I have to admit, I’ve always been aware of the importance of detoxing. But as a busy film and television producer, it became really easy for me to overindulge and grow lax on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I began to feel groggy and weighted down, I knew it was time to give my body some TLC immediately.

I couldn’t wait to visit Paradise Wellness, a retreat located on the residential side of El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico, for a two-week, raw food experience, especially after finding out that it is owned by a Black woman! 

Paradise Wellness is jam-packed with daily activities and excursions that you almost forget you’re detoxing and cleansing.  Along with the exquisite raw and living cuisine, wellness education and juice drinking, you also get yoga, massage, nature and eco adventures, swimming and lounging on the beach, horseback riding and hiking in the rainforest --a physical, mental and spiritual vacation! Each night, tropical rains and singing insects lulled me to sleep. Paradise, indeed.

Here’s a snapshot of a typical day during my retreat:.

Morning: I started the day with oil-pulling, an Ayurveda method for detox and rejuvenation. It removes bacteria, toxins, and parasites that live in your mouth or lymph system, and also pulls congestion and mucus from your throat and loosens up your sinuses. After 10 minutes of oil-pulling, I practiced yoga on the back deck. I preferred the quiet of the early morning to move at my own pace. I didn’t have a timer but knew the time by how and where the sun moved. I’d usually finish my practice by 8 a.m.

Breakfast was a green smoothie (with as many refills as you want) made with raw almond milk from almonds soaked from the day before, greens, avocado, dates and ginger.

Homemade kombucha is available through out the day as well as distilled and/or fresh coconut water.

Morning Movement is Hatha Yoga. I sat in the sauna and jumped on the giant trampoline for about 15 minutes after class. Both are good for draining the lymphatic system.

Raw food demo & Lunch: I had raw Tacos for lunch. After the demo of the benefits of raw food, we all got a chance to get our hands dirty and learn to prepare one component of building the raw taco.  I prepped romaine lettuce to be used as our taco shells.  That dish was so good, I almost licked the plate!  Delish!

Afternoon El Yunque Rainforest Hike. The hike was steep and wet. As we walked up the trail there were other visitors walking down. We had to be careful and coordinated as the path was narrow. The path seemed more alive with every step. It took almost 2 hours to reach our designated watchtower. Once there, the top was partially covered with cloud layer but the view was incredible.  Another 1.5 hours to get down.

The Agnihotra Ritual – When we returned home from the hike, we burned Agnihotra every night.Agonihotra is a mixture of cow manure, ghee and brown rice used as an offering.  It is believed that burning cow dung detoxifies the environment and the spirit.  The ash is believed to be a healing agent for all ailments. The smoke is dark and odorless. It creates a calming and healing effect.

Dinner is served:  Afteward, we could choose from a menu of marinated veggies (red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and broccoli), large salad with mung bean sprouts, tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, onions and dressing made from pureed grapefruit, mango, or stuffed red peppers with almond nut meat. Dessert was raw mango and banana pie. Delicious!

Evening: We would watch movies after dinner. One night we watched the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” about the dangers of consuming processed food. 

Late Night Snack was Kombucha, coconut water, fresh ginger tea or room temp distilled water after dinner as to not interfere with the body’s enzyme intake. 

I had an amazing 2-week stay. The information I gained, coupled with the healing practices I learned, will stay with me. I’ve been able to sustain more aspects of the raw vegan lifestyle than I expected to. I felt great and looked 5 years younger. I highly recommend it. If you need to jump-start, recharge or create your blueprint to optimum healing and wellness Paradise Wellness is a wonderful option.

Visit http://www.paradisewellnesspr.com for more information.