IBS and Eating on the Road

Having IBS on a road trip, from personal experience, is a monumental bummer. You take all this time out of your week to travel halfway across the state, meet up with friends, see Niagara Falls, and introduce your girlfriend to all the hometown vibes that you could ask for, just to have a return trip like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Trippy discomfort, painful cramps, and a chocolate river that would make Augustus Gloop blush.

This was a trip that I had taken a year ago that I’ll never forget. It’s hard to separate having to poop in a pitch-black abandoned skatepark restroom at 10pm from the lovely adventure you had a mere days before. I took an oath, that I would try my darnedest to never let that happen again.

Here are the steps I took to have a great 8-and-a-half-hour road trip back with my partner without browning my shorts.

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Eating meals on the road isn't for me

My girlfriend is such a foodie and vibes type of person. She enjoys going to restaurants for the atmosphere, which makes her favorite stop in the whole wide world none other than Cracker Barrel. Part southern-gift-shop-penny-candy storefront, part country-style-cuisine in the back, Cracker Barrel is my girlfriend’s heaven away from heaven. Unfortunately, one such holy grail doesn’t exist where we live on Long Island, so, naturally, it’s where she wants to go the most on one of our extensive and extra-long road trips.

The idea of eating gravy before a trip makes me shudder just thinking about it. It’s simply something I cannot do. I won’t eat on a trip, I’ve decided that eating meals on the road isn’t on the table for me, anymore. She’s a very understanding person and doesn’t want to eat alone while I watch, despite my request. So back in the car we went, saving myself the embarrassment.

Light snacks it is

I’m a snack person now. Nothing triggering or upsetting. Just an entire day’s worth of carbs and water will keep me going. Risking it all for a sit-down meal is just not something I’m interested in anymore. Having to endure that hometown road trip is something I still think about, and I never want to be in that space again. So light snacks it is! Just fuel in the fire, no gourmet taste pallets here!

Accept that accidents are okay

Nothing will ever work out perfectly, despite how much planning you do ahead of time. Our irritable bowels don’t play by our rules. At the end of the day, it’s important to be in a space where you’re supported and loved. Driving with my girlfriend is made so much easier knowing that she’ll be there for me no matter what. That she understands where I’m coming from and will never judge me for it. It’s something that I never take for granted and has helped my IBS journey greatly. Even if I have an accident on the road, I know that my significant other will always have my back, despite its stinky tendencies.

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