travel and digestion

Hands up if you think like this when you are about to go on a holiday or vacation “Yay, I can do what I want and eat what I want, because I’m on holiday, hooray!”

The problem is, your digestive system doesn’t care about what you want, it likes routine, order and food it has grown accustomed to. It doesn’t want time zone differences, different sleep routines, different toilets, different bacteria, different food or alcohol and so it has a little tantrum.

It may put on a sour face and cause constipation, blow out its cheeks and cause bloating, it may stamp its feet and cause diarrhoea, or if its feeling really evil, a bit of everything! Mwahahaha

So what can you do? Here are 5 steps that will help show your digestive system a little love and compassion to help it get into the holiday mood:

Start with water

It may be tempting to down a couple of wines or beers on the plane or on the road trip but start out with plenty of water. If you are travelling on a plane, a bus or car, you are bound to get dehydrated. Water will help keep you hydrated and keep your bowels humming along.

Take it easy on the buffet

If you are going out for breakfast or rushing to the free breakfast buffet. Slow down a bit on the first day and eat food that you would normally eat at home. It may be temping to pile up three plates of everything and go back for an extra croissant and bacon, and maybe another muffin, but eating in excess can lead to bloating and difficulty in digesting the food. Particularly if your intestines are already unhappy with that strange toilet you made it use that morning.

Find the fibre

Fibre will keep you full for longer and help things moving in the right direction, particularly when you’ve eaten a months supply of bacon at breakfast. Find a supermarket or grocer and buy some strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, pears, apples, oranges or prunes. Not only are they easy to cart around in your backpack and don’t require utensils, your digestive system will be smiling and love you for it.

Exercise

It may be temping to set up shop by the pool and only move to wave over the pool boy, but exercise and movement will help keep your internal processes moving. If you are sight seeing you’ll likely be on your feet which is great, but if you are trapped on a bus or in a car then remember to get out and stretch and walk. Take a walk before breakfast or after dinner to get the blood pumping and keep things moving.

Be kind to yourself

Running to catch the plane, getting ripped off in the taxi, kids tugging at your sleeves, loosing your luggage, getting a room with a dripping shower, meeting up with family. It can be really stressful.

When you are stressed your digestive system gets shut down so that the blood and nutrients can be directed to more important things (like arguing with the hotel receptionist about the noisy neighbours) so remember to show yourself some love. Understand that things may not go to plan, you may experience digestive distress, you may not have taken my advice and drank five of those little bottles of bubbly on the plane. But just breathe, relax and start fresh tomorrow, because you’re on holidays remember and that’s what they are for!