Story’s Catherine Keyl detoxifies the Portuguese Algarve


Story’s Catherine Keyl (71) went to Portugal for a week to juice fast: discharge the poison from your body by drinking fruit and vegetable juices, tea and lots of water. She not only lost eight centimeters of belly circumference and the necessary kilos, but also felt reborn. “My body ended up in a rest mode.”

“How do I survive without bitterballen …”

Did I feel like a week in Portugal? On the Algarve, the south coast with its beautiful rock formations and views over the Atlantic Ocean? Of course I had that. To the part that came after, I had not listened as well: it was a week of juice fastening. Detox, detox. That part I had pushed aside, I notice when I just a few days before departure but just inquire what juice fasten all again. Only drink fruit and vegetable juices throughout the week. Oh no! After a busy period I felt like a week of vacation, but this is really different (which you also can not eat). How do I survive without the bitterballen that normally drag me through? And that too with a group of more than twenty people. Since my trip to Iran last year, also in a group, I am completely ready. There was then a terribly hysterical woman with us, who came too late to all the sights so we missed half of the program. Anyway, just ‘yes’ said. You seem from that juice fast as bycatch namely also the necessary kilos to fall off … And that speaks to me, with the summer in sight, of course very much. At Schiphol I look around anxiously at the check-in desk. Oh, that man who is stuck with it. And that woman there, who already has her walking shoes on. Because we are also going to move a lot, I already read in that brochure of Health Holidays. Walking early in the morning on the beach, and the rest of the day pilates, yoga and other sports and relaxation. Could I just drop my Well-Known Dutchman’s head. That may seem like an exaggeration, but you have to imagine that I end up in a group of people who may already have an image of me while I do not know anything about them yet. The flight to Faro, about two and a half hours, continues fine. I take a quick snack on board, because after arrival at the hotel it is over with food. And a glass of wine should still be possible, although the travel company advises to reduce the days before departure.

Garlic bread

A van is waiting at Faro airport to take us to the hotel in Carvoeiro, a coastal town about a quarter of an hour’s drive away. Hm, there are actually only nice people in the van to step, I see. Happy. I did not worry about anything. Still, it is completely quiet on the way to the hotel. Nobody says anything, anxiously waiting. It is already dark, and you can hardly see each other when you say something. On the return journey a week later everyone will chat with each other and we will have to say goodbye, but we do not know yet. When we arrive at the beautiful hotel Vale d’El Rei (valley of the king), I want to eat a little something before I go to sleep. Although it may not be smart, because tomorrow it will only get harder, I order some juicy chicken legs and delicious garlic bread in the hotel bar, and a bottle of white wine with two other juice mates. Together the bill is twenty euros – which is cheap for such a hotel. Almost unfortunate that we have nothing to look for the rest of the week here. And then it’s bedtime. “Tomorrow morning five by half past eight we will leave for a nature reserve where we will walk for an hour,” Ilona, one of the three supervisors, had said. Walk without breakfast? Can that be good? But before I can think about that, I already fall asleep in my room.


“Five by half past eight is five by half past eight!” Says Ilona. “Whoever is too late, does not go along, too bad.” Look, I like that. Nothing to wait for latecomers; if they are not there, that is their problem. I ask Ilona if it is justifiable that we will go such a long way without breakfast. “You know,” she says, “you have to take those things away from you
let slip and let us arrange everything. It will be all right. Just surrender to us. “Not such an easy task for a control freak like me. But I’m going to do my best. We leave with a van to a vast nature reserve, behind the dunes by the sea. That early the dew is still on the fields. The mimosa is in bloom, the almonds are in the bud. I smell the maggi plant and the rosemary, and I hear birds sneak in a lake and whistle. How nice. But there is no question of walking. Ilona leads the way and puts the momentum into it. That is difficult to keep track … And yes, of course I am running behind. Suddenly I walk next to a friendly woman. She tells me she has a candy factory and sells her goods at markets. She has been there for a week. “Have you lost a lot of weight?” I ask curiously. She does not know yet, this morning she is weighed. Just like us, after the walk. Your blood pressure is also measured, and your BMI (the Body Mass Index, an index for your weight in relation to your body height). When we return to the hotel, where we meet with the whole group of twenty-two juice guests (including four gentlemen aged between fifty and seventy) in a living room-like room with each juice and exchange experiences, we get a glass of lukewarm water with lemon juice. Nice and fresh. A quarter of an hour later, a fruit juice, consisting of three different fruits, follows. Because all juices, including those in the evening, are freshly pressed, they do not contain any fiber, so that your digestive system completely comes to rest. In short: you no longer have to go to the toilet for the big message. ‘We’ll be body-shaping in an hour’, the always energetic Ilona announces cheerfully. So I have just time to recover from the walk and go, again to the next. We do the most horrible exercises that are definitely good for your muscles, but that make me realize that I have not used those muscles for years. Then there is the so-called turbo in a thermos bottle for the afternoon: cucumber and tomato juice. And then aquajogging at the end of the afternoon. My heaven: three hours of sport in one day! I have a lot of sportswear with me. In the afternoon a trip to a shopping center and a Nike outlet is organized, so fortunately I can buy some T-shirts and leggings. In the evening juice – freshly squeezed juice of three vegetables, one of which is alternating vegetables such as broccoli, fennel or beet – the round of suggestions follows. Seated in a square of chairs we go down the list. I think it’s incredible how many different professions there are in this group. An artist, a train conductor, a manager, a buyer of energy, a Frisian with a care farm. During the presentation it appears that two saplings are not there yet. Later they tell that they flew from Brussels to Faro and had to make a stopover in France because a woman on board had a heart attack. Later we heard that this 51-year-old woman has died. Pff, violently. Enjoy life, it only takes a while, you think quickly. I now have the first vegetable juice. Red pepper. The pure taste, without additives, does not disappoint me at all. A dash of tabasco or garlic oil softens the taste, for lovers. When I have the glass of juice, I realize: okay, so this was my supper. Fortunately, there are enough bottles of water in the hotel rooms for a homemade cup of tea with the kettle.


