How To Detox After Vacation (or anytime!)

Juice in Cusco

No. I’m not making out with my juice. This is what happens when I find juice on vacation. I cherish every ounce of goodness… This was a mix of carrots, cucumbers, celery and sprouts. It was one of my only pure vegetables juices I had while traveling last month. I had it in Cusco, Peru, where juice was available all over the place…but we were sadly only there a few days.

For the last part of last year and early part of this year – I’ve been a traveling mad woman, hence the lack of juice (and I had ZERO kale. The horror.). For instance, just in the last month, I’ve taken 15 different flights. I’m not complaining about this at all, because the places (Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valle, Machu Picchu, Paracas, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands) I went were totally INCREDIBLE. I can’t wait to share the pictures and our experiences with you… but first… I must get back on track.

After all the travel, my body is SCREAMING for a detox, routine, normality and just to be home for a while. (My mind on the other hand has a different plan, already planning the next trip…ahhhh). And to be completely honest, even though I’ve been following most of my healthy habits on the road (if you don’t know what they are and wish to find out – subscribe here to get a list!), I haven’t been watching how much I’ve been eating nor have I been on my regular schedule of exercise or yoga (I forgot my yoga travel mat at home – big mistake!). I find it funny, actually, that I’m getting back on track during this month… the month of January, when everyone and their neighbor is trying to do the same (not a bad thing, just the truth)… Years past, because of my heavily plant based clean eating lifestyle, I haven’t really needed to lose weight or detox during this specific month (the beauty of living and eating organically!)… but this year… I’m with the rest of the folks, trying desperately to feel as good as I did last year.

These are some simple steps I take to get back on track…. The best part is that you can use any of them anytime of year, not just after vacation.

Drink Dandelion Tea - This stuff is DYNAMITE for reducing that initial swelling or bloating after traveling. It also significantly reduces water retention after a heavily salted diet. I have found that eating out almost always guarantees salt bloat. Even after asking the waiters in South America to reduce the amount of salt in my food on several occasions, it never actually happened… it perhaps got lost in translation… but I didn’t worry too much, because I packed dandelion tea with me and always drink it as soon as I get back home. Dandelion stimulates the liver, the primary organ that removes toxins – which is what you want after a trip being exposed to all sorts of things out of your element… oh… you don’t know what I am talking about? I’m talking about stuff like …. radiation from airplanes and pesticides being sprayed on an airplane and in your food, using hotel sheets, towels, etc washed with detergents that are full of chemicals, blowing your nose and wiping your tush with fragrance filled tissue paper, drinking water from plastic bottles non stop, etc… it all adds up and anything to help move those toxins out of my body the better. My favorite brand of dandelion tea is Traditional Medicinals and available here on Amazon.

IMG 3009

Daily Wheatgrass Shots – Speaking of removing toxins, there may not be a better way to do that than drinking daily wheatgrass. I have 40 or so reasons listed here if you don’t believe me…You don’t have to do a daily shot to get the benefits however, a few times a week is great too, especially after a vacation or the holidays. It is a sure fire way to help speed up your energy, your vibrance and your metabolism. It’s very powerful stuff and its potency takes getting used to.  I have to sike myself up every time I take a shot… but by the end of it all, I’m all smiles.

Wheatgrass

Eat Raw Vegetables At Every Meal- This might seem like a obvious way to detox… but not having any kale for almost a month and trying to determine where I could eat raw vegetables safely was very limiting (most guide books say to avoid raw vegetables when traveling), making this tip very important for my detox plan on return. I didn’t even have my usual daily green powders (Green Vibrance or Vitamineral Greens) with me on my travels either… they got lost in a taxi cab in Lima early in the trip. (You are welcome Mr. Taxi Cab Driver… I’m sure you are feeling great after all those nutrients!) So what is the plan to get more vegetables – and raw ones at that? It’s simple –  just eat raw vegetables before every meal (including during breakfast), drink daily green juice or green smoothies…I’ll probably do all three, because I am a vegetable fanatic. Raw vegetables makes me feel AMAZING and are known for removing toxins and healing your body fast. The following daily plan works great with my schedule … a green smoothie for breakfast (FAST to make), raw veggies before my lunch (pre-cut the night before) or a large salad, and a green juice (freshly made after work or bought) before dinner. And of course my actual meals will all consist of even more vegetables to aid in the overall detox…

