Although we were both very sad to leave Barcelona, and in fact spent the next week toying with the idea of extending our trip so we could go back, we were very ready for a week of detox, relaxation and yoga.
La Crisalida Health Retreat is run by a lovely English couple John and Lisa, and is in Albir, a small coastal town in between Valencia and Alicante. For any British people reading this, it’s one town north of Benidorm – but from what I hear of Benidorm, it’s nothing like it!
The retreat has been open for about a year, and was pretty much full up the whole 6 nights we were there, which is a credit to the warm and welcoming way in which Lisa and John run their business. You feel immediately at home, and there were lots of people there on their own and having a great time. We had a huge two bedroom self contained apartment all to ourselves, with the front door opening up to one of the beautiful pools!
With a flexible approach, this is a great retreat for anyone. Every night you take a look at the menu and decide if you want juice or food for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner the next day. We opted for juice for breakfast each morning, and then food for lunch and dinner each day. Half an avocado is added to breakfast juices, which is really clever as it gives it a nice creamy texture and bulks it up so you’re not hungry before lunch.
The food is vegan, and there is no meat, dairy, bread, pasta, or any sort of processed food. Just lots and lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains. There are two chefs and they are both inspiring, we did not miss meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol or anything the whole time we were there.
I discovered millet at a cooking demonstration held by one of the chefs, and will definitely be buying some when we are in London. A whole grain that can be used to make burgers, or a salad, it is similar to cous cous.
There is at least one yoga class a day, usually two, with a range of styles including hatha, vini, vinyasa, yin and ashtanga. Lisa’s hatha classes were amazing and inspiring, she is a wonderful teacher. Early morning yoga on the terrace roof was a highlight.
There were a few meditation classes, some exercise classes (rebounding on a mini trampoline anyone?!), and plenty of free time, most of which we spent at the beach (15 minute walk away) or by the beautiful pool at the retreat. You could pick and choose what you wanted to do with no pressure which was great.
We also indulged in massages one afternoon, and despite it being a very strong deep tissue massage, I still somehow managed to fall asleep!
One morning I went on a hill walk, where we were treated to beautiful views out across the coast, from Benidorm to Albir.
Dan went for a few early morning runs, and I bravely joined him one morning – it was well worth it for the beautiful sunrise over the water.
We also got in the habit of borrowing a DVD every night to watch before we went to sleep.
This is what we watched:
– Supersize me: A documentary about an American man who only ate McDonald’s for 30 days straight with frightening results
– Fast Food Nation: a movie exploring the fast food industry in America, with an unexpected focus on the plight of Mexican illegal immigrant workers
– Superjuice me: a documentary about a group of people with a range of illnesses who spend a month on a juice retreat in Portugal
– Fat sick and nearly dead: a documentary about an Australian man who juices his way across America for 2 months
– Forks over knives: a documentary about the benefits of a whole food, plant based diet
– Simply Raw: a documentary about a 28 juice cleanse for a group of diabetics
We didn’t really get a lot out of Fat sick and nearly dead, and we didn’t realise that Fast Food Nation was a movie until we started watching it, but the rest were all really thought provoking and interesting.
We’re by no means die hard raw food, juicing vegans now, but we both want to incorporate more of that good stuff into our diet and are inspired to eat organic, whole foods wherever possible.
We both felt great at the end of the retreat, lost a bit of weight, felt light and healthy, and just had a wonderful time.
La Crisalida Health Retreat
Avenida de Sant Marc 9