Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Successful and Rejuvenating Trip to Mexico

It has been three days since my return from Mexico and I am slowly adjusting back to (and in serious denial of!) the cold weather and 6 inches of snow.  A week of sunshine, sand between my toes, the sound of waves crashing, and afternoon siestas is more than any diet or medication could ever provide.
I have to admit, weeks and even months prior to the trip I was filled with anxiety, nervous about how my body would feel and the possibilities of something going wrong.  Anytime we are diving into a new adventure, especially when self care is our top priority, being afraid is perfectly normal.  However, now that I have successfully embarked on traveling abroad, I feel like I can conquer anything with the right attitude and careful preparation.

My amazing travel buddy Sue, had previously stayed in the same town and nicknamed it "Little Canada" due to many of the shop owners and snowbirds being Canadian.  That's not to say there isn't the international experience.  Locals lined the streets with their beautiful art, jewelry and stories.  My biggest regret is not brushing up on my Spanish before so that I could better communicate, however the challenge was welcoming.  That being said, there was enough of a North American influence that food options were abundant and easily GP accommodated.
I want to briefly discuss my food experience but emphasize that this vacation was much, much more than finding a pain-free meal.  The escape from everyday life, sunshine and chance to completely relax is where I found myself feeling less sick and more myself.
To begin with, we had our own kitchen allowing me to make my own GP friendly meals, though eating out ended up being what I did most.  I packed with me almonds and a mesh bag to make fresh almond milk for coffee/smoothies.  For grains I brought white rice and quinoa flakes.  Snacks included a couple kinds of gluten free crackers, nut butter packets, macrobars and suckers for a treat.  I wrapped coconut oil in bubble wrap for cooking and as a great oil to use on the body during and after sun exposure.
Eating out could not have been better!  Breakfast options included fruit smoothies, corn tortilla with a slice of avocado, hash browns (request minimal oil) and/or a fresh, local egg.  I found I did better with a light snack in the afternoon rather than another meal, either 1/2 macrobar, crackers and slice avocado or some fresh papaya and almond milk.  For dinner most restaurants had well cooked white rice with soft, diced carrots.  This, with a small piece of mahi mahi or a few prawns settled fine.  If feeling brave enough I would enjoy a few chips and guacamole.  Everyone else at the table were always happy to finish off my plate so nothing went to waste!
Of course, not everyday was perfect.  There were times when I felt sick, whether it be food, fatigue, too much sun or just the normal, random GP flare.  When this happened I would lie down for an hour, go for a short walk or do some breathing exercises.  Part of feeling good, though, I must contribute to the amount of walking we did everyday, through the markets, along the beach, and to and from dining out.  Walking continues to be my go-to for better and more efficient digestion.
I almost forgot to mention the feeding tube experience, or should I say non-experience.  The plug in battery charger somehow did not get packed, leaving me without the extra calories for 7 days.  The first day I panicked and we spent hours traveling around by taxi to several stores (struggling with minimal Spanish!) in search of an adapter, with no luck.  Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise, not to mention an adventure.  It proved to me that I can survive without the tube.  Though I'm back on it again I'm slowly working my way down, hoping my weight maintains itself.

Final Tips for Travel
1. Stay somewhere that provides you with a kitchen and bring what you can to cook.
2. Pack GP friendly snacks for the day of travel as well as throughout the trip.
3. Drink plenty of water, even if sipped throughout the day, to stay hydrated.  Especially important when getting lots of sun exposure.
4. If possible, find menus to local restaurants ahead of time (yelp.com, allmenus.com, tripadvisor.com).  Get an idea of what you can order/request to lessen the stress of choosing where to go and what to
5. Walk whenever possible, especially after meals.  When researching   accommodations consider places with plenty of dining choices within walking distance.
6. Don't make it all about food.  Choose activities that make you feel good whether it be live music, local art, botanical gardens, yoga on the beach, short hikes or bike rentals.  And of course, my favorite...reading a fabulous novel with nothing in mind but relaxation!

And finally, THANK YOU!!! my wonderful friend Sue for making this trip possible and having complete faith in my ability to travel, despite fear and hesitation.  Happy Birthday and feel free to bring me along next year!


  1. Excellent travel tips we can all use. Wonderful travel success story! I will be using your tips when I plan my next vacation. Thank you!

  2. I've found success on cruises (Princess, NCL, RCL) because I can eat what I want, when I want it and not feel pressured as on more formally organized tours where you are spending most of your time (and money) being forced to eat 3 meals a day! I always have at least 1 or 2 days of feeling lousy, no matter what due to the idiopathic GP, but I'm glad that you had a great time in Mexico (it's been almost 10 years since I went to Cozumel)!
    All the best!