Summer vacations are all about relaxing. Often times this extends beyond lounging on a beach or in a hammock and also includes relaxing your rules for what you eat, drink and enjoy.
This means returning to post-vacation life can warrant a little reset, like a detox to get your body back in balance and keep you feeling well as summer draws to a close.
Our bodies are continually removing toxins and dealing with by-products of our habits, both healthy and unhealthy. With a few simple and supportive behaviors, you can bounce back from a little time off and feel great.
To begin, drink lots of water. Proper hydration is essential to help your natural detox processes, especially when it comes to removing them from the body.
For most people, this means drinking the equivalent to half of your body weight in ounces. For example, a 160-lb person should drink 80 oz of water each day, or 10 cups.
It is important to drink more water when you are exercising or consuming caffeine or alcohol.
Moderate exercise is also crucial, as it keeps your blood moving and supports a healthy metabolism. Don’t worry about beginning some hard core workout routine; just be sure to stay active and get outside.
Consider taking a 15-minute brisk walk before each meal. Not only does this provide exercise, but it will jump-start your metabolism.
Eat your greens, especially salad mix, radicchio, kale and mustard greens. The leafy vegetables that contain bitter compounds support liver health, particularly after an indulgent vacation.
Greens like kale can be easily added to a smoothie, while salad mix and a poached egg makes a great breakfast. Radicchio makes a wonderful Caesar salad while mustard greens are great in Indian food like saag paneer.
Enjoy fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt. The probiotic content in fermented foods support your microbiome, crucial for getting your whole body (and mind) back in balance.
Fermented vegetables often contain prebiotic fibers which feed the beneficial microbes that live in your gut. These foods pair great with this season, like sauerkraut on a grilled sausage or a no-proof kombucha cocktail. While yogurt is an easy and healthy breakfast choice, kimchi makes a wonderful savory breakfast with leftover brown rice and a fried egg.
Avoid greasy foods for a little while. Stick with fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans and lean proteins to let your body recover from all the fun you’ve had.
Finally, eat the rainbow as much as possible. During this time of year, Portland’s numerous farmers markets are full of amazing colors, from late-season berries to fresh tomatoes and early fall squash.
A variety of colors in your diet ensures a complete spectrum of nutrients that all work together in supporting whole-body health.
Fresh, local produce is noticeably higher in many nutrients like vitamin C, which tend to degrade over time. The Oregon Farmers Markets Association has a list of farmer’s markets around the state at oregonfarmersmarkets.org/find-a-market, including mid-week options for frequent campers and weekend warriors.
A good vacation doesn’t have to manifest long term consequences. Just make sure you support your body’s rebalancing.
Simple wellness behaviors, like staying hydrated and active, and eating a variety of plant-based foods all work together to help you rebound from your much-deserved time off.
Andrew Harmon holds a Masters in Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine.