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From fasting to detox

The millennia-old tradition of therapeutic fasting and modern eating cultures away from the mainstream are enjoying increasing popularity today. As a counterpoint to the rapidly changing times, the gentle methods ground and at the same time offer deceleration. A 'best of' fasting and detox, plus the best hotels!

10 February 2022

The tradition of fasting is already many centuries old - fasting was (and is) widespread primarily for religious reasons. Christians observe an annual 40-day fast between Ash Wednesday and Easter, while Judaism celebrates "long" and "short" days of fasting throughout the year. Fasting also differs between the two religions in other respects: While Christians usually only abstain from certain foods or stimulants such as meat or alcohol, Jews do not eat anything at all for a whole day on Yom Kippur, for example.

Today, the religious aspect of fasting (which also plays a major role in Islam) has been replaced by the health aspect for many people. The modern standard diet of the Western world, known above all for its many chemical additives, its highly processed foods and their imbalance, puts enormous stress on the digestive tract; disorders and diseases are the result of excess and decadence. Detox programs, or detoxification campaigns, start right here, giving the body time to break down harmful substances while providing key nutrients and minerals via digestion-friendly juices and Food supplements to be supplied. However, the crux of the matter lies not in the cure, but in the immediate aftermath. After all, healthy nutrition has a positive effect on physical well-being and appearance - and not just through a slim appearance; skin, hair and general well-being also benefit from a balanced supply of nutrients. In times when people eat almost exclusively takeaway food at work and the 50-hour week is becoming more and more commonplace, a break for digestion therefore becomes just as important as for the psyche and the body. With a one-time and time-limited cure, however, the work is not yet done, because the JoJo effect is not just a myth.

Nutrition is a mirror of the life of the soul - not for nothing do the slogan "You are what you eat" and the term "soul food" persist: Anyone who is stressed likes to reach for chocolate in the hope of the endorphin kick that cocoa promises; or one chooses the drastic counter-variant with detox cures, fasting or dietary changes. Especially with the latter, one is spoiled for choice: vegan, omnivorous or ketogenic after all? The list of different modern eating cultures is long - and thus also the (partly alleged) health advantages and disadvantages. For some, it's a lifestyle that's followed 365 days a year, while others take time out once a year and metaphorically hit the reset button.

Regardless of which option you choose for the sake of your health, the first step towards a healthier diet in most cases begins with a period of fasting or detox, which prepares the body for the coming change. Since in the today's time the demand for it increases and one learns ever more over the connection between digestive tract and physical health, there is meanwhile a broad selection at programs and books, which are to help interested ones to a better life feeling. That's why more and more hotels and medical spas are also specializing in programs for a sustainable and long-lasting change in lifestyle, offering health-conscious travelers the opportunity to master the transition with the help of experts - while also giving their bodies and souls a break from everyday life.

Good to Know

In traditional therapeutic fasting according to Dr. Buchinger, one starts the fasting period with a bowel cleanse and reduces calories to a maximum of 200 to 500 over a period of seven to ten days. The menu includes vegetable broth, fruits and vegetables, honey and teas. The body is thus given the opportunity to cleanse itself. At the end there is the breaking of the fast, during which one increases one's calorie intake in small steps over several days in order to get the metabolism used to food again.

Detox juice cures or "Juice Cleanses" support the body in natural cleansing and detoxification. During a juice fast, you consume natural (preferably freshly squeezed) fruit and vegetable juices that are free of any additives - the liquid diet relieves the digestive system. At the end of a juice fast, it is recommended to eat high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables for a few days before switching to more solid foods to allow the body to slowly become accustomed to them.

Back to the origin! The Paleo diet, also called the Stone Age diet, is based on foods that have been available to humans since time immemorial: Nuts, meat, fruits and vegetables are high on the menu, cereals, legumes, sugar and dairy products are strictly avoided. This makes this type of diet suitable for people with gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance.

Ketogenic diet is characterized by a very low intake of carbohydrates. Healthy fats and proteins are on the menu - the body switches to so-called ketosis and draws on fat as a primary source of energy. Patients suffering from epilepsy often benefit from this diet; this type of diet is also popular with athletes and for weight loss, as very good results can be achieved in a short time.

An alternative to therapeutic fasting that is suitable for everyday use is intermittent fasting, also known as interval fasting. The 16:8 and 5:2 methods are popular: with the former, you fast for 16 hours and are allowed to eat during the remaining eight hours of the day; with the 5:2 method, you fast on two days of the week and are allowed to eat on the remaining five days. For many fasters, this creates a calorie deficit naturally and without an overly strong sense of deprivation.

Vitamin bomb - cold-pressed fruit juices provide the right health kick in the morning. ©Stocksy

Detox - Best of Hotels

Palazzo Fiuggi

Old house, new idea: the historic grand hotel wants to revolutionize the concept of the medical spa

Not only the ancient Romans swore by the healing waters of Fiuggi, but also Michelangelo enjoyed the health-promoting effects. It is clear that the Fiuggi spa has a long tradition, which has gained even more momentum in modern times thanks to the Grand Hotel. The Italian king, for example, liked to reside here because it was the only hotel that could boast an "acceptable" ballroom. Today, the ballroom is the dining room of an exquisite establishment that only this year reopened its doors. The old grandeur has remained, the interior got a contemporary make-over and was complemented by a medical spa. Its concept is based on the healing springs and works similarly to other high-end medical spas, but with two serious differences: The programs (such as "Full Immuno Boost") include not only the examinations, but also accommodation and full board. And the latter, in addition to the excellence already mentioned, is unique: Heinz Beck, a three-star Michelin chef, worked out a spa cuisine in more than two years of research that is unique worldwide. In terms of calories, the "Fiuggi Food Line" is reduced, but in terms of variety and quality, you dine here on a par with Beck's well-known restaurant "La Pergola". In addition, as a special feature, Heinz Beck has been researching the topic of health and nutrition for twenty years, has already published several highly regarded scientific books (such as "Diabetes and Nutrition") and is a doctor in natural bioenergy. A total of ten concepts have been created, all of which feature exclusively biodynamic vegetables. Guests may feel here thus all around well - that is also owed to the Italian cordiality of the personnel. Prices from € 8900, - per person / week including accommodation and full board.

