Raw Food: If it's good enough for Hugh Jackman....

This was the first assignment in a 12 year travel-writing career that I almost turned down. When I heard about the Fresh Start health retreat at the Ocean Resort on Vancouver Island, I had a vision of wafting along cedar-scented corridors in a cosy robe - from a massage to a facial to a leisurely steam or sauna. Maybe a glass of wine as the sun sets over the Pacific and a light healthy spa dinner of salmon and veggies.

Then I found out that I was headed for 5 days of juicing detox. No wine, no salmon, no tea, no coffee, nothing cooked and cosy - just juice. Juice and yoga and long walks along the ocean, and films on food and our civilization's chequered and troubled relationship with the subject. The directors of Fresh Start planned to spend a couple of days sorting out my liver, then a day on my stomach and another one on my joints and skin. (Oh, there is a sauna session where they bathe your feet in cedar-scented warm water so there's a promise of the usual spa pleasures but would it make up for the lack of food?)

"My liver is just fine, thank you very much," I told them as I secretly planned to have a non-existent aunt die on me and be forced to cancel my attendance.
"Think of it as an oil change," they replied. And despite myself I did. And it was an extraordinary experience. I'll post the link to my feature about the Fresh Start experience, and the conclusions I've come to, as soon as it's in print.

On the day I returned, the Globe and Mail ran a feature on raw food and informed us that Hugh Jackman transformed his gorgeous self into the magnficent hunk in "Wolverine" by changing to a raw, mainly green foods, diet. So there you are.

And the place was gorgeous - salmon were leaping out of the Pacific in front of my window, a resident eagle hovered above the nearby woods and the views of the mountains across the water are ceaselessly shifting and changing and are ceaselessly spectacular. I'll try to post a picture later today.