Detox Diary Part 1: You Are What You Eat

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“You’re going to detox…in Italy?” So said my friend Kerry, who owns one of my favorite restaurants, Seersucker, before I left. And it was Seersucker’s Instagram feed—a stream of buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, rice pudding, and other food-porn close-ups—that I desperately scrolled through at 4 AM on day 3 of the Henri Chenot detox plan. That was a low point. I’d had “pulga” for dessert that night, and if you think that’s Italian for some kind of tart, think again. It was a pile of white powder served in a glass goblet, very Scarface, delivered by a dapper gentleman with a “Bon appetite, Madame—good luck!” in the candlelit ballroom where I ate three meals a day by myself for a week between Christmas and New Year’s. I’d been served a hearty helping of laxatives like it was an ice cream sundae.

The Palace Merano, a five-star hotel housing the Espace Henri Chenot, is a wellness spa, medical spa, or detox center, depending on whom you ask, situated in the snowy South Tyrol region of Northern Italy. The destination—because that’s what it is, really—is the brainchild of wellness guru Henri Chenot, a serene seventy-year-old from Spain’s Basque country (a longtime student of Chinese medicine and psychology, he founded the Academy of Biontology, which studies the “evolution of psycho-physical ageing”), who, together with his wife Dominique, reside on a private floor of the Palace. L’Officiel’s Daphné Hezard originally tipped me off to Chenot; she had a transformative experience there around this time last year, and I’d been thinking of it ever since we spoke: this mythical, magical, very fancy place full of specialists (acupuncturists, nutritionists, and, yes, actual doctors) that dote on you around the clock. “I’m a Chenot addict,” she’d said. “I spent a week there alone for New Year’s. You have to stay a minimum of six days, you don’t eat too much—you eat 600 calories a day—you do some baths and some treatments all day long. For me, it’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time.” What’s not to like about that?

The airport pick-up alone was like something out of a James Bond movie: a salt-and-pepper-haired, impeccably suited Daniel Craig doppelgänger whisked me from the airport in Verona to Merano in a black Mercedes and deposited me at the Palace. Once in my room, I did what anyone would do: check the mini fridge. And this is when it dawned on me that I might have signed up for simultaneously the most luxurious and least fun trip ever, because in that fridge was nothing but a big, slightly chilled bottle of still water.

My “last supper” had been a cheeseburger, French fries, and a Stella Artois at Gallagher’s in the Newark airport, which wasn’t so much a final indulgence as a typical evening meal for me. I eat like a gourmet frat boy…Though Jennifer, the acupuncturist at Chenot, wouldn’t put it that way—she just said, “You’re terrible” after sitting in on my first meeting with a (horrified) staff nutritionist.

“Let’s talk about your day: what’s your typical breakfast like?” the nutritionist started. A grande mocha and a sausage-and-egg sandwich or a muffin from Starbucks.

“Lunch?” Maybe an Italian combo sandwich from Olives or creamy chicken pasta from Osteria Morini.

“Dinner?” Oh, anything: Steak frites, short ribs, pasta…dessert, always.

“Do you cook at home?” Never.

“Do you eat fruit?” Not really.

“Snacks?” Candy, or cookies. Partial to the Chipwich.

“Coffee?” Three or four cups a day, with half-and-half and sugar.

“Alcohol?” Probably two to three drinks a night.

“But you drink water throughout the day, right?” Yeah, not really. It’s so inconvenient to have to pee all the time.

I looked up at these two Italian ladies in lab coats and thought, Uh oh. I’m in trouble. “Okay, we have some work to do,” the nutritionist sighed. “The next few days are not going to be pleasant.”

First understatement of 2013. My detox began cold turkey, with fruit salad and herbal tea for breakfast. Americans seem to be terrified of fruit—"fruit is sugar!!!"—but Mr. Chenot and his wife, Dominique, who functions as the spa and kitchen manager (and radiates chic, by the way—Frédéric Malle’s Portrait of a Lady, more specifically), believe it to be the best way to begin the day. Lunch consisted of a grain, such as quinoa or barley, and vegetables. Dinner, when we were lucky, might have been rice spaghetti or fish. No coffee, no alcohol, no wheat flour, no dairy. No snacks. Lots of lemon water. Even the hotel bar was dry, filled instead with herbal and green teas of every origin and flavor profile—and when you’re eating pretty much the same thing for a week straight, variety, even in your tea, is the stuff dreams are made of.

