How to Stay Regular While Traveling
IT'S NO SURPRISE TRAVEL CAN CAUSE SYSTEM-WIDE DISRUPTION
Your flight? Booked. OOO and packing list? All set. Now, let’s focus on how you want to feel.
As fun and exciting as any trip can be, it’s no secret travel can cause system-wide disruption. Our bodies and G.I. tracts are sensitive to change, and factors like lack of hydration, change in diet and sleep schedules, more-sedentary-than-usual behavior, an increase in alcohol consumption, and an uptick in stress (we see you, flight delays) can leave us out of sync.
Enter: vacation constipation. The all-too-common ailment that doesn’t allow us to fully enjoy our journeys.
With no subject too taboo, we tapped our in-house nutritionist for her tips to get things moving when you’re on the move.
Drainage Pathways 101
On a daily basis, our bodies work to move and remove fluid from our bodies—a process known as drainage. Our drainage pathways, consisting of the colon, liver, lymphatic and glymphatic systems, and cells, are our bodies’ key players in supporting our optimal health and vitality.
Stagnant drainage pathways can lead to an array of uncomfortable symptoms, from puffiness and stiffness to brain fog and constipation. (FYI: Many hormonal imbalances are also connected to constipation. Estrogen dominance is often linked to reabsorption of estrogen that was supposed to be excreted in stool.)
The good news? There’s ways to optimize our drainage pathways—from diet to stress management.
4 Ways to Support Your Drainage Pathways
- Clean, Plant-Rich Food: Support your digestive system, liver detoxification, and lymphatic flow with plant-rich nutrition abundant in leafy greens, water-rich veggies, and a variety of fiber.
- Daily Movement: Movement (from gentle walks to power-forward yoga flows) is essential for mobilizing and excreting toxins from the body, keeping bowel movements consistent and lymph flowing.
- Stress Management: A tense mental state can contribute to a tense physical state, a.k.a. a constricted and irritated G.I. tract and constipation.
- Circadian Rhythm-Supporting ZZZs: High-quality sleep is essential for rest and repair—clearing toxins, improving liver function quality, and enhancing regular bowel movements.
Preventing Travel Constipation
Alongside supporting our drainage pathways in general, we can also narrow in on specific points, starting with the colon. To achieve a healthy elimination pattern (about 1-3x/day), colon drainage is key. Fiber and water, found in abundance in our nutrition programs, are essential to supporting bowel movements, helping your body eliminate waste and toxin build-up. Supplements, such as magnesium and probiotics, are also beneficial when it comes to digestion. The former is a relaxant for muscles, including the digestive tract, and the latter helps normalize bowel function by encouraging “good” bacteria in the gut microbiome.
(Travel tip: Bring along The Foundation—our easy-to-pack daily supplement packs, including drainage-boosting magnesium and probiotics.)
The liver, sitting right above the colon in the drainage funnel, is another important organ when it comes to curing a bout of constipation. It’s essential for separating water from waste, filtering toxins and processing them for elimination via your bile. To keep everything moving smoothly, your bile ducts need to be cleared and liver supported. Ways to do so? Leafy and bitter greens (think: kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, mustard greens). Crunchy, cruciferous veggies. Trace minerals, specifically zinc. Hydration, hydration, hydration (eating your water, not just drinking it).
After addressing the colon and liver, we can move on to our lymphatic system. This system’s role is to collect the fluid that “leaks” from our blood vessels and into our tissues, and return it to our blood. In the process, the lymph nodes filter out pathogens, bacteria, and toxins (diverting them to your immune cells to handle). It’s easy for our lymphatic system to become stagnant from our diet and lifestyle, leading to swelling and toxin build-up. To decongest it, hydration is key (we love our Beauty + Detox Water Drops), as are leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, healthy fats, and herbs and spices. To target stagnation even further? Incorporate dry brushing, sauna, and massage.
All in all, constipation is an unwelcome result of total body back-up. By focusing on our drainage pathways, specifically colon, liver, and lymph, we encourage our body to stay in (or come back to) balance so we can feel light, bright, and bold—on vacation and always.