It seemed like a good idea at the time -killing at least several birds with one stone:

– shed some of the 7 pounds that I had gained in one short month, thanks to a disastrous double-whammy of delicious Malaysian fried food and irresistible all-you-can-eat buffets 3 times a day while I was giving a couple of presentations at El Nido Eco-Resort

– for the longer term, reboot my appetite out of “pigout” mode, and back into “disciplined”

– recoup my energy and equilibrium after several weeks on the road, gathering my resources in readiness for the US speaking tour (of which more details coming soon).

Is this normal?!

So when I Googled on “fasting retreats” and stumbled across Dharma Healing International in Thailand, it sounded just perfect. The blurb on the website was hitting all my hot spots – “renaissance…. philosophy…. self-empowerment…. holistic… spiritual transformation… freedom… higher focus… ecological sustainability… rejuvenated, vibrant and dedicated to live a healthy life”. So I clicked through and signed up to a “very thorough week of fasting, detox and cleansing”.

But now I am wondering what I have let myself in for. Although I have a strong masochistic streak – how else would I row oceans? – I also love my food. Yet for the coming week, my intake will consist of purified water, medicinal herbal teas of the day, lime water, fresh coconut water, veggie broth soup, and as a grande finale, a drink of Epsom salts with a chaser of extra-virgin olive oil.

Hillary, aged 60. Almost makes me believe this will be worth it...

And generally I prefer to take my coffee with plenty of steamed milk, a shot of caramel syrup, and ingested through my mouth, rather than laced with hydrogen peroxide and self-administered (ahem) up my butt.

Still, like many things that I wouldn’t have signed up to if I’d read all the small print first (e.g. rowing the Atlantic) this will hopefully prove to be thoroughly worthwhile, if not entirely enjoyable at the time.

Hillary is certainly a great advert for her therapies. We met yesterday afternoon for the first time, and she comes across as a vibrant, energetic, radiant 60-year-old, despite consuming fewer calories in a week than I would eat in a single El Nido buffet breakfast. She told me that in the first year after she moved from California to Thailand, she would spend 3 hours a day swimming, 2 hours practising yoga, and 6 hours studying Thai. It was then that I started to wonder if, despite appearances, she was actually entirely human – and just what I had let myself in for.

My bungalow

The fast starts tomorrow (Monday). Since I arrived on Friday night I have already started detoxing (after a perverse last-minute go-for-broke tox-toxing in Manila). I have been living on an admittedly delicious-while-ridiculously-healthy salad that Hillary kindly made for me yesterday, and a stash of Larabars that I have been lugging around Asia since I left Papua New Guinea. But shortly all that will be gone, and the fast will begin.

I dropped a crumb of Larabar on the floor today. By Friday I may be scrabbling around on all fours, trying to find it.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying some unexpected benefits of my new temporary home. I have a lovely little wooden cottage (or bungalow, as they call them in Thailand) right on the beach. With a super-fast wireless internet connection. Oh heaven! The first time I have had this luxury IN MY ROOM for more than an odd night here and there since I left the US in April. So the good news for me (and possibly the bad news for you) is that you will get to vicariously enjoy my fasting experience. Don’t worry – there will be no photos of the self-administered caffeine enemas.

View from the office

Other Stuff:

Before I left El Nido, I recorded a new podcast. We have an alternative to “Roz Rows” while I am on dry land. Co-hosted by Vic Phillipson, we are calling it “Roz Roams”. We are just sorting out the technical details with the guys at TWiT Cottage, but hopefully it will be going online soon. We chat about my adventures in time, space and ecology since finishing my solo row across the Pacific.

We’re having an auction of Pacific memorabilia – stuff that has crossed much of the Pacific on board my boat. All proceeds will go towards funding next year’s row across the Indian Ocean. Please check it out, and bid generously to buy a little bit of ocean rowing history!

There are now only 30 spots left on the California Climate Ride, and there are lots of fab prizes going to new recruits and top fundraisers. You could win a Solio solar charger, a cool New Belgium Cruiser bicycle, a 5-day trip to Glacier Park –  and loads more besides. And you could ride with Team Roz. What more could you possibly want?!

I spent much of today clearing a mega-backlog of admin and organisation emails. Couldn’t have wished for a nicer office – sitting on my porch looking out at the ocean. All I could have asked for was a nice cold beer… NO, DON’T THINK IT! YOU’RE FASTING!!! First the perfect honeymoon resort – on my own. And now the perfect porch for sundowners – with Epsom salts to drink. Life has a rich sense of irony….


