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Homemade granola

Maintaining Good Digestive Health While Camping

Maintain Good Digestive Health While Camping

For many of us, summertime means camping. In my family, we’re fortunate enough to own a cabin that’s shared between extended family members. Each summer, everyone is doled out their respective weeks, and we just got back from our initial 10 day getaway. The cabin in located in Green Lake, in 72 Mile, British Columbia.

It’s beautiful.

As someone who needs (and wants) to eat a certain way to maintain good digestive health, I’m often thrown off at our cabin. Travel plus convenience foods plus a shared washroom (there were nine of us to one bathroom) plus readily available alcohol at all hours of the day means that my gut typically gets thrown into a tailspin pretty quickly.

For the past couple of years, I’ve developed ways of making digestive health while at our cabin more realistic and sustainable, and wanted to share some tips with all of you. Here are 5 ways to keep your gut health while camping:

Bring Healthy Food

Camping might immediately bring about images of hot dogs and hamburgers and s’mores, but it doesn’t mean you actually have to eat those things. If your gut is touchy (like mine), then trying to maintain your current, regular diet is important. If you’re used to consuming daily smoothies, beans, and whole grains, then it’s fairly crucial to keep eating those things even while you’re away from your own home.

Assuming you won’t have to access to a kitchen (I’m pretty spoiled with this cabin thing), here’s my go-to list of foods to bring camping:

  1. Raw fruits and veggies
  2. Hummus
  3. Veggie burgers (use lettuce in place of a bun!)
  4. Homemade energy bars (teeming with fibre!)
  5. Oats for oatmeal
  6. Homemade chili (heat on a portable BBQ)
  7. Avocados (eat half at a time with salt and pepper)
  8. Pre-made chia pudding
  9. TONS of water

Which brings me to…

Drink a Ton of Water

If you’re camping, you should probably try and drink more water than you usually do, because you’re probably outside in the sun and will become dehydrated more easily. Booze does NOT replace water; water is very much needed to keep your insides healthy, hydrated, and properly lubricated.

Increase the Fibre

For those who suffer with IBS (like me), or any other chronic digestive issue, it’s pretty common for your body to decide to stop working properly with travel. Before I became more educated on the topic of IBS, I used to fly places and not have a bowel movement for a week.

Seriously.

So to keep your body in check and your bowel working, it’s a good idea to increase your fibre, water, and activity. It’s also important to pay attention: we might be distracted in our new surroundings, but if you receive any sort of signal that tells you it might be bathroom time, GO.

Incorporate NutraCleanse into Your Foods

NutraCleanse is a locally produced (well, local for me), high-fibre supplement that you can mix into anything. It’s not like over-the-counter laxatives; it’s whole and raw and healthy. It contains only 5 ingredients: flax seed, burdock root, fenugreek seeds, dandelion root, and psyllium husk. You can stir it into smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

It’s a lifesaver.

If you’re currently taking Metamucil or any other comparable daily laxative, stop, and start taking NutraCleanse instead. For more information on this product, visit www.nutracleanse.biz.

Stay Active

This means don’t sit on your butt and drink beer all day. Walk, run, paddle board, swim, play games, water ski, hike, and do whatever you have to do to move your body. If you sit for a long weekend, your gut will respond to that by shutting down.

What kinds of tips do you have for me?! I’m always looking for better ways to love my body while on vacation, so anything you can think of is helpful. Leave your comment below, or find me on social and share.

For more ways to improve your digestive health, check out Happy Healthy Gut, available on Amazon, or in Chapters/Indigo and Barnes & Noble.

Happy Monday! xo

*Photo credit to Wild Honey Art House; recipe for this granola in Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Travelling with a Digestive Disorder

Vacation

Alternative title: What Does My Second Brain Have against Crossing Time Zones?

Those who follow my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/loveyourgut.ca) know that I just got back from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Which is exciting. Because Mexican food ROCKS MY WORLD.

Unfortunately, it also forms a rock in my stomach.

I mean, if I was travelling in Italy, and planning on consuming tons of pizza and pasta and all things wheat and cheese, then I would have been more prepared. But I was thinking beans, guacamole, fresh fruit (including papaya, which gets things GOING), and salsa, which in the past, have been pretty safe.

The first half of the week was okay, probably because I was playing a lot of water polo. I was being active. And selective with my alcoholic beverages. (No blender drinks, not much sugar.)

During the second half of the week, I found myself up shit creek without a paddle. Except without the shit. Or the creek. Or the paddle. Actually, for the first time in YEARS, I went THREE days. Without…you know.

It’s like the little being who likes to screw with my stomach was happily enjoying the Mexican sun, and then suddenly sat up and was like, “Wait a minute! I love to screw with this woman! I gotta get my shit together! It’s GO TIME!”

But because I had already had such a great four days, I didn’t hear my little crazy amiga, and instead thought, “Yes! I made it FOUR DAYS! Let’s party! I’m gooooooood!!!” And then I started being a little more adventurous with my food (Ravioli? Let’s do it!) and drinks (Spicy mango margarita? Hell, yes!).

