I get a lot of questions about how to stay healthy with such a globe trotting lifestyle.
I also get a lot of questions of how the heck I manage to eat vegan when I’m traveling to countries that most people assume have NO options.
Before I dive into answering both of these questions with more specific tips- I think it’s important to note (once again) that I’m not a health care professional nor nutritionist.
These are examples of what works for ME.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for YOU.
I’d also like to add that this blog isn’t about pushing veganism on anyone.
Because, once again, although this way of life allows my body to thrive- maybe it doesn’t work for you in that same way.
The point here is really to offer general tips of total well being- some of which include what I eat in order to cater to my plant-based diet in a fulfilling and nutritious way.
Essentially- you can take what works for you from this piece, and leave the rest.
Trial and error through your personal experience, and cultivating a more in-tune relationship with YOUR body is going to be a helluva a lot more valuable than any advice from me (or anyone else for that matter).
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1.Echinacea and Zinc:
Because airplanes can be a breeding ground for illness, I start smashing these two supplements 1 – 2 days prior to my departure.
For me, these have been the most effective in warding off any unwanted colds that tend of happen on long, international flights.
2.Healthy Travel Snacks:
I’m not a fan of plane food.
Even when I order the “special” vegan options- they’re usually pretty dismal.
This means I always come armed with my own goods to ensure I’m sustained with NUTRITIOUS fuel, rather than empty carbs and highly processed options.
Unfortunately, when traveling internationally- you often can’t take fresh fruit and veg with you (every country is different).
So this means I opt for roasted veggies and dried fruit (with no added sugar), instead.
I’m also a hummus fanatic, so I tend to bring a little jar with me for the veggies- which is a great option for protein.
It’s important that the hummus is unopened, and in a marked 100 ml container- because otherwise they might confiscate it (again, every country is different here).
Again, for more sustenance- nuts or nut butter are perfect (note that nut butter should also be sealed and in a marked 100 ml container, as well).
This last trip, I brought some of my homemade Juice Pulp Crackers and Autumn in Oz Cookies.
If you don’t have time to make something like these- then quinoa cakes, or raw vegetable crackers are great munchies.
If you’d rather have more of a full meal- then something like a simple Soul Bowl would be a nourishing option.
Regardless of how long you’re flying, you can’t go wrong with a short 15-minute stretch session prior to boarding.
This is especially helpful if you tend to get pain/soreness in any particular part of the body.
I tend to focus on hips to alleviate any tension in the low back.
This is more applicable for international travel with different time zones.
I’ve found my digestion has been one of the biggest contributors to jet lag, because when the body is used to eating on a certain sort of schedule- then it becomes more awake or more tired accordingly.
I’ve found that it helps me to start eating in accordance with my destination’s time zone while on the flight.
2.Echinacea and Zinc…again:
Yep, keep downing these two magic makers.
Even if you don’t feel so much as a tickle in your throat- they’ll both help to boost your immune system, so you can’t really go wrong.
3.Feel Good Practices and Topical Applications:
I tend to get really dry on planes, so I always pack a small thing of Jojoba or Rosehip oil for my face, as well as some sort of hand cream.
If I have a super long flight, sometimes I even use a cucumber face sheet to rehydrate (which feels freaking amazing).
I’m also a fan of aromatherapy, as I find it incredibly soothing even when I’m tired, irritable, and feel pretty dang gross.
My go-to on flights in lavender oil.
Just a little dab on the wrists, or on the soles of my feet if I’m trying to sleep.
I also find music to be a big contributor to my mood.
I love listening to calming tunes when I’m traveling, because I find it just chills me out a bit more.
And the more relaxed my mind is, the more relaxed my body will become- which is crucial when you’re scrunched up for hours on end.
Which leads me to the last one- and that’s back to stretching.
Whether it’s in my seat, or getting up and hanging in a rag doll forward fold in the back of the plane- just getting my circulation going, and my joints unwound feels like heaven.
These are all just little examples of what makes me feel a little more human (especially on LONG trips), but I’m sure you’ll find your own.
All of these are also awesome because they don’t take up a ton (or any) space as far as packing goes.
Meditation and/or breath work is also a great option here, especially if you battle with anxiety in the air.
1.Full or Half Day Fast:
Alright, I know this might not be for everyone- but this has really changed my jet lag.
Like I said before, I’ve personally found that digestion is a big contributor to my mind and body getting out of whack when constantly changing time zones.
I started doing half day fasts upon arrival, and have recently gone to 24-36 hours, instead.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, because fasting can be super challenging.
Especially if you’re going some place that’s known for its cuisine!
But, I’ve found this has really helped to recharge and energize me for the duration of my trip, as I don’t battle with jet lag for as long, or at all.
If water fasting feels like it’s out of the question- then go for a juice or coconut water cleanse.
As long as you’re on liquid only, it gives your digestion a chance to rest and reset.
If you're interested in learning more about my personal fasting journey/practice, click here.
Because travel literally uproots us and transports us somewhere else, this means that Vata (or qualities of the Air Element) are increased.
An excess of Vata can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and general feelings of flightiness.
This means it’s important to ground down wherever you are.
What does any of that mean?
Well, grounding means we’re turning up qualities of the Earth Element.
One of my favorite parts of the Earth Element that I like to focus on is the idea of HOME.
This means, I pack a few things that allow me to feel at home no matter where I am in the world.
As you guys know, I love my SuperFeast tinctures and teas- so these come with me around the world.
Something as simple as maintaining my tea-making ritual in the morning gives me that sense of routine that pulls me back down from the clouds and onto the Earth.
As I mentioned before, I love aromatherapy.
This means I always travel with incense, Palo Santo and White Sage (yeah, I’m THAT chick).
All of these evoke a sense of peace and comfort, and give me the same cozy feeling of my own living room.
Any other practices that I’d typically do at home (for me it’s usually to do with my morning routine) I continue to do when I travel.
A few examples are morning meditation, journaling, and gratitude.
Do what works for you here.
Maybe this means packing a super old, comfy shirt that makes you feel like you’re being hugged.
Maybe it’s a crystal, or a specific essential oil.
Figure out what gives you that feeling of HOME, and bring that with you abroad.
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with getting grounded.
