Hideaway the Fun Juice
I’m a stickler for rules. I grew up in a militant household, I went to boarding school. I often quote Monica Geller’s ‘but rules help control the fun!’ when I worry I’m tipping the rules / fun balance. By definition, rules are "a set of explicit or understood regulations governing conduct or procedure within a particular area of activity." Er... did someone peek inside my life when they were writing the dictionary definition? No wonder I love veganism so much, it's an excuse for more rules!
Thus, when we arrived at Juice Hideaway, our week long retreat in Spain, and it became clear there were various rules to adhere to, you’d think I’d have been in my element.
It all started in a juice bar a few months back. Talking to the owner, we’d no sooner bragged about being a) vegan and b) yoga fans, than we were invited on his upcoming yoga retreat to be held in a villa in southern Spain. Signing up, we congratulated ourselves on being so goddam vegan and went about our day.
Arriving last month, we soon realised we had signed up to restrict our calorie, coffee and alcohol intake. Mr Juice, aka the man in charge, was driving us past the local shop on morning number one and helpfully informed us we could get anything we might need in there. Gaz asked if they sold beer, for the sun was shining and we had paid over a thousand of our well earned pounds for the pleasure of some time off from the usual set of rules.
Mr Juice left a pregnant pause before explaining that it’s up to us if we want toxins in our body this week. Booze was off the agenda, coffee was frowned upon and most certainly not served within the confines of the villa. He all but said that if we did choose to toxify our temples, he wouldn’t be angry, he’d just be disappointed.
We were to exist on two juices and one modest sized raw meal a day. Admittedly, the juices made me zing with joie de vivre, the raw food was a delicious revelation in a previously untapped area of vegan cuisine, and not eating giant old greedy-gob portions did wonders for my digestive system but still, hangry!*
Gaz was mega grumpy, stomping around our room protesting that he does not need to lose weight and as a vegan, he was already healthy af and does not need to 'detox' - which, one might argue, is a marketing strategy to treat a non-existent condition. Our clever little livers are always detoxing.
What that man needed was coffee.
For two days, Gaz and I went to war. He saw nothing wrong with sneaking out for a caffeine fix, I saw that as an unforgivable offence, due to the fact that someone had decided it was not allowed. Even though we are grown ups who had paid to be on holiday, I couldn’t break the rules.
Day three, I was really hungry. Gaz, the little weasel, pounced on the opportunity to lure me to the dark side in a moment of weakness. Come, my precious, come to a cafe, we will eat a secret meal and we will drink secret alcohol...
It was time to sneak off.
The sun shone on us, so the universe clearly didn’t mind that I was breaking rules, otherwise it would have rained. That’s just science. We found a plant-based cafe called Gioia and I ordered some sushi, while Gaz ordered a lasagne. He drank beer, I drank sweet, chilled rose which went straight to my head.
Babbling on to no-one in particular ten minutes later about how I was a grown up and I’d do what I like and my god wasn’t this thrilling and maybe we should break some more rules and isn’t it more fun to drink wine when you’re not supposed to and look at the mottled light of the sun through the blossom on the tree and you know what, I am feeling pretty trim after three days of forced calorie restriction and -
And Gaz looked at me and said: ‘Do I need to be in this conversation?’
No, no he did not. Me and wine were fine.
Our retreat was called Juice Hideaway, on account of being hosted by Marbella Hideaway and serving juice. While drinking my secret wines I came up with a helluva pun. Yes, wines, plural. I had two and I don’t care who knows it. I’m drunk right now as well. Fuck you, liver!
‘Hey, Gaz, you know we’re on the Juice Hideaway? More like, Hideaway the Fun Juice! HA! Gaz! Hideaway the Fun Juice! AMIRIGHT!?’ I said. Gaz assured me I was indeed, hilarious.
We scampered back to the villa like mischievous little stop outs and it was all downhill from there. Downhill on a skateboard! We went for a ‘leisurely stroll’ every morning to knock back a secret espresso and snuck some beer back to our balcony for a sundowner.
I realise that it was only my own time I was wasting, only my own liver I was burdening, only my own retreat I was mistreating. But when you inflict as many rules on yourself as I do, going rogue on someone else’s felt awesome. Also - funny story.
*Disclaimer: Disgruntled as we were to have calorie restriction pushed on us, my tummy had never been happier. Even with our mid week jaunt for extra calories. Even with secret coffee. Everything ran ever so smoothly in the delicately churning cogs of my digestive system.
Speaking of which, what does your body have in common with a doughnut? (Definitely not allowed doughnuts.)
Answer: They both have a hole running through the middle! From your mouth to your bum is just one long, complicated, winding, intricate hole. I learned that on a recent Nutrition course I took with the Open University. Sounds like I'm bragging but it was extremely boring and I'd wager any healthy vegan already knows more about nutrition than they were spewing.
And with that nugget I give you a sunset and wish you farewell.