2. Look at the menu ahead of time – if you have the ability to download the restaurant’s menu online before you get there, you will be able to consider which options may be suitable or adaptable. Writing down questions or requests will also ensure you don’t forget to ask. You may even like to provide the waiting staff with your list of requests to pass onto the chef.
4. Bring your own seasoning – zip-lock bags of herbs and spices or small bottles of lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato sauce or vinegar will allow you to add flavour to meat, poultry and seafood, or even pastas and soups – this way you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out when you ask for no onion or garlic (often in gravies, marinades and sauces). Of course you can ask restaurant staff to add allowed flavours for you, but this idea is most handy for small take away stores that don’t offer much variety.
5. Take translations – if travelling somewhere you don’t speak the language, take a list of translations for common high and low FODMAP foods as well as sentences to say “please none of these foods” and “do you have any of these foods?” This will hopefully make your ordering experience smoother. If travelling with a guide, explain your restrictions to them ahead of time and ask if they can help you find meals you can eat. Airport or hotel staff may also be helpful. Before you set off on your travels, you may also like to research popular dishes and common ingredients used in the region to help you prepare.
6. Take packaged snacks – worried about being stuck with nothing to eat but foods you’ll react to? Stock up on suitable packaged snacks that travel easily in a suitcase or backpack e.g. canned fish, rice cakes, wheat-free crackers, peanut butter, trail mix, suitable muesli bars/snacks (e.g. Food For Health fruit free bars or fruit free clusters – both are gluten-free), cereals (e.g. Kez’s Gluten free cereal bites (fructose free) or Gluten Free Low Fructose Cinnamon & Superseeds Cereal), canned vegetables (e.g. green beans, carrots), mini lactose-free long life milk. A plastic bowl, cutlery and storage containers for left-overs may also come in handy.
7. Keep Iberogast and/or peppermint tea handy – to soothe your gut if it becomes irritated. A suitable probiotic may also provide some relief and can be particularly helpful for traveller’s diarrhoea.
9. Practice deep breathing and stress-reducing techniques – getting upset or stressed-out (for any reason but I’m thinking of work-related or if you’re having gut issues) can make IBS worse! Calming your mind and your body may help calm your gut or prevent it getting worse. Take time out to do something calming like reading a book, deep breathing, meditation or getting a massage.
10. Carry water – it may be easy to forget to drink while you’re out sightseeing, but drinking enough fluids will be important especially if you get constipation. Carry a water bottle or two in your backpack and why not add some peppermint tea or Iberogast for soothing throughout the day.