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January 09, 2013

Detox: All Kale Breaks Loose



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(click for larger version)
Whether it relates to something as simple as exchanging diet soda for lemon water, or as comprehensive as hours of limbic flushing or days-long juice fasts, "detox" has become the hottest buzzword in fitness and health. Cleanses and juice fasts are no longer the sole purview of faddists, starlets, or extremists.

On his website touting a 48-hour weekend cleanse Dr. Oz, arguably the decade's It Guy when it comes to dispensing health advice, notes, "The practice of detoxifying the body to rid it of unhealthy toxins has been around for centuries. Hippocrates recommended fasting to improve health, and many religious groups have historically used fasting as a way of purifying the spirit."

Typically detox "diets" focus on ramping up the body's natural waste disposal system by boosting the action of the liver, colon, and kidneys. Depending on which program you wish to follow, the detox will likely include foods designed to provide nourishment while assisting in the cleansing process. Menus will be Spartan, with the goal being to eliminate chemicals and preservatives while highlighting the benefits of fresh produce and their ability to de-bloat the belly and flush toxins . . . And with certain cleanses, there's an accent on "flush;" you're not going to want to be too far from the facilities while undergoing colon cleanses.

Some also go with a totally food-free fast. Juliette Logie, who runs Simply Sublime Health Food Market & Café in East Hampton with her sister Alison Burke, recently completed a 10-day juice fast. "After watching the film "Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead" I was inspired to start a juice fast. It's a way to get massive amounts of micro-nutrients into your system," she explained. While the first days can be tough, Logie said that by day five, "I felt like a rock star. My energy was through the roof."

Simply Sublime offers a number of juice combos, as well as smoothies for the less courageous. For Indy's photo shoot, Logie whipped up the "Dr. Oz," comprised of apple, kale, cucumber, parsley, celery, lemon and ginger, and "The Detox," a blend of cucumber, carrot, apple, and ginger.

Tomorrow at noon, Simply Sublime will host an informational session on Ayurvedic Cleanse.

Any reputable purveyor of a detox plan will suggest you check with your personal physician before embarking on an intensive program. An article recently published on the WebMD website emphasizes that detox diets are not scientifically proven, and weight loss is most often just temporary. Prolonged fasting can actually be harmful, the site warns, while fasts lasting a day or two are unlikely to be harmful for most healthy adults. Again, be sure to check with your doctor.

Thanks to the volume of magazine or Internet articles and books devoted to the concept of detoxification and cleansing, if you can read, you can go it alone and concoct your own juice fast. But why suffer solo? The popularity of the trend has given rise to guided programs enabling dieters to glean support and inspiration, or just commiserate, with others.

Locally, detoxers can get clean in luxury surroundings. Starting Friday, Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa will offer a Detox Weekend designed to provide guidance, encouragement and motivation for health conscious guests looking to begin the year with a clean slate, and system.

The weekend includes lectures, films, a healthy cooking demonstration, unlimited use of the Sea Water Spa facilities, and fitness classes, all combined with ocean view accommodations and a specially-crafted menu.

Phyllis Lomitola, Gurney's' convention and banquet director, spearheaded the creation of the weekend. She said helping others get healthy is "my passion in life." The menu for the weekend will be quite light, with juices, broths, salads, and fresh fruit featured. "The menu will be vegan and use all organic produce. It will be portion controlled, but you're not going to starve," she said.

During any intensive detox, Lomitola said, it's wise to take it easy and rest. To aid relaxation, guests can sign up for an array of detoxifying beauty treatments offered at the spa. Massages and seaweed or herbal wraps help the body release toxins, while adding the bonus of radiant skin.

This month Gurney's offers detox therapies for 20 percent off Sundays through Thursdays.

While Gurney's still offers plenty of temptation (Think: Beach Bakery), in recent years the Montauk icon has also recognized healthy lifestyle trends, offering daily menu specials and hosting yoga weekends throughout the year. "We started with just one and now we have five weekends a year with between 50 and 100 people," Lomitola reported. She's hoping the detox weekend is as successful. "Staff members did it last year for a whole week," she said, "and everybody felt incredible."

kmerrill@indyeastend.com

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