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Ditching the Detox

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We're only a few days in to 2012 and already I'm bored of the detoxing chat. My reliable drink-fuelled mates are inviting me out for 'dry dinners', my favourite restaurant is serving 'detoxing dishes', and my regular weekend supplement is telling me to measure out my portions so they are 'iPhone sized'. I guess Nokia users don't detox then.

I'm not detoxing this year. In fact I'm happily tucking in to the cheeseboard that others now refuse. See, I kind of did my time in the world of detoxing a couple of summers ago, and we are talking serious detoxing here. For what seemed like a good idea at the time, I checked myself in to a week long residential Detox Retreat in the Midlands, where I was fed on liquid broths and vegetable juices thrice daily, whilst mildly patronising therapists cleansed, toned and sucked every last ounce of a toxin out of me. It was an experience that still haunts and amuses me greatly.

I remember arriving at my most toxic level of the summer, after a continuous month of festivaling had got the better of me, literally petrified at the thought of going without solids or wine for a week. I was met by Judy, the camp leader and the don of the detoxing world. Being at the top of her non toxic game meant she winced at words like coffee and booze, and heaven help anyone who got a Marlboro Light within arms length. Dressed head to toe in the Autograph collection from M and S, she reminded me of a born again Christian: friendly, smiling, and eager to listen. But even more eager to preach. And always in sensible shoes.

The preaching began on the tour round the farm, where all of Judy's detoxing tools were presented to her eager audience. The usual suspects were there (treadmill, sauna, juicer) plus a couple of more interesting ones, such as the Inversion Board, where you strapped yourself in and spun yourself upside down, thus hanging like a bat. She wasn't amused at my suggestion of renaming it the Batmobile. Wrong crowd I guess.

It was a funny old crowd come to think of it. There was the likely mix of detox hungry folk (stressed out mother of six, health-freak couple in their 30's, mother and daughter from Solihul who won two places in a competition) plus a wealthy and newly single 49 year old step Granny called Gail. It didn't take long for Gail to latch on to me, and it took even less time for her to start talking to me about the club scene in London. It was blindingly obvious that detoxing was the last thing on Gail's mind...but weary of the present company I held back from telling her too much about the Fires and the Fabrics of the world.

We ventured out from the farm once and once only to power walk our way round the village. Dressed head to toe in lycra with dumbbells swinging from our arms, I was conscious of how moronic we must have looked to the outside eye, and was thankful for the fact that it was too early for most of the village to be up. We did, however, meet one local dog walker who was keen to stop and share his grievances towards the retreat and all detoxers within. It turned out that the owners of the farm had invested a fortune in a bio composing eco organic sewage system, which not only involved an installation process of two diesel-fuelled diggers drilling for a month, but also left a lingering smell of faeces wafting through the village. Especially, the dog walker loudly exclaimed, as most of the detoxers tend to "crap their guts out" during their stay. Conscious of when our next 'movements' would occur, we all powered back into the safety zone and agreed not to leave it again.

With walking out we took up other forms of exercise, namely bouncing: 10 minutes, 10 people, 10 trampettes, and one bouncing DVD. Dylan (the virtual bouncing instructor) then put us through a series of repetitive bouncing routines, which got us all hot and bothered. I don't know if it's a trait of detoxers as such, but very few in the group had co-ordination, something that is essential for an effective use of a trampette. The worst bouncer was Maureen, a lovely older lady who had told her husband she was going away with bridge club for the week ("he's not in to all this new age stuff"). Poor love - one over enthusiastic bounce and she was catapulted sideways landing in a pile of inflatable exercise balls. Bruises like that don't happen at bridge, that's for sure.

The week ended with a couple of talks from Judy, entitled "Caring for your Colon" and "Fasting in the Fast Lane", which went straight over the heads of the now emotionally, mentally and physically defunct group. After seven days of only juices I think most of us were prepared to chew on a cows ear if it meant we could use our jaws again. Not even her lame attempt of a joke ("a bloody mary does NOT count as one of your five a day") could raise as much as a smirk amongst our broken and sorry souls.

And so, as you can now see, I have earned my stripes in the big bad world of detoxing and feel not a shred of desire to enter myself back into the ring. Been there, done that, and got the faeces infused t-shirt to prove it. Now where's my bloody mary?

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