Everything with Chenot, and at Chenot, is about what you’re putting in your body, and how you’re doing it. To “detox” is allow your body to eliminate toxins, all the junk that builds up from what we eat and how we live (yes, stress creates toxins, which is why my Chenot-assigned doctor, Silvano, prescribed me “sport” aka some kind of cardiovascular activity and instructed that I practice “turning off the mind!”) The Chenots are big on Chinese medicine—it’s the cornerstone of their practice—and believe that a buildup of toxins contribute to all sorts of illnesses and malaise. And, according to everyone there, to reset the body, you have to begin by resetting your relationship with food. Why do you eat the way you eat? Time? Money? Pleasure? I operate, food-wise, on a primarily grab-and-go basis, something that Mr. Chenot—who chews his food slowly and takes a nap every day after lunch—does not tolerate (he also rolls his eyes at the quick-fix juice-cleanse craze).

“But, I can’t take an hour for a homemade, sit-down lunch,” I told him.

“You must,” he said. “This is important. You are young now, but if you continue to eat this way, you will have problems later. What is more important than your health?”

Well, at twenty-seven years old? Eating really tasty food is up there (I had nothing but time to think). I eat a hurried breakfast, get whatever’s convenient for lunch, and go all-out for dinner. New York City is a dinner society—think of how many restaurants are in a single block. You can have dinner with a different friend at a different restaurant every day of the week—and we’ll start with bread, butter, and a martini, please. The fact that, thanks to favorable genetics, I can eat and drink mostly everything and still stay on the slim side is a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s all good going down, but, as my doctor concurred after scanning my blood work, I already have high cholesterol and a pretty damn good chance of developing diabetes. I also have a vitamin D deficiency and I’m about as dehydrated as a strip of beef jerky. Happy New Year, Emily!

No, it’s not fun to hear bad-ish news (and that “the party’s over”) from several people while you’re hungry and irritable and alone at a hotel, shuffling through the halls in a terrycloth bathrobe, clutching your ginger tea like it’s liquid gold. I tried, for a little while, to think of myself as Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love. On the third night, I Skype-ed Nick for solidarity, and he proceeded to do an on-air, slow-mo performance of himself eating a Tate’s chocolate-chip cookie, which would normally make me laugh but in this case made me want to throw my computer against a wall. Alas, I was too weak to do even that. When the body isn’t working on breaking down and assimilating food, it works on repairing itself, and what’s funny is that this can actually hurt: my hips were sore one morning, my lower back, another. “You’re eliminating the toxins,” my new best friend, Jennifer, the acupuncturist, explained, sending electro-currents into pressure points in my foot. “Everything is connected—your lower back, from the waist down, is kidneys, gall bladder, stomach.”

“Well, good,” I said. “At least I know it’s working. Hang on, gotta pee.”

Fast forward to day 5: I open my eyes and sort of float out of bed (not just because I’m two kilos lighter). I’m not groggy, and in fact…what’s that I feel? Could it be…natural energy? I skip downstairs for breakfast and slowly chew the slices of kiwi, knowing that it’s good for my intestines. My mouth waters like I’m biting into a chocolate croissant. (Note: this in no way means I still wouldn’t have given my right arm for a chocolate croissant.) At lunch, I nibble on a protein-packed lentil salad and think: Instead of chicken? Not so bad. I nearly gasped when a gorgeous fillet of sole came for dinner, standing up with my iPhone to take a snap like a proud new mom. (“Swimming” sea creatures are better for you than “walking” sea creatures, my doctor told me, and I’m supposed to eat fish three times a week.) I wasn’t really hungry all day…just steadily sort of buzzing. No highs, no lows, no dips. No cravings.