And I think you guys will know what I’m going to say here:
Yoga, meditation, breath work, journaling.
These are my go-to’s, because they’re simply a part of me, and when they fall to the wayside- I can feel the shifts mentally any physically.
These are also great, because you don’t need a whole lot of space.
Even when I’ve stayed in the shittiest, smallest hotels rooms- I still always managed to find enough space to roll out my mat.
Another thing I often do is go for long walks every day.
This is a great way to get acquainted with wherever you are, and also to get some exercise.
Unfortunately this isn’t always possible everywhere I go due to safety, bad pollution, non-pedestrian friendly roads.
I just work with what I got.
You practices might be different, and that’s okay.
Do what feels best for you in order to come back to yourself even if you’re away.
4.Supplements and Tinctures:
Clearly you’ve realized I’m an advocate for Echinacea and Zinc.
I keep downing those for the first few days after arrival just to make extra sure I don’t get anything nasty from the plane.
Everyone’s supplements are going to be different, so I’d just say keep taking whatever you’re taking at home.
I’m not going to share all that I’m taking, because they might not be relevant for YOU and your needs.
If you’re in a country that has unclean water, or is notorious for bad food poisoning- activated charcoal tablets are always my favorite option for funny tummy syndrome.
As mentioned above, SuperFeast offers a great variety of herbs, tonics, and mushroom blends.
Check them out to see if any of their products are suitable for your needs.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also a lifesaver.
I drink it before every meal.
Same with lemon water (hot or room temp).
Both of these support liver function, and alkalinity in the body.
Colloidal silver has also been an awesome addition in supporting my immune system.
I’ve also fallen in love with YourSuperFoods, as they have quite a large variety of superfood blends that come in TRAVEL SACHETS!
This is wonderful, because they don’t take up hardly any space, and there’s no risk of the powders getting everywhere in your bag.
These are great additions to any drink if you need an extra boost of nutrition.
At this point, you’ve burned through your healthy plane food/snacks- and you’re ready to eat locally.
As someone who’s vegan, and often travels to places where people have never even heard this word- I actually find this challenge more fun than I do frustrating.
Let’s just jump to the worst-case scenario:
Everything is super meaty or fried.
I can just about guarantee you that there will be produce stands wherever you are.
Even in the most remote, desolate places- I’ve managed to get my hands on fresh produce coming straight from the farm.
Obviously, some areas are more plentiful that others- so you just gotta work with what you got.
Go for fruits and vegetables that are LOCAL to the region you’re in, rather than imported.
This is great, because it also means you might be trying something brand new, too.
Fruits with peels are easy as far as contamination goes, but if you’re eating something raw without a peel- make sure to clean with filtered water before consuming.
Vegetables can actually be super dangerous to eat raw (depending where you are), so either thoroughly clean with filtered water, or cook them.
If you don’t have cookware or a stove- no worries.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought my own produce, and then brought it back to my guesthouse and asked them to cook it for me (usually only places where vegetarian options are scarce to none).
This works out for everyone- because they still get paid, rather than me eating out- and I get to have something that serves my body’s needs.
Another great resource here for my fellow plant eaters is the Happy Cow app, which lists restaurants and eateries with veg options and reviews from customers.
Here’s the thing- you might be going some place that you don’t have to HUNT for your meals, which is always a bit of a relief.
If that’s the case, the best advice I can offer is sticking closely to whole foods.
It’s always fun to try local cuisine- which isn’t always the healthiest thing.
I say everything in moderation is key.
For me personally, I’m strictly vegan- so I don’t actually make exceptions for local food that has meat or dairy.
However, this is also because I haven’t had meat or dairy in SO LONG that it actually makes me sick.
And who wants to be sick on the road?!
The most I can do is my best, but at the end of the day- when other people are preparing you food, you can never be 100% certain what goes into it.
This is especially true when you’re also dealing with a language barrier.
Like when I go to India and ask for no ghee in my curries and dhal, do I really think they don’t put it in every time?
Not at all.
Did I do my best?
Yeah, I did.
If you’re someone who isn’t as fussed about staying within a certain boundary- then eat what feels right to you.
Maybe that means trying something fried, or an especially yummy sugary desert.
Just know that if you usually eat clean, and then you binge hard on holiday- then it might make you feel shitty.
Take it all in stride, rather than going balls to the wall.
Let yourself enjoy your travel in every sense (including the yummy food), but also honor your body at the same time.
If feel you’ve overdone it at any point, a great way to reset is a half or full day of fasting (water, coconut water, or juice).
I feel this deserves a separate category, because I’m a major snacker.
My brother says I rarely eat a whole meal, because I’m constantly grazing- which is pretty accurate.
This is even more accurate after my 10-day fast in Thailand, as my stomach shrunk so much that there’s just not space for full meals.
And I hate wasting food- so lately I tend to have one full meal, and small snacks in between.
My advice here is similar to that of above:
Stick to whole foods as closely as possible.
Sure, it’s often easy to find a produce stand and stock up on your favorite fruits.
But what about if you want something else?
I’ve been especially surprised how challenging it can be to find yummy snacks without sugar, palm/corn oil, or preservatives.
I’ve been a lot more anal about checking labels since dealing with this Candida crisis, and I’ve been shocked at the way in which even seemingly whole foods still have a bunch of bull shit in them.
If there’s a label, read it.
If not, ask the shop keeper.
Some of my favorites that I’ve been able to find just about everywhere are:
Nuts, nut butter, rice cakes/quinoa cakes, dried beans/peas, dried fruit.
Again, most of these manage to sneak in nonsense (especially sugar), so check before you buy.
I’ve found the best bet is usually going to a small roadside shop, rather than a big super market (well, at least in some countries).
The larger shops tend to have more processed food.
However, depending where you are- the larger shops might also have a health food section, so it’s worth a look nonetheless.
Just a quick example of this would be on my most recent trip to Thailand.
I went to one of the largest stores on the island, and I walked out empty handed because even the packaged nuts had sugar and palm oil.
I stopped at a shack on the side of the road to get more dragon fruit, and noticed some of her other goods.
She had fresh peanuts from her farm for about 5 cents a pack.
And, look, eating a bit of sugar or palm oil isn’t going to kill you.
