The word ‘detox’ is a big buzz-word and this summer, Zuri Girl was introduced to one of the world’s leading detox destinations, VIVA, The Center for Modern Mayr Medicine, located in Austria, just a short trip from Zürich. After reading the VOGUE Article on the clinic, we were hooked and simply needed to experience ‘The Cure’ that so many celebrities, politicians and royals flock to…shhhhh, we won’t dish on which famous names we hung out with while detoxing there.
Founded by Dr. Harald Stossier and his wife Dr. Christine Stossier in 2005, the institute focuses in helping people find their biological rhythm by strengthening the performance of their digestive system – the “second brain” in our body. This is achieved by implementing basic diet principals developed by Dr. F.X. Mayr and further perfected by VIVA, The Center for Modern Mayr Medicine through the use of complementary medicine, diagnostics and therapy, Applied Kinesiology, Orthomolecular Medicine, naturopathic treatments, cleansing and detoxification.
Yes. This luxury resort is all about digestion. You will never become so intimately acquainted with every inch of the digestive process leading from your mouth to the poop in your luxury toilet bowl. Yes, we said poop. It’s a topic of conversation we all avoid (unless we’re talking about our puppies or our babies); however, unhealthy digestion leads to everything from a sluggish mind to serious illnesses and the Viva team helps you become much more comfortable discussing your bodily excretion.
A visit to the property to experience the Viva method is not just to diet, rather it is an opportunity to escape the outside world, reconnect with yourself and re-learn how to eat to keep your body churning at maximum efficiency. The philosophy is less about what foods you are putting into your body, and more about how and when to eat them. For example, the reason you may feel gassy and bloated after meals may be a result of drinking too much water with your meal, or possibly eating too much, too fast or too often. While it all may sound like advice from your grandmother, there are some basic tips that we took away from our Viva Mayr experience, and these are our favorites:
Tip #1: Chew!
Chew more (up to 50x per bite!)…digestion begins in your mouth.
On one hand, you want to chew your food thoroughly because your mama told you so, but more importantly, with every chew your mouth is producing healthy digestive enzymes (aka, your saliva) to break down your food for maximum nutrient absorption and efficient waste removal. For best results, enjoy your meal stress free and limit any negativity during meals.
Tip #2: Space your Meals…and your water intake!
Dr. Stossier says we should eat only 3 meals a day, leaving 4-5 hours between eating to allow the stomach to digest what we have put into it…and snacking is actually discouraged. Fruit digests quickly, but protein (especially animal protein) takes a minimum of 4 hours to digest. Additionally, we should drink water/tea between meals (1.5-3 liters) up to 15 min before eating and 1 hour afterwards to ensure digestive juices are not diluted during our meals. While it may take approximately 10 days for your body to get used to this way of eating, your mind will thank you by thinking more clearly and surprisingly you will not find yourself hungry throughout the day. Really – we can tell you from experience!
Tip #3: No Raw after 4!
Raw food takes a lot of energy to digest and we should not consume raw food in the evening. Ideally, raw foods should not be consumed after 16.00. Dr. Stossier says, “You would never fire a steam engine, then put it into the garage.” The theory makes sense, particularly since our internal system relaxes when we sleep and it is no doubt that our intestines should not be working overtime to digest raw foods while sleeping. When we ingest lightly cooked foods, the first step of the digestion process has been completed so your body can absorb proper nutrients without having to work overtime when it naturally wants to go into relax mode.
Tip #4: Forget Diets…but add oil!
Forget the no-carb or low-carb diets, just learn how to eat carbs (and other macro nutrients) in the right way. No problem if you like to eat along the basic principals of the Dukan, Paleo, 5:2, or any other diet methods….at the end of the day we all simply need to balance carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats into three healthy meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Refer back to Tip #1 and #2. It’s really that simple.
No reason to be fearful of adding a small amount of healthy oils into your diet. Add your healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils to fuel your body (especially your brain!) via a Tablespoon of high quality, cold-pressed, Linseed Oil, Hemp Oil or Walnut Oil poured over each meal. The theory is that if you balance your healthy fat intake by adding these oils, you will not gain, but actually lose weight due to the unique chain of fatty acids that help increase your metabolism.
Tip #5: Breakfast like a Queen!
We have all heard the infamous saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” and it couldn’t ring more true once we become more in-tune with our digestive system. While at the Viva property, we enjoyed a typical breakfast that consisted of sheep’s yogurt with fresh berries; lunch may be a sweet potato puree with fish and micro-greens; dinner was typically a light soup or vegetable broth and all meals were served with the infamous Viva Spelt Bread which helps cure-goers to remember to chew, chew, chew.
Curious to learn more about the overall principals? Check out the book: The Viva Mayr Diet, published by HarperCollins.
For those of you interested in a typical day at Viva on the cleanse, we experienced:
06:30: Upon awaking, drink epsom salts and the alkaline base powder (calcium carbonate/sodium bicarbonate/potassium citrate) at least an hour before breakfast and throughout the day between meals.
07:00: Exercise at least 30 minutes
07:45: Dry brush skin followed by alternate hot/cold shower. Lymphatic system…digestion gets m-o-v-i-n-g!
08:15: Enjoy breakfast, which can include raw or cooked fruits/veggies + protein + low carb
09:00: Appointments with the team of medical professionals begin and included anything from an abdominal massage by the doctor to blood/free radical testing, to vitamin infusions, to colonics, to craniosacral or any other osteopathy treatment, to fit-testing and fitness with the sports scientist (loved him!!)
12:00: Lunch… our favorite dishes were 1) steamed broccoli with a “mash” of celery and spinach with truffle oil on top. 2) Steamed cod on simple steamed carrots with quinoa risotto. Portions were small, but filling.
13:00: Afternoon appointments continued with either additional fitness, massage, vitamin infusions, or hanging out by the lake. It is very important to shut off and relax while at Viva.
18:00: Dinner is always small, typical consisting of vegetable broth and the famous spelt or soya bread
19:00: Most people went for a leisurly walk around the lake, or participaed in a scheduled discussion hosted by a member of the medical team, or a healthy cooking demonstration.
21.00: Most patients were already retiring to their rooms to prepare for bedtime. Part of the cure included relaxing in bed with a hot water bottle (liver wrap) placed on the stomach to enhance relaxation of the digestive system and the detoxification process.
Ready to visit? They are in a temporary location until Jan 2015 while renovating…since they had so many clients on the books, they decided to remain in operation across the lake. Check out more about the Viva method via this video by Dr. Stossier below:
VIVA – The Center for Modern Mayr Medicine
Augustenstrasse 24, 9210 Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria
Website . Tel: +43 (0) 42 733 11 17
Photo ©VOGUE Photographer Mario Testino; Article, Video and slideshow media created in collaboration with and ©VIVA, The Center for Modern Mayr Medicine