The next morning, lying on Jennifer’s acupuncture table, I was a regular chatterbox. I can’t believe how much energy I feel! Granted, I’d had a green tea, and you know you’re properly cleansed when green tea makes you feel like you’re on speed. “I think you’re kind of getting it,” she grinned. Getting what? “That you are what you eat. If you eat shit, you feel like shit. If you’re putting dead things in your body, things like these pastries, these processed foods, what can your body do with it? Nothing. You’re not feeding yourself, you’re just…eating.” I knowww, but eating can be so much fun. “But so can feeling more alive.”

And so it was that I had to travel to another continent to not only learn but actually feel what everybody tells you all your goddamn life: to exercise, and take some time to think about what you’re putting in your body. Eat mindfully, but don’t become fanatical, and don’t do the fad diet thing. My 2013 resolution is: everything in moderation. After all, Mr. Chenot has one espresso and one glass of red wine a day.

—Emily Weiss

[Ed. note: Emily's program and diet was overseen by a medical doctor. Given its extreme nature, we don't recommend, and in fact discourage, anyone try any of this at home (even if you have a tea room, colonic machines, or seaweed mud at your disposal).]

Emily Weiss in Merano, Italy. Accommodations provided by Espace Henri Chenot, thank God, because otherwise it would have been hella expensive.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Carolyn

    Em, is it ok I call you Em? You look amazing! Your skin is glowing, your smile says it all. You are what you eat. You have found the fountain of youth! Over the last year I've made some significant changes to my diet, and wallah, my skin is banging! Congrats to your NEW good self!

  • Nat

    thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/catfishcaviar Drew Elizabeth

    oh my! I absolutely loved reading this post. This is something I can only dream of doing. But instead will need to do a cleanse at home bc this girl is on a budget! What an awesome experience and read. Thanks for this!

  • Paola

    being Italian, I probably have been eating much better than an average girl from Northern Europe or USA
    I fell off my chair when you wrote that fruit is not good for americans, because fruit means sugar! fruit is good food, and that's it!
    first of all, I must show you all my admiration: how can you look that gorgeous while eating that stuff?!?
    but then, seriously: I am happy for you that you understood such an important thing while you are still largely on time
    you must (sorry if i dare say that you must do anything), you really must learn to shop for fresh, organic and as much local as possible fruit and vegetable; and then cook them at home and take them for your lunch. Then you can go to dinner and enjoy yourself. But at least one healthy meal a day, that's simply necessary!

    Another advice: come to Italy more often!

    Baci, a presto
    Paola

    • S. Lang

      I like your post. Just want to say that it is actually not true that Americans do not eat fruit. Usually those people from lower social-economic status do not mind eating fast food because it is cheap. But. other people, especially those from higher SE status are all about organic food and looking good. :) This has nothing to do with Emily who looks fabulous, and I, somehow, do not believe that she eats unhealthy food. :)

      • Pixel_Queen

        It isn't that people from a "lower" socio economic status don't mind bad food, it's that such food is often all that is available or affordable. Google "food desert." I volunteer with a program that helps bring farmers markets and fresh produce to under served (or unserved) urban areas. When the produce is available, the people enjoy it. What many poor people eat they eat of necessity, not choice. Please don't confuse the two.

    • Paola

      I know, I know that lot of americans do eat well. That's why I said to go out, get fresh food and process it at home. It's the only way to control what you eat. No need to make complicated dishes, I believe the simplest the better. It's lovely to eat out with friends. But one cannot do it three meals a day!

  • kitchen afternoon

    va bene! best detox I ever did was near Menton, France, It makes it easier to go back to on rainy weekends at home.

  • http://twitter.com/MsDenbi Denisse

    This is a great post. My mom has been on that sort of mind set for years now, and has been trying to show me the light...but I'm always lazy and weak! But this year is the year of actually making things happen. Thanks for the inspiration, now I'm going to go brew some tea!

  • maiastras

    Emily, thank you for the post! I always enjoy reading the articles you write.

    How lucky you are to have experienced the treatment! After Daphné Hezard's Top Shelf, I was quite curious about the Henri Chenot regime.

    I'm from Korea where doctors specializing in acupuncture and herbal medicine go through the same rigorous professional programs as doctors of Western medicine, so it's nice to see that the benefits of these treatments are being appreciated and understood in another cultural context.

