The Best Vacation We Can Think Of

We are half way through our 8 day detox retreat at the beach and I tell ya, this feels like PARADISE.

It is unbelievable to have an entire 8 days to focus 100% on your well being and health. It just feels like a gift, much better than any vacation we’ve experienced.

Here is our daily schedule for 8 days:

6:00 am – Oil Pulling

6:30 am – 1 Liter of Lemon (or Lime) Juice

6:45-7:30 am – Meditation & Breathing Techniques (as a group, with an amazing teacher)

7:30-8:30 am – Running on the Beach (Danny goes swimming and boogie boarding)

8:30 am – 1 Liter of Green Juice

9:00-10:30 am – Yoga

10:30 am – 1 Liter of Green Smoothie

1:00 pm – Raw Food Lunch For the First 3 Days – 1 Liter Green Juice or Green Smoothie for the Rest

2:00 pm – Sweat Box Sauna & Cold Water Therapy (see the photo below!)

3:15 pm – Daily Classes about Raw Foods, Reflexology, Massage, Mud Facials, Dance Therapy

4:00-5:00 pm – Yoga

6:00 pm – Raw Food Dinner for the First 3 Days – 1 Liter Green Juice or Green Smoothie for the Rest

7:30 pm – Daily Movie / Documentary about Health

*Also, we are supposed to drink 2 liters of water per day.

Did you see that is TWO yoga sessions a day?? This is INTENSE. Oh my. Even the breathing techniques have been a complete work out for us both (ha). But our minds and bodies are loving it so, so much. Instead of sleeping in or laying on the beach, feeling lethargic and lazy, and eating crappy vacation foods, this experience has made us feel so alive and so full of REAL energy!!! We feel so in tune with life, nature, our bodies, and our happiness. And, there is so, so much love here. The teachers/healers/chefs at this retreat are just bursting with love for everyone here and want to do ANYTHING to help anyone to transform their lives. And, some little bonuses: our bodies are toning up like crazy, our skin is looking great, and our countenances feel nice and bright. We keep saying to each other, “um…this is one of the best things we’ve ever done!!!” We hope to do this at least once a year from now on. After experiencing it, it’s seriously the best kind of vacation we can think of.

XO, Mara

There is Danny in the sweat box sauna. 🙂 The man who built it says that it’s much healthier to breathe fresh air instead of the hot air.

DELICIOUS, raw Pad Thai, below, made from zucchini and yellow squash.

P.S. There were two options at this retreat: drink raw juice the ENTIRE 8 days (for a super deep detox) or eat raw foods meals and juices for 3 days, raw food smoothies and juices for 2 days, and just green juices for 2 more. We came in planning to do 100% juice. But, well, the two raw food chefs here are off the charts. At the welcome dinner, we couldn’t believe how good the dinner was, so we decided to continue eating their raw food as we want to learn about as many recipes as we can. We’re very new at this, but we actually hope to continue eating mostly raw when we return home.  ðŸ™‚

Have any of you ever gone on a “detox vacation” or tried any detoxes? We would LOVE to hear how that turned out for you. And, would you ever give up one of your normal vacations to do something like this?

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  1. ABBY LOW June 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Just seeing the photos of Danny in the sweat box sauna is worth this! So great. And so glad you are having a wonderful experience there in Ecuador. I want to visit (although you'd have to be there for another year or more for that to happen)!

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      YES! Come visit!! The timing very well could still work out.

  2. Heather June 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Wow! You do look like you're glowing! It sounds like the perfect place to just relax in every possible way! Would you mind sharing where it is?
    Enjoy every minute!

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      We're in Olon, Ecuador. It's a very small beach town about 3 hours from Guayaquil. It's the perfect place for this retreat as it's super quiet and the town is small enough that we're not surrounded by restaurants cooking food. 🙂

  3. emma June 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    You are literally glowing and both look so happy and healthy! Just wonderful! Would love to find out more information about this place, I think I need to go! Much love to you both xx

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Ah, thank you! So – the retreat is hosted by 2 people from Cuenca (Tony & Alexandra). They found a property to use on the coast. They rented out an entire hotel property, so it's pretty great to be here just with the group. It's a simple hotel (similar to many decent hostels), but they wanted to keep costs low.

      They plan to do another retreat – and we've enjoyed this so much that we might join with them to offer some of our classes at the next retreat. We will definitely announce here on the blog the dates for the next event.

  4. Marie June 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Jealous!! What's the name of the place?

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      The place itself doesn't normally host retreats. But two people from Cuenca organized this event and rented out a hotel on the beach. They plan to do another event, so I'll mention it here on the blog once dates are confirmed!

  5. leslie June 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Looks amazing!!! Could you post some recipes? The food looks great. Thanks.

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      YES! We totally want to post recipes!! They are going to provide us with all the recipes once we return and I can't wait to share them with you all. They really are so, so, so good.

