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Healthy holidays: savouring a raw juice camp in Portugal

Overweight and newly single, our writer visits the Algarve and pins his hopes on a different kind of drinking holiday

Plus: healthy holidays in Switzerland and England

I never thought I’d drink a cabbage. But here I am, sitting in a sun-cooked garden on the Algarve with a green moustache and an empty pint glass. When I flew to Portugal for this seven-day raw juice camp (run by British company Explore Raw) I was overweight and newly single. I felt rather like the eponymous chronometer of the nursery rhyme My Grandfather’s Clock: too large for the shelf. But I had heard impressive stories about the benefits of juicing, and if the alternative was “90 years on the floor”, it had to be worth a try.

If the tabloids are to be believed, raw juicing is the method du jour for celebrity weight loss, with acolytes including Beyoncé, Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Aniston. The science is simple: raw foods contain more vitamins and minerals than their cooked counterparts, and juicing them (skin and all: that’s where a lot of the good stuff hides) is the fastest, most efficient way to inject those benefits straight into your system. If you shove the correct ingredients into your juicer, you’ll have all the nourishment you need and more – within seconds.

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Discovering Iran: from Caspian Sea to Persian Gulf

The recent diplomatic thaw and growing awareness of its attractions are set to make Iran a must-visit destination. Arron Merat takes a tour from Tehran to the Gulf

Holiday hotspots: where to go in 2014

‘Foreigners! Welcome to Tehran! You may also line up here,” announces a smiling airport official dressed in a long, black chador who is pointing to a newly opened immigration booth. A throng of young Dutch, Polish and German travellers pick up their rucksacks and peel off from the back of our queue and rush towards the new one.

Queues for foreign passport holders at Imam Khomeini International airport have been conspicuously short for almost a decade, but 2014 is tipped to be the biggest year for western tourism in the Islamic Republic’s 35-year history. The populist and bombastic former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left office late last year and his replacement, Hassan Rouhani, has assumed a softer diplomatic style, lifting many barriers that kept tourists away.

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