    As for the healthy eating...I'd have to admit that once I came to America as a student I started to experience health problems that I'd never had while living in Korea and Japan. I always have to be careful that I'm not eating too much wheat (either in the form of artisanal breads or brews), and that I'm getting a plentiful serving of vegetables like I used to back home. As for meat - I know you should avoid them during a serious detox- I think that good quality beef helps to maintain a certain degree of moisture in your skin thanks to the fat. Unfortunately this means that I end up spending a lot more money on food if I want to eat in an ideal way, which is not helpful when my school happens to be in one of the more expensive neighborhoods on the East Coast. Sometimes I wish that a Texan supermarket selling 10 limes or a huge papaya for 99cents would be a bike ride away from me.

    Anyways, it looks like you're looking and feeling fabulous, and I hope that all of us can aspire to maintaining a moderate dose of detox from time to time!

  • http://twitter.com/Occhineri23 Suzanne

    This kind of elimination detox really works well at allowing you to reset your body and get rid of cravings, but it's difficult transitioning back into your regular life. I've always been thin and could eat anything I wanted until a couple of years ago; at 41, everything changed. I'm still "slender," but I weigh about 10 pounds more than I'd like. I recently cut all refined sugar/desserts (grrr!) from my diet, and while it's no fun, I know it's much healthier. I'm not going to do it forever, but I know I need to give my body a break.

  • Lipssofacto

    Loved reading this...but it does sound rather intese. I think I'll be sticking with James Duigan's Bodyism for the forseeable and avoiding glasses of laxatives. Yikes.

  • Karen

    Thank you so much - I LOVED your write up of this! I am older than you, and finally getting it. Eating like a college student is not good at all, and my body is sick of it. I am going to print your story up and post it on my refrigerator!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gwen.bierbower Gwen Bierbower

    Emily, can you tell us the lipstick you have on? It is gorg!!!

  • VintageObserver

    If your pocket is feeling light, why not follow Leonard Cohen's example and spend a week at a monastery or convent. Buddhist in his case. At least there's a slight chance you might corrupt a nun, because the nutritionist will be unrelenting.

  • Kerry

    We'll have the kale salad and the cauliflower entree next time you visit!

  • Erica

    That sounds absolutely difficult but amazing! I would love to go to one of those, sometime! One thing that turns me off is not the 600 calories per day, but how Daphne mentioned the blood tests--- I'm not good with that!!

    But I think this is inspiration just to be a bit more healthy in our everyday lives.

  • http://www.happyhoneylark.blogspot.com Kallie, Happy Honey & Lark

    I was raised to eat like this, but I have to say after my french fry and beer fueled college years and a year of the gross chemicals in Accutane this retreat sounds incredible!
    I'm really curious about the sport part, did you have to go to a gym or was it something cool?

  • Sasha

    Emily, I was so distracted by your gorgeous lipstick that I haven't even read the accompanying text yet, I just had to comment to ask what it is!

    xx
    S

    • IntoTheGloss

      Hi Sasha, Gwen, Marsi-- the lipstick is good ol' Ruby Woo by MAC. Can't go wrong. xE

      • Maria

        Emily maybe its the photo but it looks much more fuschia than Ruby Woo! :)

  • Pim

    I must differ with you Emily when you said that fruits are not good for Americans. Working at a grocery store, I know that fruits are in 1:2 of every customer's cart. There are many many many americans who buys pounds of fruits every other day, every week or just a few fruits a day. On the other hand, I am super grateful for you sharing your detox at Chenot's with us. Who says healthy eating isn't tasteful?

  • Marsi

    Lipstick??

  • http://www.thesparkle.net/ erin

    this is awesome, emily! it's tough, but necessary... i say this in the middle of a juice cleanse. good luck with your new outlook! x

  • http://reddysteadygo.tumblr.com/ Sindhu R.

    Looking GORGEOUS as always. I wanted to totally write this off, "detox retreat in italy"? Whatever! I eat okay and exercise okay and am gifted with pretty easy to manage skin and a petite frame but the importance you give to feeling good, having natural energy and changing your relationship to food made this not only a post worth reading but remembering!

