That extra croissant in Paris. A second helping of gnocchi in Positano. One too many bottles of Syrah in Napa. How could you not? It all adds up to an amazing time while on vacation, but once you get home the guilt (and bloat and extra pounds) sets in. The mystery of how to indulge and not deprive while on vacation has long eluded most – but we’re determined to solve it. And with a bit of help from Rachelle Wintzen, a certified yoga instructor and holistic nutritionist based in Toronto, we find out how to lose those extra treats as a travelling companion when you return home.
Post-vacation (where you’ve done more than your usual eating and drinking), how can you get back on track?
Make a pot of fresh ginger root tea. Simply cut ginger into small pieces with the skin left on and place in a pot to boil. Once it has reached a boiling point, turn heat to low and let it simmer. The longer it simmers, the stronger it gets. Drink as much as you like and add honey or lemon if desired. Ginger is great for relieving bloating, gas and constipation and is also a great natural anti-inflammatory. It will also boost the immune system, flush out toxins and help you lose weight!
How can you ease yourself back into healthy eating (and curb those high-fat, sugar cravings)?
Once you start to introduce cleaner options, the body will naturally crave more of it. Same thing goes for poor food choices – the more we eat it, the more we want it. To break the cycle you can incorporate a cold-pressed green juice first thing in the morning to kick-start the digestive system, flush out toxins and start to decrease cravings. This will give the body a boost of fresh nutrients to help break the cycle. Make a conscious effort at each meal to eat your greens, even if it is just a small side salad of dark leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce).
Juice cleanses after a vacation – are they a good idea?
After letting yourself indulge in alcohol and foods that normally would not be in your regular diet, it is not ideal to do any type of quick fix. I am a huge advocate for juice cleansing, but in the context of the right time and place. Indulgences right after vacation are a big no-no. The body can’t handle going from one extreme to the next. Doing a juice cleanse without properly preparing the body can create some nasty detox symptoms that include diarrhea, headaches and bloating. Instead, drink a cold-pressed green juice in the morning on an empty stomach for optimal absorption and benefits. Juicing dandelion greens are great for detoxing the liver!
Jet lag always increases hunger (thanks to no sleep!). Here how to beat it:
· BYOT: Bring your own tea! Herbal teas are a great way to help promote relaxation and sleep without the risk of becoming dependent or addicted. Look for teas with passionflower, valerian, lemon balm and chamomile.
· Poor digestion is also a main contributor to jet lag. A good digestive tea will help with discomfort. Try ginger, peppermint, liquorice root or cloves tea.
· Avoid stimulants before and during your flight – not only are they dehydrating but they will also keep you awake when you should be sleeping.
· Drink lots of water! Women should be drinking an average of 2 litres a day and men about 3-4 litres a day.
· The best way to travel is to travel light. Remember to apply this notion to your food consumption before and during your flight. Eat light, lots of fresh fruits and veggies and raw nuts. Having raw fruit and nut bars are a great way to travel light, boost energy and not feel bogged down by the fast food in the airport.
· Take digestive enzymes, probiotics and HCl (hydrochloric acid) tablets during your vacation. This will help prevent constipation and digestive disorders while away. It will also help you digest heavy and indulgent foods.
Get your home healthy BEFORE you leave
· Freeze fruit and greens to make smoothies when you get home.
· Fresh miso paste is great to make a simple soup if you are hungry but are getting home late. All that’s needed is one tablespoon of paste and hot water.
· Stock fermented foods that don’t go bad for a while and contain probiotics, which are excellent for restoring the good bacteria in the gut and helping with digestive disorders. These foods include sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and kombucha tea.
· Clean out your fridge before you leave and freeze unused foods.
· If you know you won’t have time when you get back to cook, freeze vegetable soup beforehand so you can have something light and nourishing when you come home.