Raw Horizons is a raw food health retreat held at the tranquil oasis of Split Farthing Hall in the beautiful rural English county of North Yorkshire. The brainchild of Dr Claire Maguire and her step mother Andrea, this is a very special place for women to come and detox, with delicious raw food. Here they examine their own relationship to eating, learn to recharge and refocus their lives. The Hall is a country farm house that has been completely renovated to a very high standard and has stunning views out over the breathtaking landscape of the Yorkshire countryside. It is located not far from Thirsk which is on the A19 one of the main North South roads in this part of the UK. This area was made famous by James Herriot and his ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books and TV series.
The raw food diet
Raw food means anything that has not been heated above 42 degrees Celsius or 115 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore, a dehydrator is a key piece of equipment for the raw food aficionado. This device warms food and simulates cooking while still preserving all the nutrients in it.
Eating raw food is a real adventure for the taste buds and is essentially a plant based vegan diet. The carefully prepared meals were absolutely delicious with combinations of flavours I would never have thought of being happily put together. No meat or complex carbohydrates means that the ingenuity with which substitutes for things like bread and pasta are created, has to be seen to be believed. It’s not a particularly low fat diet; however, as there are a lot of healthy nuts and seeds and oils used to nourish the body from the inside out. The deconstructed ‘BLT’ was a group favourite and after eating it, you would never want to look at a fast food burger again!
While staying at the Hall, a typical breakfast might be an oat or seed based type of ‘cereal’ with fruit and a green smoothie. Lunch was often a colourful salad which had so many ingredients in it that was an adventure in itself to eat. Main meals ranged from courgetti spaghetti or an ‘un-stir fry’, which is basically the ingredients of a stir fry that haven’t been cooked, to a beetroot chilli or a cauliflower curry. Desserts were extra delicious with concoctions featuring raw chocolate on the menu, raw chocolate mint ‘cheesecake’ (without the cheese, obviously) was a highlight or dairy-free mango and banana ice cream.
Facilities at the Hall
All meals and activities (apart from in free time) take place in the Hall itself. There is an infrared sauna, which is great for aching joints, a small gym and an outdoor hot tub with a fabulous view over the countryside. There’s also a large fire pit, which plays a key role in a very special session on your last night here. A full range of holistic treatments are available but you do need to book therapists ahead of your visit. The dining room and the kitchen are the undisputed heart of the house and mealtimes are understandably a real focal point for guests.
Split Farthing Hall can cater for up to 10 women only, so it is quite a calm and intimate setting. Most guests arrive alone so you will quickly make new friends too. There is free time in the afternoons when you can explore the gorgeous countryside around Split Farthing Hall and the breathtakingly pretty villages and Moors.
Exploring your personal attitude towards food
Time at Split Farthing Hall is spent looking at your own personal attitude to food. It is acknowledged that the subject of food is a very sensitive one and that we tend to have very deep seated eating beliefs often starting in childhood. Some of the sessions explore the group’s personal views and others look at how we can challenge negative behaviours and reframe how we think about our diets and our bodies.
Gaining body confidence is a real issue for many people and Dr Claire Maguire is an expert at making people feel at ease, and creating a welcoming and safe environment for women to share any fears or insecurities and deal with them in a positive way, in some cases for the very first time. I found the processes easy to engage with, very life affirming, and the group I was with were extremely positive about this element of the retreat.
Activities at the Hall
You will participate in group life coaching and be shown how to use techniques like visualisation to help you achieve your goals. Daily sessions are devoted to practising Kundalini Yoga and meditation, which are both very calming and grounding activities. You don’t need any previous experience just do your best. Kundalini Yoga and some of the sessions take place in the attic, and others are in the drawing room.
The people at Split Farthing Hall
Crucial to the success of the Nourish Your Body retreat are the lovely staff at Split Farthing Hall. Dr. Claire Maguire, who put together the content of the programme and who delivers it all, is an inspirational character. A scientist by background, and with a very diverse CV, Claire has now embraced the raw food concept and is an accomplished raw food chef. She is also an expert yoga teacher, and the UK’s leading transformational wellbeing coach. She emphasises that food is a foundation, can be a catalyst for change and that we all have a responsibility to nourish ourselves. Eating a raw food, plant based diet, is certainly one way of doing this.
Andrea Maguire, Claire’s stepmother, was instrumental in renovating Split Farthing Hall and she also runs the business side of things, making sure everyone is looked after. Andrea has lived and worked all over the world and also blogs about food and nutrition issues. She is totally on board with the ethos of these very special retreats and sees an increasing need for this kind of support for women who so often have body confidence issues.
As I sat watching the fire burn down it made me think of all I've created and how far I've come for today marks the day, 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a pivotal turning point in my life, one I wouldn't wish upon someone. Yet it has taught me so many ways to be fully present, to be free and to act as a catalyst for others to change their perceptions and embrace the freedom within themselves. Which makes this a good day. #retreat #rawhorizons #cancer #freedom #feelinggood
Expand Your Raw Horizons
This unique raw food retreat gives you time to relax away from the stresses and pressures of everyday life and to reflect on yourself and some of the more negative habits you may have adopted regarding food. You will learn techniques of how to cope with your trigger points and create new routines and ways of doing things. The atmosphere here is very open and non- threatening and I certainly enjoyed the company of the whole group. I met interesting professional women from every walk of life, and of course everyone has something instantly in common. No one is saying that changing your habits around eating is easy, but staying at Split Farthing Hall certainly shows you the way forward. Women arrived tired and stressed and left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, calmer and visibly happier - what more could you ask from a five day break?!
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