Travelling is the time when we eat too many bread products, and we stay up too late, revelling in our awesome Instagram pics. #nofilter #really
With all the merrymaking, it’s easy not to notice something that can take away your fun and be uncomfortable. Those darned bread products.
Yup, constipation. It can follow you to the most exotic of locales, even though it is a most unwelcome guest.
Here are the top ways to help keep your travelling going smoothly, both in your body and on airplanes. You may not want to talk about poop, but that’s why we’re writing an article about it.
Flying is dehydrating and travelling itself can be just the same (another carafe of wine, s’il vous plait!). Welcome, constipation.
To avoid this, bring a full bottle of water with you to the airport. Drink the entire thing before security and refill again after. Continue to drink non-alcoholic fluids on the plane and get safe drinking water once you land. If your hotel is another train or cab ride away, find water at the airport to drink en route. If you wait until you get to your destination to get water after a long flight, you’ll already be dehydrated.
It’s not just water that keeps you (and your bowels) adequately hydrated. Electrolytes matter too. If the body is lacking water and electrolytes in general, it’s not going to be available for the large intestine to properly lubricate a bowel movement as it moves through the colon.
To get those electrolytes, always ask for lemon slices to squeeze into your water in restaurants and be that person who brings along a baggie of sea salt to pinch into your water for similar benefits.
Just a pinch – not enough to taste it, as you probably don’t want to drink saltwater.
Consider probiotics and digestive enzymes.
No matter where you go, bring probiotics and digestive enzymes. Take your probiotics in the morning and digestive enzymes before each meal. While it’s essential to check the labels for proper dosing and to make sure that the enzymes correlate with your meals’ ingredients, that does make for more thinking, and who wants to think while they are travelling?
A full-spectrum digestive enzyme makes it even easier. While you’re out, you may be eating foods that are a little different from what you’re used to, so you’ll want to make sure you’re breaking it down as best you can.
Enzymes help your stomach to do just that. You can also help your stomach to break down food best by chewing as much as you can.
Seek fibre, fruits & veggies.
Trying new cuisines can be part of the fun of travel, but they can be matched by the not-so-fun side effects of constipation. That’s why, if you’re really concerned, it’s best to bring your own food and snacks like nut butters and crackers, or dried fruit to maintain some dietary normalcy, at least through the flight and your breakfast the first morning or first meal upon arriving. If you find yourself struggling later on, relax and just continue to seek out real food.
A magnesium supplement can be incredibly useful for both constipation and stress. Take 300 to 400 milligrams of magnesium citrate a day if you need an extra push. This isn’t just for travel, as most North Americans are deficient in the mineral anyway.
When we are around others we are not as comfortable with or on a tight schedule, we might not take the time to go. One common contributor to vacation constipation is fear of using foreign toilets, which is a ‘nesting’ trait left over from our caveman days. But those irrational fears are not only holding you and your bowels back, but they’re also pretty unrealistic since most bathrooms aren’t carriers of disease; it’s the lack of safe ones in developing countries that promotes disease.
Do what you can to make a foreign bathroom feel more comfortable. How? Pack your own antibacterial wipes or travel with a portable Squatty Potty (the ‘holy grail of toilet accessories’ that encourages the proper (knees up) elimination position for better colon position.)
Toilet anxiety is real, but we must remember that “Everyone Poops!”
Still plugged up? The worst thing is to stress about it.
When our stress hormones like adrenaline or epinephrine start to flow into the body because of anticipation or excitement or anxiety, the GI tract slows down quite a bit. It’s just the nature of those hormones. Deep relaxation exercises like slow breathing or meditation can help to activate your “rest and digest” system instead of your “fight or flight” nervous system.
At the end of the day, you could put all these tools into place and still run into a bit of a struggle. It’s okay. Sometimes it’s just the nature of the beast.