Surviving Traveler’s Tummy

by Head Health Nutter on April 17, 2015

Who’s preparing to travel soon? If you are, this article by guest blogger, Kate Flannery, is just for you!

Traveling and visiting different countries is a wonderful experience. You get to know various interesting and exotic cultures and wonderful people. It enriches your life and brings you joy and satisfaction. It is also a way for you to bring excitement into your life and gain valuable experience and memories. Part of that experience involves tasting the national cuisines characteristic to the countries and regions you travel to.

Hyderabadi biryani by karan vermaBut be wary when you experiment with foods in different countries. While your heart might be in the right place, your stomach may not be able to cope with foreign food.

Each region of the world comes with its own ecosystem – organisms, including people, which live in symbiosis with each other. The locals are used to the bacteria, the good and the bad, in their diet, or at least they have grown accustomed to it, having been exposed their entire lives. However, these mundane bacteria can get potentially dangerous for the foreign stomach of a traveler.

If you have never been exposed to certain ingredients and bacteria particular to a region, your stomach could be too sensitive, and you could experience something called a “traveler’s tummy”. The symptoms differ from person to person, but they are always unpleasant, especially when you experience them so far from home, in the middle of vacation.

What not to eat abroad

When abroad, you should be very careful about the food you eat and the water you drink. When things go foul, you could be facing some unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea, and there is nothing worse than sightseeing with diarrhea.

Salmonellosis and coli infection are both unpleasantly common illnesses you could pick up abroad. If you do get even the slightest symptoms of traveler’s tummy, arrange a detox session for yourself when you return from your journey. But keep in mind that the safest way to stay healthy is to avoid problematic food and water that isn’t boiled or bottled.

As far as drinking water is concerned be sure to buy it and try to avoid local tap water. The food you should avoid includes dairy products, like local milk and cheese, and shellfish, like oyster, that can be full of nasty bacteria and even cause hepatitis. Local specialties usually contain problematic food like this, and you should weigh your options.

If you eat something that affects you, get into disinfection mode promptly (this involves a shot of alcohol every day, to keep the digestive system nice and clean). You could also have a significantly less original experience, and eat local food at trusted, top-rated restaurants. They are not authentic, but they do know their clientele.

Never eat unwashed, uncooked vegetables and fruit. Peel them or cook them in order to destroy the dangerous bacteria. Eat only well prepared roasted meat because you could get trichinosis. Forget meals with raw-ish eggs, as well as raw steaks – salmonellosis is nobody’s friend.

How to detox after vacation

They say that it is most important to stay safe when traveling. This is true, but it is also the recipe to a boring trip. There is no point in going abroad if you are not ready to dip yourself into a different culture, a different mindset. And so, the best of us have all experienced traveler’s tummy. The more you travel, the bigger the chance of affliction. The best way to cure your traveler’s tummy is to detox when you come back home.

Detox can be done in many different ways, and there is something for every temperament, really. You can get rid of toxins by drinking healthy juices made of fruit and vegetables, fresh from your own juicer. For better results, however, go for the product designed for the job – detox teas such as this Australian blend will not only cleanse you out like a pro, but they also require the least amount of preparation for the most results, and they can be taken whenever you are feeling sickly, in general.

You can also try a detox spa treatment – a little bit of pampering for all the senses. Sweating the toxins out is another good way to go. Upon arrival home, don’t go straight for mom’s meatloaf. Eat light meals for a while, make your change in (gastronomical) scenery a slow and steady one.

At the end of the day, you may also need a mental detox (is this even a thing?) while you try to get back in the saddle after a lengthy vacation. A simple thing like a relaxing walk in the park might be just perfect, and don’t forget the power of sharing travel stories with your friends over coffee.

It’s a good idea to show physical photographs of your trips, or even use a slideshow if the stories are really worth the retelling, than to use a laptop or phone – image browsers just drain the fun out of storytelling.

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About the Author

Kate Flannery is a Perthie sailor and a dedicated aunt who likes writing about her trips and clean living. She is looking forward to a summer spent cruising the Mediterranean, with her dog Butters.

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