We’ve all been there.
You go on vacation and your normal food habits go completely out the window for all kinds of reasons. You want to enjoy yourself, taste the local flavors, not miss out on anything, and treat yourself to foods that you might otherwise eat infrequently. The best part of vacation is really that you don’t have to cook. Meals are prepared for you and brought directly to your table. Unless of course your vacation is to a cabin in the woods, but even then every night is a barbecue and a bonfire and smores are amazing.
Everyday of this vacation is a foodie paradise. Calories mean nothing. Mealtimes are irrelevant. Snacks are everything.
Then you get home and you feel pretty gross.
All of that eating out and eating lots of heavy foods and eating at weird times has thrown your digestive system for a loop.
What do you do?
You reboot your system, that’s what.
This isn’t so much about losing weight or feeling shitty about what you ate when you were on vacation.
It’s more about recalibrating your body to a more sustainable way of eating so that actually you don’t have to “detox” next time around.
Because you can enjoy food on vacation and also not feel shitty when you come home.
Your “detox” can actually turn into how you make healthy choices before, during, and after your vacation without sacrificing anything.
Besides a “detox” isn’t a fancy word for removing toxins from your body or something completely unscientific like that. It’s a word I’m using that is familiar, which is why I’m using it, but isn’t 100% accurate.
Yes, most of these suggestions will help your body feel less bloated and gassy and overall yucky, but they’re not going to help you detox your liver or anything crazy like that. They will, however, help you establish healthier eating habits that will support you after this vacation and into your everyday life.
First things first:
How to Know You Might Need a Post-Vacation Diet Reboot
*depleted (or even a little extra tired)
*tummy trouble or nausea
*skin irritation, breakouts, or rashes
*a little off
If you’re feeling even one of these things, you might need to reboot your digestive system. If you’re feeling a combo of a few of these, you definitely do.
Here are a few simple ways to Reboot:
*Hydrate like it’s your job. To help get things moving again, lubricate your system with water. Not juice. Not kombucha. Not coffee. WATER. Keep it simple, friend.
+If your digestion is really off, try drinking some ginger or peppermint tea, both of which will kickstart your digestion and get things moving again. Ginger is a little more intense of a kick, while peppermint is a little more mellow.
*Add back in the veggies. Especially the dark green ones. Not only will adding veggies bring more flow to your digestive system, but they will also help reduce some of that bloated, gassy feeling. Bonus!
+Take it to the next level by adding green to every single meal. at least for a few days. see what happens!
*Eat a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner. I know this might seem counterintuitive to what you’ve been taught (what we’ve all been taught, really) but lunchtime is meant to be the biggest meal. It’s when your digestive system actually has the most bile to break down heavier, denser foods. You don’t have the same amount of bile at night. So eat your big meal midday and eat a lighter, more veggie heavy meal at night and listen as your digestion starts to hum again.
+If you actually do this on vacation, too you will save money since lunch meals tend to be cheaper! and when you fo out at night, order a salad or side dishes, or a half size of the meal. Or better yet, share with a friend!
*Keep your meals in a 10-12 hour window. Give your digestive system a rest when it has the least amount of power (see previous suggestion). The less work your digestive system has to do during “off hours” (basically between 6pm and 6am), the easier it will be for your digestion to function like a well oiled machine. That might mean you’re eating your meals a little closer together, but it also means you’re less likely to snack, which is also not awesome for your digestion.
+If you’re really motivated, try keeping your food intake to an 8-10hr window for a day or 3.
*Eat simple foods. Rather than aiming for complexity, go simple. Roasted veggies. Sauteed greens. A slice of watermelon. A roasted sweet potato. A handful of cherry tomatoes. Aim for fresh foods and meals with minimal ingredients.
+Scale back the processed food. The more processed it is, the harder your system has to work to break it down. So if you’ve had a week of lots of processed food, take a break from the chips and pretzels and cookies and anything that might not resemble it’s basic ingredients.
How long should you take on this challenge?
Really, as long as you want. Like I said before, this isn’t just about post-vacation “detox”; this is a way of reconsidering food so that next time you are on vacation, you don’t end up needing as much of a reboot.
Notice I didn’t say “cut the carbs” or “give up sugar” or even “meatless Monday.” I mean, all of those things are great for some people, but they’re not for everyone and they won’t necessarily solve all of your problems and can be fairly extreme for most people.
Instead, think simple, small, and sustainable. Good rule of thumb is however long your vacation was, that’s how long you should attempt these suggestions. If this style of eating feels good, keep it up. See how it makes you feel for 2 weeks or 2 months. Start really listening to your body and giving her what she asks for.
Then the reboots you need will be a little gentler and a little less “extreme-feeling.” And your vacation will start to feel as healthy AND satisfying as every other day or week or month of your life.