You don’t want to get to the point that you’re stressed about not knowing exactly what you’re about to consume, because stress is a heck of a lot more detrimental than one not-so-healthy snack.
Just do your best.
Trust your body’s ability.
And ALLOW the food you put in to be the fuel and nourishment you need.
I hope these tips and tricks contribute to the value of your next trip.
Happy travels, my fellow nomads! XO
Expectation versus intention.
This was my biggest takeaway during my 9-day fast in Thailand.
I went into the cleanse with what I thought was an intention, but I realized about halfway through that it was actually an expectation.
One that wasn’t lived up to- causing frustration, angst, and disappointment in its wake.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t extremely tough to sit with such emotions in the middle of a very physically intense fasting experience- because it was.
But it was also exactly what I needed in order to fine-tune my awareness of the difference between entering into something with an intention, rather than with an expectation.
Let me be more specific:
I thought that my detox would evoke a sense of clarity both mentally and physically.
I went into it anticipating the desire to WANT to be disconnected from the outside world- whether it was social media, or just simply text messages between friends and family- I assumed that I would relish in my introspection.
Why did I think all of this?
Well, based on previous extended fasts I’d recently done (one was 4 days, and one was 3 days), this was exactly how I felt.
I would be buzzing with this really pure, clean energy that inspired new ideas for growth (both business and personal).
And in that time, I wasn’t interested in what felt like the pettiness of social media- or the small talk chatter of random texts.
It was like being on this other plane of consciousness that only craved really soul stirring connection.
So, I figured if I felt this day after only 3 or 4 days- then I was FOR SURE going to be on another level after 10 days.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to be difficult.
However, I still had this vision in my head that although it would be tough- I’d still be in this overall blissful state of total creative abundance.
Boy, was a I wrong.
You’ll find out soon why that just simply didn’t happen.
But before I go into a recap of my day-today, I just wanted to circle back to my initial point of differentiating expectation versus intention.
Do you see how the lines can easily blurred there?
I really believed I was entering in with the INTENTION of clarity and inspiration, but I was actually going into it EXPECTING to feel that was a result of what I was about to experience.
I had attachment to those beliefs.
So, when my mind and my body didn’t act according to those attachments- I was really disappointed in myself.
Luckily, I was able to catch myself in this process before falling too far down the rabbit hole.
Once it became clear to me the difference between the two- I was able to acknowledge when I was acting and/or reacting from a place for intention or expectation.
I was also able to get clear about what my intention for the fast ACTUALLY was.
This became really useful for me to lean into when the going got rough.
Because even in those moments, hours, and DAYS of pain- I was able to look at the pain as a source of healing.
It gave the entire experience more meaning, rather than it simply being something that I suffered through for.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the details of the fast itself.
Where it was, the approach, and what my day to day looked like.
After a lot of research, I did my fast at The Spa in Koh Chang, Thailand.
I paid full price for this experience, this is not sponsored AT ALL.
In fact, I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend this place.
However, rather than leaving a full review of the resort here, I’ll just share my review on TripAdvisor in case you want to learn more about the place itself.
Other fasts that I’ve done have been with only water, coconut water, or juice.
I’ve never coupled a water fast with any other detox methods before this.
This was an AGGRESSIVE approach to detox.
We drank Benzonite Clay and Psyllium Husk with lemon water 5 times a day, every 3 hours (from 7 am to 7 pm).
This particular combination is a detoxification drink in and of itself- helping to actually PULL toxins out of you.
An hour and a half after the drinks, we’d take 2 different kinds of supplements.
3 Liver Booster tablets that contain: Garlic, Reishi, Cinnamon, Laurel Clockvine, Goji Berry, and Phyllanthus amarus.
3 Colon Cleanser tablets that contain: Turmeric, India Gooseberry, Cherbulic Myrobalans, Senna Alexandrina, Ginger and Cumin.
1 shot of Grape Seed and Milk Thistle in liquid form.
In the evenings before bed, we’d take a probiotic to help rebuild the flora in our intestines.
In addition to all this, we had self-administered colonic treatments twice a day.
The morning would be coffee and water (17 L).
And the afternoon would be garlic and water (17 L).
Again, these is a detoxification method all on it’s own.
Coupling it with the drinks, and with the fast was brutal- but also very effective.
The package I got also included a green drink every day (which I didn’t take), and also a special Thai stomach massage daily.
The massage really helped soothe my stomach in between colonic treatments, and kept things flowing well.
You can also have a clear mineral broth twice a day if you need, as well as coconut water as needed.
I had the mineral broth once (I’ll share below), and it definitely helped bring me back to life.
However, I wanted to stick to water as closely as I could for the duration.
Every morning would start at 7 am, where we’d be weighed and our blood pressure was checked.
My focus was NOT to lose weight.
This was used more as a way to monitor general health.
It’s really important to prepare your body AND your mind before you embark on an extended detox.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t.
But, your body will probably have a more violent reaction to the detoxification process once it starts.
Although I already eat pretty clean, I really tightened the reigns on my diet to really only eat whole foods.
I cut out ALL processed food and ALL refined sugar.
I’m already caffeine-free, but if you’re not- then this would be a big one to cut back on so you don’t get withdrawals.
I was also a lot more diligent about my intermittent fasting, and even did several mini-fasts in preparation.
The three days prior to the cleanse, they recommend to eat all raw.
Since I was already at the resort, I essentially just had papaya salad multiple times a day (they used apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and cayenne pepper in leui of fish sauce and sugar) and fruit.
On the last day, I decided just to juice as this always helps me enter a water fast more smoothly.
That meant that my Day 1 of the fast really was my second day without solid food.
Below, I’ll give you a short breakdown of my days, just so you can have a little insight into the rollercoaster of emotions and energy that came and went.
The first day tends to be the most uncomfortable, as your body is getting used to not eating. I find that it’s when I feel the MOST hungry, which is more out of habit than necessity.
Again, this was actually my second day without solid food, so I was actually surprisingly okay.
I definitely felt hungry, but I took it really easy the entire day in a conscious effort to conserve my energy.
I went for a short 2 mile walk in the morning, and did a Yin practice in the afternoon.
Other than that, I essentially just read and relaxed in my room or by the pool.
I didn’t do the colonic treatments that day, because my energy was really low and I thought it would make me feel worse.
