Good Poo’s - The Forgotten Travel Essential!
There is nothing worse than feeling wrong in the tummy when you’re away from home. Especially when you are on a long-awaited holiday! You’ve paid for travel, accommodation, done all the packing (including the right amount of undies) and spent time organising to be away from work. When you’ve finally reached your ‘chillax’ destination - you are uncomfortably constipated, have to keep running to the loo - or just feel 'blergh' in the belly. Bad poos are not fun, wherever you are!!
Some countries are renowned for their potentially horrendous gut impact (think Bali, Delhi & Bombay Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge, Mummy’s Tummy etc).Some estimates say you have a 30-50% chance of experiencing diarrhoea during a 2 week stay in some of the high risk countries - yikes! This can be from ‘food poisoning’ where you’ve eaten something that has become contaminated by pathogenic bacteria due to poor storage, preparation, hygiene etc. It may just be that your gut & immune system are reacting to all the new microbes that you’re suddenly in contact with, being so far away from your home & its nice familiar microbes! You should expect some degree of tummy rumbling / a cramp or a loose stool here & there when you travel - even if you have a very tough tummy, different food, water & environments can just take a little adjusting to. Severe diarrhoea can seriously wreck a holiday - & in some cases leave you with a lasting, unwanted souvenir of your travels! I’ve spoken to many people over the years who’s gut health has never returned to normal after a bad case of traveller’s diarrhoea - so don’t treat it lightly if you do get a bad bout! Be prepared (prevention is best) for diarrhoea with the recommended ‘travel-tummy tips’ below when you’re next headed into a danger zone!
But what about the other end of the bad-poo spectrum?Constipation is an extremely common holiday-hampering complaint (especially for women) - goodMix as a business actually owes a lot of its success to this phenomenon! We’ve saved many a constipated miserable tourist! They’ve seen the ‘Best Poos Ever’ flag at a beachside market & come to investigate - often dragged along by a friend or family member saying ‘look ……, this is what you need!’ They then feel so good that they continue to order online! Yay for holiday constipation - it literally pays our bills! So the constipation part is relatively easy to treat / prevent - just travel with your Blend11 if you know you’re prone to blocking up! Many people now swear by it (as in ‘I won't leave home without it’) & it also saves money on eating out! Travel constipation solved ? But what about diarrhoea? Picking up a parasite? Uncomfortable gas, bloating…or just being unsettled in the belly due to all the strangeness & changes in environment & routine?
Here’s some ‘tummy travel tips’ to ensure you continue to have the best poos ever-ywhere!
- At home, don’t be shy when it comes to new food. If you are always eating / trying new things at home - your gut will be much more flexible & ‘up for a challenge’ when you travel than if you just stick to the same old foods all the time.
- Cultivate your ‘gut garden’ daily - have plenty of fermented foods & drinks to add bugs into the system, & fertilise your microbial soil daily with diverse ‘microbe accessible’ carbohydrates (different types of fibre from loads of different sources).
- Know your ‘norms’ - i.e. have a rough idea of how much fibre you normally eat, how much meat / dairy / fruit / legumes etc & then if you do have trouble when away, you have a ‘safe zone’ to try & get back to. i.e. - if you travel to Hawaii & start living on the amazing in season tropical fruit, don’t be surprised if you end up with loose stools or a bout of candida. Or if your fave overseas dish has very few veggies & lots of meat, you could get a bit sluggish / constipated.
- Try to 'go' properly before you leave home (much more likely you'll go in your own home than in a bus / train / plane / crowded public loo). You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot - one missed motion can be the start of constipation holiday-hell!
What to take if headed into a diarrhoea danger zone:Water filter / purification device. Never take chances on water, it can carry some of the worst pathogens. Use a quality water filter bottle, or buy safe / sealed bottled water.
- Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser, so you can use it anywhere if running water & soap are not available.
- Heat stable, multi strain probiotics are essential, i.e. 'Prescript Assist' & also products with ‘SB’ / saccharomyces boulardi.
- Colloidal silver, 100-200mL bottle. Can be great to settle tummy upsets - it has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal & anti-inflammatory actions. Also comes in handy for skin infections. Use when you suspect you’re battling something - alternate with a probiotic pill (doses taken 3 hrs apart).
- Antimicrobial / anti-parasitic herbal pills (ask for a good strong formula in your local healthfood store). Take if you suspect you have a stowaway or have eaten / drunk something potentially dodgy. (alternate with probiotics, 3 hrs between doses). It can be used with the colloidal silver. You can even take these as a precaution when travelling in high risk areas.
- Pondwater or another good quality green powder - ensure that wherever you go, you can easily get enough gut-loving greens every day, & to help you take in some nutrients in case you can’t eat solids for a few days. The aloe vera in Greens + Aloe can help with gut soothing / healing & also immunity.
- Blend11, to keep you regular, & to keep your good microbes well nourished & reproducing. Lots of good bugs = not much room for the baddies! Plus, you’ll save on eating out.
- Hydration & electrolytes are vital, head to the local pharmacy / ask a local for what you need.
- Easy to digest foods - i.e clear soups / broths.
- Probiotics - take a capsule 3 times daily. Carry these in your handbag everywhere & take a few anytime you think you may have eaten / drunk something wrong.
- Antimicrobials / colloidal silver (take 3 hrs apart).
- Activated charcoal - great to help absorb whatever toxic substances you have in your tummy.
- One of the biggest causes of travel constipation is ignoring the urge to go - until it’s more ‘convenient’. One missed motion means the moisture gets absorbed, & you'll have a compacted, hard, dry stool that requires straining & is potentially quite painful to expel. Remember this when you get the urge, instead of just ignoring it until you're near a 'nicer’ or more private toilet! When ya gotta go, you really should go - as soon as you can!
- Book accomodation with easy access to a private toilet, & make a point of using it! If this isn’t possible, locate the best public loo you can. With a hectic / exciting holiday schedule, you may also just ‘forget to go’ if you don’t get the urge or are too busy at the time - keep track with a mark on your water bottle or in a travel journal - so you know how you’re going compared to normal.
- Schedule in some daily exercise, morning is best. Explore your area on foot / pushbike, or do some swimming if it’s too hot - just find some way to get moving that suits you in your new environment.
- Get up & move as much as possible during long flights / drives etc, sitting for extended periods is bad news for your gut.
- Bring a few gentle constipation 'helpers' with you - i.e. some liver herbs, some magnesium, some Blend11 and probiotics. Pack whatever you find helps keep you moving regularly.
- Take a water bottle wherever you go & drink plenty.
- Always choose meals with plenty of fruit, veggies & legumes (first ensure / get advice that the place uses clean water for washing, good hygiene practices etc or a salad bowl could have you stuck to the toilet bowl).
- Breathe deep & stay calm, being too uptight will prevent your bowels from opening!