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Relax, Renew and Eat Raw at Raw Food Retreats

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Spas, long known for relaxing retreats and invigorating interludes, are often at the forefront of health, wellness and exercis.

Spas, long known for relaxing retreats and invigorating interludes, are often at the forefront of health, wellness and exercise. Some spas are now embracing the health food sub-culture by incorporating an ultra-chic vegetarian diet trend consisting only of raw food, also known as "living food." Various medical journals substantiate claims that raw food diets have significant health and wellness benefits, from increasing energy and weight loss to disease prevention and minimizing the degenerative conditions of aging.

One such study in the Southern Medical Journal examined the effects of a raw food diet on patients suffering from obesity and hypertension. Following a diet composed mostly of raw food, study subjects lost weight and reduced hypertension. Additionally, many of those who drank alcohol or smoked suddenly ceased to continue their bad habits. Because raw food has proven itself worthy of considerable praise, several spa retreats have recently gotten in on the action, merging raw food with relaxation and luxury. These spas serve up one-day, weekend and week-long retreat packages complete with luxurious living quarters, spa treatments, physical activities and, of course, sumptuous servings of raw food. Could there be a better way to commence a new healthy lifestyle?

Milagro Retreats, Vancouver Island and Bowen Island

Milagro Retreats is the perfect stepping stone into raw-foodism. Their wholistic retreats are anything but rustic as guests are immersed in a world of nurture, nature and bliss on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Organic and vegetarian meals (which include extensive raw food selections), heavenly body treatments and intimate accommodations provide a comfortable environment geared towards the unique exploration of movement, food and self, dissolving boundaries, enhancing awareness and encouraging rejuvenation, restoration and balance of body, mind and spirit. Guests relax, renew and eat raw at Milagro Retreats. Website: milagroretreats.com.

Cedar Springs, Sedro Woolley, Washington

Cedar Springs is located on a secluded 50-acre farm. People stay for a week or more to renew mind, body and spirit. The program is a week-long Sunday through Saturday experience. Participants experience an intensive cleansing program that includes live foods and raw fruit and vegetable juices. In addition to food preparation classes, spiritual and emotional components are taught. For information and a view of the farm, visit our Website at cedarsprings.org.

Spirit of the Earth, "The Living Centre," London, Ont.

Spirit of the Earth, "The Living Centre" in London, Ont., is a sanctuary dedicated to conscious living. Guests from far and wide retreat to this healing haven seeking everything from rest and relaxation to mind and body cleansing for purposes of dealing with life-threatening illnesses. While The Living Centre adopts the living food approach, the retreat is more about the living food lifestyle that has the potential to physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually change one's life for the better. Through the use of Ayurvedic nutritional consultation, movement classes, body reflexology, lifestyle counselling, meditation and swimming, guests are given the tools to empower their lives, clear their minds, increase energy and experience inner peace. Set on 50 acres of energetically alive land, The Living Centre is a safe space to be yourself, explore your inner landscape, laugh, cry, rejuvenate, eat raw and discover ways of living that will enhance your whole life. Website: thelivingcentre.com.

New Life Retreat, Lanark Highlands, Ont.

A 1,000 foot-long driveway leads you to a place of such overwhelming peace and quiet that it seems as though someone turned off the noise and filled the air with happiness. Set on a 100-acre eco-organic farm in the heart of Ontario's Lanark Highlands, your destination is called New Life Retreat. This living food bed and breakfast is the definition of rustic luxury, perfectly appointed with soothing colours selected by a feng shui consultant, beautiful pine wood floors and all the modern comforts of home. The wholistic approach at New Life Retreat supports the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of renewal and healing through the integration of a living foods diet, exercise (bike riding, kayaking, swimming and hiking), education, spa treatments, meditation and nature. By the end of your retreat, you will find your mind and body rested, re-centered and ready to conquer the world. Web site: newliferetreat.com.

Nonpareil, Stirling, Ont.

Ready to really detoxify and cleanse your body, mind and spirit? Nonpareil, specializing in organic, raw juice detoxification and cleansing programs, along with yoga, stress management, exercise and spa treatments, helps guests remove mental blocks, melt away stress and realize their potential in life. Years of an unhealthy diet and too much stress have wreaked havoc on our digestive and immune systems. A periodic raw juice cleansing restores enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for digestive, mental and physical health. Nonpareil allows guests a moment of stillness and time to be cared for. Website: www3.sympatico.ca/nonpareil.

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