Digestive Support On Vacation
Just got back from celebrating my 28th birthday in South Beach Miami. I’m overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude with a mixture of sadness and inspiration. I’m missing the beach, the sense of freedom you experience when your responsibilities are on mute and the happiness from creating new memories. Although I am sad to leave the magical Miami, I’m inspired to build a life where I can celebrate my birthday in many different places in the world.
However, with that being said, I am happy to be back home. Vacationing is oh so exciting but can be stressful on your digestion (and I missed my bed and my cat). One thing that many of my friends and clients complain about when it comes to vacationing is how it throws off your regularity. Yes. Your poops. Either you’re more backed up or you’re on the other side of the spectrum. I usually don’t have that problem when I travel, my battle is with the bloat. And the last thing you want to experience while travelling is digestive problems. So I armed up my body and I’m excited to share my travelling digestion secrets.
The change in your digestion can be attributed to many factors. The stress of travelling alone is enough to affect elimination. On our way there our flight was cancelled and we had to deplane (cue in deep breathing techniques). Chances are you’re also dehydrated, your food choices are either limited or more celebratory and maybe you’re like me and enjoying a couple of drinks because well you’re on vacation (woooooo!)
So here are some tips to supporting your digestion while you’re away.
1. MORE WATA!
A really simple way to support your bodily functions and keeping regular is by increasing our water. Seeing as there is an added element of stress when on vacation, adding at least 1/2 litre of water on top of your needed intake will help balance you out.
Adult Male - 12 cups/2.9 L
Adult Women - 9 cups/2.2 L
Children over 2 years old - up to 8 cups
Make sure when you’re vacationing to drink only filtered or bottled water. I am an advocate about doing this when you’re home as well (I will be blogging about water soon, so stay tuned), but it is especially important when you’re away. Drinking bottled/filtered water will ensure you’re not consuming any contaminated water and protect your body from any harmful microbes that your body isn’t equipped to deal with. Think back to that scene in the Sex and the City movie when Charlotte accidentally swallowed water in the shower. If you haven’t, spoiler alert: she poops herself.
2. Digestive supporting supplements
Digestive enzymes are a MUST whether you’re on vacation or not. There are many factors that reduce the production of our own digestive enzymes (poor eating, stress, age). Taking a digestive enzyme helps your body breakdown and absorb the nutrients in our foods. If you’re like me and you tend to feel gassy and bloated, I suggest grabbing a digestive enzyme with hydrochloric acid (HCL). Many digestive enzymes with HCL are labeled as Ox Bile. Feelings of bloat are caused by an insufficient amount of stomach acid for digestion. There are ways to correct this (which I will go into further detail later) but to ensure your digestion is supported and you feel comfy struttin in that bikini without a food baby, make sure to grab a digestive enzyme for your travels.
Consuming magnesium can help relax your muscles in the digestive tract, intestinal walls and encourage regularity. Adding a magnesium supplement can also help increase the water in your intestines and initiate peristalsis (the wavelike motion that moves fecal matter through your intestines). Supplementing with magnesium is generally a good idea, it is the number one mineral deficiency amongst North Americans and has so many benefits when you consume it on a regular basis. Magnesium Glycinate is one of the best forms of magnesium as it is very easily absorbed while being gentle on your bowels.
Probiotics are the bacteria that line your digestive and intestinal tract. Consuming probiotics help your body absorb nutrients (bye bye bloat), improve regularity and fight infections. About 80% of your immune system is in your intestinal flora, which is really helpful if you’re going from snowflakes to palm trees in a short amount of time. Give your immune system a boost and take a probiotic supplement with a variety of strains consistently before you leave. As well I recommend taking a travellers probiotic supplement with you. On your travels, you’re likely to be exposed to different strains of bacteria and supplementing will keep you from experiencing a Charlotte moment.
Adding Kim chi and Sauerkraut to your diet are other ways you can consume probiotics for regularity.Kombucha is one of my best friends on vacation. For the most part its pretty accessible and will cater to your digestive needs and is so thirst quenching after a night out.
4. SUPPORT YO LIVER!
The liver works so hard, it does over 400 functions in our body, including managing your energy levels, skin, nails, hair health and everything in between. And on vacation it tends to take a bit of a hit (well mine does anyway haha). So I always want to prepare and support it whenever I can.
B Vitamins: supplementing with the complete range of b vitamins helps assist the body’s enzymatic processes for digesting carbohydrates, fats and protein, along with supporting your immune system and helps your liver in the detoxification process. You can get your B’s from a B complex supplement or eating a variety of dark leafy greens, mushroom, asparagus, grass fed liver, broccoli.
Herbs: My go to for liver support and bloat assistance is DANDELION GREENS. They are all stars in supporting the detoxification process, reducing feelings of bloat and gettin' your bowels going. Dandelion tea makes this herb super accessible but having it in a cold pressed juice is definitely my favourite (yay greens). Milk thistle and holy basil are also helpful teas for liver support if you prefer a lighter tasting tea.
5. Eat Whole Foods!
That means foods you can pronounce that were likely picked from a tree or have gone through very little processing to get to your plate. I know this sounds like the opposite of what you would rather be doing on vacation, but its hard to feel sexy and have fun if you’re constipated and bloated. Our compromise when we went to Miami was we decided to eat well during the day (lots of greens, salads, cold pressed juice, water) and then save a not so nice but delicious meal for our late night snack after our night out. Balance is important even if you’re in an environment that’s more exciting than your regular home life.
So these are just the basics that I do to get my body ready for fun (cause let’s be real, I’m 28 and change is hard on my body). We do so much to prepare for our vacation, nails done, outfits…our bodies deserve the same amount (if not more) attention. It’s our forever home until we become one with the earth so let’s give it the TLC it deserves so we can experience all of what life has to offer with digestive comfort and regular poos!
Until next time!
Haas, Elson M., and Buck Levin. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: the Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Celestial Arts, 2006.