Vacation Constipation

Alyssa Simpson RD, CDE, CLT - Nutritionist/Dietitian

Alyssa Simpson is the registered dietitian for Arizona Digestive Health, where she enjoys helping patients make the diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary to achieve wellness in their lives. Alyssa has been a dietitian for 12 years, working in hospitals, long term care facilities, fitness centers, a community health center, and a managed care organization. Her experience in a variety of settings has provided her with a broad perspective and lead her to gain additional certifications so she could specialize in the areas she is passionate about. Now in private practice, she provides medical nutrition therapy to those suffering from digestive disorders, food allergies and sensitivities, weight concerns, and many other health conditions.  Arizona Digestive Health employees receive 25% off all dietitian consultations!!  Schedule yours today to begin your journey toward improved health by calling (602) 422-9800.

Hello all,

Vacation Constipation, I bet that title got your attention. Either you have suffered from this condition yourself, or you have heard about your fellow travelers having a lack of bathroom success on one too many occasions. The thing is, vacation constipation is real. And when it gets bad, it can hinder your holiday. In this month’s newsletter, I am breaking down vacation constipation. I will share why it happens and provide some simple tips to help keep things moving! 

5 Reasons Why You May Get Constipated on Vacation

Change in Routine. Your body is accustomed to following a certain rhythm, including waking up, eating, and sleeping at certain times every day. Traveling to a new location, especially with a different time zone, affects the time you eat, sleep, and are active. All of this will impact your body’s natural rhythm. When your schedule becomes irregular, your bowel movements can also become irregular.

Decrease in Fiber. It is recommended that adults consume 25 – 35 grams of fiber per day, which is a challenge for most people to eat, even when they are not on vacation. Accessing fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can become more of a challenge when traveling. A few days of not taking in enough fiber can cause some serious plumbing problems in the GI system.

Bathroom Stress. There is no way around it. Using the bathroom when you are traveling is a stressful event. First of all, you need to find a bathroom. Then you are hoping it’s clean and that other people aren’t around “doing their thing.” Add in the sounds and smells one experiences in a public restroom, on top of personal life stress. Then you are supposed to “relax” to keep things moving. Let’s just say, bathroom stress can really stop you up.

Inadequate Water Intake. Water is essential for helping to keep things “moving” through your gastrointestinal tract. However, many people report a significant decrease in water intake during travel time. Whether it is because of accessibility, time, or not wanting to have to use the public restrooms, being dehydrated will certainly increase your chances of struggling with vacation constipation.

Stress and Anxiety. Bathroom stress was already addressed, but let’s not forget how the stressors of life will impact your “system.” Between fears and anxieties associated with flying or just the hassle of travel, your body is under stress. Stress and anxiety are major contributors to constipation. Be sure to read the mini article and learn how to keep things moving and prevent vacation constipation.

10 Travel Friendly Foods to Prevent Vacation Constipation

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Dried fruit
  3. Nut butters
  4. Nuts
  5. Hemp seeds
  6. Chia seeds
  7. Bran flakes
  8. Yogurt
  9. Kiefer
  10. Probiotic – While this might not be a food, starting a probiotic supplement a few days before traveling and continuing throughout your vacation can help keep you regular.

Cranberry Almond Energy Bites

Recipe by: Quaker Oats http://www.quakeroats.com

Quick and easy energy bites, only 5 ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1/4 Cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1/2 Cup almond butter
  • 1/3 Cup chopped almonds

Instructions:

Stir together all ingredients. Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and refrigerate an hour before eating. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered. Makes 12 bites.

Nutrition Per Bite: 160 calories, 8 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 18 gm carbs, 3 gm fiber, 5 gm protein