  • Lili

    Well my Spanish mother is 80, looks incredible (she was a Bardot lookalike in her time and looks like she's 60) and has no ailments - which I put down to her daily coffee and wine, eating well (which in her book means delicious over 'healthy' - ie foie gras not green juice), swimming and drinking lots of water AND a life long love of Clarins and posh products! Oh - and she doesn't stress about stuff - she just loves a party! I hugely intend to follow her lessons.. so serums and champagne for me!

  • Rose_luve

    Emily I can't believe that you actually eat all the unhealthy things you claim to....unless you eat literally a half bite of everything. No way you can chow full size portions of garbage like that and stay rail thin!

  • Esme

    I usually love Into the Gloss, but this article really turned me off. The "energy" Emily felt after a week of starvation sounds like the giddiness I used to experience when I, too, was eating 600 calories a day--because I was anorexic, not because I was "detoxing." I'm all for cutting down on refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods, but spending thousands of dollars to starve myself is completely unappealing. I realize that it's only for a week, but even so, it seems extreme.

    (That said, I'm as eager as the next makeup junkie to learn the name of that stunning red lipstick.)

    • CC

      This. Thank you. There is a difference between detoxing and starvation that people seriously need to realize. It's an unnecessary extreme that probably won't have positive effects on your body.

    • Noelle

      100% agree. I love ITG but this is a little unnerving.

      I, like Emily, am naturally slim. However, I eat right, stay active, and down water on a daily basis. I learned this from learning to appreciate myself. Green tea makes me feel energized and cleansed, now. But when I was starving myself and dealing with a full blown eating disorder, it totally made me fee like I was "on speed." Hmm... maybe that was because there was hardly anything else in my body? It's not about a cleanse....it's about a lifestyle and what you're putting (or not putting) into your body. I'd like to know how many people try these things and then go back to their normal lifestyles 2 weeks later. I'm not bashing the idea of detoxing, but paying $$$ amount of dollars to learn something so basic is sort of silly. Then again, so is consuming 600 calories a day. Been there, done that, and grew the hell up.

      • IntoTheGloss

        Hi guys--you're totally right, it's not rocket science that 600 calories a day is way low. The portions at Chenot are purposefully very small as it is a (doctor & specialist-monitored) detox for a designated (short) period of time; once you're "back to reality" you are meant to eat normal portions of good quality food. Obviously that can be easier said that done, and plenty of people (myself included…in the past!) come off of an “extreme” diet, detox, what have you, and run to the nearest bakery. Could I have made subtle, simple changes to my eating habits, without going all the way to Italy? Sure. I’d also like to learn French, rearrange my apartment, and go to the gym five days a week. Sometimes you just need a kick in the pants. I wanted to check this place out after hearing so much about it (it was also Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice for #1 medical, thermal & natural spa in 2012)—it’s in the beauty realm, after all, and you guys should know by now that I try everything and dutifully report back—and it especially made sense given how irresponsible my eating habits had become. My choices are different now: last night back in NYC I scarfed down branzino with spinach, polenta (closest thing to pasta!) with mushrooms, a big salad, and dark chocolate and was a member of the “clean plate club.” First time I've ordered fish, and not meat, at a restaurant in...forever? As with any New Year’s resolution, we’ll see how much of this sticks. But hey, knowledge is power, right? And a seven-day crash course in your own body’s needs isn’t something you soon forget. xE

        • Esme

          Thanks for explaining. Your willingness to try everything is one of the reasons I love ITG, and you certainly know better than I do what your body needed at the time. I just wish your article had acknowledged that a 600-calorie diet (plus laxatives for dessert) is risky for many people, even if it's only for a week and supervised by doctors. And I still wonder if your "float[ing] out of bed" wasn't the result of extreme hunger, not "natural energy." But I respect your choices and congratulate you on a better diet--thanks again for taking the time to elaborate on your points.

        • http://twitter.com/essiebabe1992 sarah liz

          I agree sometimes you need the push. 600 calories a day for only a week is NOT A BIG DEAL. I can guarantee that when i'm sick with a cold I don't even get near that 600 cal. mark. I couldn't imagine someone being reprimanded for not eating when sick yet when they do it to detox it's a huge deal.

