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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.

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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.


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!)


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103 responses to “How To Detox After Vacation (or anytime!)

  1. I love all of this information! I’ve been following you for awhile now. My question is, I’m a flight attendant and I worry about all the chemicals, radiation, ect that I come into contact with on a somewhat daily basis. I need as much help as I can get as far as food to take with me on my 3 day travels. We are allowed to carry a food bag that does have cold storage so that helps. How do we as flight crew eliminate radiation from harming our bodies? I worry as I’m trying to get pregnant what it will do to my fetus. I’d love an article on flight crews and what we can do to stay healthy.
    Thank you,
    Tanya Smith

    1. Tanya, You can use organite. (Do a search) I make my own and have small ones that I carry in my pocket. It changes the negative energy around you, into positive healthy energy. It sounds like “voodoo” but the crystal has known healing elements, and has been used for hundreds of years.

    2. Hi Karen,
      I used to be a flight attendant too, and recently found two amazing ALL natural REAL food supplements that boost your energy, and help you lose a few nagging pounds that you need to shed. All of my former Flight attendant friends have caught on to the benefits that work FAST. Send me a private message

  2. Bikram yoga and raw vegetables and Arbonne’s healthy living program which focuses on five main areas. Eat clean, increase nutrient intake, eliminate allergenic foods, balance blood sugar& support elimination organs

  3. Thanks for the tips. I would love to know what kind of app you use for counting calories. Please share! Thank you : )

  4. Love the information, I have always tried to fast at least 1 day monthly it did make me feel energetic afterward. I would like to do yoga, haven’t exercised lately. Thank you for the info.

  5. Ok, so I REALLY need help on this whole water thing. I’ve only recently – past 4 years- followed the ways of the Food Babe 🙂 but drinking water has always been my one super healthy staple. I haven’t had a soda in over a decade (I’m 26) and drink a ton of water every day. Almond milk is the only other liquid I consume. I even started doing Food Babe’s daily lemon water ritual 8 months ago and my skin has definitely improved. Here, you mention how bad bottled water is (and I know it’s also super bad for the environment, but I recycle, so I can’t beat myself up.) My question is: I obviously can’t afford anywhere near the filtration system Vani uses, but I’ve always been of the philosophy that bottled spring water is about 10000000 times better than tap water. Especially because I live in New Orleans. Am I completely negating the health and detoxifying benefits of my lemon water ritual by using/drinking bottled water? It’s so easy to feel like NOTHING you do is right sometimes when you aren’t in a financial position to “have it all” health wise. UGH!

    1. Hi Renee,
      I was in the same predicament for the longest time until my hubby and I decided to start buying our water “in bulk” at the co-op/grocery store/whole foods. We purchased a bpa free 5 gallon jug (at whole foods) and a 2.5 gallon bpa free dispenser (from the container store) with a spigot to keep in the fridge and refill. It’s only like 4″ wide so it doesn’t take up much space at all. Then we just bring both along when we grocery shop and fill with the filtered water. $0.39/ gallon for reverse osmosis, chlorine free, flouride free water. And its always cold and handy in the fridge. Then we just use glass water bottles to drink from and cart around. Can’t beat it! Hope this helps 🙂

  6. Just a typo to correct… you wrote “sike” when you meant “psych”, as in to psych yourself up.

  7. Hi Vani, Thanks for the Detox tips. You probably don’t drink coffee, but for coffee lovers adding roasted dandelion to the brew is delicious and I consider it an additional detox to balance a daily habit. You can give me your perspective I also love Hot Yoga. This question may be beyond your scope but I’ve always had spider veins and lately I’ve notced they have worsened…Could be age but I am wondering if the Hot yoga and the physical exertion I put into straightening my legs might be aiding in the spider vein progression. Any thoughts? Thanks, Suzanne

  8. I recently discovered your name and cause and I love following your posts on facebook…I’m learning so much about the horrible things we put in our body every single day!!
    Thanks for being so informative!
    Can you tell me where you get your wheatgrass shots?

  9. 1300 calories just doesn’t seem like very much. I HAVE to eat 2,000 a day with exercise if I want to be full. How do you not get ravenously hungry and still burn off an EXTRA 400-600 calories?!?!

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