Do a Juice Fast (but not right away) – While my body is still get used to the cold 40 degree weather, coming off of 80′s in the Galapagos, I’m not quite ready to dive into a juice fast just yet but will be after a week or two back in this environment and eating clean. That’s the key – the detox symptoms of a juice fast are much less severe when you have been eating healthy, mostly raw and clean for at least a week, so I don’t recommend starting a fast, day one after a vacation. You definitely want to make the fasting as pleasant as possible and not painful! I will likely do one soon, stay tuned on that but if you’d like to read up on one of my previous juice fasts – check out this series of posts, along with some of my favorite juice recipes:

Eat at Home – This should be like numero uno on this list. Although I pretty much ordered my food at restaurants my usual way while on vacation following my eating out tips, the amount of high calorie fat (healthy and unhealthy ones too) probably ended up in my food more than I would have liked.  Also the variety of food in general wasn’t always the best either… for instance, there were about 7 days straight the main course for lunch and dinner consisted of fish, corn and potatoes. While those aren’t terrible foods and won’t kill you. I don’t normally eat meat more than once a day and rarely eat white potatoes or corn. I am very much looking forward to controlling the amount of oil, salt, starch, etc. in my food and eating organically as much as possible in the coming weeks to counteract all the pesticides and other potentially toxic ingredients I may have encountered.

Count Calories - Following all the tips above and getting back on my usual routine will likely aid in helping me lose a few pounds I might have gained during my travels but there’s no better sure fire way to lose the weight than to follow this tip. When I notice my pants fitting a little snug (for the record, I’ll be wearing dresses for the whole month of January, so I don’t need to find out how snug they are right now), or I am feeling a bit untoned…I count my calories. Most real foodists are probably rolling their eyes at this tip…but to my experience, counting calories WORKS. It’s plain and simple – calories in vs. calories out helps you lose weight. Good for you foods can be higher in calories…(think avocado, walnuts, coconut oil) and if you eat them freely, not portioned control, it’s easy to pack on weight especially when they are easier to find and eat on vacation.

Of course, if you haven’t been following a clean chemical-free and organic lifestyle – choosing a diet consisting of whole real plant based food is the first step to feeling great and naturally losing weight… but for the folks that have a clean organic lifestyle down pat – calorie counting is the next step to getting the optimal body you want.

I like to count calories before a trip and after, because during is no fun! If I count calories before, it gives me a little buffer to indulge on vacation with higher calorie food… and of course, counting calories after a trip gets me back where I feel my best.

I like to use a BMR Calculator to find out my basal metabolic rate (BMR) and determine the number of calories it takes for me to sustain my weight. For my height and weight – it’s always around 1300. This means I can consume around 1300 calories every single day and not do a lick of activity and not gain weight. So what I usually do is exercise by burning anywhere between 400-600 calories a day to create a calorie deficit (I use my Polar Heart Rate Monitor to track this) and eat a total 1300-1500 calories a day until I get back down to where I feel great (FYI – this is where my skinny jeans fit nicely). Then I slowly increase my calories to roughly 1800-2000 when I don’t need to lose weight. Now, about 80% of the year I don’t count calories, because I am in the zone, wearing my skinny jeans, following my habits, not traveling like a crazy person, having a good routine of juicing and smoothies, etc. But when I do count calories, I use an app on my iPhone for that. A  food journal works great too. It’s totally up to you but the app has helped me get results 100% of the time, because it is so easy to keep up with and I don’t have to do the math. I know my body takes about a month to lose 3-4 pounds (there are 3500 calories in a pound), so by March (my birthday month),  I know I will be back where I need to be (i.e. feeling good in my skinny jeans – yeah!).