  • Talk about extreme agony! What you have got yourself into this time! Good luck, and may you survive this self abuse intact!

  • Hey Roz,
    Congratulations for this decision 😉
    no, really, don`t worry about the piece of won`t miss it. Just hang on the first two days and then you will forget how it feels to be “hungry”…
    not to compare with eating less and yearning for yummy food again. Headaches are probably unavoidable, but won`t last long. There is much to be said for fasting. Not only to prevent diseases, also to collect our thoughts. I think everyone should try it once in a lifetime, it`s not so bad as it is…
    Good luck!

  • Ah Roz, you contiue to inspire us! Good luck, and if it works we’ll all be buying airline tickets to Thailand!

  • You’re gonna love it Roz. Fasting is a wonderful thing. As Cornelia said, you won’t feel hunger after about 2 days. And since you are already a very non-toxic person, you won’t have all the detox syndromes that most people go through the first few days. You will be fine.

    I’ve done the epson/oil thing before too, that’s when it really get interesting 🙂 But, it does what it’s supposed to do (liver flush), really well…


  • That dude’s physique is not normal or healthy. Fasting can be a good thing but a lot of anorexics use it as an excuse to practice their self torment. Fasting seems to be a normal part of the human experience, but most religious fasting lasts no longer than a few days to a week. Longer fasts are more akin to dietary restriction or modification. Humans have certainly survived for long periods of time on little or nothing to eat as a matter of necessity. This is not healthy. If they start talking to you about month long programs of extreme caloric restriction, then it’s time to run. There are a lot of wacky ideas out there and no shortage of people looking for money and followers.

  • What you going on a hunger strike for? I don’t know Roz but you one crazy yellow hair! Here is a thing, you cannot flush out your liver.

    Well have fun and rest up. I will not make any more fun of your adventures at the spa. Because, if I had a week to kill in Thailand, I’d be holed up in an opium den.

    Your pal Texino

  • Many doctors would say that this is rubbish: “Over years the toxic mucous gets harder and harder, becoming layers of rubberized matter or “mucoid plague” (and there can be over 20 or more lbs. in there!)” unless you are already dead.

    And hydrogen peroxide enemas can do more harm than good; it’s corrosive on dry skin and a lot worse taken internally unless diluted until it’s barely detectable. In any case, a healthy person does not need any treatment of this sort. Normal diet and exercise is enough to clear the body of “toxins” in about a week. There’s far too much pseudo-science peddling this sort of unnecessary treatment.

    You are the last person to need this sort of thing.


  • Since everyone is jumping in, and telling you what you should do with your body, I guess that I will too. 🙂 The benefits of fasting have been known for thousands of years, and go along with the findings that people who eat a more moderate diet generally live longer than gluttons. A book I like (“Wisdom from the Monastery: A Program of Spiritual Healing”, Peter Sewald, editor) spends the first third talking about the benefits of fasting, and is quick to point out that “fasting” means much more than just physical purging. In fact, the physical side of fasting is just a doorway into the possibly much more important aspects of purging ourselves of emotions and feelings that are no longer serving us well. And it might be interesting, during your fasting week in Thailand, to avail yourself of the opportunity to do some inner-work, and to see if there is anything emotional inside that can be cleaned out along with the physical refuse. I’m sure that you also know, that one of the more destructive things that humans can do is get on a path of overindulging and purging, bingeing and fasting. And that it is important to “slowly” reintroduce food (and people and emotions) into your body after a period of fasting. Used wisely, fasting (from food and people) can be an excellent tool of renewal, and I’m delighted to see that your instincts have guided you in this direction. Best wishes, for a new and improved Roz. Although I hasten to add that we already like you exactly the way you are. 🙂

  • Thank you, Richard. The spiritual and emotional sides of fasting are very high on the agenda here, so I am confident that I am in safe hands. The challenge, as you so rightly say, will be the re-emergence into the “real” world (although it doesn’t get any more real than the inner journey). I fly straight from here to a hectic 3 days in Hong Kong, with 3 presentations and an interview within 3 days. Hillary assures me that I will be feeling strong and well-prepared by then – only time will tell!

  • Richard, I always appreciate reading your posts, lyrical and otherwise. Today’s are especially enlightening. Too bad we missed getting together last month. Had a great time with the grandkids and creating daily Green Deeds at around their interests and activities. Amy, my son and I did manage to meet for brunch.

    Enjoy your week, Roz!

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