How to Have a Healthy Vacation, How We Recharge, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Sanctuary in Sedona

Recharging in Sedona

Last year Francie and I started blogging about how to have a healthy vacation—eating clean, being active and recharging. We felt it was important to share this with clients since it seems like an American tradition to “live it up” on vacation – eat what you want, drink more than you normally do, and laze around, letting go of fitness routines.

This type of vacation mentality can make it particularly difficult to help patients to effect significant, lasting change, particularly if they travel often. Just when things are getting balanced and stable, they head off on vacation or a business trip, and we’re often starting over upon their return.

Personally, this type of vacation used to leave me feeling disgusted with myself, not to mention sluggish and ill, so several years ago, I made the choice to create my own “health retreat” type of vacation. Not only do I feel better while on vacation, I feel fantastic when I return because my body rested and rejuvenated rather than suffering a week or more of abuse, only to return to a backlog of work.

Healthy Options All Over Sedona

Before I left, I planned to blog about how to make healthy choices in the area for clients who vacation there, but when I got there and realized how supportive the area is to this, it didn’t seem like there was a real need. Sedona boasts a Whole Foods and a Natural Grocers, and oodles of restaurants offering gluten free, organic options and a great selection of fresh vegetables on the menu. Aside from a brief reminder to always be thinking “outside the menu” (not being afraid to ask for substitutions) or even trying the game I play at restaurants – trying to see how many colors of veggies I can get on my plate when ordering – there isn’t much else to say here that is particularly unique for navigating healthy eating in Sedona.

Positive energy everywhere!

However, since this area is known for its spiritual energy, it felt appropriate to focus on another important aspect of a healthy vacation: finding a way to shift gears mentally and emotionally to allow for complete and total relaxation at a deep psychic level. This can be accomplished in numerous ways, but here are the techniques I rely on to shift those mental gears:

Start With a Massage

My first day of vacation I usually arrange to have a 90 minute massage to send my brain and body the message to “let go”. It just so happens that this trip I had one of the best massages I’ve ever had with Rosemary Anderson at Body Dialog Massage.  If you’d like to experience a massage with her, I would recommend booking it a few weeks in advance.

Leave Work Behind

For me to truly relax on vacation, it’s important I don’t do any significant work…after all, work is the main thing I’m taking a break from. There are usually a few writing projects I’m working on that I’ll tackle on the flight out since I’m not a plane sleeper, but once I’ve landed, I put all work away.

I’ve also found that putting a vacation message on my email dramatically improves my ability to take a step back, allowing me to focus on rejuvenating so I come back refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

Stay Present

Staying present seems like common sense…I mean, who goes on vacation just to drag along the same cares and worries you were shouldering at home? To really enjoy any moment, one must let go of regrets about the past and quit borrowing trouble by worrying about things that may or may not ever come to pass. This is also a good skill to bring home and practice every day.

Stay present… don’t miss the beauty all around you!

I find the most effective way to stay present is to use all 5 senses to notice what’s going on around me. Are there birds singing? Is there a breeze blowing? Look at the scenery. Is that a blooming flower I smell? How about the food I’m eating…what spices did they use in this dish and can I duplicate it at home?

Have An Attitude of Gratitude

There are lots of people in the world who can’t afford to go on vacation…and many more who are less fortunate than you in even more profound ways. Focus on the things in your life that are working rather than focusing on the areas where things could improve. We’re all a work in progress, and our struggles are learning and growth opportunities.

Get Grounded!

When you’re physically and mentally relaxed, staying present, and focusing on all the things you’re grateful for, this can set the stage for the last thing I like to focus on when on vacation: getting re-grounded in my body and listening to its messages.

When we’re focused on the daily grind, and dealing with all of the crises that are an inherent part of life, it’s easy to tune out the messages our body is sending us: I’m hungry… I’m thirsty…I’m tired…there is pain associated with this behavior/activity…this situation doesn’t feel good…I can’t do this alone…I need to say “no”….these and many more are common examples of messages many of us tune out on a daily basis.

I’ve always found it ironic that when our bodies are most in need of TLC is when we’re least likely to provide it. Trust me, this is one of the most important concepts to grasp if you want to regain/gain or maintain optimal health.

Pain and discomfort are not random, and for most of us, our bodies know the answers if we only slow down and listen hard enough to hear.

A vacation is the perfect time to start establishing new, more positive behavior patterns!

How to Have a Healthy Vacation

Quick trip to Portland

No, the other Portland…

I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference in Portland. No, not that Portland… think east coast – Portland, Maine.

Some of you may immediately think of Portland’s well known L’s: lobster, lighthouses, and L. L. Bean. Let me tell you about one more – local. I found my kind of place at b.good – a franchise restaurant that tailors its menu to local ingredients. 

White bean and rosemary salad at b.good in Portland, ME.

I had a great salad there with a local, gluten-removed* beer to boot. The salad was their white bean & rosemary, which included organic quinoa, marinated kale, sauteed veggies, shiitakes, beets, and cannellini beans – all topped with parmesan cheese and a red pepper vinaigrette. It was fantastic!