Doing yoga with one my best friends in the sand dunes of Huacachina, Peru

Hot Yoga - Now… I really believe that 80% of detoxing is what you put in your body… but I don’t want to discount how hot yoga has helped me detox my body from the inside out. When I do yoga, focusing on my breathing and the postures, it completely eliminates my stress and makes me happy and so energetic. There is no other activity that gives me more pleasure and peace of mind. And it’s because the yoga poses are designed to hit and bring energy to every organ in the body – improving your digestion, circulation and brain. Practicing in a hot room, allows you to get deeper into the poses (stimulating all the organs that help with detoxing more effectively) and releases some toxins via sweat. There are lot of people that have tried to disprove that toxins are released through sweat – but I don’t believe their research or theories at all.  I know from my own experience that it works. For example – when I know I haven’t been eating right or exposed to some element that is harmful or not good for my body, my skin will literally sting after sweating, but if I’m practicing clean living, my sweat will not do this to my skin. I’ve become so in tune with my body, I know exactly what’s going on. Yoga helps with tuning into my body intuition even more. My whole body smiles in joy when I practice.  If you haven’t tried it hot or at all – I highly recommend it!

I really want to know if you have tried any of these strategies to get back on track after a vacation or the holidays… and if you have any other detox tips to share. Please leave a comment below and share your experience with me and other readers…I would love to hear what works for you.

And if you find this information could help someone in your life – please share this post, everyone deserves to feel AMAZING after vacation (or anytime!)

XOXO,

Food Babe

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75 Responses to “How To Detox After Vacation (or anytime!)”

  1. Sarah Tangeman

    I love do yoga and have recently started adding it to my weekly workout routine. However, hot yoga is not offered – is using the sauna a nice alternative after working out?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Sarah Tangeman)

      YES! Actually I was just talking about that with someone today… they recommended after your work out to go in the Sauna and stretch. I think I will be doing that tomorrow… (and I am very excited about it…) :)

      Reply
      • Sarah Tangeman (to Food Babe)

        okay I am excited about this too – I forget about the sauna – it sounds wonderful

  2. Kerry Wise

    There is NOTHING like kale, juicing, green smoothies, wheatgrass, and hot yoga! I am a kickboxing girl but recently took a hot yoga BARRE class and can’t stop thinking about it! You’ll be back to feeling great in no time… and I bet will hit your sweet spot before March!

    Welcome Home!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Kerry Wise)

      Thanks for the encouragement….I really appreciate it. I want to be completely honest with you guys… It’s hard saying you got off track when you are the Food Babe :)

      Reply
      • Angie (to Food Babe)

        Let’s face it. We live in a dirty dirty dirty world. It’s not hard to fall off the wagon each and every day. Or should I say, it would be very simple to do so. It’s a constant battle to stay clean. I love your site and you have been a wealth of information. Keep up the great work. You have been traveling to some awesome places, is this for fun or business? You had NO kale…the horror, love it! :)

  3. Melissa @ My Whole Food Life

    Great post. I envy all the traveling you get to do. Wish I had done more before I had kids. I have been wanting to juice, but I am hesitant because I am so skinny already. I never had a weight problem, but quitting sugar caused me to lose a good 10 lbs and I can’t afford to lose much more. Any advice on how to juice withoutn losing weight? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Melissa @ My Whole Food Life)

      Yes – just add it in! I drink it as a supplement, rather than to lose weight. Your will get major energy… so worth it.

      Reply
  4. jessica

    missed you!

    Reply
  5. Christina Richardson

    What calorie counting app do you use? I have tried a few and haven’t been 100% happy. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Christina Richardson)

      I use “My Net Diary”…. I think it is free too! You can create custom meals which I like…since I am a creature of habit and eat a lot of the same foods. Good Luck!

      Reply
      • Ash (to Food Babe)

        Good stuff…I especially liked the Borneo story. Incidentally “siked” must be your own word instead of “psyched”?

  6. Karma

    What do you do for a living that you get to go to all those awesome, beautiful places? I’m a Spanish teacher who only dreams and teaches about Machu Picchu and all the other cool places!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Karma)

      I have been a management consultant for the last 12 years… the last 5 years have been independent, so I can make my own schedule which allows me the flexibility. The 4 Hour Work Week and The Art of Non-Conformity are two books that helped me on my path…. Good Luck… you can travel too… what about teaching abroad?