I struggled to sleep throughout the night, and woke up often feeling hungry and overly tired.
After hardly any sleep, my body was in more physical pain than necessary.
I was too tired to even cry, and could barely drag myself out of bed to be weighed and checked in the morning.
When I did, they found that my blood pressure was alarmingly low.
I was really nauseous, and ended up throwing up for most of the morning.
I had shooting pains in my stomach, and all of my joints ached.
These are all common signs of detoxing.
Again, I opted out of the colonics, because I just didn’t think my body could handle it in the state I was in.
I’m happy I honored my body, although I wonder if it would’ve helped to flush out some of the toxins that were causing me so much pain.
I spent most of the day on my bed, or in my bath.
The only thing that got me through the day was playing repeated mantras by Khrishna Das.
Chanting was my yoga that day, as asana was out of the question for me.
I closed my eyes, felt the vibrations of each word and prayed for healing.
When my blood pressure continued to drop, they urged me to drink the mineral broth in the afternoon.
I’m really happy that I did, because it definitely helped to bring me back to life.
I slept well through the night.
I woke up with a burst of energy in the morning after a full night’s sleep.
This tends to be the day that people’s body starts tapping into reserves, and that clean, clear energy arrives.
I felt that to be true in the morning, and I went for another short 2 mile walk.
By mid-morning, my energy was wavering.
I also started my period.
Although it was only light spotting, I had cramps, and generally felt depleted.
This was the first day that I did the colonics.
The coffee one in the morning went easily and fast.
The garlic one in the afternoon took a lot longer to get through, and was more uncomfortable.
After both of them, I felt really good- fully flushed out, and lighter.
I did another Yin practice in the afternoon, yet still didn’t sleep well again this night, as I was hungry and my thoughts were racing.
This was by far the worst day for me.
I had horrible anxiety for almost the entire day.
I wasn’t anxious about any one thing in particular- there was just something energetically happening both within me and outside of me, which was stirring up a lot.
I was also bombarded by a few different text messages from people who with issues I simply didn’t have the brain power to cope with.
However, rather than letting it go and dealing with it once I had broken the fast- I engaged a lot longer than I should have.
Everything was even more intense given that my period arrived in full force on this day, as well.
I was surprised by how much I was bleeding, considering I was barely hanging onto 100 lbs at the time.
I was bloated and cramping, which initially made my colonic treatments painful. However, by the time I’d gone through the entire 17 L of liquid, I felt a little relief in my cramps, which was a pleasant surprise.
I struggled to do much of anything this day.
I was lucky enough to just take a few rounds of deep mindful breaths without my mind spinning out of control.
My physical practice was nonexistent, as my mind was the thing that needed work.
I resorted to another walk, light stretching, and two massages, instead.
This was also the day that the difference between expectation and intention became crystal clear to me- as part of my brain funk had to do with disappointment with myself for not feeling clear and inspired.
Once I had this AH HA moment, I was able to take back the reigns to my wandering thoughts, rather than be a victim to them.
I had a hang over from anxiety the day before, and was left with remnants of angst throughout the day.
However, I felt much lighter than the day before- and not quite as out of control mentally.
I enjoyed a walk in the morning, a gentle practice that actually had some flow to it, and spent most of the day by the pool reading.
I also busted out my journal and wrote for a long time, which helped to untangle existing question marks on my heart.
Although my period was still (surprisingly) in full force, and I still had cramps and bloating- I didn’t feel quite as heavy as the day before.
At this point I’d gotten somewhat used to the physical discomfort of the fast AND my period, and settled into the routine of drinks, supplements, colonics, and massages.
I woke up with the same clear, clean energy as Day 3.
So, naturally I went for a walk and then stepped on my mat for more of a “regular” style practice.
This felt AMAZING, considering I’d barely done more than two or three down dogs in the last week (I was getting really light headed from being inverted due to my dropping blood pressure).
After my morning colonics, I decided to rent a motorbike and go for a drive as I had a bit of cabin fever going on.
I ended up driving for about 3 hours, doing a big loop of the island.
I went to a grocery store to get snacks for breaking the fast in the days to come (yes, this was somewhat torturous), and was so disappointed by what was available.
Even something as simple as nuts had added sugar, palm oil, and preservative.
WHAT THE HELL!?
In the end, I ended up just getting heaps of dragon fruit and papaya from the fruit stands on the side of the road- as there were NO healthy options of whole foods at the store.
I couldn’t believe how utterly exhausted I was simply after driving (and probably also from the midday sun).
Other than my afternoon colonic and evening massage, I was in bed for the rest of the day- day dreaming about the fruit stacked in my fridge.
The other somewhat interesting thing that happened this day was the weird smell that I started producing from my armpits.
Again, funky odors are a part of detoxing.
In a weird way, these things actually made me feel GOOD because they were evidence that yucky stuff was leaving my body.
I slept horribly the night before, which left me feeling sluggish for most of the day.
I was still bleeding, cramping and bloated- which officially made it the longest period I’d had in over 15 years.
I couldn’t believe I even had anything left to bleed at this point, because I was only 96 lbs.
My intention for this day was to try to be absolutely present with all of the sensations that arise, because I knew this would be my last full day of the fast- and who knew when I’d do something like this again.
I did my best to meet myself where I was at, but- truth be told- I was really hungry, and couldn’t wait for it to end.
I my colonics felt especially uncomfortable due to the sensitivity my nether regions from my period.
All in all, I felt heavy and horrible other than a slight burst of energy I got after my afternoon garlic treatment.
I used this burst of energy to go for a walk, and enjoy a short, gentle practice.
Luckily, I fell asleep early and actually slept through the night.
It was funny that I actually didn’t wake up hungry on this day.
Probably because I KNEW I would be breaking the fast in the afternoon.
In other words, my mind had let my body know that this was over soon.
I woke up rested and energetic, ready to start the process of breaking the fast.
This required one last colonic treatment of only warm water (17 L) first thing in the morning.
Followed by a flora rebuilder to be injected through the colonic tube, as well as a probiotic drink.
These were all meant to be done over the next 6 hours- so I still had a half of a day of only water (not even detox drinks or supplements in this time).
