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Staying Healthy on Holidays


Deli belly, bali belly or whatever you want to call it can be very inconvenient and possibly change for gut function for a very long time. It can change your holiday from an enjoyable experience to having to plan every move around accessibility to the toilet.

Precautions include tips what foods to avoid, how to help alleviate a problem if it happens and shopping list. All these to keep you in a state where you are able to enjoy your holiday and most importantly come home healthy.

Tips

  1. Only drink from bottled water and it is a good idea to see the seal of the water bottle before it is opened.

  2. Avoid salads except maybe in upmarket hotels as they have probably been washed with the contaminated water

  3. Take lots of hand wipes or hand wash that doesn't need water.

  4. Only eat fruit that has been peeled

  5. Only eat cooked or boiled food

  6. Avoid foods that have been fermented. e.g. tempeh, miso and yoghurt as the bacteria in warmer climates is different to what we are used to in the colder climates.

  7. Milk can be very different in other countries and those with 'weaker' stomachs should avoid it.

  8. Avoid high risk foods such as shellfish.

  9. If eating chicken or pork make sure it is cooked through.

  10. Avoid eating from a food bar. Instead have food cooked to order.

A lot of these are the same precautions that we would take at home but with a lot more intensity. I have made alot of these mistakes. Ate tempeh chips in Bali. Had a gut ache for days. Ate seafood with Bali which kept me in the hotel room all the next day. Very bad diarrhoea for days in India. Couldn't really identify the cause of that one. Bad cold that developed into a chest infection in Nepal. Should have had immune support to prevent that. My knowledge has improved alot since then and had alot of success in taking notice of the first sign of sore throat or gut discomfort and taking the steps to reverse it before it takes hold. Sometimes you can be unlucky and even get parasites in western countries which is why we need to take precautions everywhere.

Alleviate the problem

Escape the cold/flu

  • Starting with the plane ride. It is usually full of people sick people escaping winter. If you can get some vitamin C foods when you get there it will help prevent someone elses cold taking hold. Pomegranate juice (plentiful in Turkey), orange juice or green smoothie (with bottled water). Vitamin C with zinc lozenges are great to take with you.

  • Protein boosts the immune system. Have some protein supplements that are quickly digested.

Stop the diarrhoea

  • Room stable (not fridge) probiotics will help slow the diarrhoea. Eat bananas and white rice to help bind and slow the transit time.

Move that constipation

  • Often in unfamiliar surroundings people get constipated. Fibre and water are needed to move it. Chia seeds are great to take with you. You can buy them in shot sizes for ease of dispensing. Have up to 4 tablespoons/day and lot of water. At least 2 litres plus if you are in a hot climate add some for sweating.

Stop that pain in the gut

  • This happens when you have eaten something that is sitting there. Haven't been able to vomit it up or expel it out the other end (diarrhoea). Garlic is great to kill bacteria that is causing you pain. However you can take it. Fresh garlic on toast or vegetable stir-fry with as many cloves of garlic you can handle.

  • A more extreme alternative is some crushed garlic in a little water. Make sure you follow this up with as much water as you can drink. From personal experience it does make you want bring it up straight away, but it is very effective. Must also take probiotics following and for the remainder of the trip.

Shopping list

Vitamin C with zinc lozenges

Protein powder

Room stable probiotics

Chia seeds shots

Electrolytes when dehydrated from continuous vomiting/diarrhoea

If you are going to a country where it might be difficult to get to an English speaking doctor go to your local GP to get some anti-biotics to take with you. Even though anti-biotics are a last resort it is better to have them with you when you are really sick.

Finally what if you do come home with the feeling of an unstable gut. You probably have a parasite. The best solution is to get a stool test to identify the parasite and the solution to get rid of it.

Feel free to contact me if you want more specific information about brands of supplements.

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