  6. Sharlee June 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Mara, you look radiant!! I hope you'll share more about what you've learned. Maybe side recipes or ideas and I personally would love to hear more about oil pulling.

  7. brittany June 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    The sweat box looks like a medieval torture technique. Haha!

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Seriously. That or a device that you would use to cut someone's head off in a magician's act. 🙂 The thing kind freaks me out. But the hot/cold therapy is awwwwesome.

  8. Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Wow, this sounds incredible! I would love to know the place and cost to see if I could make this work for my husband and I someday. What a beautiful way to truly vacation—-taking care of your whole being. Love, love, love!

  9. Jenny D. June 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    This sounds amazing, definitely my kind of vacation! I'm adding it to my 'someday' list….

  10. bananastand June 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Mara,

    I really hope you will share the name of this retreat. It looks incredible!!

  11. Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Please share the name of this place and other details (like cost) that might help us plan our own retreat. Thank you!

  12. A Few Good Eggs June 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    This looks incredible. I feel healthier having just read your post. What a trip!

  13. Nikki Olmstead June 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    you may not see this but I would love to know how you oil pull without gagging? I have tried a few times and the texture of the coconut oil just makes me so queazy i have to spit it out after a few seconds. Love your blog.

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      Ah, I've heard that some people gag. Personally, I love the taste of coconut oil and haven't had problems. Here at the retreat we are using olive oil (just because coconut oil would have been too expensive for the big group.) But I love the taste of olive oil, too. So I am not much help! Another oil you can try is sesame oil. This is one of the most common oils that people use for this. Wish I had some more ideas!

    • Cindy June 12, 2014 at 3:10 am - Reply

      I have had a lot easier time oil pulling with coconut oil if I warm it up first so that it is completely liquid and warm as well. I found it very nasty if I had to wait for it to turn to liquid in my mouth!

    • Nikki Olmstead June 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Thank you!

  14. Scarlett June 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Mara, you look gorgeous and so happy! This post makes me want to try to make green smoothies more of a habit (baby steps). I've never done a juice cleanse before, so I'm curious–do you not get to be sooo hungry? Especially when you are active. If I have a salad for lunch, about two hours later, I'm starving (wimpy, I know). Love being able to keep up with you two. Looks like you are having an amazing time together.

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      If a juice cleanse starts cold turkey, one might feel starving and weak for about 3 days due to the lack of food and also the withdrawal from sugar/fat/caffeine/processed food addictions. Though after that, once your body adjusts, your hunger really, really subsides and can be non-existent. Here at the retreat, we started with partial juice/partial raw food. This began to ween all our bodies off cooked food and all the addictive foods. So actually, it felt more gradual and it seems none of us here have felt hungry! (part of that is mental, too. Here we don't have our own kitchens or restaurants to tempt us.) Even now, when we're doing full days of 100% raw juice, everyone seems to be doing really well.

      So on a juice diet, apparently you can still be very, very active. Your body is getting way, way more nutrients than it ever got before – plus the body begins to heal itself – so it turns out that people generally feel more energy than they've ever felt in their lives. You just have to make sure you're drinking enough juice to sustain the energy. Here, on juice-only days, we're drinking 4 different pressed vegetable juices a day – 1 liter each time. In addition, a liter of lemon juice in the morning. Also, some people do report detox symptoms once they get going. These can include nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, acne, etc. But these are very temporary and once they pass, people feel off the charts amazing.

  15. Michelle Rackley June 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Love hearing the details of this place. I hope you keep posting the daily schedule (and meals). Thanks for sharing a bit of your life.

  16. k8te June 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    you are glowing! and your teeth are so white you're totally convincing me to try oil pulling! 😉

    • mara June 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      YES! It totally whitens your teeth, and just makes your mouth feel overall healthier and cleaner. A big tip: You must do it first thing in the morning for the full effect (before brushing, before a sip of water or food.) The idea is that you are cleansing out all the bacteria and detox residue that was built up during the night.

    • k8te June 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      thanks for the tips!! definitely giving it a whirl! 🙂

    • Anonymous June 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      How long do you oil pull every morning? (very curious 🙂

    • mara June 13, 2014 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      We oil pull for 20 minutes every morning. It needs to be done the MOMENT you wake up (before drinking any water) as your mouth has been accumulating toxins and bacteria all night. It's important to not swallow any bit of the oil. After oil pulling, spit the oil in the trash as the oil can clog the drains over time. Then, immediately rinse with water (at home I like to rinse with warm water) and gargle. Then we like to follow that with drinking a glass of fairly strong lemon water as it's very alkaline and very cleansing to the body. Then RINSE after that, too, as the lemon can damage enamel.

    • Sage June 15, 2014 at 3:33 am - Reply

      My husband's teeth got whiter after one session! Thanks for sharing your great adventures!

    • Anonymous June 17, 2014 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Been doing it since Friday. Love it so far. THANKS for your response!

