a detox session is tough, says Samantha Brown
Going on a seven-day detox isn't for the weak-willed. First, it involves completely giving up food, with a day or two of raw food to ease yourself into the fast. Second, it involves taking a lot of pills and potions.
You'll be doing something every 90 minutes or so, from 7am when you rise until 8.30pm, when you pop your last batch of pills.
Third - and if you're still reading, you've got to be keen, so let's be direct - it involves two colonic irrigation sessions a day. You come out the other end a little lighter, with more energy and a reset palate.
I try to remember this, when on the first evening of my fourth detox, I can't keep a batch of a half-dozen pills down. I think it's the memory of the smell of the little green capsules, and the realisation of what I've let myself in for again - another piña colada-free tropical holiday. What was I thinking?
I'm on Koh Chang in Thailand at The Spa, a sister of the original Spa on Koh Samui. The resort is well off the beach, but makes up for it by being set in stunning, butterfly- and flower-filled gardens around a lagoon and a swimming pool.
On the first day I have a caffeine-withdrawal headache, but a session of gentle yoga clears it up. I have a steam bath to speed up the detoxification process and go to bed early.
Day two: things improve. I am doing the sugar-free version of the fast, which means just a little lime juice with the regular bentonite clay and psyllium husk drinks. The clay helps clean you out; the psyllium fills you up. Gina, my travelling partner, calls them mud cocktails, which makes us feel slightly glamorous. I awake later that night, feeling sick.
Day three: I try a Thai massage in the lovely, rustic open-air spa, set up above the fasters' communal lounge area, amid swaying coconut palms that rustle in the breeze. The masseuse knows her stuff, and fasting makes me more flexible (from a low base) meaning I enjoy it more.
In the past, day four has usually been when I start feeling good. But while I don't physically feel bad, I can't stop thinking about food: my 24-hour slow-cooked lamb with ricotta and mint is a recurring daydream.
Day five, we head to Karang Bay, which is about a 10-minute drive away from the resort. It's a gorgeous little bay with a single, old-school resort set back on a sprawling lawn. We hang around under the palm trees, swim in the calm waters, and, well, try to enjoy our takeaway cocktail.
By day six I've lost close to 5kg, though a lot of that is simply because I have an empty colon. The real world feels very, very far away and Gina and I go for a long dusk walk, powering along the asphalt road away then back to the resort. But this evening, nothing shakes my craving for Swedish meatballs with cranberry sauce.
On the last day I have a lot of energy. We head out on a snorkelling trip to a beach five minutes away by boat from a mangrove beach. Koh Chang's primary rainforest looking stunning in the background.
We finally break the fast with papaya salad, laced with apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper. I can't speak for a minute as our re-entry to the world of eating begins. Gina and I head back to Bangkok the next morning. The steamed vegetables with a little garlic we savour for dinner that night never tasted so sweet.