Imagine traveling and feeling like you brought your personal chef. (Note to self: get one). You eat foods you determine and have your preferences specified in advance so you can avoid dairy, soy, gluten, and wheat. You can choose from a wide variety of farm-fresh vegetables, organic meat and fresh local fish, along with fresh berries at every meal. Even the wine selections are sourced from a wine maker who has sugar-free wine (the only of it’s kind) and free of any of the 67 chemicals that are allowed in the manufacture of wine in the US. I spent last week in San Diego at a conference. That was my experience. I think I ate better than if had been at home.
Have you ever looked forward to a trip (or just had to go) and then wound up not enjoying it at all because of something you ate or drank?
Or you left home feeling fine and digestive issues while you were traveling made it mostly miserable?
You don’t have to go to a foreign country or travel by plane to have either of those things happen.
There’s plenty more things that can hinder health while you’re traveling but I’m going to focus on the gut issues that can plague you if you’re not careful. Here’s how to keep yourself free from a roller coaster of digestive issues, avoid weight gain, and stay in control of your health while you travel.
1. First on my list is to test yourself right now if you haven’t. If you don’t know what foods make you feel best eating while you’re at home, you’ll be that much more vulnerable eating away from home. (Test with a 28 Day Kickstart if you want to feel better faster).
2. Next: start moving.
- Cardiovascular exercise will increase transit time. The less bad bacteria from foods are in your stomach the less risk you are to getting sick or feeling bad. Once you have this habit at home you’re more likely to keep it on the road.
- Twisting and rotating poses in yoga can enhance digestion. Take time to learn a few simple yoga poses even if you don’t have any interest in developing a full practice. (link to YouTube yoga playlist)
3. Third, eat more gut-friendly foods.
In addition to knowing your food sensitivities so you can avoid them, start adding foods that will enhance your digestion and improve your good gut bacteria. These include:
- Raw foods: raw vegetables have plentiful enzymes that help gut health.
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi can be beneficial. Yogurt (test for your dairy tolerance or use a coconut milk yogurt substitute for both yogurt and kefirt).
- Bitter foods like arugula increase your production of enzymes. Try it in a salad or as the salad.
- Soaked grains and nuts and sprouted beans and seeds are more digestible and more nutrient dense. If you test foods by doing an elimination phase you may want to first reintroduce sprouted grains when you first try them again. You can find sprouted wheat breads and tortillas that can allow you to have some of your favorite foods without the digestive problems that come with them.
I’ve got a fourth I added post script to this blog. Think of it as a bonus. It’s perhaps the most challenging but doesn’t need to be.
4. Last, but not least: enhance your stress coping skills. Stress is not going to go away. Think of it as a pre-requisite to a heartbeat. Stressing about your stress causes you more stress. Travel can amplify your stress – even vacation. Focus on the real source of your stress and play a game. What’s the worst that can happen? What’s the likelihood of that happening? Then, don’t forget to ask, what’s the best that could happen?
Life is an adventure. When you feel great you’ll enjoy it more. Eat right to feel great during the day and sleep best at night. The trick is to define and create your “eat right” map. It is unique to you right now. Your gut health is influenced by stress, exercise, as well as the foods you eat. Each of these is in your control. Happy trails.
What’s been your worst travel challenge? (I have no pull with the airlines: besides that!)
I’m creating a course for enhancing stress coping skills. Are you interested?