While the weather in the UK may have other ideas, holiday season is upon us! I am looking forward to a family trip to Spain this summer; it will my first trip abroad since the pandemic, and I know I have fallen out of the habit of packing and preparing for a holiday, so I thought we could all be reminded of why my Travel Survival Kit is the first thing you should be popping in your suitcase, along with a few other tips to make the holiday season a happy and healthy one.
The combination of pre-holiday stress, the inactivity while travelling and a change to your eating and drinking habits can all play havoc with your digestive system when you go away for a break. Add to this over-indulgence on the hotel buffet, late nights drinking and possible bugs lurking in the local food and water, and it’s pretty easy to see why our tummies can play up, with the potential to ruin the holiday you’ve been looking forward to for so long.
Over the years, I have lost count of the number of people who have contacted me with digestive and gut issues after picking up a bug while on holiday with typical symptoms of crampy pain, urgent trips to the loo and vomiting. I knew I could do something to help people avoid going down with any type of ‘traveller’s tum’ which is why I developed my Travel Survival Kit – to help people ensure that their gut health was on track before, during and after a holiday.
If you look after your gut health in the run up to your holiday and whilst you’re away, in return it will take good care of you!
What’s in the Travel Survival Kit?
- 60 Live Bacteria probiotic capsules – to help make sure your digestive system is in tip-top order and packed with ‘good’ gut bugs and help support your immune system to fight off bacteria, viruses or parasites that can trigger food poisoning whilst you’re away
- 60 Digestive Enzymes tablets – to help ensure your food is being properly digested, especially if you want to indulge in richer food and you are eating later in the day, as well as reduce uncomfortable gassy bloating, indigestion, and reflux
- 60 high-strength, odour-controlled Garlic tablets – will help to sterilise your digestive system, preventing any ‘bad’ bugs from getting into the digestive system and causing pain, sickness, and diarrhoea
- 6 Tummy Tea pyramids – a healthier alternative to caffeinated drinks that will help to calm and soothe any upsets, and it tastes amazing!
My advice is to begin taking the supplements in the Kit about a week before you are due to travel. The Kit comes with full instructions.
I also recommend packing a pot of my activated Charcoal capsules to have on hand if you do come down with a stomach bug, or if you feel a bit ‘off’.
The activated charcoal can absorb the bacteria responsible for causing stomach bugs (the same way it is used to absorb poisons). Toxins that come into contact with activated charcoal bind to it, which prevents them from being absorbed in the body. Activated charcoal is not digested. Instead, it goes directly to the colon where it is eliminated in the stool, along with the harmful bacteria, viruses, and toxins that are attached to it.
This combination of supplements will go a long way towards improving your gut health which means that you cope better with any pre-holiday stress, and the diet and lifestyle changes that often go hand-in-hand with a holiday.
Of course, you still need to keep an eye on what you eat and drink while you’re away. Consider following some of these tips:
- Pack your own food for the journey – having familiar foods to hand helps to keep things as normal as possible for your digestive system and can help nourish your beneficial gut microbes, too. Why not pack easy-to-carry dried fruits like dates, raisins or figs, wholegrain crackers, mixed seeds, and popcorn in your hand luggage to snack on if you get stuck in traffic or your flight is delayed?
- Eat as little as possible – if you’re travelling by plane, choose the lighter vegetable and fruit-based options on the in-flight menu, as the fatty meals will be harder to digest and can cause discomfort and indigestion. Better still, eat a meal before you travel – you’ll be less hungry en route, which will help you to avoid the temptation of eating your way through a long flight or car journey – remember your gut bugs need some time off too!
- Get an aisle seat on the plane – if you are flying to your destination, and you suffer with IBS (D), you will feel more at ease knowing that it’s easier to get up and nip to the loo if you need to. Practise some some relaxation techniques in the days before your flight, and use them on the plane too. If suffering with constipation, a colon hydrotherapy treatment is helpful a couple of days before flying.
- Learn key bathroom and food phrases if going to a foreign country and you don’t know the language.
- Keep moving – whether you’re travelling by coach, car, train or plane, your gut doesn’t like it when you’re stationary for long periods, as activity helps with keeping your gut moving. Make frequent stops or walk about as much as possible. It’ll also help you to combat any feelings of tiredness and grogginess, so you can start enjoying your trip as soon as you arrive.
- Get enough sleep – being tired before you go on holiday means you’ll be even more frazzled when you get to your destination. Try to get enough sleep before you head off – as poor quality sleep can impact your gut microbes, as well as increase inflammation and stress hormones, which is why not enough sleep is associated with increased gut symptoms, especially if you suffer with IBS. Too little sleep also affects our appetite hormones – levels of leptin, which tells the brain when we’re full, drop and trigger hunger; while levels of ghrelin increase, telling the brain we need to eat. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
- Don’t fall for fad diets – with holidays on the horizon, it can be tempting to turn to severely restricted and unbalanced diets in an effort to slim down quickly. But forget about following the latest ‘quick fix’ diet. Most faddy diets aren’t a long-term solution to losing weight and keeping it off because they’re hard to stick to. Worse still, they often deprive your body and your ‘good’ gut microbes of essential nutrients that they need to function well. So, ditch the diet mentality and focus on eating healthier.
- Stay well hydrated – drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight, as your digestive system needs lots of water to keep things in good working order and it’ll help avoid ‘gut lag’ symptoms like constipation, too. Choose your other drinks wisely, as too many caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and even fizzy drinks can trigger gut symptoms in some sensitive people and can stop you having a restful snooze. It’s a good idea to take a couple of herbal tea bags (such as the Tummy Tea pyramids from the Kit) with you and ask for a cup of hot water, especially if you find flights unsettling.
- Go easy on the alcohol – drinking too much can leave you dehydrated; it can also irritate your gut and affect your mood – if you’re already anxious about flying, it will leave you feeling more tense and tight – both of which will simply add to your gut troubles and make you feel worse.
- Make mindful choices while you are on holiday – healthy eating and exercise habits can easily slip when you’re on holiday and any change in routine can knock your gut microbiota out of balance. Being on holiday is the perfect time to mix up what you’re eating and try as many new plant-based foods and ingredients as you can. If you’re holidaying abroad, try to take advantage of all of the delicious local, fresh produce on offer and dip into unusual varieties of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
- Don’t upsize your portions – part of the enjoyment of being on holiday is eating out. However, portions sizes in restaurants, bars and cafés tend to be larger than we’d serve ourselves at home – and the quality and scope of menus can vary widely, with many choices deep-fried, swimming in creamy sauces or butter, which can slow digestion and trigger heartburn. Eat in popular eateries that follow basic food hygiene regulations and where food is likely to be fresh. And then try to keep meals similar in size to those you’d usually have at home, so you don’t overload your digestive system. Why not consider sharing a main course and ordering an extra side salad or vegetables?
- Offset sweet treats with gut healthy foods – if you fancy an ice cream at the beach –ENJOY, you’re on holiday, after all. Just have a small cone and make sure you have a piece of fibre-filled fruit, too.
- Take it easy – you’re on holiday so you can afford to take meals are at a more leisurely pace – sit down, relax, and eat slowly. Digestion starts in the mouth, so chewing your food well not only helps you get maximum pleasure from all of the wonderful flavours on offer, but also helps your body maximise the nutrients you get from your food. Bon appétit! Happy holiday!
If you have any questions about any of our supplements, please get in touch.