August 29 2014

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A New Generation of Superfoods at Amchara Detox


Amchara Detox

If you are going to take a week and eat your way to beauty, you might as well do it in one of the U.K.’s most unsung beauty spots—Somerset. Here, in Bindon Hall, an atmospheric thirteenth-century manor complete with a baroque interior and masterpiece staircase, is where the Amchara Detox takes place. On first blush, Amchara is like any other juice/raw food fast retreat, complete with self-colonics and gentle yoga. The difference is that it is headed up by husband-and-wife team Justin Williams and Karen Boyle, basically two Sherpas guiding their clients into a new generation of little-known superfoods—eviscerating everything we thought we knew before.

So yup, if you are still in a loop of wheatgrass or açai, it’s official: Those are so 2012. At Amchara, whether a juice fast or a raw-food menu is chosen, each “meal” is accompanied by superfood shots designed to make you beautiful starting from the inside. A chlorella shot is first, dubbed a “dream food” by the Carnegie Institute for its one-two punch of protein and essential acids. Known to reduce body fat with its powerhouse of antioxidant properties, it is equally hardworking on the skin and hair front. Then there is the incredible blue green algae, the king of fighting free radicals and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, with a too-good-to-be-true list of health and beauty benefits—Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that it can boost your immune system and has natural antiviral properties. Bringing up the rear is the mighty aloe ferox, nicknamed a “pharmacy in a plant.” This superfood is credited for preventing the formation of wrinkles, improving skin elasticity, aiding in skin regeneration, and being a natural immune-system booster. Take that, echinacea and raspberry ketones.

Amchara’s daily health lectures provide running commentary on superfoods we should all have stocked in our pantries. For example, who knew that barley grass has a dream list of proteins, iron, vitamin C, and calcium and has transformative effects on skin, hair, and nails? Or that chromium picolinate is excellent for warding off sugar and carb cravings. Maca root taken prior to training helps with endurance, and with its high level of calcium, it’s is a wonder food for women. In fact, with the weight falling off everywhere and clients’ blood sugar regulating itself, Amchara is adding a diabetes program, as type 2 diabetes and obesity are, according to the World Health Organization, major global epidemics.

A combination of all this, plus the colonics and infrared sauna, definitely beat the crap (so to speak) out of my lazy metabolic system—though it wasn’t easy to give up the coffee/bagel morning routine, never mind red wine. At week’s end, I was less elated with my eight-pound weight loss than I was with the fact that my skin looked like I spent the week in a derm’s office; my hair was glossy, Kardashian-style; and my eyes were clear and present. If there is a small negative side, it’s that, in the great hall, you may have to get past the ghost— a comforting, cute ghost in a form of a little girl, but a ghost, nonetheless. It is a thirteenth-century English manor, after all.

Amchara Health Retreat, Somerset, United Kingdom, +44 207-603-7744,