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Living with IBS: DIY Digestive Rescue Kit

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If you’re traveling and on-the-go with digestive problems or IBS, you know how important it is to carry things to settle your stomach. Here are a few things I carry in my digestive rescue kit, and it’s probably already stuff you have on hand!

Got digestive troubles? You aren’t alone: in 1998, around 16.3 million people suffered from Crohn’s, ulcerative Colitis, and IBS [1], and those numbers continue to increase. If you have IBS or food allergies, chances are you have some tummy trouble related to your food sensitivities.

Traveling or eating out with food intolerances or digestive problems can leave you doubled over in pain, even if you are careful about what you eat.

Disclaimer: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your medical professional.

While avoidance is always best, we don’t always know how food Is prepared when we eat away from home. If you’re like me, sometimes flare-ups occur without warning and it’s hard to pinpoint the cause at times.

For these reasons, I carry a digestive rescue kit with me and don’t leave home without it! It can be a huge help if you inadvertently eat something that causes digestive flare-ups. Here’s what my digestive rescue kit includes:

  1. Travel tin: something that will keep your capsules safe from being crushed
  2. Digestive enzymes: taken right before a meal they can aid digestion of certain nutrients our body has a difficult time digesting on its own, such as fats or certain proteins. You can include your favorites here, like GlutenEase.
  3. Activated charcoal capsules: take these during or after a questionable meal. Activated charcoal works well to buffer and absorb chemicals in your stomach and prevents them from being absorbed by your body and is great for calming gas and reflux[2]. A little trivia: activated charcoal is often used in emergency rooms as one method of treating poison ingestion.
  4. Tea: Ginger tea, peppermint tea, or digestive blend tea can calm an upset stomach. I like Traditional Medicinal’s Eater’s Digest tea
  5. Probiotics: make sure they are high-dose and high quality, and also make sure they are shelf stable if you carry them with you.

If you have a hard time telling some of the similar-looking capsules apart, place them in small labeled bags for easy identification.

This digestive rescue kit is a great tool when you inadvertently have something in your food that triggers your digestive issues, but it’s not a license to eat food’s you are sensitive to. Trust me, it’s not worth it!

This kit doesn’t help with anaphylaxis – always carry an epipen if you have severe food allergies!

And don’t forget to talk to your doctor about anything you include in your digestive rescue kit since certain things (like activated charcoal) can interact with other medication you might be taking.


[1] http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/statistics.aspx

[2] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/activated-charcoal-uses-risks

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