After my colonic, I went for a long walk- feeling great in the beginning, but pretty fucking exhausted towards the end.
I managed to make it to exactly the 8 day mark before breaking my fast with papaya.
It was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
In fact, I actually cried before I put it in my mouth.
My relationship with food will never be the same again.
I think I had a harder time with this than most people.
My body really struggled to accept food again.
Which was torture because I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS, but I simply didn’t have space in my stomach!
After the third day of eating, I actually got sick (throwing up) from trying to eat too much.
I was in bed all day with a headache and nausea.
I ate totally raw for the first four days after.
This meant mostly just papaya salad, regular green salad, papaya fruit, and dragon fruit.
I also had wheatgrass shots during this time, and managed to find raw cashews to munch on in small amounts.
It’s been almost a week since breaking the fast, and I can say that my stomach is still no where near the size it was- but I’m slowly working up the stamina to fit more and more.
Now that I’m in Bali and have access to incredibly beautiful food, I’m still eating all raw- although I’m able to have a larger variety here on a raw diet.
I’m also enjoying refined sugar free, raw deserts- which is making my life complete right about now J
I learned so much from this experience.
Almost too much to articulate (which is why it’s taken me a lot longer than I thought it would just to write this piece!).
But, I’ll do my best to voice what stuck the most.
I’ve already made clear my realization about intention versus expectation- that’s a big one.
And it’s one that I’m really happy to have learned here, before embarking on another fast or retreat of this nature.
As I mentioned above, my relationship with food has totally changed.
I have so much more GRATITUDE for what I consume now, rather than mindlessly eating what sounds and tastes good.
When I catch myself eating really quickly (which is a default of mine), I do my best to slow down and actually feel each morsel.
Another thing I’ve got in the habit of since breaking the fast is silently acknowledging the food I’m about to consume by simply saying (in my head):
“You are nourishing and healing my body. Thank you.”
I make sure to say this with EVERYTHING I consume- even the deserts and treats that are more for my heart than for my body’s fuel.
Another big thing I learned from this experience is that I much prefer to fast on my terms- rather than booking an experience in advance.
What I mean is, every other fast I’ve done has naturally occurred because my body was CRAVING a detox.
Usually I start out juicing, and when that feels good- then I transition into just water.
But it’s always been organic.
This was not.
This was something I planned and booked months in advance.
Although I understand the purpose of doing so, I also think that this way of fasting is not for me.
Well, for one thing- having my period so heavily and painfully during the week made everything that much more intense.
If I were just FEELING into what my body needed- it would NOT be fasting.
However, because it was already booked and paid for- I kind of felt like I HAD to, otherwise it would’ve been a big waste.
In the future, I’d rather FEEL than PLAN.
This leads me to my last take away, and that’s doing regular maintenance on my body, rather than one big radical shift.
What I mean is that instead of having things get so bad that I feel like I want to throw my phone out the window, and to fast for 10 days straight- I’d rather continue with continual detox protocols DAILY, as a preventative measure to having another break down.
I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting regularly for about a year now.
However, after this- I’m more confident in being strict with this practice.
Because, if I’m honest, there were times before where I felt almost guilty about not joining in to eat after 5 pm.
Whereas now, I know that I feel like shit the next day if I eat too late- so I’m not going to do something just because it makes other people comfortable.
Also, I plan on doing weekly detoxes.
This might not mean water fasting every week, but at least all liquid for 24 hours (even juicing is okay) just to give my digestion a chance to slow down.
I’ll also stick to my regimen on water fasting on the New Moon- because that’s a ritual I’ve grown to love.
These smaller detoxes will help keep my body in a clean, healthy, and strong state- rather than pushing it to the point of needing some major cleanse.
Also, when I’m detoxing my body, I will also be detoxing my mind by stepping away from social media once a week, as well.
Putting up more strict boundaries there will help my head stay a little clearer.
That’s not to say that I won’t ever do a long fast again, because I can see it being something that will become a part of my yearly routine.
However, I think that by doing the maintenance in between- I won’t feel like I NEED it as much as I needed this last one.
Plus, I now feel totally comfortable doing it on my own.
So, I probably wouldn’t go back to a detox center again- unless something came up with my health to where I thought it would be better if I was monitored.
Overall, I’m so grateful to have committed to this experience.
It was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever WILLINGLY done.
But that’s the beauty of it.
Now that I’ve conquered it, I feel like I can fly.
The other day when I was flying back from LA back to Perth, the woman in front of me was watching Keeping up with the Kardashians.
For whatever reason, her screen kept catching my eye.
And, as someone who doesn't keep up with much of ANYTHING in pop culture nowadays- let alone the freaking Karadashians- I clearly had no clue was was actually happening each time the flashy images of beautiful women grabbed my attention.
What I DID know, was that nearly EVERY time I looked up- at least one person on the screen was holding a plastic water bottle.
I don't know about you, but for me- I've realized that I have an almost PHYSICAL reaction when I see someone drinking out of a plastic water bottle.
I think this reaction is especially reserved for those who can clearly afford to drop $20 bucks on a reusable option, instead.
You know, those who actually have a CHOICE in the quality of water they consume.
Which is why it's safe to say that by the plane had landed- I was sufficiently ANGRY at the damn Kardashians for promoting something that's so destructive to our planet.
I could be wrong, but given the brand of water was almost always the same- I'm gathering they were sponsored by this company to use them on the show.
However, this is pure speculation- I don't know it to be true.
But, let's just assume this IS a true statement for moment.
Don't you think there are some big eco brands out there who would also be willing to throw money at that type of advertising?
Don't you think this particular family can afford to just DO THE RIGHT THING, even if they don't make a damn cent from it?
Man, the frustration is real.
I mean, I thought we were past this.
Not only did I think we were past this, but I actually thought that being a little more earth conscious was even TRENDY and COOL at the moment.
Then I realized, maybe this is true to me based purely on the people that I surround myself with (both physically and virtually).
Because, when I thought about it- during my short 8 days in LA, I saw more people drinking out of plastic bottles than I had for my entire two months in Australia.
I didn't get it.
How could a part of the world that's meant to be progressive, trend-setting, and fully developed- also be so far behind ethically?
Does money really speak so loudly, that you can't hear your heart?
That you can't see the deterioration happening all around with your own eyes?
