The Raw Retreat review
Change your lifestyle in Cornwall
The Quick Read: At this tranquil retreat in the rural village of Polyphant you stay in a spacious and serenely converted self-contained barn near the family home of raw food educator Beverley Bird. A clinical nutritionist, certified in Living Foods Nutrition, and one of only a handful of nutritional microscopists (live blood analysts) in the UK, Beverley offers year-round, ongoing retreats for solos or couples that are great for anyone looking for one-to-one attention and some sound advice. Stay for three days, a week or more and choose programmes dedicated to health, detox, juice fasting, diabetes, weight loss, fertility, or let Beverley tailor a healthy stay to suit your needs. You can expect bird song in the morning, nurturing care, fresh air and true quiet. Fabulously, Beverley is so flexible that she can accommodate stressed mums with babies too. Group retreats are sometimes on offer too.
More on the barns: The main barn attached to Beverley’s family home is serene and lovely. Upstairs the stone-walled barn has a double bedroom with thickly carpeted floors and a gleaming white-tiled bathroom with organic Aromatika products for you to use. Downstairs, there’s a large sitting room with orchids in the windows and a fully equipped kitchen, all with slate and wood floors. It all feels neutral, calm and safe, with white-washed walls, Farrow and Ball buttermilk tongue-and-groove and unobtrusive, good quality furniture.
Sprawl on the leather sofa in front of the wood burner and watch a selection of films on the enormous plasma TV, or have treatments upstairs in your room with local therapists -read a word from the queen on her stay.
More on the retreats: Most private retreats start with a live blood analysis and centre around a healthy diet, raw food workshops, optional colonic irrigation, walks, treatments with local therapists and one to one yoga. Beverley’s had brilliant results most especially for weight loss. Depending on the focus you choose, the retreat also includes raw food and/or juices and supplements, daily one to one raw food and/or health workshops and guided daily activities such as walking, hiking, trips to the coast and use of St. Mellion International Health Club and Spa, a 20 minute drive away. You’ll have unlimited alkaline water and herbal teas, and course notes and recipes to take home too.
There are also ad hoc group retreats, when you can enjoy a 7 night juice fast or health retreat with Beverley’s expertise at the lovely Trevadlock Manor, set in 24 acres of meadowland leading to a private bank of the River Lynher in an unspoilt part of Cornwall on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
More on treatments: a week-long stay includes two therapeutic massages of one and a half hours as well as two private yoga sessions (either in your barn, if you’re here alone, or in the local village hall, if you are here with your partner) plus unlimited hypnotherapy and NLP. Shorter stays include one session of yoga, one massage and one session of hypnotherapy or NLP. You can of course book as many things as you want extra – massage costs from £55 for one hour, private yoga from £45 for an hour and a quarter.
Other activities: There’s a rebounder (mini trampoline) for exercise in the barns, and Beverley can accompany you on easy local walks or drive you out to the spectacular north coast of Cornwall to enjoy the likes of Rock (40 minutes away) or Padstow (great for shopping, but go out of season to avoid the crowds). There are exercise classes and spa facilities at St. Mellion health club and spa, a 20 minute drive away.
More on your hosts: A smartly dressed, polite and unassuming mother of two, Beverley became passionate about raw food and decided to change her career when she found a change in diet helped her solve some of her own health issues following the birth of her children. She follows the teachings of Ann Wigmore of the Hippocrates Institute, Max Gerson of the Gerson Institute and Gabriel Cousens of The Tree of Life, who advocate that a diet rich in raw foods, wheatgrass and sprouts is best for health and longevity. She’s helped by her husband, the friendly Simon, who as well as running his own recruitment consultancy is a newly qualified Hypnotherapist and Therapist in NLP.
More on the food: Everything here centres around you eating or drinking alkalising raw food. You can lose weight or detox through raw juice fasting or, for a more gentle journey, opt for the delicious meals – that way you get to try the amazingly tasty macadamia nut cheese. You’ll learn how to make the basics, such as nori rolls, courgette spaghetti, beetroot soup, nut milks and so on – as well as healthy versions of onion bhajis, pad thai and raw chocolate brownies. Even if you don’t want to continue eating raw food when home (and you need some equipment to do so), it’s an interesting way to learn about healthy eating. Though you’ll use the kitchen to make your own hot water with lemon each morning, all meals are brought into the retreat. You’re supplied with plenty of Cornish still water in glass bottles and organic Pukka teas to see you through.
More on the live blood analysis: Live blood analysis is used by the raw health institutes that inspired Beverley to set up her retreat including The Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida USA and Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ Tree of Life Institute in Patagonia. It is possible from just one pin prick of blood to determine the overall health of an individual by placing it under a very high powered microscope and comparing the red and white blood cells as well as the plasma to what is known to be ‘optimal’. Beverley puts the blood onto a slide and views it under a microscope – you can sit next to her and look at the results on her laptop computer.
Costs: Private retreats cost from £730 per person for a 3 night raw food programme to £1625 per person for a 7 night health programme, all-inclusive. Group retreats cost from £650 per person in a shared twin room with a shared bathroom to £1200 for a room alone in an ensuite.
What’s lowly: There’s no sauna, steam room or underfloor heating, and though the heating is good, it isn’t eco-friendly and you’ll need layers and good slippers on chillier days when you’re detoxing.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
© Queen of Retreats