By Marianna Levine
There comes a time in adulthood when the ever present mid-life battle of the bulge meets one’s personal Waterloo. That is to say dieting in one’s prime, while so often optimistically begun, commonly ends in a crushing and often unexpected defeat. But wasn’t it Samuel Johnson who once said a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience? Perhaps the same can be said for serial dieting for there always seem to be new and interesting ways to change one’s eating habits.
The latest way out of the dieting doldrums, is to kick-start a complete change in one’s digestion through what is commonly referred to as a “cleanse.” A sign of its increasing popularity is that there are now four different cleanses available and being practiced locally.
To cleanse means that one commits to not eating — or eating a very modest diet — for anywhere from 2-10 days in order to completely change a lifetime’s worth of eating habits. Eating nothing or very little makes sense to those who want to loose weight.
However, there is more to cleansing, or as it is sometimes called, detoxing, than just weight loss. As a matter of fact most proponents of these cleanses do it as much for the health benefits as for the weight loss, or at least see both as intrinsically connected.
Of the four cleanses available in the area, two are based on Indian Ayurvedic medical teachings. Corey DeRosa runs his cleanse seasonally out of his Topovana Ashtanga Healing Center in Sag Harbor for $120 a day for a total of seven days including food, massage oil, and personal support.
The other Ayurvedic cleanse is located in North Sea. Ivonne Frowein, started hosting a spring and fall group phyto-therapy cleanse with international Ayurvedic food specialist Alexander in 2006 that runs approximately $425 for six days of food and support. This cleanse involves eating three carefully prepared vegetarian meals a day, and drinking specially re-energized water.
Alexander explains, “The intension of this cleanse is to create an awareness of nutrition through this program, and to de-acidify the body, and remove toxins, but also to put good things back in the body at the same time.”
Frowein adds, “I am not big on dieting. I would always get a headache from not eating and fail within 24 hours; but I needed to loose a few pounds after having a second child, and when Alexander explained I wouldn’t be hungry on this program, I thought this is for me.”
Since she started hosting Alexander and his cleanse in 2006, she has begun to import the device that revitalizes tap water from her home country Germany.
“Aqua Blue is a big company in Germany, people over there know all about revitalizing water, but here it’s new,” Frowein adds, claiming the continued availability of this re-vitalized water has aided in her health and well-being after the cleanse.
Isagenix, a newly engineered scientific cleansing program, is championed by personal trainer and Sag Harbor resident Christa Scheicher, and has been a cleanse of choice for time-pressed local parents. It runs about $174 for the full nine-day starter cleanse, but clients are then encouraged to continue using dietary supplements to replenish energy and continue to lose weight. All products, although made with the latest medical and scientific knowledge, according to Schleicher, are 85% organic. Basically it consists of shakes and supplements to keep you healthy while abstaining from most solid foods.
Schleicher explains, “The nine-day program is like going to the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned, but what you do afterwards maintains your progress just like flossing and brushing your teeth.”
Physical therapist Faith Diskin , who has participated in both Isagenix and Alexander’s cleanse, describes her experience with both.
“With Isagenix you lose a lot of water weight. You basically lose weight in the mid-section. I lost 11 pounds in nine days and my skin looked great; but I have to say it wasn’t that easy to do. However I was committed to it and it worked. As for Alexander’s cleanse, I enjoyed doing it with a group of people. You get together for lunch and I liked the vegan food he cooked; but it was kind of expensive. I did however loose seven pounds on that, and I liked the idea of eating real food.”
Diskin does add she still uses some of the Isagenix supplements and will do an occasional short cleanse for a day or two.
Lastly, Guiliana, owner of The Juicy Naam, offers a personalized Kabbalah cleanse for $150 a day, although she is currently offering a two-for-one priced spring cleanse. The length as well as the specifics of the cleanse depends on an individual’s needs.
“I ask about a person’s blood type, their birthdate, and find out the alignment of their planets based on Kabbalah,” she said. “This indicates what’s out of balance, and I am very cognizant of people’s lifestyles, what their social schedules are, what work they do, and of their family lives in preparing a cleanse.” She explained a cleanse — although mainly including fresh juices, coconut water, and a hot broth — can include either cooked or raw foods if that is what a person needs.
The bottom line with any cleanse is you need to find a program that suits you and your lifestyle, and then take what you learn about yourself and stick to a healthy lifestyle.