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The Farm

by Katie Forster

Well silly season is finally over and thank goodness for that… Exhausting! As you well know, I pretty much live for good food an drink, especially of the Christmas variety -champagne, turkey, roast ham, chestnut stuffing, bread sauce, egg nog, brandy butter… the list goes on. However, the excess of Chrimbo leaves me feeling rather unhealthy and guilty in the new year. Therefore I, like many of you, have decided to dedicate this month to getting healthier… thanks for lending me your belly Santa, but you can have it back now.

Detoxing and dieting can be as simple to some as cutting out booze and vowing to get your five a day, or as severe as checking yourself into a health farm where you will receive daily colonics and consume nothing solid except the odd lump of grit should you mess around getting your clay cleanser down your throat in a timely fashion. To help you choose a program that works for you, I have compiled a list of what seem to be the most popular options out there:

The General Motors Diet: This seven day program is reported to have been created for GM employees, who were apparently getting a little on the plump side. Apparently the diet guidelines were only circulated internally which explains the limited information on the web. By the end of your General Motors week you are expected to have lost between seven and ten pounds. Each day you are limited to one or two food groups and these change each day. The milk and bananas day sounds particularly tough!! There's a soup that you can consume in abundance but it's no lobster bisque. Still, seven days is seven days and even the most rubbery arm should be able to remain rigid for one short week.

Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui - I know perhaps half a dozen people that have checked themselves into this place and succumbed to having their insides hosed out daily in a bid to cleanse their bodies and shed a few pounds in the process. There are a few programs available although most seem to opt for the foodless version. That's right - get used to liquid everything. The upside is that you are surrounded by people all trying to achieve the exact same goal as you. I find the hardest thing about detox is the lack of support from friends - encouraging you to have 'just one' drink and so on. Ok… I lie. The hardest thing is not being able to eat cream, butter or cheese but you get my point. At the Sanctuary everyone is in the same boat. Of course you are still going to have moments of despair when you feel horrendous and even the sugar sand beach can't take your mind off of food, coffee, McFlurries… but if the beach doesn't do it, just take a looksie at the fellow that's been there for three days longer than you. Yes sir he looks amazing. And so will you.

Cayenne Pepper Detox - Beyonce spent eleven days committed to this in order to fit into her teeny diva pants for her role in Dream Girls. Again, no solid foods… just the same concoction every day. Water, lemon juice, syrup and cayenne pepper. This bizarre cocktail promises to eliminate years of internal body waste and deliver a leaner you in ten days. You can expect a headache though - this is your body freaking out over the lack of preservatives, artificial colorings etc that you usually fill it with. Take it as a compliment. Your breath is going to get pretty bad. One friend of mine described it as the stench of stomach acid and bile. But it's also a sign that it's working so stick with it but do us all a favor and carry a toothbrush and paste everywhere. Life Cafe provide the full kit for this detox so pop in and read all about it in their comprehensive detox kit. Life Cafe, G/F-2/F, 10 Shelley Street, SoHo, Central 2810 9777

Basic Detox - With this puppy you don't need a book or a website to run back to every time you want to fix yourself a snack. You'll be cutting out the following: wheat, meat, dairy, sugar…. all preservatives and all caffeine. You're allowed rice but of the brown variety only. If you're a creative cook this detox can be relatively easy - whip up a bean casserole, a stuffed pepper, tofu curries etc. I did this for about ten days last year and half a baked potato with lemon juice and black pepper was my savior. It's better than it sounds. Dare you to do it for a month.

The Dukan Diet - divided into three phases this is not so much a quick fix as a total lifestyle change. You'll spend several weeks on a very limited diet (no carbs, no fruit, no sugar and hardly any dairy at al) before you reach the final stage. Even then you have to commit to a protein only day for the rest of your life. Yup, FOREVER. The same applies to exercise - at least twenty minutes of walking a day. This diet has already taken France by storm and now everyone is getting involved - it definitely works… if you stick to the rules. This program is best suited to someone with a fair amount of weight to lose. Think of it as the new Atkins… but healthier. How on earth did we ever believe that eating unlimited amounts of cheese and bacon was going to make us healthier?! Order the book off of Amazon and read it from cover to cover so that you fully understand the science behind Dr. Dukan's diet. The recipe book is worth a gander at as well if you're struggling to come up with more imaginative dishes than grilled chicken and steamed green beans.

The Farm at San Benito- this place looks like Heaven in a jungle; a seriously perfect spot to tackle a detox (photo above). The farm specialized in medically guided detoxes. You can opt for the 'Wellness Retreat' to eliminate stress, the standard juice/colonics program or, if you feel your health has been suffering, check out the 'Recovery Retreat'. They'll even put together a tailor made package for you if there's an aspect of your health/lifestyle that you are particularly concerned about. Go with your mister/missus - this pad is so pretty that you could probably get a bit of romance out of it, even if it is over a raw vegetable juice.

The Juice Master: 7 Pounds in 7 Days- Author Jason Vale suffered from psoriasis, eczema and hay fever to the point where he felt that his quality of life was being severely affected. He also couldn't seem to kick the fast food, cigarettes or oboe. However, influenced by juicing guru Normal Walker, Vale went about creating his own program and as a result lost over fifty-five pounds and managed to kick all of his dirty habits while he was at it. All of the trashy UK celebs give this chap a big thumbs up, and trashy as they may be they certainly have tight little bodies. He's got numerous books out but for a quick fix detox this program is probably best. You'll need to get yourself a proper juice (one that can fit whole apples down the top of it) as well as a blender. If you're not a fan of fruit juice you're not going to love this one. Or if you are a huge fan you can go off and see the man himself on one of his many workshops.

Before I go let me offer you one last piece of advice: get yourself a detox/diet buddy. You will be sick of the sight of each other by the end of it, but their support will be invaluable when you are crying on the floor of the supermarket trying to remember why you can't eat a wheel of brie and a baguette for breakfast. Right, that's it. Happy New Year and good luck with the detoxes