What inspired us to create Fresh Start retreats and our journey in health, wellness and helping people improve theirs?
You may have asked yourself, How did the Fresh Start Health Retreat come about?’
Inspiration Began With A Crisis
A week before our son Peter was born, Vasili was diagnosed with whooping cough for the second time in his life, a very contagious disease. We discovered that if a newborn baby becomes infected, statistics show that only one in ten survives. That was very worrying news!
There is no “Quick Fix” for whooping cough. Once you get it, you generally ”bark” like a dog for three months. How am I going to manage looking after a newborn, cope with sleepless nights, never mind the thought of losing a baby and on top of everything listen to my husband’s “barking”? A bit too much for an expectant mother who should be focusing on relaxation and getting ready to deliver!
“He Can’t Come Near His Newborn Baby!”
Our family doctor told us that Vasili woudl have to stay away from the baby, to make sure the baby wouldn’t get infected. “But Doc” we protested, “hasn’t the antibiotic Vasili been on killed off the bug and started healing the body?” Doc explained that antibiotics decrease the amount of bacteria but do not kill it entirely.
“You are safe for the general public, but not for newborns. See if you can arrange a stay somewhere else for awhile. It is in your own interest to stay away from your son.” That was not an option I was happy with. I wanted to be cuddled by my husband at home, have him help care for the baby and just be around during this momentous time of change.
Vasili Undergoes a Health Retreat and Feels Better Than Ever
We had heard about Abundant Life Therapy Center (as Fresh Start was known at the time) but thought it was more than we could afford. This time we thought we’d better do something with Vasili’s health and do it soon.
Having looked over the budget, we decided to give it a try. When you are up against the wall, you will do just about anything to make sure your little one is safe and secure, and that your husband is well. We borrowed the money and off Vasili went to pamper himself at the cleansing retreat.
Little did we know what a great investment it would turn into and the pleasant changes this place would bring about in our lives.
While Vasili was being pampered, I stayed home. Let me tell you what my health was like at that time. I was quite a bit overweight, my face and back covered with acne and my energy levels were low after the delivery. To top it off, I was a new immigrant from Belarus and did not have my family close by to help me through the first few days of a “new life.”
My picture of health was not the best before I got pregnant either: I experienced mood swings, occasional depression, painful PMS and frequent colds. So what? Everyone had that, isn’t that normal? At least that was what I thought at that time.
He Was Excited to Change!
As I was mourning over my pitiful lot, the phone rang. Vasili was on the line. My husband was so excited! I had never heard him like this before. He told me what he learned at the retreat, about why he got sick and how much better he felt after just four days. He said he would like to change his eating habits, and the eating habits of my husband were a very touchy issue (yours might be too. I had tried changing things around the house before but had had very little success.) I simply could not believe the change and doubted that it would last too long.
What a surprise! When he walked in the door I saw a different man. Health was beaming from him, he coughed only a couple of times and was loaded with energy. He shared a lot of new ideas about health, but one single idea struck me the most:
He told me that the health retreat teaches people how to deal with the causes of poor health and not just the symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes Better for the Whole Family: Gives New Purpose to Ania and Vasili
From the day Vasili came home we changed our lifestyle and eating habits. Our relationships have greatly improved and we have started reaping many wonderful benefits. As we began eating ample amounts of green salads, vegetables, fruits and other wholesome foods, my face started clearing up, my weight has dropped down to normal, my moodiness has disappeared, my energy levels have gone up, our sons’ health has improved and the list goes on. I had not even gone through the program yet at this time.
That Detox Cleanse: Start to A New Life Path
Those ten days Vasili attended the retreat had such an impact on my husband that we decided we wanted to help other people get well too. We want to see happy families, healthy kids, pain free grandparents, and see families lose such words from their vocabulary as Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Surgeries, etc. Our great-grandparents did not have those words in their vocabulary, so why should we?
We took on the challenge and began planning to open a center just like the one Vasili had attended. Before we could turn around, we were running our own health retreat bolstered by my natural health training and Vasili’s business background.
Dream of Health Retreat Comes True for Ania and Vasili
The worst turned into the best, just because we were willing to try something different, something that made sense, something that was simple and would enable us to deal with the causes of the disease, not just the symptoms, something that would not hook us up to a huge list of supplements and would make us well.
We had entered the university called Abundant Life Wellness Centre, located in the middle of nowhere (Lavoy, Alberta) and worked on our “second degree” for five years.
It has been the best journey ever. It made us better people, helped us get in touch with real people and real life, something you cannot learn from textbooks. We did not always know the answers, but we studied with each client, and our passion and desire to help others guided us, shaped our vision and created our company culture.
What a pleasure is to see our guests getting well, with help of their physicians, decreasing their insulin or antidepressants, with no need for asthma or allergy medication any more. What a joy it is to see somebody’s health and life transforming, and energy vibrating in every renewed cell!
Fresh Start at Ocean Resort, a Necessary Move for the Perfect Health Retreat
Eventually we realized that though the programs were a great success, the building and location were not so conducive to healing. Though we were in peaceful rural surroundings, there were no walking trails around, plus harsh winters were an obstacle for many to get out for the prescribed walks.
The building was old, and there isn’t much you can do with a 100 year-old place. We are so thankful to the guests who put up with many inconveniences. A special thank you to our repeat clients, who were able to see the deeper value we offered.
In the summer of 2009 we decided to take our two young boys to the ocean. It was a short, but wonderful holiday! We stopped by the Ocean Resort and immediately fell in love with the place. It has such a natural, creative and yet functional design. And… it felt like it was built right for a wellness retreat.
Ocean Resort is Vancouver’s island Spiritual and Wellness Retreat Centre with four spa treatment rooms, several large meeting areas, everything we needed for our operations was there. It was not simply a hotel, it was a wellness centre, our dream centre. Lucas Stiefvater, owner of the resort, is an amazing designer and human being.
Fresh Start Offers Greater Variety of Programs
Over the years we realized that we were not simply a cleansing retreat, but so much more. Some guests had been requesting more education on healthy lifestyle makeover and non-fasting program options. We have been able to incorporate both. Now Fresh Start offers pure healthy eating retreats options, while keeping the detox days as well. Our 21-day program includes the full package and is an excellent way to retrain a variety of habits. It includes comprehensive health education and a complete lifestyle change program.
To make the story short: We are here now, at the Ocean Resort and offering our programs with added features: various classes, increased variety and length of programs, more spa treatments and a Naturopathic Doctor on staff.
So dreams sometimes come true, in fact they almost always do. What is your dream and how much are you ready to give up for it? Every dream has a price, so you need to determine whether it is truly worth this price, and if yes, go for it.
We love our dream and gave up so much for it: our feeling of security, normal work hours, and a lot of quality family time. We did it for those who want to get well.
If you have read this far, you too are looking for a way to improve the state of your health, like we were not so long ago. Or you might be an advanced health seeker who already knows the benefits of regular body cleansing, but doing it at home lacks a supportive environment with knowledgeable people around you.
Whatever you want in terms of your health, something that costs too much, hurts too much, bothers too much, or is just embarrassing; it would be our privilege to assist you in shaking it off. Why bother carrying around trash that makes you sick? Just get rid of it.
At Fresh Start We Have a Saying:
“If it is meant for you to be with us for a program session, everything will fall in place and you will be here.”
What matters most is that your heart is ready to bless you with the extraordinary experience, energy boost, spiritual renewal, information breakthrough and pampering. Get well, have some fun, treat yourself and your loved ones. Take time to listen to your heart.
If you are ready for a Fresh Start, feel free to call us at 1-888-658-3324. It may well be a call that changes your life forever.