The real question is:
What will it take for us, as a collective, to wake up?
I've said this about a million and one times before, but I'll say it again:
I'm a HUGE believer in that concept that small changes can, and DO, make big differences.
Similar to my blog about transitioning to veganism (click here to read), the intention of this blog is meant to come from a place of compassion.
Compassion for our planet, but also compassion for ourselves as we journey towards a lifestyle that might feel unnatural, or like a lot of extra work.
The point is for all of us to get accumulate knowledge and tools which help us make more informed decisions.
And, look, I know that the intro to this whole post is dripping with judgment- I won't even try to deny that fact to be true.
Not that it's an excuse, but just as an explanation- that judgment isn't coming from a righteous place in thinking that I'm better than the Kardashians because of my lifestyle choices.
It's coming from a place in disappointment in knowing that these women are educated enough to know the state of our planet.
And disappointment in knowing just how influential they really are.
I know my audience size is laughable in comparison, but hey- small changes make differences, right?
So, instead of just complaining about it, I wanted to put something together that can be a reminder to all of us (myself included) of how we can improve as a collective.
Knowing that it's OKAY if you forget your reusable bag one day, or accidentally drink out of a plastic straw without thinking about it.
Just try to do better next time.
Just try to remain mindful even in the mundane moments.
DISCLAIMER: Some of these products were gifted, though not for the purpose of writing a blog to review them. Any brands I name here are ones that I believe in, ones that I use, and ones that I have/would spend full price on.
Due to the Kardashian rant at the beginning, I thought I'd start with water.
I use Klean Kanteen over Hydroflask, because not only am I not too fussed about the temperature of my drinks- but I also just like how much lighter Klean Kanteen is simply because I travel a lot.
I used Nalgene for a long time, which is quite a bit cheaper.
But, at the end of the day, they're still plastic, right?
Plus, I really didn't like how easily those bottle collected mold ( especially whilst living in the tropics).
If buying a reusable bottle is truly out of your budget, or you just don't have any vendors nearby- you can still make a difference with your single-used bottles.
Simply use them more than just that.
More than once!
And when it's time to get a new one, get creative in thinking of ways that you might be able to use the bottle for another purpose.
If you’re living in a place that has contaminated water coming out of the tap, you might think this means you have to buy shitloads of plastic bottles in order to stay nourished.
There are plenty of options here for all price ranges.
There are (on the more expensive side) installed filter devices for sinks, taps, and refrigerators.
And then, there are cheaper options like the handheld Brita filter.
If it’s within your means, you can invest in a distiller.
Or check into water delivery services near you (usually alkalized water companies offer this).
If you’re traveling to an area with unclean water, or just wanted a convenient on-the-go option- then LifeStraw is a great choice (this can also attach to your reusable bottle!).
There's also a new app recently launched called FindTap, which helps people to find places they can refill their bottles near them.
This is worth downloading and using if you're located in the US (especially in LA!!!).
Perhaps all of this sounds way out of your budget, or simply out of reach given where you’re located.
But guess what?
That’s okay, because there’s still the option to REDUCE plastic- even if it’s not eliminated altogether.
The best bet here would be to buy the largest jug of water you can at your local market/shop (usually about 10 liters), along with a stand/dispenser for it to make the pouring process easier.
When that jug empties, you can return it to be refilled and reused.
Again, not eliminating plastic altogether.
Which still makes a huge difference.
This one undoubtedly comes with a bit of controversy.
But, considering I’ve written about it before- I’ll just come out and say it:
Going plant based is better for our environment.
Cutting meat and dairy out might sound damn near impossible for you.
If that’s the case, then why not consider smaller steps instead?
One plant based meal each day.
Or just one day that’s all plant based each week.
For more insight on this transition, check out my 5 Tips Towards Veganism blog.
There are, of course, a ton of wonderful plant-based brands out there.
But want to know what’s better than any of them?
Going to your local farmer’s market to buy fresh, organic produce yourself.
3. SHOPPING & STORAGE
This goes hand-in-hand with food in terms of the shopping/selection process.
There are SO many options for reusable bags nowadays.
Everything from stylish brands like Seed and Sprout and Kappi (both of which I use and love).
To the $1 bags you can buy at check out.
I think the trick for most of us is simply REMEMBERING to bring the damn bags with us, right?
If that’s the case, I’d invest in bunch of the ones that fold into a small ball/shape so you can chuck them in your existing purses, backpacks, etc.
I bought a pack of 20 on Amazon, and keep them everywhere so it’s nearly impossible to forget a bag anymore.
They also come in handy for all the produce I buy, so I don’t have to use those thin plastic bags that the shops provide.
Lastly, if buying a reusable bag truly isn’t within your means- then, same as before, simply use your plastic bags more than once in an effort to reduce your waste.
4. HYGIENE & BEAUTY
Have you ever stopped to think about how much waste we, as women, accumulate simply by having a period?
To be honest, I didn’t really think about it because for the last 8 years I’ve had the IUD- which meant I didn’t bleed enough to need products to contain it.
Now that I’m birth control-free, this topic is really on my mind.
For my first cycle, I went to a local health shop to buy organic, non-bleached tampons with cardboard applicators.
These, of course, were about three times the cost of regular tampons.
But, for me, I thought it was worth it.
Mostly because I didn’t want toxic chemicals going into my vagina, but also because I knew I’d have a menstrual cup by the time my next cycle arrived.
I used Lunette Cup this month, and I have to say it’s a game changer.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it as tell you it’s a super easy adjustment in terms of just getting it in and comfortable.
Because it’s not.
It takes a little practice, and a little getting used to.
But the good news is that once you DO find the right placement- you can keep it in for 12 hours.
AND, there’s zero waste.
You simply wash after each removal, and reuse.
Another option are investing in some period underwear.
I haven’t personally tried these yet enough to recommend one brand over another, but I’ve had friends who rave about them.
I think I’ll try some out at least to sleep in, rather than having something inside of me all night.
If all of these options are out of budget, or simply inaccessible based on your location- the best recommendation I can make would be to use tampons with cardboard applicators rather than plastic.
This alone will make a big difference.
It’s pretty simple- the more natural the ingredients are, the better it is for our planet AND for our bodies.