Patty in Portland!

And – here’s the obligatory lobster bib photo most people expect from a trip to this part of the coast. So I guess there’s another Portland L – lobster bib!


* You saw the asterisk… so what is gluten-removed beer?

GF beerAccording to the brewing company that puts out this sudsy stuff, IXNAY is “fermented from grains containing gluten and crafted to remove gluten.” The gluten is removed through the use of a naturally occurring enzyme. So, basically, it can’t be called “gluten-free” and probably isn’t appropriate for anyone with an extreme gluten sensitivity or celiac.  But for those of us who are somewhat gluten sensitive, it was a great find!  Ixnay on the gluten-ay!

And now for the serious stuff…  read what Patty learned about methylation and gene expression from Dr. Amy Yasko during her time in Portland.

How to Have a Healthy Vacation

No Practicing! A Vacation of Good Food and Self Care

Our daily reminder to recharge

Self care is a theme in so many of the recovery protocols we recommend to clients. “Make time for yourself and activities you enjoy…”  “Create “you” time…” “Carve out even a few minutes every day for relaxation…” How many of you have heard Francie or I say these words during a consult?

This sign was visible from the condo’s front porch. It was meant for people who were using the golf course, but it was a great, constant reminder to keep self care as part of our daily intention.

Part of self care on vacation is taking a real break from the typical “real life” routine… For us, it was stepping away from our daily practice of seeing clients, developing protocols, office work, etc. We chose to rent a place with a kitchen where we could focus on making good, healthful meals. We also took the time to scope out places around Hilton Head that supported our goal of healthy vacation eating.

Recharging our “self batteries” has been great and now it’s time to head home. We are coming back to Columbus refreshed and ready to face new challenges.

I hope everyone was able to take something away from our vacation posts… remember to apply to your own summer plans! And do what you can to create mini vacations for yourselves even at home!

Read more How to Have a Healthy Vacation posts!

Posted by Patty Shipley

How to Have a Healthy Vacation, Recipes

We Are Roasting… Literally!

It’s the end of our trip, so we pulled together a salad and made some road food at the same time. We roasted 2 cans of chick peas with some grapeseed oil and sea salt, while simultaneously roasting the last of our veggies – a zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes and an onion tossed first in grapeseed oil, sea salt and Italian herbs.

Roasting chickpeas and leftover veggies…

Next we topped our salad with warm roasted veggies, some pine nut hummus, a scoop of still warm, slightly crispy chickpeas, our last avocado and some olive oil and vinegar dressing. Our best salad yet!  And we used up most of our leftovers.

Leftovers salad… great way to avoid waste









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How to Have a Healthy Vacation

Gluten Free Pizza!

Gluten free pizza with chickpea flour crust!

Sometimes only a pizza will do. Clients going gluten free tell us that they miss having the occasional pizza night… and we are no exception!

We brought along a pre-packaged pizza crust mix of chickpea flour, tapioca flour, and a few other ingredients. Similar idea to the chickpea pancake mix – come prepared and stay gluten free!

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How to Have a Healthy Vacation

Smoothies and Snacks at Pure Natural Market

Walk with us through our DIY health retreat-style vacation in Hilton Head, a place we chose because it’s accessible by car so we could bring our own cookware and pillows…two very important items if you want to take good care of yourself while away from home. So far, we’ve been taking advantage of the bike friendly island to leave the car parked and ride rental bikes to restaurants and shops. Here we go…

91iPhone says it’s 91 degrees right now.  To beat the heat, we’ve been walking by the water and subsisting on mostly homemade veg/fruit/greens smoothies in the afternoons. This time, for a  a quick stop at Pure Natural Market on William Hilton Parkway.

Afternoon smoothies at Pure Natural Market

Organic, vegan smoothies made fresh… Today we got smoothies plus veggies and hummus…we loved the coconut milk, mango, lime juice, avocado and kale smoothie.

Very refreshing and only a 15 minute bike ride from our vacation rental!

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How to Have a Healthy Vacation


delisheeeYo – Hilton Head Island, SC

We had to hit up delisheeeYo – a great little restaurant on HHI. Delicious, vegan, organic eats and an on site garden… does it get much better?

Great menu… tough decision. We were famished when we first arrived and chose the Super Salad Sampler.

photo (4)
Take a look at the delisheeeYo menu!

Talk about delicious! Tofu “egg” salad, a truly heavenly hummus and some unique and tasty nut salad on organic greens with sprouts and a light dressing.  It was Delisheee, yo!

Super Sampler Salad

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Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Grain-Free, How to Have a Healthy Vacation, Paleo, Recipes

Healthy Huevos Rancheros

Healthy Huevos Rancheros
Healthy Huevos Rancheros

A great start to the day from Francie… healthy huevos rancheros.


  • Vegetarian refried beans
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Over medium eggs
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado

FYI, this vacation breakfast is not elimination friendly because of the eggs, but definitely can be gluten free as long as you take a look at the ingredients of the refried beans and salsa!

Read more How to Have a Healthy Vacation posts!

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