      Reply
    • Tammy (to Karma)

      Karma,

      I was just reading through the comments here & saw your post & wanted to reply. I’m a homeschool mom & another homeschool mom did a trip to Italy a while back through Contiki. Unfortunately, my son & I weren’t able to go that time, but she did tell me that if I host / lead a trip in the future, that I would go for free — it’s something that I’ve had in the back of my mind because my son still really wants to go to Italy & it could be a learning experience. Anyways, I’m sure there are other educational tour lines that would pay for the leader’s fare, you might consider looking into it.
      Best!
      Tammy

      Reply
  7. Jesse

    I’ve been waiting for this post!! I knew you would have the best advice! Thank you

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Jesse)

      You are welcome Jesse…. Thanks for being patient with me… I had the worst internet connection available during my trip…the most I could send was stuff from my phone (when I had a signal!)…. I’m back now… and will be posting more frequently… thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

      Reply
  8. Molly

    great post, thanks!!! i appreciate you mentioning the calorie counting because i eat clean, am not overweight, but still struggle to be the size that is ideal for me. i look forward to hearing about your adventures! welcome back!

    Reply
  9. Sheryl Branyon

    I have been meaning to send you this but keep forgetting so now seems as good a time as any…check out the app Fooducate! It is for iPhones, not sure about android. It is a calorie counter and so much more! It actually grades foods from A-F and gives the reasons why but my favorite part of this is that it tells you if the food is non GMO or not!!!! Then lists the foods that are at high and moderate risk of being GMO as well as additives to stay away from. I am super excited about this!! You can also scan barcodes when shopping to see how good or bad the food is. Helps take some of the guess work out. Please let me know what you think!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Sheryl Branyon)

      Love that site/app… it’s wonderful! Thanks for reminding me that I need to share it again!

      Reply
  10. Kim Parrish

    Thanks for the dandelion tea tip, it is the only one on the list I haven’t been doing. Sometimes my husband and I pull the dandelion greens we find growing on the edge of the yard to throw in our juicer with our veggie juice! Glad your back and I am sure you will be back where you want to be super fast!!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Kim Parrish)

      Dandelion totally does the same trick… so that’s just as good if not better! Thanks for the optimism! Green juice and yoga two straight days is a good sign, I’m on track!

      Reply
      • Ashish Bhardwaj (to Food Babe)

        What part of the Dandelion should be used in the tea? The Leaf, stem, flower or the entire thing?

  11. Anna @ Let's Get Real, Food!

    Okay, so I have not ever given one ounce of thought to my toilet paper being scented and that being a toxin. Guess I had better find a new kind! Also going to try the dandelion tea. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Kathy

    I am wanting to do some yoga at home when I can’t get to the classes at the gym. Is there a yoga DVD you would recommend?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Kathy)

      …. well…. I’ve been doing P90X Yoga and Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD – which are both a bit interesting in their own ways and in no way like my hot yoga class I enjoy at home…. but I have noticed those two DVDs make me stronger in class because they both emphasize a more athletic form of yoga. If you have a more “yoga” yoga dvd that you like – please let me know! I want to try a new one…

      Reply
      • Beth (to Food Babe)

        I’d also like to find a more “relaxing” yoga DVD than the Jillian Michael’s one I have.

      • Stephanie (to Food Babe)

        If you look up Sadie Nardini on YouTube you will find a wide selection of yoga flows. She is amazing, and there is always something to suit your mood!

      • Food Babe (to Stephanie)

        Thank you for the recommendation! yeah… excited to try something new.

  13. Karen

    Missed you and love this post!!!! Glad you had a good time!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Karen)

      Thank you!!!! I’m so happy to be back… I’ve got so much I want to share and write about.