      • claire

        Not to sound ignorant, but where did your eating disorder stem from if you were already "naturally slim"

        • Rachel

          The formation of an eating disorder often has absolutely nothing to do with that person's actual size... their perception of their appearance can be warped, making them unable to be satisfied with themselves at any weight. Control is another big factor.

    • Day of The Pancakes

      2nd this. 600 seems a dangerously low calorie amount (I realise it won't hurt the average person) - The mentality of why you eat is important, but it doesn't sound like they are teaching realistic eating portions either - that would be good so people would know what were healthy but realistic portions for an active lifestyle. They could have easily have healthily given her more calories in the form of more vegetables or eggs (in Emily's case, maybe just whites, as she has high cholesterol already). I would have thought an egg white omelette in the morning made with chopped vegetables, herbal tea, green juice or smoothie and even a slice of ezekiel bread spread with coconut oil or drizzled with hemp seed oil would be much more filling and healthy! Quinoa and veg for lunch is fine, but what about lean chicken or turkey with it (if it seems bland, season first with a bit of olive oil, garlic and herbs)? and certainly more veg with dinner than is shown, although the fish looks wonderful! If you can cut excess caffeine, sugar, and snack on unsalted nuts/fruit/veg with hummus, combined with water and herbal tea throughout the day and healthy but good meals, that's most of the battle there - then you don't have to worry about treating sometimes (I tend to do a 5/2 diet - sensible and healthy for good energy during the week and then if I want, make more indulgent stuff at the weekend. I also try to limit coffee to one good strong one in the am, and tend not to drink on weekdays anyway - and I am by NO means a fitness/health fanatic and would never do stuff like juice only detoxes, so anyone can do it!)

  • Ellen

    Wonderful post!

  • Phoebe

    "When the body isn’t working on breaking down and assimilating food, it works on repairing itself [...]" How is this not a fad diet?

    • IntoTheGloss

      Your body & your skin, so I've been told, repair themselves overnight as you sleep. That's why it's best to eat a lighter dinner (and go big at breakfast and lunch) and not go to sleep stuffed...something I was doing a LOT. That being said, as you all know, I'm merely a beauty aficionado, not a nutritionist or a doctor. xE

  • BombShell David

    yo gurl, whats your instagram?

    • IntoTheGloss

      yo dewd. @emilywweiss

  • MeganElizabeth

    Emily I so agree, at 27 I had the same epiphany and cleaned up my eating. I am so pleased ITG is covering this. It's just about preparation - going shopping and packing food. I work all day in publishing so know how tempting it is to just eat whatever while you work on a deadline. 2 years on a typical day consists of fruit and natural fat free yoghurt, salad with salmon or chicken / soup, home cooked dinner and some excercise. I cook lots of Asian inspired food at home - so fresh and tasty and ditch the rice. My snacks are nuts, apples and WATER 2 litres minimum. I also see an accupunturist twice montly. My whole body thanks me for it. I am not millitant about all of this, I just try and be good to myself 80% of the time. Keep it up xx

  • theNarcissist

    That place sounds horrible but also great at the same time...I do like your resolutions - not over the top, not too hard to maintain - you have inspired me to adopt them as my own! That is, after I scarf this pizza and drink this champagne!!

    http://www.the-narcissist.com

  • Kat

    Emily, you are gorgeous. Love your honesty, and love that youre going to treat your body better!

  • Em

    pseudoscience. anorexia.

  • LARITUSSE

    I vividly remember when I visited Italy is how everyone buys food for the DAY. Fresh ingredients to last you till the next day. I've adopted that most of the time in my life and it has made any cleanse i do not a traumatic experience (except that ONE time, when I made the switch to being a vegetarian).

    Everything is better in moderation, including detox programs and juice cleanses.

  • Chesley

    Emily, can you explain more of Chenot's thoughts on juice cleanses? For those of us who can't do his kind of detox, can they be a good way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle?

  • Lori Santos

    You look gorgeous!

  • Rebecca

    Truthfully, I was shocked to hear your "normal" diet. To run well a body needs quality food. Indulging is also important, but it should only be something that gives you great pleasure (Haagen Dazs- yumm) not a processed chocolate bar just to contain your hunger. Also, it isn't an indulgence if you eat it everyday.

