You did it: you booked the trip. Adventure is imminent! After months of planning and barely contained excitement, you finally arrive… and almost immediately fall ill. The devastation? Real. The discomfort? Super real.
This isn’t hard and fast medical advice, but as an avid traveller, Dr Min Yeo (@drminyeo on Instagram) knows a thing or two about establishing and maintaining good health while travelling. And it starts well before check-in.
Prevention is better than cure
From her first solo adventure during university to the present day, Min’s myriad travel experiences have brought home the importance of preparation prior to her trips.
‘I would encourage most people to make sure that [their] health was as good as it could get,’ says Min.
That includes visiting your GP for an overall health check, enquiring about the recommended vaccinations for your chosen destinations and stocking up on any prescription medications you take to ensure you don’t run out.
Min also suggests splitting your medications across your bags in case your belongings don’t arrive with you, ‘I make sure I keep some in my hand luggage and some in my checked luggage, and ask my GP for some emergency medicine should anything go wrong.’
Love ya guts. Seriously.
Travel exposes us to many wonders: it broadens our minds, can lower stress and gets us out of our comfort zones in the best way. And occasionally that exposure leaves us susceptible to unfamiliar germs and bugs.
Everyone is keen to make core memories on their holidays, but the sheer panic of needing a bathroom this very second or else probably isn’t one of them. To minimise this, in the lead up to her travels Min nourishes her gut by staying hydrated and eating nutrient-dense foods that promote good bacteria and will continue to ward off any nasties while she’s away.
‘Diarrhoea is real, so I made sure I ate extraordinarily well. I fuelled up on loads of vegetables, lots of colours, adequate protein… A lot of fermented foods: tempeh and miso and apple cider vinegar, lots of olive oil for its polyphenols and lemon juice and garlic.’
Reap the rewards
Remember the catch-all rallying cry ‘you only live once!’ that let us throw caution to the wind? Eat whatever you want! Party all night! Well, while you’re languishing in bed attempting to recover from all of the above, your holiday continues – whether you’re able to participate or not.
Building a healthy foundation prior to your trip doesn’t mean you can throw all that prep out the window once you arrive; however it does allow for a little wiggle room – whether that’s indulging in more obscure foods or enjoying an extra treat every now and then (you are on holiday, after all!)
For Min, her preparation means she can tuck into more local cuisine without fear of it upsetting her system. ‘Because I prepared pretty well, there’s certain foods I would not normally have that I will allow myself to have [on my trip] and actually quite enjoy it.’
Treat yourself (and your gut) to a variety of different flavours and ingredients on an Intrepid Real Food Adventure.