      Reply
  14. Devin Dillon

    Thanks food babe!
    All you info is very helpful and freakishly applicable to my life right now. I have been bouncing around Florida, Colombia, and Valenzuela and battle to stay on my normal diet and exercise routine while also exploring local foods, enjoying home cooked meals with my friends and their families loaded with heavy starches and super fatty proteins! (yum-only for a second)

    My question is why avoid raw vegetables during travel? I have tried to balance with huge fresh salads and fists full of organic spinach and kale when I can find it….
    I appreciate all you do,
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Devin Dillon)

      Oh… no… I don’t want you take what I said that way…. what I meant was that most guide books/travel agent/friends/family warned us against raw foods while traveling through South America, because the water can easily be contaminated with bacteria that can cause stomach issues…I still however – ate a lot of raw vegetables.. regardless of the warnings! I would totally continue doing what you do, by buying kale/spinach and eating it…. just make sure to wash it with filtered water…. Luckily most of the places I stayed were very diligent about doing this and we did not eat in too many shady places… although in the back of my mind, everytime I ate a green salad, I worried just a little. Have fun on all your traveling… be sure to check out my other travel posts for more tips… xoxo

      Reply
  15. Kathy @ Beauty Palette

    So happy you’re back and blogging!

    This is such a timely post for me. I’m currently traveling for work and will have been on a plane 3x in three days – NOT fun at all for my body. When I was sitting on the plane before all I could hear was everyone coughing and sneezing, almost went into panic mode. Definitely going to have a wheatgrass shot and green juice as soon as I get home tomorrow night!

    Reply
  16. Mary S

    I find the healthier that I eat, the harder it is to count calories. For example, easier to check the nutrition label on a packaged food than to calculate the calories in a homemade soup. But I still agree it’s a good idea. So my question is, how do you calculate the calories in your juices, smoothies, salads, etc? Or do you just focus on counting calories for the other foods that you consume instead?

    Reply
    • Karen A. (to Mary S)

      I have the same question!

      Reply
      • Jordanne (to Karen A.)

        I have a similar question too! My calorie counter lets me “build a meal” so I just type in all the ingredients for my homemade meals (like soup, for example), but I’m not sure how juicing, specifically, changes the nutrient profile. Does juiced kale have the same calories as raw kale?

      • Daisy (to Jordanne)

        Same!! I’ve used my fitness pal but don’t always count the calories from.non starchy vegetables

  17. juliet

    Thanks for the tips….I will use them- I turn 40 in March, and after having six kids in my thirties, I am not giving up on getting my 25 yr old body back…or even stronger….you are an inspiration! juliet

    Reply
  18. Tammi

    Welcome back! And, thanks for all of the great detox info – I REALLY need it after the holidays!

    Reply
  19. Meara

    Hi Vani, I have a question about Dandelion Tea, not necessarily related to detoxing. I have a lot of stomach and digestive issues and have adjusted my diet slightly to no avail yet, but I definitely haven’t gone as far as I should just yet. But I’ve heard Dandelion is really good for managing digestive issues. What are your thoughts on this? Also, I tend to steer clear of tea because it tends to upset my stomach even more (the only beverages I’ve found that don’t are water and gingerale!). What are your thoughts on dandelion extract, and how could it be used?

    Reply
    • Andreea (to Meara)

      I have a sensitive stomach and drink dandelion tea when I feel like I need to detox, but to me it feels like a laxative and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re that sensitive.

      Reply
      • bianca (to Andreea)

        Try home-made ginger tea: just slice a ginger root and let it infuse in simmering (not boiling) water for awhile, or ’til you get the desired taste. I wouldn’t recommed making it too strong if your stomach is sensitive. Good thing is, you can throw in some others herbs in it (things you find in your spice rack), or a clove of garlic too, if you think they won’t make you ill.

  20. Kathy

    I would like to know if there is an alternative to dandelion tea that would help with bloating? I am allergic to dandelions and would be afraid to try it, however I do suffer from bloating a lot. Mostly because of the amount of cruciferous veggies I eat. Thanks

    Reply
    • Alex (to Kathy)

      I just found this post, but I recommend fennel seed tea for bloating. I just pour a cup of boiling water over the seeds and let steep for about 10 min, strain and drink. I just read that it’s recommended to bruise the seeds with mortar and pestle to release the oils but I’ve found it effective even without doing that. Works great for me!

      Reply
  21. Karen Brar

    Thanks for the great blog. Yesterday quinoa masala burgers…. they are delicious! Thanks so much. I can’t wait to make them in the summer as vege kabobs!

    Keep up the great work. You are such an inspiration!

