Tucked away on 50 acres of farmland, just outside of Houston and a 3 hour drive from Dallas, Deer Lake Lodge is a hidden gem full of rustic charm.
Deer Lake Lodge is a place you go, to reset— to break free from unwanted habits, sugar addictions and cravings, while giving your digestive system and body the ultimate breather.
If you are expecting the Ritz Carlton of spa resorts— don’t.
If you are expecting a cozy, kitschy, rustic, chic, lodge— totally free of temptations— do.
Shaking up old habits is no easy hurdle, especially when you are in the same environment these habits occur. Deer Lake Lodge is a relaxing intermittent fasting lodge where your body is able to more comfortably reset without temptation.
Mention Feel Good Dallas to Spa Manager, Chris and receive a special gift a 25 minute detoxifying ionic foot bath.
I have personally been to a handful of “wellness / detox” retreats and although the nutritional component of Deer Lake Lodge (DLL) is not my ideal from a nutritional standpoint, the biggest difference is that at DLL your body and soul are given the opportunity to break free of the hustle and bustle of daily life and completely surrender to your tranquil surroundings. Most of the spots I have been (my personal favorite being The Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico) are very VERY bare bones and totally lacking the cozy, tranquil, spa-like vibe. On the other hand, high-end hotels, that many of my clients frequent, like Miraval Austin, are exquisite but serve wine, organic waffles and omelets. Ideal for a healthy romantic getaway, a girls weekend, or a solo-cation— not for a “detox.”
So what’s an intermittent fasting lodge?
Fasting is as old as our ancestors. Our Paleolithic cousins did not have a fridge, or pantry, to grab a snack 24 hours a day. They hunted and they gathered. 😉
Generally speaking, intermittent fasting can be more natural and beneficial for the body than eating the standard 3 meals, snacks, and beverages, a day. Properly executed and for the right individuals, it can boost the immune system and help with weight management, energy, sleep, and mood, just to name a few benefits.
There are different types of intermittent fasting methods, but basically it involves only consuming food during a certain window. For instance, not eating after 8pm at night and having your first meal at noon the next day. You can read more about fasting here.
Deer Lake Lodge mimics a fast, by reducing when and what you are consuming and offers tools to further cleanse, reset and rejuvenate the body.
I stayed in a suite versus a cabin. It was the perfect size for 1-2 humans.
My king bed was comfortable and the faux fireplace, with dancing “flames” offered continuous companionship.
There was also a television in the room.
I can’t remember the last time I actually watched TV, but it was nice to have some options and background noise, though if you prefer Netflix, or Hulu, I’d recommend watching it on your laptop.
Although the staff leaves after “dinner” is served (which might spook some–FYI, they give you a number to call if you need them), the general feel of the lodge is peaceful and the only animals I spotted were a family of curious deer and squirrels scurrying about.
I think 2-3 nights is the perfect amount of time to really challenge yourself to break free from daily struggles, as long as you have a plan in place for when you return to reality. Regardless of your goals, your digestive tract will thank you for the vacation.
Here’s how to make your experience worth it:
1. Check-in is flexible but the owners prefer guests to arrive between 9-10am for a very brief orientation where they give you the powder they suggest you drink and the supplements for your stay.
FGD Note: Make sure you let them know both, when booking, and upon checking in, if you have any food sensitivities, or allergies. For instance, one of the powders they offer has pea protein in it, which I generally stay away from. They also had a hemp based protein and a collagen protein. If none of those catch your fancy— bring your own. The point is you are escaping your current environment and giving the body a break. This is not a culinary experience.
FGD Note: If you are driving in from Dallas, getting on the highway at 6am may be kind of off-putting. Check with the spa manager, Chris, to see if there are any deals to arrive the night prior to check in. If the 9-10am check-in window does not work for you, the lodge will work with your schedule.
2. Book your appointments prior to arrival. Book at least 2 appointments a day. I say this because the more detoxifying appointments you have, the better you will feel and the less difficult the fast will be.
My suggestions would be:
- Massage with Kelley (every day, if you can)
- Ionic Foot Bath when you arrive, and when you leave
- Facial x1
- Colonic x2
- Iridology reading (Fridays only)
FDG Note: While I recommend Gravity Colonics to my clients, the type of colon hydrotherapy they have on location is a “closed system”— meaning it’s just you and a tube of water flowing in the body. It is not my favorite system but it is hydrating. Most people do not realize that when they use the restroom, it is new waste that is leaving the system. The problem is the older, dehydrated matter that is causing the immune system to falter, disease is creep in, depression and anxiety to become problematic and weight to go up. In other words, book at least 2 colonics for your stay. They may not be “fun” but it will be worth it.
3. Meal time is pretty loose at the lodge because no one is “serving” you meals. All food and beverage is served in the “Fasting Lounge”— a cute, cozy room attached to a kitchen.
