7 Day Post Vacation Detox!

This post is spurred by an old friend of mine who, for several weeks straight, posted his food and drink pics on Facebook. And while his meals certainly looked mouth-watering, he shared that he’d be ready for a re-set once he got home, so I suggested writing a blog post for him, and anyone else, who has gone on vacation and over-indulged and who needs to get back on track. So this is for him, and for anyone else it might serve. ūüôā

But before we begin, I wanted to share some of my favourite food strategies with those¬†of you who don’t want to splurge every day (or every meal) while on vacation.

My Top Food Strategies While Traveling

First, whenever I travel, I make sure I enjoy the local fare. That’s all part of experiencing the culture of a new place! But I try to start every meal with a salad. As long as I’ve had some veggies, my belly is fuller and I love that I’ve taken my vitamins (in the form of veggies!). Plus, that way, I don’t have as much room for indulgences.

Second, I drink water. Lots and lots of water. No matter where I am traveling, I carry water with me and I drink it all day. As I’ve mentioned many times, the brain can mistake the feeling of hunger with the feeling of thirst, so when we stay hydrated, we don’t find ourselves craving as much and we won’t be as inclined to make poor food choices. True, I don’t drink alcohol, so that’s not an option for me, but for those who do, I recommend prioritizing water so that when you indulge with alcohol, you aren’t starting out dehydrated.

Third, I carry snacks with me wherever I go. I know I will get hungry between meals, so instead of making all of my food choices when I’m starving, I carry nuts, fruit, chopped veggies or Larabars, which I can just pop in my bag. Then, when I’m poring over the menu, because I’m not famished, I can pass on the bread basket and appetizers and go straight for the main meal, saving me a lot of belly bloat, sodium and calories (not that we count them, but they do add up).

Last, when it comes to dessert, I like to be really discerning. Honestly, if it’s something I can easily get at home, I usually take a pass. I don’t bother with processed desserts or pre-packaged cakes or pies or cookies when there are soooo many options out there that have been made with real, whole ingredients (and love).

For example, I am traveling as I write this, visiting Roger’s parents in eastern Canada (Fredericton) and while I always make an effort to limit my sugar intake, when we visit, our indulgence is in something called an “oat cake”. They are a local staple and are half the reason I love to visit!!! Just kidding, Ralph & Sandra ;). They are like oatmeal cookies but denser and thicker and saltier and better and just sooooo goooood. Down here, you can find oat cakes almost anywhere, like the chain coffee shops and retail stores. But I don’t want them from anywhere, where they are processed and mass produced. I want them from the small, family-owned business who make them with love and using ingredients I can pronounce.

So that’s how I manage things while I’m traveling, but what about the times where I haven’t followed my own advice or for those of you, like my dear old friend, who desperately feels the need to detox after overindulging? Here’s how I do it.