That’s not to say that everything I use is 100% natural, because it’s not.
But the of it majority is.
Think about it, if it irritates your skin, your mouth, your eyes, etc- how do you think our oceans or soil feel when these products are eventually deposited there?
Dr. Bronner's is clearly a favorite when it comes to hygiene, because I use their soap can be used for my body, face, hair, and also for dishes and other cleaning needs.
This means, I always buy the largest bottle I can find.
Although I use it for just about everything, it still lasts a long time!
You can dilute it as needed.
They now also make a variety of other personal care needs (toothpaste, chapstick, etc).
For deodorant, I use a salt crystal (I forget the brand, and the logo has rubbed off by now- but it’s from Bali).
I love it for two reasons: I’ve found it works the best for smell/sweat.
And also because it essentially lasts forever, which translates to less waste.
For skin, I mostly use oils (coconut oil or almond oil) to moisturize.
And then Tea Tree and Oregano oil for blemishes and/or infections.
I use Apple Cider Vinegar (usually Bragg’s, or any other organic brand I can find) or Rose Water as a toner.
However, everyone’s body and skin is different in how it reacts- so these things might not work for you.
In fact, they might even IRRITATE your skin, so make sure you DILUTE them A LOT if it’s your first time trying them.
Another few favorites:
Paw Paw by Manda for my lips or any other dry areas.
And then, I also JUST (as in the delivery man knocked on my door while I was writing this) received a skincare package from Blessed by Nature, which offers a variety of natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty products.
Lastly, Bioclarity is another awesome option for natural, plant-based skincare.
If these options are out of your reach financially, or if the products just aren’t available in your region- then look into the natural ingredients that ARE available around you, and just make your own products based on your skin's needs.
One of my good friends decided to make her own products, and she even wrote a blog including her tips and mixtures (click here to read).
I want this to stand alone to in an effort to emphasize how important eco-friendly sunscreen is.
Similar to other products, if you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients on the label- how do you think our bodies and our oceans will be affected?
I use brands who protect my skin from getting burned AND protect our reefs from getting bleached/destroyed.
My two favorites are Manda and Surf Yogis.
If you’re unsure on what’s “reef safe” or not, just look at the label.
Oxybenzone is a common chemical in many sun creams that is said to kill coral.
PACKAGING AND TESTING:
One more thing to include here is packaging, because I think we can all see how much unnecessary plastic can come with one simple tube of oil or lotion.
Typically, most brands that are natural (or mostly natural)- will already be pretty tuned into the sustainability of their packaging, as well as the ethics in testing their products.
But it’s always good to double check.
Is the product tested on animals?
Do they use plastic containers?
If you know they DO use plastic, and there AREN’T refillable options once the container is finished- then see if you can reuse that container for something else before throwing it away.
But hey, if you make your own products, then you don’t have to worry about this part at all!
Do you think about where the water goes that runs down your sink?
Do you think about the fact that if we’re using soaps and detergents with toxic chemicals, these will inevitably contaminate our planet?
Similar to the Hygiene and Beauty section- more natural products will be kinder to our bodies and the Earth.
I think I’ve established my love for Dr. Bronner’s already, so that’s already a given for dish and hand soap.
Try to find an eco brand laundry detergent in your area.
But if you can’t, just do your best to avoid the plastic pods.
There are eco brands for all things cleaning (floors, glass, bathroom, etc), and there are also mixtures that you can make yourself for these things, too.
I haven’t made my own cleaning products, so I can’t speak to this concept more than just mentioning it above.
Nowadays, most developed areas offer a biodegradable option for trash bags (these brands will vary depending on your location).
These still take a LONG TIME to break down in landfills, and they tend to be twice the price of “regular” plastic bags- but in my opinion, it’s worth it.
And it’s better than nothing.
The same can be said for the greener brands for ziplock bags, saran/cling wrap, baking paper, aluminum.
If you don’t have a green option available, just see if you can fine tune your awareness of consumption when using these products.
If you’re in a habit of using a lot of paper towels/napkins, perhaps you can switch to reusable washable cloths instead (both for cleaning and eating purposes).
This concept sort of ties everything together into a pay-it-forward concept.
We can help others go a little greener by actually providing them with the tools, products, devices, etc.
See where the need is, alongside this particular person’s interests- and create the perfect eco gift just for them.
This could be anything as simple as taking them out to an amazing vegan meal (or making one from them), to a whole bag full of goodies for the home and body. Remember, small changes make a big difference.
Meaning that even just gifting someone ONE reusable canvas bag might mean that HUNDREDS of plastic bags won’t be used.
The change starts with me.
The change starts with you.
The change starts with US coming together as a collective consciousness.
So, let’s do this.
One step at a time.
Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’ve never had a “real” hamburger nor hotdog in my life.
The most common response is always:
“What about when you were a kid?!”
Here’s the thing, from a very young age (as long as I can actually remember), I was disgusted by the thought of eating flesh.
Therefore, I refused to eat it.
I remember when I used to go to other kids’ birthday parties, I’d have to pack my own lunch (usually a PB&J) because I wouldn’t eat whatever was on the barbecue.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t into a lot of other typical junk foods which kids tend to gravitate towards.
Trust me, I was nowhere near the health nut that I am now.
But, that being said, I was never into meat either.
In fact, when I was young sometimes I felt “forced” to eat a few bites of chicken in order to be “polite.”
I would put the smallest piece in my mouth, and when I started chewing I’d be looking around the table thinking:
I feel like I’m eating the leg of the person sitting next to me. There’s flesh in my mouth. FLESH. Oh my god, I’m eating a leg right now. I can’t do this.
Then I’d try to find some sort of nonchalant way to spit it into my napkin without anyone noticing.
One of my favorite things about leaving for college was the freedom to decide what went into my body (let’s just say there were also a lot of non-related food substances going in at that time).
Because it was finally in my control, I never ate meat again- not even to be polite.
Still, I wouldn’t consider myself “healthy.”
As you know, you can eat vegetarian (or vegan) and not be getting adequate nutrients.
Plus, I was partying a lot.
Like, A LOT.
So, I’m sure my insides weren’t super happy with me.
Seven years later, I went to Ethiopia for a month to implement Go Light Our World (GLOW)’s first solar project.