  17. Anonymous June 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I am just curious if you guys are still able to attend your church while living in Ecuador?

    • mara June 16, 2014 at 2:58 am - Reply

      Hi! Yes – they have many Mormon churches in Ecuador. It has been quite a unique experience. There is a strong conservative base here and the church culture is very, very different compared to what we're used to in Brooklyn. I'll just say that I miss our church experience in Brooklyn. A lot.

    • mara June 16, 2014 at 3:04 am - Reply

      Also, I should add that we love, love exploring different ways of practicing and fostering spirituality. We had hoped that here in Ecuador we could be on that path, and I am just amazed that the gates have just opened up for us and we're so grateful. We've met wonderful people on spiritual paths – and have learned a lot from them already. The retreat was just an AMAZING exploration of spiritual practices – yoga, meditation, breathing, chanting, singing, Buddhist bells, mindfulness throughout the day and during activities. And we're so, so happy to add all these practices to our lives. We're moving July 1 and the home has a loft for yoga and meditation. Little by little we're trying to make these a part of our lives in bigger ways.

  18. Gardenella June 12, 2014 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Where in ecuador is this? I am native ecuadorian and would like to go. Please tell.

  19. Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 2:35 am - Reply

    How much does this cost?? I'm not trying to snoop, I would just love to do this with my husband one day and would love to know the price! 🙂 so glad you are having a amazing time!

  20. Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 2:51 am - Reply

    Hello, this sounds exactly what I am looking for, where is this resort and do they have a website so that I can make a reservation.

  21. Michelle Bunt June 12, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Mara, your skin is absolutely glowing! All that green juice is miraculous! 🙂 Continue to soak up the love and nutrition 🙂

  22. Anonymous June 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    You should really start using Instagram!! Would love it. 🙂

  23. Marchelle June 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Oh my word. That picture of Danny is killing me! Thanks for your inspirational blog! It's so uplifting! Also, I was just diagnosed last week with Hashimotos and your blog is a great reference for me!

  24. Heidi Hansen June 13, 2014 at 4:54 am - Reply

    You guys are glowing!! I would love to do this!! Details please!!

  25. christina June 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I've always been curious about raw food, but from my understanding is that from a Chinese Medicine standpoint (which I'm drawn to), raw food takes too much energy to digest and puts out the "digestive fires" in your stomach. I'd be curious to know what your acupuncturist has to say about raw foods (do you know by chance?) No matter what, it's hard to argue with the fact that you two are clearly radiating health! I mean, that picture of you both holding glasses of green juice! Look at that skin!!! It makes me so happy to know that you guys are livin' and lovin' it up in Ecuador!

    • mara June 16, 2014 at 2:52 am - Reply

      Thanks for the note! I've wondered this, too, and have wanted to check into it further. I certainly love, love Chinese medicine, but at the moment, I am feeling pretty convinced that you couldn't have a healthier diet than all live/raw food. We decided to continue eating this way to complete an entire month of eating raw. I'm excited to see how we feel at the end of it.

  26. Karen June 14, 2014 at 2:07 am - Reply

    Would love to try oil pulling but I have a few mercury fillings. Would it still be safe for me to try? You are so lucky to be able to enjoy that slice of paradise! Just beautiful.

    • mara June 16, 2014 at 2:47 am - Reply

      I'm not sure how oil interacts with mercury. But based on what I've read and learned, mercury is absolute poison to the body at all times and releases fumes into the body. What I don't know is if the oil might make the fumes being released even worse. I'm worried about this, too, as I still have a few mercury fillings. My plan is to get them removed as soon as I can, followed by a heavy metal cleanse. I did oil pulling awhile back for a month and loved it – but I actually started getting a metal taste in mouth which made me a bit worried…so I stopped. But I decided to still try it again for the week on the retreat (I didn't have any sign of a metal taste this time, but it was only a week). Not sure what I should do going forward, at least until I get this dang mercury out of my mouth.

  27. Ruthanne June 16, 2014 at 12:10 am - Reply

    When you say lemon juice is that with water?

    • mara June 16, 2014 at 2:33 am - Reply

      Yes! With water. But it's very strong. You can also use limes. I'd say about 1 1/2 lemons per glass of water or about 3 limes. But it will depend on the size of the citrus and the size of your glass 🙂

  28. Helen June 16, 2014 at 2:01 am - Reply

    I'd just like to echo others' observations that you both are positively glowing! So glad you're reporting back and keeping us abreast of your adventures.

  29. chinkara June 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I think you need to start posting some of those recipes! there is a place like this in india. i loved that wooden box sauna!

  30. Anonymous June 21, 2014 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Okay, I'm going to try oil pulling. It sounds so off-putting, but seeing your teeth has convinced me. I just ordered some coconut oil. You both look super healthy. Glad you're enjoying your new home county so much!

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