The idea for this topic came from a reader with a family vacation coming up. And she was really nervous about how to go on a holiday without triggering a flare. Amazingly enough, this had not even occurred to me before – since I travel so often, I’ve got my “safe travel routines” down pat. Well, now I’m going to share them with you.
I find there are basically two areas that account for 90% of the stress whilst traveling: Food and sleep. These are the two crucial areas for someone with IBD or IBS that must be maintained in order to avoid a flare.
Let’s talk about food first. When travelling in North America, unless you’re eating in an upscale restaurant with an actual chef, you can be pretty sure that everything you order will have been processed in some way – this is why I say it’s actually easier to travel to somewhere like Thailand and eat off a street vendor – at least you get fresh, unprocessed food! In many of the chain or “family” restaurants you can be pretty much guaranteed that everything comes out of a box, a bag, or was treated with tenderizers, preservatives, MSG, artificial flavor enhancers, etc. You may be able to handle one or two meals like this, but not only are you risking triggering a flare, who wants to eat crappy food like that anyway?
So, the easiest way around this, is to always book accommodation with a kitchen. Locate the organic grocery stores in the area before you leave home and go do your shopping the day (or second day) you arrive. Items you should bring from home: spices, salt, pepper, tea.
Your next safeguard is to take Absorb Plus with you. For those of you who don’t know what this is: Absorb Plus is an elemental (pre-digested) shake product that I formulated specifically for people with IBD. All you have to add is cold-pressed flax oil, or Udo’s oil (my favorite), water, and 4 scoops of Absorb Plus. Whip it up in a blender, pour it over ice, and you have a completely nutritious meal that will actually soothe your gut and help you maintain your health whilst away.
Many business travelers use a hand held blender to whip the shake as it’s so much smaller/lighter then packing a regular blender and easy to use if you’re on the go. Check with your accommodation though, as many rentals now provide blenders. One of my readers is a film producer, and he never goes on location without Absorb Plus – he says he’s been able to shoot everywhere in the world without flaring, since he always has his shakes when the food’s bad, or his system needs a break. Make sure you take a large glass or container to whip the shakes in if using a hand held blender (you have to be able to put the blender all the way down to the bottom of the glass to be able to whip it properly).
For myself, even if I don’t need to make that many shakes, I find the psychological relief has a huge impact on my stress and feelings of safety. Especially if you’re in the US, there are going to be times where you simply cannot find a restaurant that serves non-processed, chemical-free food (without reserving ahead at a five-star). Also, if you have kids, things can get stressful trying to provide food for them (especially if they’re picky eaters), so not having to worry about yourself, knowing you can have a shake, is often a huge stress reliever. It’s wonderful to know that whatever happens, you’re okay, you can just make a shake. So you won’t have to suffer any ill effects of toxic food, and you feel relieved because you know you’re getting great nutrients.
Of course, take everything with you that you need to make the shake – a tablespoon, large size travel mug with lid, straws, your supplements, Udo’s Oil etc. Ice, you can find prett