Palazzo Fiuggi*****,
Via dei Villini 34, 03014 Fiuggi FR, Italy
T: +39 0775 7661

©Tyson Sadlo

Palace Merano

Guests reside in this first-class medical spa and are provided with every medical care and hospitality imaginable

The "Palace Merano" stands in the tradition of a grand hotel and yet is groundbreakingly innovative. However, it does not rely on other concepts, but researches in its own laboratory near Bolzano and develops the constantly growing program with over 20 years of experience. The result is a medical spa that turns the traditional on its head - for the benefit of the guest. Thus, the house is based on seven pillars: Research and Development, Health, Bio-Energetics, Hydro-Fangotherapy, Medical-Aesthetics, Fitness and Nutrition. For the latter the Revital method was developed, which is also holistic conceived; i.e.: The guests can extend the cure also at home with the suitable food auxiliary means, naturally accompanied by the internal Ernährungsberaterin. Thus the well-being, which was developed in the Palace Merano, is extended into the everyday life. Because even if most guests return every year, it is also about internalizing positive habits. This is facilitated by the fact that all programs are personalized and highlight every aspect of health. Thus, not only routine examinations are carried out in the house, but also blood evaluations are performed or complex preventive methods are applied. All this is done after a thorough anamnesis right after arrival. Even though this may sound very technical and it can be said that all equipment and methods here are state of the art, the hotel has not forgotten its history: Diligent liveried staff takes care of guests - not patients - in the highest hospitality. "Detox Program" for one week from € 3600,- per person excluding accommodation.

Palace Merano*****,
Cavour Street 2, 39012 Merano, Italy
T: +39 0473 271000

©Altea Software Srl, Marco Sartor

Villa Stéphanie

The holistic destination spa of the "Brenners Park Hotel" focuses on maximum individualization

Wellness and well-being - the interplay between the physical and the mental - is not just the buzzword of the day, but a human need that is met at "Villa Stéphanie". The concept behind it is based on holism with simultaneous individualization. In concrete terms, this means that all areas constantly exchange information in order to offer the guest an ideal result. This is facilitated by the location: the "Villa Stéphanie", which belongs to the "Brenners Park Hotel & Spa", was created in 2015 and complements the needs of the hotel's guests as a medical retreat and closed local unit. Thus, in the stately surroundings of Baden-Baden, one can lose oneself in the lush diversity of the park or the castle-like splendor of the hotel and lose weight in a particularly pleasant way, build up one's immune system or simply recover - of course, medically supervised and sustainably healthy. And this in the best company: The selection of exquisite furniture and art corresponds here namely with the selection of the experts - only the best coaches and therapists are active here. This ranges from five-time kickboxing champion Henri Charlet, who today works as a mental coach, to shiatsu master Pierre Clavreux, who developed the revolutionary massage therapy Kiyindo-Shiatsu in 1992. Another special feature of the "Villa Stéphanie" is not only its past as a royal residence, but also that it has twelve deluxe rooms and three imposing suites. Thus, one can relax even more intensively and secluded. This is also possible thanks to the hotel's own "Digital Detox" concept: guests have the option of disconnecting the entire room from the power grid and WLAN at the touch of a button from the bedside table. Prices on request.

Villa Stéphanie, Brenners Park Hotel & Spa*****,
Schillerstraße 4/6, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany
T: +49 7221 9000

©Brenners Park Hotel

Lefay Resorts & Spas

Two houses, one concept: on Lake Garda and in the nearby mountains an energetic therapeutic approach is embodied

Guests who come to the "Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti" for the first time usually first notice the large spa; because of its concept of "water and fire world". Behind it, however, is not only breathtaking architecture, but also an energetic-therapeutic approach that combines classical Chinese medicine with Western scientific research. Accordingly, the spa's signature offerings include energetic massages, energy-aesthetic rituals for the face and body, and non-invasive beauty medicine. The scientific committee of the "Lefay Spa" also chose its own path for the house in the field of culinary: in line with the philosophy of "Lefay Vital Gourmet", only sustainable food is processed. But the ethical aspect in the choice of food also plays a decisive role here - in keeping with the slogan of the "Lefay Vital Gourmet" concept: "Good food is also food for the soul." Speaking of the soul, you can let it dangle particularly well in the 22 wellness residences, which can also be purchased as a vacation home. While in the mountains the medical program is somewhat limited, at the Gardasee, in the "Lefay Lago di Garda", the health program is set larger. Here, the offer ranges from gentle programs designed to restore balance to longer stays in which the body is sustainably detoxified. These programs are bookable from a duration of ten days and aim to purify the body. Natural resources of the environment are used. Three-day "Discovery Program" at the "Lefay" for one person at € 690,- excluding stay.

Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti*****,
Via Alpe di Grual, 16, 38086 Pinzolo
TN, Italy, T: +39 0465 768800

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda*****,
Via Angelo Feltrinelli, 136, 25084
Gargnano BS, Italy, T: +39 0365 241800

©Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue SPA Special 2021.

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