Journey Detox: Tips for Staying Healthy While on the Road

Published on August 19th, 2013 | by Charu Suri on Butterfly Diary

I remember my resolve to exercise and eat healthily on a recent trip to the Napa Valley. Even though my schedule was intense (a few vineyards each day, plus plenty of guided walks and early breakfasts), I was determined not to overindulge in wine and cheese, and to exercise every single day.

Despite my best resolutions, I gained a few pounds during my five-day trip and felt as defeated as Simon Pegg in the movie, Run, Fatboy, Run. Being on the road as constantly as I am, it’s almost impossible to remain as svelte as Coco Rocha unless you have an ace nutrition plan and killer perseverance. In the face of new and noteworthy desserts and carb-rich lunches, only the very strong can actually say “no.”

Because I knew that many travelers shared my frustration but had perfectly good intentions of staying fit and eating healthy while on the road, I asked Debra K., host and executive producer of PBS’ The Journey into Wellbeing to suggest a few travel tips. Losing a few pounds while dining at a Four Seasons restaurant could be far from plain sailing, but a little bit does go a long way and you’ll be surprised by your waistline and energy changes if you follow these strategies.

Q.   What’s the biggest mistake that people make while on the road if they want to stay healthy and fit?

Plan ahead!  There are many things you can do in advance of travel to ensure you stay on the right track, but most importantly you have to set the intention to do so.  It is too easy to get off track if you are not committed to adhere to a good health plan.

It’s important to select your hotel with fitness in mind because a high quality gym and access to trails and a swimming pool will give you the tools you need. Plus, you  can take your fitness needs with you, from workout gear, stretchy bands, and your yoga mat, etc., so even if the hotel not support staying active, you can still have a fitness routine in your room. If you’re pressed for time, do classes that you can access on the internet. EvenYouTube and mobile apps offer plenty of guided classes. is another favorite, and they offer free online yoga classes at various levels and lengths.


Photo credit: Flickr

Q. What are some examples of healthy food choices while on the road?

To minimize temptation while traveling it is always a good idea to travel with your own snacks. Debra K. says, “I travel with some or all of the following on hand at all times: sunflower seed butter, fresh fruits and vegetables that are cleaned and ready to eat, turkey jerky, roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, gluten free crackers and hummus.”

Use the Restaurant finder apps (one app is FoodSpotting, where you can enter the particular dish you’d like and the app finds a restaurant that carries it within a particular radius) to make sure you eat healthily if your destination is unfamiliar territory. Debra K. also advises that you ask for a refrigerator for your room, and find a grocery to stock up on healthy snacks. “There are common foods that have the potential to wreak the most havoc on our internal digestive system, which often leads to a host of other problems,” she says, and these foods are Gluten (primarily Wheat, Barley, Rye), Dairy, Soy, Nuts, Corn and Eggs.

Issues like stomach burn, bloating and overall uncomfortableness to other things are aspects of our daily lives that do not always prompt us to view certain foods as enemies. “You will be surprised at how often these items are in processed foods and in a variety of forms such as syrups, starches, oils etc.,” she says. Anything that comes in a package that has a long shelf life most likely contains chemicals, man-made additives, colorings and artificial flavors.  It’s also a good idea to avoid meats that have been injected with antibiotics and growth hormones.


A Brussels Sprouts Salad (photo credit: Flickr)

Some smart food choices include roasted vegetables (e.g. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, sweet potatoes and squash lightly marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with seasoning that is free of irritants), lean meats prepared simply and free of antibiotics and growth hormones, fresh fruits (which you can quickly make into dessert like fresh peaches with a drizzle of honey), raw foods.

Q: What healthy beverages can you suggest if one is on the go?

Go!  Energizers: Generally speaking, we do not get nearly enough fresh, raw greens in our diet. You can only eat so many salads, so a simple solution is to make delicious smoothies with a variety of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. To start try ½ fruit to ½ greens and liquid and blend in a blender.  As you adjust to this, begin to add more greens to reduce your sugar intake. If you add a vegan protein, non-dairy milk, and flax oil, it can even serve as a meal replacement visit Debra’s Recipe Redo blog for ideas).

Fiber: Another great addition to your detox days is fiber. Some great high fiber food choices include avocados, peas, apples and broccoli. If opting for a supplement, go with an easier-to-digest soluble fiber such as Konjac Root. The goal should be to increase your fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables and consider taking a soluble fiber supplement.

Anti- Inflammatory shakes: Another great addition to a short- or long-term detox is to supplement with shakes that assist with the detox process. During one intense period of detoxing in which I gave up not only the six foods I was sensitive to, but also caffeine, alcohol and beans, I added in two daily anti-inflammatory shakes. I represent neither of these, but have used UltraInflamX and ClearVite-SF. It helps to add chilled coconut milk and a frozen banana when drinking.

Q: Any other tips/advice on being fit and healthy on the road?

Plan ahead: Before heading out, take time to reflect on previous situations and identify ones that caused the most stress. Maybe a certain person you will be traveling with drives you nuts: if so, plan for how you will manage them. Keep a file (physical or on your phone) with contact information for transportation, lodging, etc. Sit with the family in advance and prepare check-lists of everything needed for travel.

Wrangle the kids: It is possible to have a relaxing vacation with children. Again, plan ahead. Have stakeholder meetings where every family member has input into what activities they would like to do. When kids are engaged in the decision-making process there is less likelihood for resistance. The kids may get antsy from being in the car or on a plane, so plan activities that will make them tired such as swimming, hiking, putt putt golf and playground stops.

Force the Chill: This one is hard, especially for us Type-A workaholics, but it is vital for our overall wellbeing that we take time out and chill! It has been proven that taking a few moments to “not do” can make you better when you go back to doing. Set an intention to relax while traveling, otherwise you may need a vacation from your vacation!

As the host of The Journey into Wellbeing, a television series currently airing on PBS, Debra K visits new places to uncover the secrets to living a high-energy, vibrant life. Debra is also the Natural Health Explorer blogger for; author of the massage text, “Success from the Start”; and co-founder of iMassage, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @DebrasJourney.  


Butterfly Diary – August 19 – Debra K. with tips to keep you healthy on the road from Butterfly Diary –


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