7 Day Post-Vacation Detox

  1. Avoid Restaurants…at least for the week. As much as you possibly can, steer clear of food that isn’t made by you. When you eat out, you just don’t know what’s on your plate. Plus, portion sizes can be pretty crazy (many restaurants serve enough for 2-3 people on every plate!). At home, you control every ingredient and you control how much you’ll eat. Plus, your wallet will appreciate the break, too.
  2. Drink Water. Lotttts of water. For at least 7 days, start each morning with 16 ounces (2 cups) of warm water with lemon juice (I usually use half a lemon, but it depends on the size–you want about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice). Lemon water helps to balance our pH levels and detoxifies the liver. It aids in digestion and hydrating our bodies upon waking is key to feeling our best.¬†If you don’t like lemon juice, you can use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water instead. If you like neither, simply drink 16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up. Like, before you walk the dog or feed the cats or change the baby’s diaper or have a shower. As soon as your feet hit the floor, make your way to the kitchen and get hydrated. You have gone 8 hours without water and your body needs it.I can’t wait to hear how this ONE change affects your digestion (your poop!), your skin, your energy levels and your wellbeing in general. Water is one of the most underrated nutrients and yet, along with oxygen, it is necessary for life!¬†Make water a priority all day long, and aim for half your body weight in ounces of water every day.¬†If you don’t like plain water, flavour it with citrus, cucumber, mint, basil, rosemary, pineapple, peach, strawberry or any other fruit or herb you like to jazz it up.¬†If you loathe still water, sparkling works just as well. Choosing water over other drinks like soda, juice and alcohol is an (easy) way to give your liver a much-needed break.
  3. Lose The Booze. Speaking of alcohol, for 7 days, try going without any. I know that might sound daunting for those who imbibe regularly, but it’s only 7 days and the liver has so much work to do that taxing it with even just one alcoholic beverage will put its attention on detoxifying the drug instead of allowing it to do its main job of filtering the blood from your digestive tract, and then passing it to the rest of your body. Give it a shot and who knows…you may feel so good that you’ll want to go longer than 7 days!
  4. Eat A Power Breakfast. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day and this is a non-negotiable. ūüôā Fueling your body with a high protein breakfast is key to kick-starting your metabolism and reducing carbohydrate (sugar) cravings all day. My favourite breakfast is a smoothie. If you don’t have a good morning smoothie recipe, you might want to try one of these. They’re easy, delicious and chock full of good stuff that will have you feeling amazing! Otherwise, eggs are an easy and versatile option; Greek yogurt with berries is tasty and easy, or try this snack cake¬†as a quick and easy brekkie on the run (I usually make this recipe into muffins. Eat 2 as a serving size).
  5. Prioritize Protein. Not just at breakfast, but at every meal and snack, make sure that when you look at your plate, you see a healthy source of protein. Popular choices in my kitchen include grilled chicken breasts, salmon, elk or other game meat, eggs, quinoa, beans and lentils. Protein digests slowly so it keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Animal protein contains no carbohydrates, so there is no spike in blood sugar.
  6. Eat Your Greens.¬†I always like to eat my vitamins in the form of vegetables. But if I’ve enjoyed a more indulgent vacation, I like to increase the number of vegetables I typically eat, at least for a few days. This doesn’t have to feel daunting. Snack on raw veggies & hummus, choose a salad at lunch,¬† whip up a batch of kale chips, eat an extra serving of veggies at dinner or add an extra handful of spinach into your morning smoothie. Homemade vegetable soups are a great way to get a few servings in and soup doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a great way to use up veggies that are starting to wilt, or you might like to try this one for leek soup.
  7. Take A Probiotic. I generally take a round of probiotics every Spring and Fall, but I also like to take them after overindulging with food. Talk to your naturopath or health food store owner about the best one for you, and be sure to buy a quality brand that must be kept in the fridge. My number one favourite¬†is coconut kefir and the best brand is The Cultured Coconut. With over 4 trillion live bacteria and 40+ strains, it will have your gut feeling gooood! Adding beneficial gut bacteria helps us eliminate (poop!) better, which rids our bodies of unwanted toxins. It feels soooo good to have a proper bowel movement and a probiotic might be exactly what you need to get you started on a better morning routine if you’ve had trouble or if you’ve been eating poorly for a while. I like to take my probiotic just before bed so it has time to work, on an empty stomach, while I’m sleeping.
  8. Enjoy Fermented Foods.¬†According to Wellness Mama, “Fermented foods¬†are¬†foods¬†that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the¬†food¬†creating lactic acid. This process preserves the¬†food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.” Beyond taking a probiotic, you can also enjoy as many fermented foods as you like. Organic Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are all great options. I’m also a huge fan of the fermented cod liver oil by Green Pasture. I wrote about it here when I shared my skin care routine as it is amazing for hair, skin and nails, as well. For 7 days, try to add in at least one fermented food per day.
  9. Sleep. When we are on vacation, we can tend sleep less than we should. This can be caused by changes in time zones, staying up later than we normally do, or simply sleeping in a strange bed, among other reasons. Once home, prioritize your sleep by going to bed and waking up¬†at the same time every night, at least for a week (and hopefully, this might be the beginning of a new habit for you!) We repair our bodies and our brains while we sleep and it helps to regulate our blood sugar, among many other benefits (we’ll be talking sleep in an upcoming post, so stay tuned). Keep TVs and other screens out of your bedroom. Cover your alarm clock (if you use one) as even a tiny bit of blue light can affect your circadian rhythm. Make sure your phone is off and will only alarm when it’s time to wake up. You may want to try a sleep app¬†to help you wake when your body is naturally pulling out of a sleep state.¬†Sleep in a cool room, use blackout blinds, and create a shut down ritual where you avoid as much light as possible at least an hour before bed.¬†Remember, our bedrooms are meant for two things: sleep and intimacy.
  10. Enjoy Sugar…in the form of fruit!¬†My list wouldn’t be complete without talking just a little bit about sugar. When we overindulge, it’s often with sugar. Even savoury dishes can contain a heavy dose of the sweet stuff and we also tend to eat more carbohydrates when we travel (things like potatoes, pasta, breads, pastries, etc.). For at least 7 days, choose fruit for dessert instead of sweets. Some of my favourites include a little Greek yogurt with berries or peaches, a baked apple with a little butter and cinnamon, or a banana with a spoonful of almond butter. Even easier, just a nice juicy orange or some sliced pineapple tastes amazing when we get away from sugar for a while. Fruit is nature’s candy!
  11. My BONUS tip is to Move IT! While we are on vacation, we can fall off our normal exercise routine and getting back on track is key to feeling our best. For the next 7 days, decide that you will get out and walk, jog, hit the gym, do a class, practice yoga, swim, or anything else that makes you feel good. If you haven’t exercised for a long time (or ever), think back to when you were a child. What did you enjoy? Did you like to run around? Try a brisk walk, jog or running on the treadmill if the weather doesn’t allow you to be outdoors. Did you like to ski? Try the elliptical machine or some conditioning exercises. Did you do karate or Tae Kwon Do? Check out a class at your local dojo (the first one is often free!). Did you love to swim? Join your local YMCA, gym, or public pool and have fun in the water doing laps or aqua fit (some hotels even allow people to enjoy the facilities for a small monthly fee). Did you dance? Get to a Zumba or hip hop class or download a dance routine and have fun in your living room! Did you do ballet or gymnastics? You might like a Barre class or yoga. Any movement is good. More is better and joy is the goal. Exercise feels good…our bodies are designed to move–sitting is the new smoking)–you just need to find what works for you.

