Sunday, February 10, 2008

I broke my fast with a beer and a cigarette...

Ok, not really… I did, however, break my fast after a mere two days of clay shakes and espresso colonics. Call me crazy, but I prefer to take my food orally.

Princess is still fasting but fortunately for me I could wait it out at The Sanctuary’s fantastic avo-dairy-fish-vegetarian restaurant. The restaurant makes it quite convenient for “fast breakers” as they have a whole “cleansing menu” from which to order; full of bright, fresh, veggie salads, veggie dips, raw and cooked soups and fresh juices. And, although I learned the hard way to steer clear of those Indi-Thai-Euro-American restaurants – The Sanctuary is definitely the exception. For the “non-fasters” they offer a range of dishes from Indian fish curries, Thai dishes and pizza to a full (vegetarian) English breakfast, a Sunday brunch menu that will make you want to stay through the weekend, and fresh fruit juices, fruit smoothies and wraps, a full bar and wine list.

At 7:30pm (almost) every night they offer a communal “family style” dinner ranging between 150 – 180 bhat (about $5). The menu could be anything from Thai to Mexican, usually 3 or 4 dishes, and everyone sits together, a great way to meet fellow travelers – but you could just as easily keep to yourself and whittle away an entire month swinging from a hammock, reading a book and slurping down fresh coconut water.

The Wellness Center at the Sanctuary offers several different fasting programs with a super friendly, supportive staff that is there to guide you and assist you every step of the way (they guided and assisted me, but when I became too light headed to walk, they also said that I should stop fasting). Moon, a hyper-energetic and always smiling Thai from the North who’s been fasting since he was 11, runs the fasting program. But, the fasting program itself is based on a program set forth by Dr. Richard Anderson, author of “Cleanse and Purify Thyself”. There is a juice bar and “social hall” for fasters only, with a library and hammocks where everyone who is fasting knows to come at certain times each day to receive their shakes or herbs, to sit around and chat with fellow fasters, or to watch movies in the evening before the room closes for the night. A sign is posted, “Out of respect for fasters, please do not eat in this room”, and the Sanctuary bar and restaurant is a distance enough away to keep the noise and food smells at bay. The Wellness Center offers a full spa with everything you could possibly need to relax; massage, tai chi, steam room, mani-pedicure, waxing, belly dancing, meditation and a full gym. And, at the various bungalows around that same beach and one beach over, there is reiki, Thai boxing and at least a dozen other offerings for health-minded folk.

After a breakfast of fresh, sweet, cold mango sprinkled with sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon; lunch of a spicy, crisp Moroccan carrot salad and dinner of fresh veggies with garlicky, smoky roasted eggplant dip – I finally feel myself again. Poor Princess, she’ll just have to listen to me talk about all the yummy food while she goes hungry.

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