The Traveling Constipation Blues
Warning: This post will quite possibly turn into a TMI moment pretty quickly, so if you’re squirmy around TMI moments you might want to hit the back button now.
Take it from someone who knows, traveling can wreak havoc on on your nutrition and digestion. We won’t get too deep into poo, but let’s face it poo, or the lack there of, can tell a lot about how well your insides are being maintained.
I’ve never had issues with regularity. When my friends would say that they haven’t pooped in days I would wonder what in the world they were eating, and I definitely didn’t understand how they felt. Well guess what? Now I do. Traveling has been rough on my digestive system, and I know I’m not the only one. Even though I’ve been in Chiang Mai for 2 months now, and have established a routine, I still have issues from time to time. It’s easy for your digestive system to get out of whack while traveling, so don’t get too down on yourself if you’re also having issues.
Let’s consider why your poop shoot may be out of commission while traveling:
- You’re eating foreign foods.
- Eating out happens almost every day or even multiple times per day.
- It’s easy to choose unhealthy options even if healthy options are available.
- You’re probably not cooking too often.
- Your diet can easily end up being full of unhealthy fats and calories, and low in fiber and nutrition when eating out regularly.
The Bottom Line
If you aren’t pooping normally while traveling there’s a problem. This is your body’s way of asking you to please eat more nutritious foods loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals and fewer plates of pad thai. No worries though, there’s an easy fix! I found that simply adding more vegetables and fruits to my diet did the trick.
Before our trip to Thailand I was making juices daily, had fresh salads prepared in the fridge and made sure to include plenty of veggies with our meals. Once we arrived in Thailand that routine changed, cooking isn’t really an option and while I still was getting a daily dose of fruits, my veggie intake was way down. Believe it or not, many Thai dishes don’t come with many veggies much less fresh veggies. Therefore, I had to take matters into my own hands.
My apartment kitchen is as far from gourmet as you can get, but at the very least we have a fridge. I went to the store, bought a cheap cutting board, knife and tupperware, loaded up my basket with veggies and got to chopping. Now I keep fresh salad in the fridge for an afternoon snack, and my digestion thanks me for it. Ever since starting this routine I’ve been back on track and feeling good.
Tip for adding more fruits and veggies to your diet while traveling (or just in general)
- If you’re traveling for a short period of time and don’t want take time out of sight seeing to prep your own salads, find a restaurant that offers a great salad selection (not iceberg lettuce with 2 slices of cucumber, 1 slice of tomato, topped with bacon bits and enough ranch dressing to swim in – that’s not a salad). I found a great place in Chiang Mai that offers a build your own salad complete with dark leafy greens, and tons of healthy toppings.
- If you don’t mind taking on the challenge of making your own salads, pack a small cutting board, knife (in your checked luggage of course) and tupperware. Find a store that sells fresh and preferably organic produce, and get chopping. This option will likely be cheaper than buying a salad on the daily even in you are purchasing organic veggies.
- Buy a portable juicer and bring it along! The Healthy Juicer offers a hand crank juicer that is perfect for traveling. It’s small and only 3.5 pounds, so you won’t have to remove too many pairs of shoes to bring it along. Plus this guy works well for juicing wheat grass.
- Combine options 1-3.
My go to salad combo
As cheesy as it sounds, the best way to ensure that your body is getting the nutrition it needs to thrive is simply to eat your colors. Your salad will not only taste better and look pretty, but you will also be getting loads of vitamins, minerals and other health benefits. Salads are fun to experiment with, and you can easily find new combinations to keep your taste buds entertained. Here’s my favorite salad combination along with some tidbits about why these ingredients are awesome:
- dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale – packed full of antioxidants
- romaine lettuce – packed full of vitamins and minerals, also helps break up the spinach and kale
- sunflower sprouts – a perfect source of complete protein
- basil or cilantro – adds a little punch of flavor
- carrots – keeps those eyes healthy
- cucumbers – aids in hydration
- red, green and/or yellow peppers – anti-inflammatory
- cherry tomatoes – lots of lycopene
- broccoli – tons of fiber (helps keep your business moving)
- cauliflower – helps prevent cancer
- chopped garlic – boosts the immune system and tastes great
- avocado – healthy fats to keep you full longer
- pumpkin seeds – adds crunch, protein and I think they taste slightly like bacon bits.
- ground black pepper – adds a little spice
- lemon juice and olive oil or hemp seed oil – protects agains heart disease
It might take some time to prep everything, but I usually make enough to last for 2 days. You can also shorten and modify the list.
I hope this post helps if you’re suffering from the travel constipation blues….or just the constipation blues in general. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by adding a daily salad and/or juice to your diet. Plus, I don’t feel as guilty for indulging in some not so healthy options if I’ve already had a big, healthy salad earlier in the day. Looks like a win-win to me!
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