The Bottom Line

Traveling is such a wonderful way to experience other parts of the world. We enjoy learning about foreign places through the culture, the people and the food. But if we’ve overdone it in the food department, it can feel really good to re-set our systems and “detox”. I use quotation marks, because I don’t really believe in a “detox” because we are constantly detoxing if we are eating real food. Our bodies–and specifically our livers–detoxify on a moment-to-moment basis, and we can do so much good for ourselves when we make choices that nourish us from the inside out and provide us with more energy. So if you’ve overdone it a little with food while on holidays or if you just need a re-boot, I encourage you to try this 7 day detox and see how you feel. Who knows, it just might be the boost you need to kickstart your healthy lifestyle!

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.


P.S. If you'd like to join me more often in my kitchen and if you'd like to work with me more closely, going below the surface to uncover the root causes of our behaviours, my 12 week online group coaching program called One Bite At A Time (OBAAT) starts on Monday, January 13th, 2020. I’d love you to experience it, if food and sugar have been a source of struggle for you. Visit ObaatCoaching.com to learn more, or feel free to email me at Sarah@SarahTalksFood.com. 

P.P.S. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my "14 days of wellness", a daily email for 2 weeks. It's free, and I'd love you to have it. https://sarahtalksfood.com/


  • PJ Dean-Thornton

    Reply Reply January 3, 2020

    Hi Sarah!!! Doing an end of the year, just-before-things-get-back-to-busy Facebook perusal, which is kinda’ rare! Anyway, I happily saw this, and upon reading it, really wanted to share a game-changer for me. Just a month ago, though in heartfelt and full accord with these strategies, I would then have been troubled and burdened by the struggle of drinking water and the struggle of movement….namely because of a leaky bladder. Now, I had BIG babies, yet I also have 2 friends, 40 and 55 years old respectively, who never had kids, who struggle mightily, too. It really is a crippler. I dreaded drinking water…and pined for the days I could hop into a tiny dash here and there, or work out without a HUGE miserable battle on my hands. One day I got soooo frustrated with my workout, that I started to Google “Is there a female urethra CLAMP!!! (actually!) Turns out there IS one for men only, but the search wended me down a webby path online to a procedure all women should hear about. I have to mention that ten years ago I tried the mesh-sling procedure which required general anesthesia, a month or 2 of recovery, and had NO helpful EFFECT whatsoever. What I stumbled upon this time was a Bulkamid injection procedure. Local anesthesia, walk in, walk out, no recovery time. The doctor goes up via the urethra and injects a “plumping” agent in the wall of the urethra in 3 spots up under the bladder neck. If the procedure isn’t completely helpful, you can go back for an additional injection. I could elaborate at length about all the ways my life has come back to me, but I won’t do that here. Just saying, this bit of woman-talk may be ENORMOUS for other women, too, at least to hear it exists!!!

    I wanted to add that after a lifetime of food obsession, I have spent the time since my work with you with NO INTEREST in sugar….????!!!! I live, as a friend termed herself, “food-neutral”. It did not happen overnight, but after 2 Challenges, and some back and forth, I REALLY cannot get away from how food makes me feel…and that is the new bottom line in what appeals to me…and my 12 year old son is catching on, too.

    I have gone on roadtrips with the family, roadtrips being NOTORIOUS for making you feel crappy!!…but eating real food low on the glycemic scale, I felt AWESOME the whole trip. What a trip changer!

    My immune system has been over the moon.

    I have other food struggles, like nailing down real-food protein snacks as I cannot separate meat from the murder in it (though I am not a total vegetarian purist). And I don’t quite love the balance of weight/mobility/hunger that my body naturally finds… ecstatic mobility comes with a price of hunger and fixation. Hrmmm.

    Since you have said you love to talk about poop, I thought I might add another interesting (to me, anyway!!!) observation (bear with me if I said this to you before…can’t remember if I did). My daughter is 16, and she got pinworms when she was 2. I never administered pin worm medicine to her, as the thought of feeding my little child a straight-up dose of pesticide was to crazy to me. The whole family ended up with pinwormy complaints, but over a couple years they all said the pinworms had disappeared. Not so for me. But I am a night owl, and “detail oriented”, LOL! I can be sitting awake at 1:00 or 2:00 am, and notice the second I have a tiny visitor, and I had to pay close attention to develop this awareness. In monitoring sugar intake, I could watch how even after a month or 2 of no sugar and no pinworms, if I ate the least bit of sugar, or had a glass of orange juice, I would have 1 to 3 pinworms that night. I began to have a sneaking suspicion that there could be a symbiotic relationship going on here. Like the pinworms only hatched out of dormancy when it was needed to “sweep up” an overload of sugar…or something???

    So I did a search….and of COURSE there were bazillions of articles with advice on how to get rid of pinworms!!! But digging further and further past these, there it was! Research on how certain intestinal worms are being discovered as helpful in the treatment of certain diseases….here you will have to forgive me, because I read this about a year ago, and have forgotten the specifics as per kinds of worms and diseases discussed. But with the documentaries that draw the connections between sugar and disease….and with all the emerging research about our biodomes and health, and fecal transplants and beneficial bacteria and all these things….it seemed a possibility that pinworms that have cohabited with humans forever with no ill effects (except loss of sleep in bad cases) may have a role. In any case, they have helped me monitor my sugar intake, and my resolve to opt away from sugar because it does not bring that quiet healthy hum to my body. Kind of fascinating.

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply January 3, 2020

      Woah!!! This is all HUGE! What an adventure this life is, and I am blown away by your journey. I am so happy you’ve found relief from incontinence. The finale of my talk show was on this topic (REALTalkWithSarah.com) but we didn’t get to this procedure. Thank you for sharing your experience! I don’t know anything about pinworms, but I am beyond impressed you are so in tune with your body. Yes, food neutral is a peaceful and powerful place to be. Well done. I am so happy we got to work together in OBAAT. You shine, beauty, and I can’t wait to see all that’s to come for you! xoxo

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