FGD Note: At check-in, you’ll be shown how to make your morning beverage which includes the plant-based pea protein powder I mentioned above and MCT oil (fractionated coconut oil). They “doctor it up” with chia seeds, flax seeds and a fiber powder to increase bowel movements and speed up your cleansing experience.
The meal window is:
8-10am Make powder drink
xx Vegetable Juice
xx Make powder drink
4-8pm A vegan soup is served in a crock pot.
FGD Note: You make the simple beverage yourself in a magic bullet then rinse it yourself. While some people may be put off by this budget friendly task, psychologically speaking, it is important to be involved in the actual making of the beverage because it teaches you an important self-care technique— how to take care of yourself, versus waiting for someone to take care of you. Over half of my clients are used to eat out and picking up food.
FGD Note: The fresh vegetable juice is left in the fridge for you to grab when ready. The soup arrives at 4pm and is in self-serve in crock pot. When you’re done, you place your rinsed cups and bowls in the sink and they are cleaned by staff later.
FGD Note: The powdered beverage is made with MCT oil, like I mentioned. So, although it is fooling your body into thinking it is fasting, you are getting some energy from the calories and fat in the oil and fiber and protein from the powder. Most days, the vegetable juice has a bit of fruit in it, so it gives you burst of energy and nutrients.
Will you be hungry?
FGD Note: You may be, or you may just be lower energy. I recommend drinking water around the clock and drinking their herbal teas. In the evening you can fill up on a cozy plant-based soup. After not eating much all day, the soup feels grounding and comforting. I personally enjoyed the soups.
Depending on my spa services for the day, I was grabbing soup at 4 or 5pm and then sipping on herbal tea later in the evening.
4. The Schedule is also pretty loose so you have ample time to do whatever you please. If you want to stay in your room all day— you may. There is a movement class at 10am daily and most days there is an optional class at 11am. The rest of the day is flexible to fill with spa and detox appointments, or just chill.
FGD Note: The other interesting part is that because there is no set weekly schedule, people arrive and depart at all times during the week. Guests usually keep to themselves but I had many a great conversion in the Fasting Lounge.
5. Sleep, if you can. Sleep is one of the most medicinal and healing things you can do while you are detoxing. I would not plan to workout. I would plan to rest.
FGD Note: They have CBD melatonin gummies available in their lobby, should you need some “chill”.
6. Exercise. I skipped the daily movement class and instead walked up and down the long winding driveway to get in exercise. This was when I made most of my phone calls and aimed to get 10k steps a day— which was very feasible, save for the one very dreary, very rainy day.
FGD Note: There is a big, beautiful yoga room that is only occupied at 10am daily. You are free to use it at anytime.
Things to bring:
- Books that you can disappear into.
- A new show you can’t wait to watch.
- Epsom salts for soaking in the bath tub, detoxifying and relaxing your entire body.
- Phone chargers, laptop, journal.
- Comfortable lounge wear.
- Bathing suit (for pool/hot tub).
- Your favorite mineral rich water bottles— they have filtered water and herbal teas and will provide you a personal mug and reusable water bottle, but I ran out one day to the grocery store HEB and picked up a ton of alkaline Crazy Water and kept them in my room- -making it incredibly easy to drink water all day.
Things not to bring:
- You really don’t need very many clothes. I found myself just throwing on the same outfit most days since I didn’t really break a sweat. You can also wear a cozy robe everywhere if you like— provided by the lodge, or bring your own. No one is there to judge you.
FGD Note: Cell service in my room was not ideal, but the internet worked beautifully. At night I would dial out from my laptop and was able to get tons of work done without distraction.
No distractions. Just chill.
One of the most amazing parts was that I was able to work on personal projects that I had put off for two years.
I would recommend Deer Lake Lodge as a place to reset your digestive system and jumpstart a wellness goal, while working with a nutritionist to keep the momentum going.
While I absolutely loved the tranquil setting and spa services, what is missing from this lodge is a more nutrient dense menu sourced from raw living foods. While I did not mind the powdered drink, or cooked vegetable soup, I would have preferred something more life-force giving, like a fruit-free green juice for breakfast, fresh wheatgrass and a green soup for dinner.
I’d also say that although the educators are very knowledgeable… as a Holistic Nutritionist, myself, I did not think they properly educated their guests on WHAT to eat and how to eat upon returning to real life.
Would I go back?
For me it’s about the change in environment. I also have to say that I am someone that is always in “go go go” + “must do work” mode and this is the most at peace, productive, CLEAR and focused I’ve been during the day.
What would I do differently?
When I go back I will be bringing my own green juices and skip the powdered concoction, but I can say this would be a great place for my husband to go to really kick start a wellness routine.
Who is this place not for?
- People with restrictive eating disorders.
- People with any medical conditions should consult with their healthcare practitioner prior to booking.