Crystal at the River Angelito in El Yunque Rainforest, PR
by Crystal Whaley
I have to admit, I’m not new to cleansing or detoxing. I’ve always been aware of its importance. I had been over indulging and not taking the best care of myself and knew I needed a give my body some TLC immediately. I’ve been curious about raw and living foods for a while. I wanted to explore experiencing a raw vegan summer and more importantly I wanted to gage how my body would feel after the cleanse. I approached the cleanse as an experiment with the best possible results.
I couldn’t wait to go to Paradise Wellness especially after finding out that is was owned by a black woman! In Puerto Rico? What? Bonus! I had to go ASAP!
The raw and living food retreat at 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 feasting you also get yoga, massage, nature and eco adventures, swimming and lounging on the beach, horseback riding and hiking in the rainforest ~ a two for one vacation!
I wasn’t tired or hungry. The food was delicious. I damn near wanted to lick the plate with some dishes. 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.
Here’s a snapshot of a typical day during the retreat.
The retreat site was on the residential side of El Yunque Rain Forest. A winding uphill road deep in the forest filled with bamboo and fruit trees, birds, flowers, singing frogs, lush, green and new. Tropical rains and singing insects lulled me to sleep nightly. A symphony I looked forward to, paradise indeed.
Morning: Wake up and *oil-pull for 10min and then do my self practice (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 8am
Breakfast is a green smoothie (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 15min after class. Both are good for draining the lymphatic system.
Raw food demo & Lunch: Raw Tacos. After the demo, 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 I wanted to lick the plate and almost did! 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 hour to get down.
When we retuned home we burned Agnihotra as we did every night since arriving.
The Agnihotra Ritual – Agonihotra is a mixture of cow manure, ghee and brown rice used as an offering. It is believed the burning of the 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: On the menu: 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, Stuffed red peppers with almond nut meat. Desert: Raw mango and banana pie. Delicious!
Late Snack: Kombucha, coconut water, fresh ginger tea or room temp distilled water after dinner as to not interfere with the body’s enzyme intake.
Evening: Movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”
*Oil pulling is 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.
Visit http://www.paradisewellnesspr.com for more information.
Crystal Whaley is a multiple Emmy award winning, and Peabody nominated creative producer, specializing in feature films, episodic TV, documentaries, commercials, music videos and children’s television. She’s a former producer for Sesame Workshop, former executive producer of Free Spirit Films Inc. and
former Senior Director of Video Production for award winning, Arista/BMG
She’s produced nationally syndicated and Peabody nominated documentaries for PBS and The Learning Channel. Currently, she inked a first look deal with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp through her company, Pixel Media Inc. she co-founded.
She’s also a contributing editor, writer and photographer for Ebony Magazine, Ebony.com, Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan Magazines.
A member of the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, and Los Angeles native, Crystal holds a Journalism degree from Howard University and a Film Production Certificate from New York University.