My Green Life: At Rest with Karyn Calabrese

By Sandra Ramani / September 12, 2011

A leading member of the raw food movement, Chicago-based Karyn Calabrese’s journey to the natural side began in the mid-1970’s when, troubled by some of the health issues that were popping up in her family, she adopted a vegetarian diet. Soon after, she became a vegan, then a raw foods enthusiast and detox fan; by 1995, she had opened Karyn’s Fresh Corner—the second raw foods restaurant in the country—as well as the nearby Inner Beauty Center holistic spa, staffed by naturopaths, yoga teachers, and nutritionists, along with skin-care pros. Today, the 63-year-old entrepreneur oversees the original restaurant and spa (now merged into one space), a booming supplement and prepared-food business, the writing of detox and wellness books, and two other eateries: Karyn’s Cooked, for vegan comfort food (like chili, “ribs” and bread pudding) and the new Karyn’s on the Green, for upscale meat-free dining. A walking ad for her lifestyle, she says she has “the same body” as when she was 18, takes ballet classes with 22-year-olds—and claims to not have been sick in 30 years.

We caught up with Calabrese—whose fans include Madonna, John Cusack, and Alicia Silverstone—as she prepared to teach one of her regular detox workshops to get her thoughts on the proper way to eat for happy travels and good sleep.

What are some good nutritional supplements to take along when traveling?

I always travel with chewable chlorophyll caplets, which are high in phyto nutrients, oxygen, and enzymes. Chlorophyll is a great stabilizer (it has the same molecular structure as our blood), and it helps you adapt to new foods and keep your energy up when traveling. I also always bring along nuts and seeds for the airport and hotel room, and things like hummus, spouts, fruit, and dehydrated crackers to eat on the plane.

Are their foods we can eat to help deal with jet lag or sleep issues?

More than what you eat, sleep is affected by when you eat. The earlier you stop eating in the day when on the road, the better, because you will sleep more soundly when you’re body’s not working to digest food. Eat light in the morning and night, and your heaviest meal in the middle of the day. Digestive enzymes are important, too—they help keep inflammation down, the plumbing going, and the body in balance.

And once you’re back home, detoxing can help with sleep issues, as well as allergies, weight management, and many ailments. No matter how well we eat, we live in a chemical world—we get our clothes dry cleaned, we drive behind buses—so I recommend detoxing four times a year to break down toxicity and bring everything back in balance.

What techniques do you employ for stress relief?

Breath work is key—nothing is better than proper breathing. After all, the animals that live the longest are the slow-breathing ones, like elephants and turtles! Just slow down your breath, and sit quietly in a room without a television or phone, if even just for a few minutes—start with even 10 seconds a day. I also travel with a lavender mineral spray; it’s great for both the hotel room and to spray on ankles to help with swelling.

For more on Karyn’s restaurants, supplements and detox program, visit

Sandra Ramani

Sandra Ramani

Senior Contributing Editor at Organic Spa Magazine
In addition to serving as OSM’s Senior Contributing Editor, writer/editor Sandra Ramani covers travel, wellness, and lifestyle topics for such publications as Travel + Leisure, Robb Report, Premier Traveler, AFAR, Bridal Guide, Elite Traveler, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also the author of “Day Trips from Dallas / Fort Worth,” now in its second edition. Recent assignments have found her sleeping in the Sahara, hopping helicopters in New Zealand, and making this new friend in Bali.
Sandra Ramani

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