5 Favorite Digestive Survival Tips

Since my first week in Argentina, I´ve been having a little problem.

Actually, a terrible problem.  Digestive issues.  These problems have cost me days of discomfort, a phobia of being without access to a bathroom, and even a trip to the hospital for some expensive tests!

Well after all these ordeals I´ve suffered, I am no longer shy to talk about digestive health, although I still consider it a gross subject that I don’t reccommend bringing up at the dinner table.

Being ‘regular’ in the digestive sense, was a luxury that I took for granted in my pre-Argentine life.  But in Buenos Aires, my diet changed drastically, and unfortunately, my body didn´t like the changes.

Now going from Pesco-flexitarian to full fledged carnavore with a vengeance was bound to have some consequences, I know.  But it wasn´t just the meat that my guts weren´t liking.  Here were some of the other culprits:

  • Caffeine
  • All carbs all the time
  • Different meal times
  • Stress and Pollution
  • Lack of Fiber

So if you are coming to Buenos Aires, be prepared for this change.  If you already consume pasta and meat on a daily basis, you probably won’t have any problems.  But if your diet is largely based on vegetables, you need to be prepared.  Now, I’m no doctor, but I play one on this blog, so here are my 5 best survival tips:

1.  Activia and Banana Smoothies

I often wondered why yogurt was so popular in Argentina, and then I learned – it is impossible to live without it!  I go for the Activia, personally.  If you’re in desperate need of relief, take one banana, one small activia and one ice cube and blend together.  It is a super delicious smoothie, and well, we don’t need to get into details, but … you won’t be disappointed.

2. Walk It Out

Did you know that there are pressure points in your feet that stimulate your colon?  You could get a reflexology foot massage, or just take your shoes off and walk around your house when you need to get moving.

3. Emotional Health

Your intestines are sensitive to your emotions, believe it or not.  So getting in touch with your feelings will really help your relationship with your digestive system.  Personally, I have a hard time letting things go, if you catch my drift.  I’ve found that being aware of my emotional state is beneficial for my digestive track.

4. Hydration

It seems obvious, but extremely important.  Drink a lot of water, it always helps, no matter what your symptoms.  Argentines aren’t so big on the water like most Yankees, for example when you would like to have water in a restaurant, you order and pay for it like any other beverage.  The tap water is drinkable here, but finding a filter to put on the sink tastes much better.  And let’s be honest, if it tastes better, you’re going to drink more.

5. Fernet

If your digestive problems become so unpleasant that you contemplate visiting a doctor, let me recommend mine for you.  His name is Dr Branca, and you can find him in any supermarket. Fernet Branca is a popular digestif in Buenos Aires.  This drink is known to aid digestion, and from personal experience, it really does work.

Well it took me a good 10 months of suffering to figure all these Argentine survival secrets.  Any other weathered travelers have any tips?

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About MyBeautifulAir

Wherever I go, there I am.
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9 Responses to 5 Favorite Digestive Survival Tips

  1. Lucas Rosa says:

    Hi, my name is Lucas, I’m brazilian and I’ve been reading your blog for a few months. I have to say that I really like it, not just because of your writting style and themes, but also for your decision of moving to Argentina (I guess Americans do not do that often), and because I picture myself as an expat-to-be; I admire Buenos Aires too (Althought I Still haven’t been there) and I really like your tips, which are certainly helpful. Once Knowing spanish enough, I plan to spend sometime in Argentina, so to make it “fluent” spanish by aqcuiring such a beautiful porteño accent. Chao!

  2. Brenda says:

    May I suggest to you: oatmeal/avena natural! Put a little bit in your smoothie or prepare it the traditional way with milk, cinnamon and honey. I also eat it with a yogur natural with a sliced banana. I’ve been living here for over 4 years now and I believe this breakfast has got my system through it. Hope it works for you too!

  3. Lindsay Olson says:

    Any excuse for just one more Fernet and Coke! 🙂

  4. Allison says:

    Hi there, I am getting ready to visit BA in May for 3 months and was considering this very issue since I eat mostly vegetarian foods here in the States. Your post is spot on so thanks for the tips!

    I’ve also been wondering–are fruits & vegetables readily available in the markets there? I’m sure the selections are different, but I like to cook and am hoping they are.

    Keep up the insightful posts!

    • Hi Allison! Yes – fresh fruit and veg are abundant in the city! Every neighborhood will have verdulerias – or fruit stands where you can buy quality produce for very good prices. I have found that fresh produce is more easily accessible and affordable here than in the US. Check out some of my veg recipes and restaurant reviews. 🙂

  5. Klnixie says:

    I just booked a three-week trip to Buenos Aires and just recovered from some GI trouble – so thank you very much for this post! This is going to sound really nosey – but did the doctors rule out gall bladder and appendix? Mine were both on their way out and I had some really unpleasant symptoms. Meat would be a trigger. It took a long time for a diagnosis. Please take care and keep up the wonderful blog!

  6. dreamgolive says:

    I love this post and I have to say how much I relate to what you wrote here (I’ve gone through extensive tests in NYC myself). I’ve not yet tried your remedy # 5 but I’m tempted to run out right now to get a bottle. 🙂 I’d like to add another possible solution to your list, should you want to try it- it’s flax seed. I was suffering from this problem for several months in India before I found ground flax seed. I sprinkle it on yogurt (activia here) and also on oatmeal/porridge. They say it’s better if you grind it yourself but I think the pre-ground ones do just fine. I found a packet of “harina de lino” (Sturla brand) at Jumbo two days after I arrived in BA and was so happy I think I did a little dance in the aisles. 🙂 Lastly, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples and pears have a lot of fiber (don’t peel them though). As it was raining out today I stayed indoors and read a lot of your blog posts.. took some great tips and ideas for making my life fun here, thanks to you. I look forward to reading more. cheers! Chris

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