Problem: I have so much muscle pain that I wonder if I get out of bed anyway. In fact, I do not have a zinn to get out of bed. But yes, of course I can not let myself know on day two. Hup, bed out, to the van for the walk. Now along the sea. Great, no man on the beach. The soothing sound of the surf, the rising sun. Beautiful shells. I find a black Shell shell that is now showing off in my bathroom. When we drive back to the hotel later in the bus, food, or rather not to eat, appears to have the first consequences. Do you have that too? someone in our party asks. Do you see that tree there? Are not they bananas? It turns out yellow leaves. And that then there, that looks like a broccoli tree? calls another. Laughter everywhere: it’s just a spar. Someone is almost beginning to hallucinate about food. That afternoon we do, for lovers, a second walk, on a winding path over the impressive rock formations by the sea. It is a bit foggy, occasionally drizzling. But it does not bother anyone. Nature is overwhelming here. Back at the hotel I retire with a fantastic book (Tchaikovsky Street 40, by Pieter Waterdrinker).


What’s the matter with me? I slept thirteen hours the first night. Thirteen o’clock! I never have that at home. Now the second night again. I felt a bit broke and had gone to sleep at 8:30 the night before. It was announced that this third day would be a so-called dip-day. That you no longer see it, get headaches or sometimes feel a bit nauseous. It all has to do with the detoxification, I understood. But fortunately nothing is wrong with me. Except that I sleep a long time.


I do not understand exactly how it works. At home I walk around all day. Always pull. I now realize how many times I have sniffed the Easter eggs.
But here? No need! Also no sense of hunger at all. Although I have to admit that I was dreaming away last night and saw a great steak fly over. That afternoon we are going to a mall again. I book my first victory there: I find a T-shirt and the saleswoman asks which size. XL, I say. She looks at me from head to toe and says: No, you need a medium. Would she have been hired by our travel company? In any case, it gives me a wonderful feeling. At the end of the day I still get a dip. Someone tells me that last year, at a previous visit, she had lost two kilos after a week. Courage drops me down. A week not to eat and then only two kilos off? Do I make all that effort? I feel like socializing, am done with it. Of course, this week is mainly about fasting, cleaning your body, detoxing. That women often lose half a kilo a day (the men even up to a kilo a day) is included, although I know for sure that many juice mates secretly do this. Someone from our group says that she had never felt so good last year after that week. Well, at the moment I do not believe that. I want a piece of cheese! A nice glass of wine! If necessary, a beer. A few peanuts?


Are you tired too? asks a group member. I had such ice-cold feet last night. I thought: I have nice woolen socks with me. But I was so broken, too tired to take my socks. I’m laughing. Today I did yoga outside in the sun. We have already visited a few picturesque villages in the area. Tomorrow we are going to Albufeira, where I was last 30 years ago. The distraction of doing things with each other works well. And it is still a lot of fun, too.


I did not know what I saw! I remember Albufeira as a lovely fishing village on that beautiful, erratic Portuguese coast. It is now a real holiday town, with suburbs, shopping centers and lots of traffic. I discover in the old center a super nice shop where a Portuguese lady makes her own jewelry. I make my choice eagerly. A good one, because in the evening at the evening, many women ask where I scored that nice necklace.


Today is the day of truth. We will be weighed. And then we can have a light lunch. But something rarely happens: I do not feel like eating at all. I think it’s okay. Your body comes in a rest mode and that is a wonderful experience. With the courage in my shoes I trudge to the weigh-in. Supervisor Ilona measures my blood pressure (which has decreased, fine) and the weight as before. I have tried so often in recent years to lose weight and I did not get half a gram. And what do you think? I lost no less than four kilos! And what’s more important: eight centimeters of belly fat has disappeared! I’m so happy. Even if you are as old as I can, you apparently still lose weight!

This report was written about a week afterwards. I now move an hour at home every day at the Gooi, because it’s just addictive. And seriously: I have barely arrived, while I still eat ‘normal’. But besides the great result and a wonderful week in which I came all the way back to myself, I look back on a great experience with a nice group of people in an exceptionally pleasant atmosphere. I have plenty of energy to come up with plans for a new series of interviews that I will do for Story next summer. I look forward to making them for you!

Source: Story, number 18, 2018
Text: Catherine Keyl

See here all possibilities for a Healthy Holiday in Portugal.

July 11, 2018