With holiday season well and truly underway, no doubt most of us are jetting off to different holiday destinations over the coming weeks. Day 1 – how the hell am I already bloated? Sound familiar? The dreaded holiday bloat has already hit, ugh – panic.
There are a number of things that can affect our Gut health while travelling, everything from a change in routine to a change in diet, not to mention the extra sugars we might be consuming from those delicious cocktails, and dehydration among many more. We’ve all been there, we all experience holiday bloat unfortunately, but behold 5 ways to keep your gut healthy and yourself happy while travelling.
1. Plan Ahead
So if you read that and though ‘duh’, hear me out. Planning ahead is crucial for healthy travel. Do some research on your destination before you go. Locate healthy restaurants in the area, farmers markets, food shops etc. This will ensure you’re more at ease when you arrive and will help you stay on track knowing that you have the resources to find whole foods to keep in your room, hotel or backpack when you’re on the go.
Stock up on the simple things like greens, local veg’s, fruits, nuts and healthy snacks loaded with fiber, healthy fats and protein when you arrive.
If planning ahead isn’t an option as you are spontaneous travelling or travelling around while travelling, then simply make the best of that situation and locate these healthy places by asking the locals, taxi drivers, the hotel/resort staff etc. Don’t be shy. Locals love when travellers purchase their fresh produce, and you might even be introduced to new foods and food that are from that region/area.
2. Prepare Your Body
This one requires motivation from within. Before you even travel, try setting up your mind and body for success.
Personally that involves packing nutritious foods, packing fermented foods, probiotics, energy supplements and my main vitamins. Everything I know I’ll be relaxed knowing I have with me because I have a very sensitive digestion system and I know what travelling does to my system if I don’t care of it – it EXPLODES.
Also, when travelling, changes to your normal diet and routine disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria in the gut which can lead to either ‘travellers’ diarrhoea or constipation’.
So remember how probiotics are the good guys ion your inner ecosystem of bacteria? Well I always make sure that I take extra digestive love with me when I’m travelling in the form of magnesium, flaxseed and probiotics.
Be ahead of the game and prepare your body for the physical stress of travel, change in sleep and routine, different water and foods etc.
3. Move Your Body
For most while on holidays or travelling, we’re either walking around exploring a new city so we’re getting those steps in. But on travel days, especially, we need to move. Moving your body, exercising, getting the circulation moving is key to keeping your digestion healthy, stimulated and moving.
Especially if you have a long flight, the first thing to do when you get off the place is some jumping jacks or lunges. Honestly, don’t worries if you think you’ll look like a fool, pretend you’re making fun of yourself and get those with you to join in. This will get the circulation moving, awaken the digestion system and get those energy levels up.
Make sure you keep moving throughout the holiday. When I’m packing, not only do I include the digestive essentials, but I also make sure to pack at least 2-3 sets of workout gear, my runners, a skipping rope and some bands.
I’m lucky because when I go to France, we move around A LOT. We are forever going on morning hikes, or partaking in outdoor activities which include cycling, canoeing, swimming etc – so we move A LOT. But even still, on days where we mightn’t have stuff planned, I always make sure to either get a run in or do a home workout. I’m quite lucky in that my Grandparents have an at home exercise bike, so I can hop on that and get a good HIIT session done, and I also know the area so I know where I can go for a run etc. But just because you don’t have the same means directly accessible to you, that should not stop you either.
Find out does your hotel or resort have a gym, or ask a local if they know of one. If gymming isn’t your thing, grab your runners and go for a run. What better way to explore a city than get lost running around it. Or if neither of the above appeal to you, then just do an indoor full body workout with whatever you can find (aka table, chair, bed etc), skipping rope and the bands. Even a 20-30 minute workout will make all the difference.
4. Stock Up
Alongside packing the essentials like the probiotics and the vits, I also make sure to pack things like Peppermint Tea, Dandelion Tea, Detox Tea, Ginger Tea, and my BCAA’s that I know help soothe any tummy trouble I have. And I also make sure that I stock up on whole foods like nuts, seeds, nut butters, protein powder and bars, beef jerky and fruit, because they don’t need refrigerating and are ideal snacks or breakfast go to’s. For the day that I’m travelling, to avoid reaching for nasty Airport food and Airplane food, I also bring snacks that don’t turn outside of the fridge, anything from a salad, to fruit, to chicken pieces, etc. We can often be left travelling for 10-12 hours, even just for short journeys between travel and wait times, so ensure you’re well stocked up.
5. Breathe and Enjoy
After you’ve put in all the research work, and have set up your little ‘travelling kitchen’, with access to whole foods, your optimizers etc…. RELAX.
Stress, Overwhelm and Anxiety are all also the main culprits that throw off our digestion as well. Make sure when travelling to take time out to relax, breathe and don’t let anything stress you – after all you’re on your holidays.
Sound mind = sound digestion.
One last technique, deep breathing before meals will help your body trigger the part of your nervous system responsible for “rest and digest” which means better digestion, better absorption of nutrients, and feeling better so you can really enjoy and soak up the time you’re traveling.