During my time there, I only ate local food (which is BOMB, might I add).
Towards the end of my trip, I realized all of the vegetarian options I’d eaten didn’t have any dairy in them.
And I felt great.
Don’t get me wrong- I hadn’t been eating a ton of dairy before.
I’d been repulsed by eggs my entire life (eating chicken period is pretty gross, if you think about it), but I did start eating them when I began traveling extensively out of sheer convenience more than anything.
I hadn’t had a glass of milk since I was about 5-years-old, because- once again- the concept grossed me out even at that age.
However, I’d always been a cheese addict- and easily had it daily.
Probably multiple times a day, actually.
When I returned back home to San Diego after my month in Ethiopia, I decided to keep dairy out of my diet more experimentally than anything.
I just wanted to see how I felt.
I didn’t put any hard “rules” or restrictions around my shift towards veganism- I just sort of eased right into it.
I told myself if I felt like I wanted to have dairy, then I would.
No shame nor judgment- just taking it day by day.
But here’s the thing- I felt so great that I never actually craved dairy (well, cheese) the way I thought I might.
It wasn’t a struggle for me at all, which I know isn’t the case for a lot of people.
That being said, I get SO many questions about my diet on a daily basis.
But guess what?
I’m not a nutritionist.
I have zero credentials nor qualifications when it comes to diet.
I know what works for me, what makes me feel best, and what makes me feel like shit.
I’m happy to share my experiences with you, but I’d like to do so with one emphasis in mind:
Your body’s response might be similar to mine, or it might be totally different.
Neither one is more “right” nor “wrong” than another.
It just is.
The point is to see what’s out there- to hear about other people’s health journeys in an effort to get to know yourself a little better along on your own.
It’s important to realize that there wasn’t a HUGE jump for me to go from being a lifelong vegetarian to vegan.
And, like I explained before- it happened incredibly organically, which (I think) is why it felt effortless.
I also think it’s important to recognize that I was brought up with a very health conscious mom.
One who was into a lot of these (now trendy) superfoods, tonics, cleanses, etc, before they were A THING, like they are now.
This alone has sort of set the standards for my palate, as well as my gut and energetic body- meaning, these are the sorts of foods I naturally crave.
Even as a child, I never had to force myself to eat the broccoli and cauliflower off of my plate- in fact, I’d usually go up for seconds.
And, especially at that age, I wasn’t doing it because I knew it was good for me, nor because I wanted to lose weight, or be trendy.
There was nothing forced about it.
Needless to say, I think it’s quite obvious how my upbringing (with food and nutrition) also added to ease of my transition.
Having friends from every different corner of the world, I know that culture plays a HUGE role in food consumption, cravings, and how we’re brought up.
Which is why I wholeheartedly recognize how the transition from being a meat eater to a vegetarian, or even vegetarian to vegan- is a helluva lot more difficult for other people, than it was for me.
This point circles back to the idea of NO COMPARISON.
I’d like to share with you my philosophy on veganism:
I believe veganism was born from compassion.
Whether it’s compassion for yourself and your own health, your compassion for the environment, or compassion for animals (or maybe a little bit of all three)- the underlying theme is the same.
To be honest, I find it to be similar to religion in a way.
You’re apart of a community, you feel great, and you want to preach this lifestyle to the masses.
Unfortunately (again, similar to religion), oftentimes the more extreme people get about it- the more they lose sight of the core value itself.
Compassion is replaced with judgment, shame, criticism, and even violence.
Because of this- I’d say vegans get a pretty bad wrap.
And I get it, I really do.
But, this is also why I’m here- attempting to redirect the focus back to compassion, instead of dogmatic beliefs.
So, let’s practice compassion first with ourselves, shall we?
If you’re in a place that you’re working on moving your way towards vegetarianism and/or veganism, I’d like to offer my two cents as a support along the way.
1.First and foremost:
I’m a strong believer in small changes making a big difference.
Take it slowly.
For instance, you could start by eating vegan or vegetarian only a few designated days a week.
Or, two out of your three daily meals could be vegan and/or vegetarian.
Maybe some days will be more difficult than others.
2. If or when that happens, this leads me to the second point:
MEET YOURSELF WHERE YOU’RE AT.
No comparison includes comparing yourself to who you were the day, the week- hell, even the HOUR before, as well.
3. Intense cravings, or even just the comfort of missing certain food/dishes, leads me to number three:
Look up replacement options.
Personally, I’m not into meat substitutes AT ALL (as in, I don’t even eat Portobello mushrooms because it reminds me too much of meat).
But that’s just me, and my preference.
You might love these meat substitutes- and that’s great too.
You do you.
There is SO MUCH INFORMATION out there for cheap and easy veg recipes.
I mean, the Internet is a blessing and curse this way, right?
We can be bombarded with “inspo” to the point we feel like a failure, or completely inadequate.
But, on the other hand, we have a million and one resources literally at our fingertips- so why not utilize them in a constructive way?
4. Fourth, and what I found to be there the most important part of my personal transition (which may or may not resonate with you):
Notice how you feel.
Checking in energetically.
This concept might be totally foreign to you, and that’s okay.
Maybe even the word meditation is enough to make you want to shutter with discomfort.
Again, that’s okay.
No need to label it one thing or another.
Maybe just try on carving out a few minutes of your day to do that little internal inventory check.
Notice how you feel after certain foods or substances go into your body.
Our bodies are so damn intelligent.
I PROMISE that yours will let you know when something makes it happy, versus when something irritates it.
5. Fifth the foundation from which all of this is built:
Know that by choosing meat and dairy free options alone, you are acting with compassion.
Compassion for the Earth.
Compassion for the animals who often suffer at our expense.
But, let’s not forget about compassion for ourselves.
Be gentle with yourself along the way.
Maybe that means not labeling your eating habits as one thing or another.
Or maybe that means not berating yourself if you have a slice of pizza with cheese on it.
Notice what works for YOU.
Notice what helps you function as your highest self.
And work on maintaining that in your own way.
And, just so you know, this is a judgment-free zone.
I’m just here to not only offer what’s worked for me, but to also share some of my favorite recipes.
Because, let’s be real, I fucking love food.
And I hope to spread that love as far as it’ll go.