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Good Gut Travel


Whether it's getting things done at work or home, commuting across town or traveling across country, the stress of long days and hours adds up.

Traveling seems to get everyone out of sync whether it's for business or pleasure. Not only do you encounter jet lag and long lines at security, unfortunately, many Americans also report some type of digestive discomfort. These problems are often magnified by disruptive sleep patterns, changing time zones, unhealthy food or new foods (especially lack of fiber), dehydration, and stress associated with traveling.

Fortunately, Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., offers easy solutions for taking control of your digestive health, maintaining energy levels and improving your overall health and well-being:

She created the Good Gut Travel Kit - this will pass any security check point - it's a handy collection of natural remedies for an on-the-go lifestyle. This "nutrition prescription" tackles common digestive health problems. You can take it on the plane, in your gym bag or car. It includes:

  • California Dried Plums - help maintain digestive health and regulate the digestive system; provide important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium and fiber
  • Chamomile Tea - settles the stomach and reduces cramps
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea - helps with diarrhea
  • Crystallized Ginger or Ginger Capsules - helps control nausea
  • Ground Flax Seeds - can help with regularity

Take healthy on-the-go snacks whenever you leave home

  • Bring crackers, packets of hot cereal, small cans of fruit nectar, applesauce or dried fruit like California Dried Plums; and don't forget the right amount of fluids (if you travel by car)

Do you make smart food choices while dining out? It 's easy to control eating at home - but what happens when you're away?

  • In a restaurant, ask the waiter questions about the menu to help you make smart food choices; call ahead to the restaurant to see what the chef can do to make your meal gut-friendly
  • For a long stay, find a local store to stock-up on some favorite foods
  • When traveling to a non-English speaking country, contact the language department of your local university to see if someone can translate a list of your food preferences and intolerances, or search the Internet for this type of information prior to your departure

Keep exercise in your day even if your routine changes. Reduce stress and digestive problems with lifestyle and stress management strategies

  • Pack exercise bands or empty water bottles in your suitcase. You can fill the bottles with water when you reach your destination and use them for strength training exercises in your hotel room
  • Pick a hotel that caters to your well-being. Today, many have gyms, saunas and/or pools
  • Bring a DVD with yoga, Pilates or stretching exercises such as T'ai Chi to use in your room
  • Give yourself a chance to relax and digest your food before you exercise
  • It's not stress itself, but how you handle it. Find ways to unwind that work for you - like visualization or quiet time for yourself

A portion of this material is taken from the book entitled, "American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion"; Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD; Copyright (c) 2003 by The American Dietetic Association; Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.