I’ve read article after article promoting detoxes that claim to cure a host of ailments from bloating to ane. “Drink only lemon water with cayenne pepper for 14 days to look like Beyonce!” they tell me. Sometimes I have even been crazy enough to believe them. There was a week over summer I ate only chicken for 3 meals a day, all 7 days of the week in hopes it would get my body into the fat-burning, metabolic state of ketosis. During this week, my husband threatened to divorce me and my brother (who was visiting from New York) threatened to fly home early because complete absence of carbohydrates made me a total madwoman.
The point is, there are so many “cleanses” and “detoxes” out there, but how many of them are actually attainable? Many of them leave us feeling defeated, stuffing our face with chocolate cake in our beds, whimpering because we just couldn’t do it. We dream about all those people who did make it through the cleanse and how skinny and glowing they must look right now. The truth is, not many people do make it through. Unless you are a celebrity or socialite with a personal trainer hounding you to stick to it, the detoxes on the market just aren’t realistic.
So, let me introduce you to my self-made, totally realistic, post-vacation detox. It does not involve any scientifically formulated regimens or barely palatable concoctions. Instead, it is designed to slowly bring you back to life post holiday. It’s simple, relaxing, and allows you to go about your day-to-day tasks without the stress of a grumbling stomach or hangry emotions. An added highlight of the detox is that it does not focus on detoxing for the purpose of weight loss only; it is designed to nourish your body, mind and soul, too.
Each day of the 3 day detox starts with the same, soothing beverage. It is a mixture of coconut water, chia seeds, and coconut cream. Coconut is a healthier, more effective alternative to all those sugary energy drinks on the market. This is because it contains the crucial electrolytes sodium and potassium making it both balancing and hydrating. Because of this, I like drinking it after working out if I can peel myself out of bed and make it to the gym post vacation. If I don’t make it to the gym, no issues. Remember, I promised this would be a stress free detox. Sipping my coconut juice in pajamas on the couch while playing with my child still gives me a much-needed boost of energy for the day. This is, in part, due to the addition of chia seeds which are rich in fiber, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and protein to kickstart the commiserating post-vacation agenda. The extra addition of coconut cream adds a bit of sustenance and creamy, dreamy, tropical vibes.
After sipping my first coconut juice, I am ready to jump into my first day of cleansing. On day one, I focus on internal cleansing, but not the kind that encourages you to only drink lemon juice and cayenne. Instead, I add a wide variety of colorful, fresh fruits and veggies into my diet without giving up anything at all. How I do this is by eating fruits and vegetables at the start of every meal then waiting 15 minutes. Too many of us are guilty of eating in a hurry. However, it takes your brain a full 20 minutes to register that you have had food and therefore have satisfied your hunger. This is why we will be happily engorging ourselves and then all of a sudden feel SO FULL. By slowing down, it allows our brain to catch up to our stomach. After a 15 minute break, I often find I do not need more food at all. If I am still hungry, I will indulge in some rice, roti, or whatever other yummy carbs are on the table, but in a much healthier portion size.
I continue this fruit and veggie routine on the second day of my detox, but with the addition of a skin & hair cleanse. On this day, I am sure to set aside at least 2 hours of “me time”, even if that means 7-9am before work or 8-10pm after work. During these 2 hours, I pamper myself head to toe with all of my favorite skin and hair care essentials. Let me tell you about the best products I used during my last cleanse and the order in which I used them:
- I started with Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water to cleanse my face and neck. It contains Hydrogen Mineral Water which is my new favorite cleansing trend to talk about..
- As a gentle, double cleanse, I then use Bobby Brown’s Soothing Cleansing Oil with my favorite natural extract – Jasmine.
- After the cleansing steps, I apply the Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask. Glossier is a brand created by the girls at “Into The Gloss” beauty blog and it is the bomb dot com when it comes to skincare and makeup.
- For my lips, I apply Laneige Lip Mask in berry.
- Now, it’s time for my hair. I dampen my hair then apply Ducray’s nourishing Nutricerat Hair mask for shiny locks that still hold bounce and lift.
- Once all my masks are in place, I jump into a warm bath infused with the tantalizing REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil. This oil leaves your skin so, so soft and is even thought to have antidepressant properties to help you combat your post vacation blues.
- While soaking away my cares, I scrub my body shiny with Clarins Tonic Corps Body Polisher. Clarins, unlike some of the above brands I have picked up while overseas, is super easy to find in India! If you find yourself struggling with post-vaca acne, check out Peter Thomas Roth Blemish Buffing Beads.
- After my bath, I hop in the shower to rinse off with Glossier’s Body Hero Oil Wash. My patients drive me crazy with their addiction to foaming cleansers! You just.don’t.need.them. Cleansing oils and non-foaming soaps are the way to go.
- While my skin is still slightly damp, I moisturize with India’s very own Plum brand Vanilla & Fig Feel the Fudge Body Butter. It smells heavenly, is surprisingly affordable, and ships super fast!
- If I am “cleansing” during the day, I apply Vitner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum using upward motions on my face. I can’t rave enough about this stuff. It is infused with 22 wild and wonderful botanicals that leaves my face softer than my baby daughter’s. If cleansing at night, I use the equally as incredible Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil. Although it does not smell as heavenly as the Vitner’s Daughter, it contains the crucial anti-aging ingredient Retinol and blue tansy which Vogue described as, “the new floral oil that will radically change your skin”.
- Dr. Jart+ Soothing Tiger Grass Repair Cream is used next on my face and neck to lock in all goodness of the previous steps. This cream is so smooth and smells naturally lovely.
- To finish off my skincare, I apply Glossier’s Balm Dot Com skin salve. I use the clear, Birthday Cake flavor for any super dry areas of skin (like the elbows) and the pink-tinted rose flavor for my lips.
- Lastly, if during the day, I slather on some Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF (because duh, SPF is essential).
Sound like a lot? It absolutely is. But I dare you to try the above external body cleanse, or one similar, and tell me you don’t feel like the queen (or king) you are after.
I go to bed on the second night feeling like my skin is silk on silk against my sheets. I look in the mirror the next morning and see a refreshed and glowing face, even before 3 cups of coffee. However, work is usually back in full swing by this time and my head is buzzing with 5,000 things I need to get done. So, on day three, it is time to cleanse my mind. To do this is simple. I, again, set aside 2 hours for this “mind cleanse” and find a room in my house where I feel most at peace; this is typically in my living room that is filled with natural light and overlooks my beloved piano. I then gather all kinds of inspiring reading material that have nothing to do with the news or work. I choose whichever reading I feel can positively alter my mood and calm my stress at that time. Some of my favorite mind cleanses are Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, and anything written by Atul Gawande. I set an alarm for 2 hours and place my phone on silent, far out of reach. I start my 2 hours with a set of yoga breaths before diving into my books. I am always sure to have a journal and favorite pen in hand to write down any quotes that might keep me inspired long after the cleanse is over.
Although this cleanse is short and simple, it has really helped me to cope with not only post-holiday blues but also many stressful life and work situations. Knowing I will have at least 2 hours of uninterrupted “me time” can instantly calm any doubts or worries I have about the day. Try out this 3-day cleanse next time you are traveling, stressed, or just need to unwind and let me know what you think! XOXO -Dr. Kiran Lohia