This guide provides practical advice for individuals with IBD, helping them navigate dietary challenges while enjoying their travels. By following these tips, travellers can manage their condition effectively and savour the joys of exploring new destinations.
Travelling with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can be challenging, especially after recently recovering from a flare-up. As you prepare for a trip to warmer climates, like Mexico, maintaining your diet as close as possible will help control your symptoms. Here’s a guide to help you enjoy your vacation while keeping your IBD in check
Stick to Essential Foods:
The key to managing IBD while travelling is continuing to include foods and practices that support the healthy function of your intestines. While you might need to substitute some fruits and vegetables based on availability, try to include essential foods from your regular diet. Foods rich in resistant starch, such as oats, green plantains, rice, and potatoes, are usually readily available in warmer places like Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Some specific foods might not be available at your destination. It’s a good idea to bring along items like hemp hearts, ground flax seed, or other items such as probiotics you may use at home that are specific to your condition. These can be easily packed and are great for supplementing your diet with limited options.
Enjoy Local Cuisine Mindfully:
Mexican cuisine and other Latin American or Caribbean cuisines are diverse and often align well with the LyfeMD Flare and Remission diet. You’ll find a plethora of phytonutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs, and spices. If your diet includes fish, options like mackerel, sardines, tuna and Pacific halibut may be more readily available than salmon and trout. Most resorts and restaurants cater to the needs of those on gluten-free or dairy-free diets without issues.
Be Cautious with Alcoholic Beverages:
While on vacation, indulging in sweet, blended drinks is tempting. However, these often contain high glucose levels and fructose corn syrup, which can exacerbate symptoms. Opting for wine or spirits in moderation can be a better choice.
Balance is Key:
Adopt a moderate approach to your meals. Try to ensure that two of three meals in a day align with your dietary needs, incorporating essential foods. Allow yourself some flexibility with one meal to explore local cuisines outside your “safe” zone.
Stay Hydrated and Active:
Hotter climates and travel, especially flying, can lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids, and continue with any physical activities and yoga breathing techniques that are part of your routine. Remember the “stacking effect” of making multiple lifestyle changes all at once so maintaining some healthy habits will help maintain a balanced state of health. If you become sick from a food-borne illness or other source, seek medical attention and try to maintain your fluid intake. Choose a sugar-free electrolyte sports drink over a sugar-containing one for better tolerance in IBD (i.e. less osmotic diarrhea risk).
Prepare for Travel Days:
Airports and flights often lack healthy food options. Pack some snacks or meals for travel days to avoid being caught off-guard during delays or long flights. Remember to push fluids on yourself during travel days to prevent dehydration and constipation.
Embrace the Experience:
Lastly, remember to enjoy your vacation! Travelling with IBD doesn’t have to be stressful. Embrace the new food discoveries and experiences. Your journey can be both enjoyable and compliant with your health needs.
Managing IBD while travelling to hot destinations like Mexico is entirely feasible with a bit of planning and mindfulness. By sticking to your dietary essentials, staying hydrated, and balancing indulgence with health, you can have a wonderful vacation experience. Don’t forget to share your culinary adventures with us – we love hearing about your travels!