  • kate

    Doctors will tell everyone they are vitamin D deficient. They need to reassess the levels that fall into the 'normal' range because they are all out my dietician and doctors tell me. It is of no threat and I wouldn't worry about it, eat your greens and some sunshine each day is all you need.
    Also I agree with Esme, I suffer from anorexia and this 'detox' sounds more like the daily chants my head yells out to me. chew your food, slowly, savor each bite, dont drink, restrict, food is bad, you are bad, carbs will make you fat, fat will make you fat, air will make you fat. You don't need to change your whole eating, when you get back to life i.e. not those sterile quarters you will realize how unrealistic this is, food is meant to be enjoyed, its a social thing, its having drinks with friends and a decadent meal because you can, you can worry about healthy eating (or in this case, hardly eating at all) when you are dead! live now while you can. If it's really bothering you cut down on portion sizes and limit the amount of take out you have, instead opt for fresher foods and drink more water on top of what you have to balance it out. etc.etc. trust me, 4 years of seeing doctors and dietitian has taught me that all of this detox, juicing and diet stuff is utter bull crap if you want the truth and whats best for not just your body but your MIND, feel free to talk to me, or any other person thats suffered because countless appointments has to teach you something.
    I could go on, but I won't.

    Thank you for this article although I hope readers can understand the difference between disorder and detox, its a thin line and its often mistaken.
    Enjoy yourself, stay healthy and LIVE LIFE.

    xxx kate

  • Madison

    Really enjoyed this piece. A group of friends and I have started a no processed sugar challenge for the month of January. We're basically staying away from all sorts of crap - cookies, cakes, ice cream, beer, sugary alcoholic drinks and all the things that are fun in life! It's been a challenge but it's forced me to consider what I'm putting into my body, I already feel better. I've even gone so far as to avoid putting sugar in my morning latte. Developing a healthy exersice routine has also been added to my own personal challenge, which helps me feel better every day :) I also love going to my local YMCA, so that also helps. Additionally I've scheduled a New Year facial for Saturday at Eve in the West Village - their esthetician's rock and I highly reccomend as it's on the affordable side.
    Love the blog, love learning new ways to improve my sense of confidence and love for my personal health. I can't even mention how many times I've shared articles, products and tips I've learned from you guys!
    Stay beautiful & wonderful

  • emily doyle

    Well done Emily! I appreciate your sharing your experience. I am interested if they got into what you put ON your body in addition to what you put IN your body (the 'you are what you eat' sentiment)? Cheers!

  • Lindsay Sue

    I had to stop reading when you described your lunches at Olives. Oh how I miss those special sandwiches... #imissworkinginsoho #nofoodinchelsea #whaa

  • Pixel_Queen

    I've been too sick to log on to ITG for a while and, apparently, that's a good thing. Emily, I'm a big fan of your blog so it pains me to say that I find this post flat-out offensive. I get that you are wealthy and that at twenty seven you live a life that is beyond what many of us can imagine even when we've worked hard for longer than you have been alive. OK. Luck of the draw. Onward. But this article is just too much. 600 calories? Laxatives? Dinner in restaurants every night of the week? Italian spas on someone else's dime? No. Just. No. Maybe you could have used your holiday in service to the victims of Sandy. Or just stayed home with a good book. Or learned how to cook something at home. Or enjoyed the beautiful food and culture that Italy has to offer.I don't know. But what you've written here just makes me feel sad.

    • Ona_in_Barcelona

      Could you articulate why this detox retreat makes you feel so sad? I get that it's perhaps not the most altruistic use of Emily's time, but then most holidays aren't.
      The way I see it, she was offered a stay, she took it, and in so doing she learned some MUCH-needed lessons about her health and eating habits. She's quite frank about the position she was in and what she hopes to achieve. I don't really see how this is so offensive?

  • truth & beauty

    When I was 27 my stomach was flat and I ate and drank like a frat boy. Metabolisms slow, the rich stay skinny and NYers continue to explain to the rest of the world about food quality. Moving on...

