Chivasuka is a Raw Vegan Detox retreat in the mountains just outside of Chiang Mai Thailand. Myself and a few others had the opportunity to experience this retreat first hand for 1 week. Yes, that is 7 days of eating raw vegan.
What is Raw Vegan anyways?
Raw Vegan is similar to a regular Vegan diet (no animal based foods) except for that the food can only be heated to a maximum of 41 degrees Celsius (about 106 degrees Fahrenheit) That is an average Summer day temperature in Las Vegas.
The idea behind the Raw Vegan diet is that cooking your food at too high of a temperature will break down the cell structure of the food, destroying some of its nutritional value and accumulate toxins in the process.
Why did I submit myself to this possible torture?
It is all about the experience. Never been a vegan, not even a vegetarian. I am obviously a proponent of fitness and seeking a healthier lifestyle so when the opportunity to experience this seemingly extreme diet I jumped ( well, let’s say tip toed) at the chance. Hopefully I can shed some light for those of you who have thought of taking this leap yourselves or those who are just curious but would never even consider it.
Arriving at the Chivasuka Raw Vegan Retreat
After a 40 minute drive north from
(Dusit Princess Chiang Mai) Chiang Mai Thailand with Karin, one of the owners of Chivasuka, into the mountains, past multiple small villages we arrive at the retreat and meet her husband Yan. First thought was “wow this is a beautiful spot!” Two large bungalow buildings perched on the hill of tea plants overlooking the entire valley with wrap around decks, lounge chairs and a hammock.
The room was put together with a large bed in the center of the room. Slide open glass walls on 3 sides of the building, with a bathroom and shower and a small seating area at the foot of the bed. Visually a perfect place for relaxation.
Below the bungalows was the main house with an outdoor seating area to the side of the house and a full fruit and vegetable garden below. Inside the main house was a lounging living room surrounded with windows, a formal dining area and a large kitchen where all the Raw Vegan magic happens.
My first Raw Vegan meal, consultation and juicing
So it was time to sit down to eat our first raw vegan meal. Floral salad with jungle peanuts, dehydrated onions and cashew nut non dairy dressing. Actually quite delicious and displayed elegantly. Something to note at Chivasuka is the attention to detail and elegance when eating.
The table is always set up like a 5 star restaurant and the food is put on display with such care.
After our meal we each had a chance to discuss how the week was going to go. During my consultation, it was advised that I was healthy enough to experience the full cleanse of the retreat.
This would mean that I was not only going to be immersed into a raw vegan diet, but I would have 3 days of juicing detox. Was a little concerned and nervous to say the least. I am an eater, work out quite a bit and eat even more, so I knew juicing was going to be a hard pill to swallow.
After a relax in our bungalows it was time for Yoga. A pleasant 1 hour session in the garden lead by Karin was enough to stir my hunger for more food. Luckily for me I was not on juicing yet and was looking forward to a couple last meals of solid food. Dinner was another yummy salad and banana ice cream for dessert.
After waking up the next day we were greeted with a hot chili/lemon detox drink followed by a green juice. This would be are ritual for each morning at the retreat. After the drinks I got everyone to do a quick 30-40 min workout with suspension straps and fitness bands. Great to workout with the amazing views you get in this place. Off to breakfast which included seeds, fruit, muesli, yogurt and cashew milk.
Filled up with nutrients we headed out for a hike along the valley with Yan. As you know I love hikes. We came across many locals from the small villages in the area and although in the end it was exhausting due to the change in diet and heat of the day, it was a lovely hike. I think everyone was looking forward to lunch back at the house.
For lunch which was my last meal of solid food, we had a cold zucchini spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce , veggies and a cashew Parmesan. Very delicious!
Everything is a blur!
For the next 3 days it was just juice. By juice I mean just liquid, no fibers, no pulp, nothing but liquids. I have to admit, it was tough for me. Had to keep telling myself that it was a detox, that it would end and I would be eating solid food again soon. Went through some slight withdrawals including headaches, fatigue and massive cravings. In all honesty I was also not drinking caffeine which can be a doozy for me as well.
Over the 3 days we did get to go to a tea plantation which was very cool. Learned the whole process of making tea and the different types. Spent a lot of time lounging around, taking pictures, talking and trying to keep my mind off of food. Even had enough energy to explore the beautiful tea house right up the road.
I must note though that even though everything I consumed for the 3 days was juice, Chivasuka did an awesome job presenting my juice like it was the most expensive juice in the world. Sometimes even adding a spoon and bowl to try to trick your mind into thinking you are eating something solid.
The joy of food again
Finally after 3 days of living, working out, exploring on nothing but juice, it was time to have real food again. I was so excited. It reminded me of when I was in the Army boot camp training. All you see is people in uniform, everyone looks the same, the buildings on base all look the same, the food you eat is always the same. Then you finally get off of base and everyone is shocked at seeing someone in regular clothes, or pointing out a retail store or restaurant.
That’s how I felt, I’m actually going to get to eat solid food again. Almost didn’t care what it was as long as it was solid. Really wanted it to be a pizza, but I was happy for some raw vegan solid food as well.
Yaay! I survived
So after transitioning back to solid food, the last day we got to spend time in the kitchen with Yan and see how all the magic happens. We made cauliflower rice and veggie sushi rolls, we made an assortment of homemade raw vegan sauces, we made dehydrated onion chips and made some wonderful gazpacho soup.
It was amazing to see what you can do and what you can create without processed food, animal products or even cooking. Although I do not plan on taking the leap to a full raw vegan diet. I did realize there are many aspects of the lifestyle that I will incorporate into my own life. Ended up thinking it would not be as difficult as one might expect as long as you are creative and have the patience and means to do it. Crazy that marinated dehydrated zucchini is almost like chicken… :0)
I hope that you enjoyed this small taste of my week at Chivasuka Raw Vegan Detox Retreat. It was a remarkable and enlightening experience. If you have ever thought of participating in a retreat like this or would like more information please check out the Chivasuka website.
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