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Let the cleansing begin

I left my toxins in Sparkling Hill, Vernon, B.C. I've been stroked, prodded, heated, chilled, immersed, exfoliated, contorted, creamed, steamed and hydrated
Every room at Sparkling Hill Resort has a two-person soaker tub at the window overlooking Lake Okanagan or the Monashee Mountains.

That was the fun part; the diet was another story.

Detox diets are all the rage these days. Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow, even Britney Spears have all admitted to a cleanse or three. Mine was different.

- Saturday

I have my consultation with Sparkling Hill's naturopathic physician Dr. Ray Lendvai. My friend Holly and I are the resort's first guinea pigs to book its new Cleanse program, a modification of a detoxification regime invented by Austrian doctor F.X. Mayr, offered in clinics all over Austria and Germany.

There is an Austrian connection here: Sparkling Hill is owned by Mr. Gernot Langes-Swarovski (patriarch of the Austrian crystal family). The spa resort is unlike any other. For starters, the interiors are embellished with $10 million worth of Swarovski crystals.

Sparkling Hills' KurSpa, the largest in Canada, consists of rose, crystal and salt steam rooms, three saunas and multi-"fauceted" showers. The aqua area features a hot tub, indoor and outdoor salt water pools and a Kneipp waterway.

Dr. Ray checks my heart, blood pressure and weight. He advises me that although dropping pounds isn't the goal of the Cleanse, "it will enhance elimination and burn stored fat by allowing the liver and kidneys to work more efficiently."

The diet? Every morning at 8 a.m. Holly and I have breakfast in the Cleanse dining room. Our waiter, Joseph, will serve us two pieces of dry spelt bread. We must chew slowly, masticating each morsel at least 30 times. With the bread comes half a cup of almond milk. At 11: 30 a.m. we'll get a bowl of broth made from vegetable scrapings and a cup of liver detox tea. After soup, we are to go to our rooms and rest with a hot water bottle placed against our livers. At 1 p.m. we repeat the bread and almond milk ration. We are encouraged to help ourselves to lots of spring water and herbal teas.

For the first three mornings we are instructed to mix about one tablespoon of Epsom salts with warm water. We also add 30 detox drops from each of three bottles of supplied naturopathic medicine to our daily water intake.

- Sunday

I am chewing, chewing the bread.

I meet with spa manager Silvia Groiche to book the "gravy" part of my week - the spa treatments.

I get two per day, plus a fitness activity. I've decided to do aqua fit classes in the morning. Silvia tells me I can have any of the treatments. She gives me a reflexology treatment. The areas on my soles corresponding to my liver and pancreas are a tad tender.

Around 7 p.m., I crawl into bed.

- Monday

Neither Holly nor I are ravenous. Sascha gives me a lymphatic drainage massage followed by a divine Monticelli Mud Treatment.

- Tuesday

No headaches, no growling stomach. Dr. Ray urges me to carry on. Those who can't handle the diet can switch to a brown rice and veggie plan. Spa indulgences include a pampering massage and anti-aging facial.

- Wednesday

According to the scale I've dropped six pounds. Still not starving, but the food on Red Lobster TV ads looks appetizing.

- Thursday

Sylvia's reflexology massage isn't painful today. She says my feet are more pliable. Then she gives me a belly massage.

Holly and I head into Vernon to buy groceries for our celebration dinner. Never has a brussel sprout or apple looked so ravishing.

- Friday

After cellulite scrubs using coffee beans and pedicures, Holly and I tackle Predator Ridge Golf Course just down the hill. We've got plenty of stamina but we cheat and buy two apples. I make mine last with my new chewing skills.

- Saturday

Hurrah! I'm 9.6 pounds lighter, my skin is glowing and I'm full of vim and vigour. Today I take a yoga class followed by a Thai massage.

- Sunday

Holly and I eat oatmeal and fruit for breakfast in the regular dining room. We play another round of golf. Dinner is grilled salmon, brown rice and asparagus. I vow to flush this body every spring.

If You Go

Sparkling Hill's Cleanse, starting on Saturdays only, costs $2,500 for seven days, based on double occupancy ($2,900 for single). Package includes six nights in a deluxe room, sevenday Cleanse program; three appointments with naturopathic physician; detoxification kit; two spa treatments and one movement class per day; access to KurSpa, fitness studio, relaxation rooms; wireless Internet, parking.