  • http://twitter.com/JosephSlaich Josef Šlaich

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing your experience EM! xxJS

  • Annie

    Itay - what a great place to detox! The food there is of such better quality than what we have here in the US. A few years ago I was lucky enough to live in Rome for about six weeks. While there, I lived in a very working class neighborhood and as I had very little money, I avoided eating out and shopped at the local supermarket. Even though I ate mostly bread, tomatoes, olive oil, and cheese, I came back to New York healthier and about 7 pounds lighter because I had eaten nary a pesticide or preservative in so long. I was told that Rome regulates where food can come from very heavily, so about 95% of what I ate had originated within fifty miles of the city. Obviously this can be done in the US, but it takes much more effort and money. Such a different way of living!

    PS. My favorite food moment came when I was squeezing a baguette in the supermarket. The bread guy came over and said "Caldo?" I nodded, and he proceeded to open a door that lead to a giant oven, from which he removed a fresh baguette for me. And this was in the equivalent of a Key Foods....

  • Kristine

    I love Into the Gloss, the playfulness of it, its whimsy, and, because of its balance of lightheartedness and seriousness, its power in strengthening a woman's self sense of self. I have even shared Into the Gloss with my female students because of the diversity of the men and women featured here. However, I do feel that it's necessary for me to add my voice here. The writing here sounds much too similar to literature written about women with anorexia and the descriptions of giddiness, like the highs described by people who struggled with eating disorders. I'm not suggesting, of course, that you have an eating order -- not at all. Rather, unlike reading about make-up, skin-care products, nailpolish, or Epsom salts, which can be washed off, posting something on a beauty site about this kind of detox (detox different from, say, having a vegetables and quinoa dinner after a lunch at a Brazilian barbecue or green tea with your dessert). Full-disclosure: I love Sephora; I love Restaurant Week almost as much as I love Christmas, and I also love that I can pull most clothes off the racks at Zara. I read Bon Apetit and Elle, and, with my closest friends, I'll make the occasional off-colored joke (e.g. "Bulimia is a waste of money.) However, I'm also a teacher and an older sister of a teenager and I recognize that there's a paucity of good, empowering stuff about beauty, good-old fashioned, sitting-in-front-of-the-mirror beauty, and ITG provided that. Though I appreciate the penultimate paragraph and the Editor's note, this post still makes me uncomfortable and a little sad as well. ITG is an awesome website because, aside from talking about beauty, it also makes women feel beautiful. This post, I felt, did neither.

  • samantha chan

    I really enjoyed reading this!:)

  • LGandaB

    I am a very regular "detoxer". In fact, I just wrapped up a three-week detox. Typical breakfast? Gluten-free, unsweetened cereal with a sliced banana and soy milk. Snack? Plain rice crackers with homemade roasted-garlic hummus. Lunch? How about a gluten-free veggie burger (made with black beans, g/f breadcrumbs, grated carrots, flax "eggs", oats, parsley, etc. and baked) on a bed of lettuce, topped with grilled red onion, roasted red pepper and homemade cilantro pesto? Snack? Apple with almond butter. Dinner? A soup of wild rice, white beans and vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, etc.) made "creamy" with pureed silken tofu. Throughout the day I drink tons of water and also a few mugs of green tea, and I start and end each day with hot water mixed with honey and fresh lemon juice. Do I believe it eliminates toxins? Absolutely NOT. However, it completely re-sets my palate (after three weeks my biggest craving is never for ice cream or coffee... it's for balsamic vinegar for my salad dressing!) and boosts my energy to the point where I'm waking up at 5:00 am and jumping out bed, excited to start my day. Also, for some reason it makes me want to clean my entire house... I guess I can't eat clean if I'm surrounded by mess! Would I EVER advise eating 600 calories a day? NO WAY. Would I recommend cutting out foods that are known to cause sensitivities and/or have few health benefits? Absolutely.

  • Ebru

    Emily, did you like "Portrait of a Lady"? I adore it and am considering making it a signature scent - would be great to hear the "audience" response :)

  • http://www.myethosspa.com/ Olivia Jacob

    The Palace Merano is a great place for detoxifying the body and mind, it is an old palace but completely redone, i stayed there in a junor suite for three days.

  • ni ni

    Almost considered skipping a semester at uni and going and doing this instead. Definitely better value and cheaper.

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