And that’s when I almost killed myself. Death by heavy foods. That WILL be the way I go. I’ll be that slim chick who ate herself to death, and it’ll be confusing for people, which will delight my ghost who looks on, but I digress…

SO…I guess what I’m trying to communicate are the lessons that I learned this past week while vacationing: (I know, that was a REALLY long intro to my blog post, right? Sorry.)

1-      Stay active. Two days of water polo and feeling proud for taking the stairs to your room (especially when you’re on floor TWO) is not enough. If you’re used to going to the gym, maintain that habit while on vacation.

2-      Don’t eat foods that you wouldn’t eat at home. Stupid ravioli. It was SO good. Your body won’t be prepared for it, and mine responded by literally shouting “What the FUCK?!” (Okay, not literally, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened.)

3-      Bring your supplement regimen with you. I left my digestive enzymes and probiotics and my B12 at home. Not that B12 has anything to do with my stomach hating me, but just continue your routine. Our guts are like children. Or men. They like routine, and it’s confusing for them when something is different. (That last part was for my husband.)

4-      Stick to clean drinks. I know, I know—all-inclusives are hard to not drink your way through, right? But the purpose of you bring there is to relax and have fun. So don’t drink a bunch of crap that makes the opposite occur! You don’t need a round of Dirty Monkeys to feel awesome. Besides drinking A LOT of water, these are the drinks I found both delicious, and conducive to my skittish gut:

  • Vodka, water, and lime. Ask for better vodka—my resort had Grey Goose!
  • Gin, soda, and fresh mint. Mint is very calming for the digestive tract.
  • Blended Fresh Mint: A giant handful of fresh mint, rum, water, cucumber, lime, and soda. It was DELISH and low in sugar, which is very unlike the extremely popular Banana Rama and Bob Marley.
  • Tequila on Ice. Just joking. I thought this was gross, but I had to try it, because I’m in Mexico and felt pressure to consume tequila. I literally took one sip.

5-       Relax, and get some major sun. Your body craves vitamin D by this time of year, so go on and feed the beast.

Alright, I’m done. I’m writing this at 7am, and those who know me know that I’m not great at this time of day, so hopefully this all makes sense. (Notice that I’m not concerned enough about it to delay posting this, just to mention it and then post it anyway.)

TGIF! Eat your veggies, and love your gut. (Even if it doesn’t love you. It’ll come around. You’re awesome.)

Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from the Flu (Naturally)

Well, this topic is a timely one. The flu is here, and it’s rampant. Everything about the flu sucks: you get sick, your precious time is wasted, jobs get put on hold, you look like crap, and even the 2-5 pounds that you sometimes are lucky enough to lose come sprinting back, with open arms, the second you begin to eat again. Blech.

Here are some suggestions to either beat the flu entirely, or minimize its effects, ‘cuz the flu sucks:

1- Eat nutritiously. This means loads of fruits and veggies (particularly leafy greens), and minimal sugar, processed foods, dairy, and animal meats. The last four nasties are all inflammation-causing, and should be avoided. Note that plant-based eaters have a higher success rate in warding off the flu than omnivorous ones…

2- Take those supps. I’m not a giant advocate for supplements all year ’round, but during flu season, you can bet your you-know-what that I am ALL FOR THEM. I’m talking about high-dosage, oil-based vitamin D, dissolvable vitamin C, olive leaf, oil of oregano, and a good ‘ole multivitamin.

3- These are related to the previous topic, but deserve a category of their own: prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. These are important, because your gut health is highly correlated with immunity. A tummy with healthy flora and smooth digestion works much more efficiently at warding off illness.

4- Stay super hydrated. (This one is SUPER important for when flying!) When your body is appropriately moist, your mucous membranes work to trap and fight off impending viruses. If you are dehydrated, your mucous will be minimal, and you’ll have no chance. Go drink some water, or a ton of herbal tea!! (Echinacea tea might be a good idea…) Ask your doctor if you have any Q’s on these. Go get your mucous on.

5- Get some fresh air, daily. By continuously sucking back canned air, whether from your home or office, you are exposing yourself to lower-quality oxygen, and recycled germs.

6- Move your body. Even if it’s for 10 minutes every couple of hours, try to raise your heart rate. Your body works better when your organs are functioning optimally, and your circulation is strong.

7- Don’t drink. During the holidays, we are innundated with baking and BOOZE. Alcohol turns to sugar, which lowers your immune system considerably; way more than you think. Take a hiatus on that red wine, and take January to re-charge, re-align, re-balance, and restore.

8- Don’t touch your face. Your face contains 7 portals, in which viruses can infiltrate. We touch everything, and are likely to have germs on our hands almost 24/7. Don’t pass those germies to your face holes!

9- WASH YOUR HANDS! This one everyone knows, but there are still a shocking percentage of people who do NOT wash their hands after using the washroom. (You know who you are…) Don’t be disgusting– wash your hands. Also, wash food, and your hands before consuming it. We’re not animals, people!

Good luck, and good health! 😀