I’ve had my fair share of food sensitivities and even got rid of my own SIBO, but still continue to do some digestive maintenance.
So when it came time to pack for my trip, I definitely included my digestive enzymes, knowing that we would likely be eating food sometimes that wouldn’t 100% agree with my system (for me it’s dairy, gluten and yeast). They often make a big difference for me and help me to avoid or minimize symptoms.
HOWEVER, I noticed that even with eating very cheesy and tasty pizza on the beautiful island of Aitutaki (among other things), I didn’t get any of the stomach upset I was expecting!
I actually didn’t take my digestive enzymes at all for the whole trip after our last meal at the airport in Calgary. My stomach felt great and I didn’t feel like I needed them at all!
I realized that there were likely a variety of reasons for this, and HUGE take-aways that I want us all to benefit from during our regular non-vacation lives.
UNPLUGGED & RELAXED
So often, vacation is the only time we’re actually able to be FULLY away from the crazy distractions of schedules and deadlines. We aren’t refreshing our email multiple times or trying to dive into the latest Netflix show to escape the overwhelming realities of life.
Vacation is an opportunity to eat tasty foods, sink into the happy vibes of relaxation, and actually have the time to CHEW your food fully before you swallow it. It’s often time spent with family and friends, laughing and having a good time without any rushing.
This is what we need for you all the time.
In our everyday lives, this is a big and often hard challenge. The goal however, is to REALLY and TRULY unplug while we’re eating. It’s sitting down (with others or alone) to breathe, relax into your chair, chew your food fully and be CONSCIOUS of what you’re actually eating.
Turn your phone on silent, keep the TV off, put on some relaxing music and make a ritual out of it! Light a little candle, take a big deep breath (or ten), think about at least 10 things you’re grateful for, THEN eat your food. Taste it. Savor it. Enjoy it. (And it’s even tastier if you can grow the food yourself).
This is huge in terms of not only supporting your body’s ability to process your food, but to get all those good nutrients absorbed properly to fuel you for your busy-ness ahead.
PS. THIS IS FOR ALL MEALS, SO NO MORE WORKING THROUGH LUNCH!!
Proper hydration is also key for good digestion. I definitely found in the humid hot tropical air, I was drinking a TON more water than I ever would at home. This level of hydration (and obvious lack of dehydration) meant that my digestion could function smoothly and happily.
The key though, is to ensure you’re not trying to hydrate WHILE you’re eating. This only serves to dilute your digestive enzymes and make it that much harder for your body to break everything down and absorb those nutrients.
Drink water THROUGHOUT the day and avoid much more than ½ cup with meals (this includes ANY fluids with meals). And don’t forget, if you’re drinking coffee or even tea that contains caffeine, or drinking alcohol, you’ll need to increase your water intake even further as they all make you pee more often.
The goal I suggest for most people is to aim for at least 2L per day (without caffeine or strenuous exercise). I’ve found I feel my best around 2.5L of water per day. My favourite app to help with periodic reminders throughout the day and tracking your intake levels is called Plant Nanny- you get to grow little plants with each glass of water you track…the perfect app for a garden nerd!
LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES
I would love for you to try out both of the above challenges for at LEAST 3 weeks.
How far does that get you in terms of what’s going on with your digestion?
There may be more we need to work on (book in if this is you), but if we can get you relaxed and nicely hydrated (the BASICS), then we’ll have a good idea of what’s left over and needs further sorting out.