At Wigmore Hall, lunch is served and you learn to be creative with the salad bar’s brightly colored organic vegetables. They will provide the vast majority of your sustenance during your stay, except on Wednesdays, when you will be doing a juice fast. As you scoop up some alfalfa, Chef Ken Blue — Pam’s hubby — will tell you that sprouts are “the most nutritious food in the world” and should take up the majority of your plate. The carrots, cucumbers and other familiar veggies should be treated merely as “side dishes.” So mix and match from among the freshly harvested sunflower, mung bean, lentil and other germinated shoots. Salt and vinegar are verboten, so spice things up with a squeeze of lemon and some dried sea vegetables, which Ken promises “will protect you from outside sources of radiation.”
Hypothesis: Hunger makes humans more susceptible to suggestion. It was the morning of Day Three of my experiment when this brave test subject found himself willing to fully believe in the effectiveness of any alternative therapy, including those involving pixies and fairy dust, in exchange for some sushi and a cappuccino. Two nights in Stockholm and four low-calorie meals had left me in a serious state of junk-food withdrawal. I didn’t care if the menu had been specially designed to extend life by “working at 75 hertz” (something about harmonics and body vibrations) or that my weight had already dropped by a few pounds. All I could think about were the rumors of past guests smuggling in pizzas and beers.
Meanwhile, alumni were giddy, practically skipping around the grounds. “Hi, I’m Eddie,” a veteran buoyantly announced. “I combine sexuality, humor and raw food.” Actor and comedian Eddie Brill warms up the crowd at Late Show With David Letterman and is a headliner on the stand-up circuit. Not only does the retreat provide good material for his shows (colon-cleansing is comedy gold), but Hippocrates also changed his life. After his first visit, he transformed his lifestyle by quickly losing more than 100 pounds and curing his rosacea and sleep apnea. He comes back for vacation whenever the TV show is on a break. “When life gets crazy and weird, I come back here … to get crazy and weird,” he jokes. Eddie wasn’t the only returning famous face. Omar Al Fayed — son of famed billionaire Mohamed and the youngest brother of Dodi, Princess Di’s boyfriend who died with her in the 1997 car crash — could be seen lazing by the pool or attentively attending lectures.