    Reply
  22. Sarah

    Hi food babe! I left this question on your Facebook also but didn’t know if I’d get a response faster here. In your ravishing red juice recipe how large is the beet? The only ones at my grocery store were the size of a grapefruit and I used the whole thing. I’m worried now that maybe that was too much beet juice and will make me sick?

    Reply
  23. farmer liz

    I felt sick after just the week off work, from all the crap food I had to eat to be polite to everyone :) I just try to get lots of probiotics, like yoghurt, kefir and fermented vegetables to try to get my gut balanced again. I forgot about my liver though, think I should get some dandelion tea…..

    Reply
  24. Rachel

    I bought a groupon for a month of hot yoga, but I’m scared to use it! I’m out of shape and haven’t practiced yoga in a long time, but I’ve heard hot yoga does wonders for back pain (I’m recovering from an injury and have bad arthritis in my back plus I’m allergic to almost all pain killers). My doc gave me the go ahead, but I’m a bit shy and I’m nervous about being surround by hard core yoga masters, any tips to prepare?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Rachel)

      Yes…if you focus on your breath when you are in there, breathing in slowly and breathing out slowly during the poses, all your worries will disappear and class will feel like it goes by in 5 mins. Sounds so simple, but it works!… Good Luck! You’ll do great :)

      Reply
  25. Lauren

    Hey Food Babe! I can’t believe I just discovered your site because it is ah-mazing. Where have you been all my life? Anyways, I am going to do a detox/cleanse starting next week. I do not own a juicer (yet) but I have a Vitamix and a nut bag for straining. I plan to use some (okay, probably all) of your juice recipes – I know they won’t come out exactly the same since I’m not using a juicer, but do you think I should strain them in the nut bag or consume them as-is after blending, pulp and all? Thank you!

    Reply
  26. Janice

    Vani, did you use a digestive enzyme when you traveled? If so, what brand do you recommend?
    Thanks,
    Janice

    Reply
  27. Nicole

    Janice, I have the same question. There is no juicer in my immediate future but I do have a Ninja blender and I do want to get started.

    Reply
  28. Allie Garrity

    Questions…I am currently training for a Half IronMan and debating doing a juice cleanse (focusing on juicing Breakfast & Lunch – eating a clean dinner like raw veggies/protein). Any advice for an active person?
    Example of typical three day workout routine:
    Monday – Run 5 Miles & 30 min core dvd
    Tuesday – RPM Class or Ride Bike on trainer for 30-45 minutes
    Wednesday – 1200 m swim, with various drills

    Reply
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  31. Jennifer texter

    What app do you like best for counting calories

    Reply
    • Assistant to Food Babe (Krista) (to Jennifer texter)

      Vani likes My Net Diary for counting calories

      Reply
  32. Angela

    Hi there! I am just now seeing this post for the 1st time. My husband and I and our 3 young kids (4, 7, and 9) are traveling to Lima, Cuzco, Sacred valley, and Iquitos (Amazon) in August. Do you happen to remember any of the places where you were able to find real food and juice? I am also almost vegetarian, so makes it even harder. I am afraid we are going to starve!

    Reply
  33. Abby

    What is your recommended brand of wheatgrass for wheatgrass shots?

    Reply
    • Assistant to Food Babe (Krista) (to Abby)

      Just make sure it is organic!

      Reply
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  35. Kerry Shayne

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  36. Tizzylish

    I make a detox salad and eat it for a couple days after a vacation…Raw beets, fennel, sprouts,carrots, some greens, parsley and coriander . My sauce is olive oil, lemon, and some grated ginger for some bite..I sometimes add sunflower nuts too…avocado….whatever works…

    Reply
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  38. kristen

    Is this safe to do while nursing my 7 month old and will any of the herbs hurt my breast milk supply

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  39. Brooke

    How is the flavor of the dandelion tea? Is it similar to anything?

    Reply
  40. Linda

    Thanks, Vani! I’m feeling very motivated from this post, and went out to stock up today on your recommended products. For starters, I bought several flavors of evolution juices (I don’t currently have a juicer, and my favorite juice place is too far from my house). Your dandelion root tea advice must be working…Wegman’s was almost out of stock!! :-)

    Reply

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