With the heat wave showing no signs of disappearing, it seems like all of our socialising has moved to the great outdoors. Whether it’s BBQs, picnics or a trip somewhere further afield, socialising in the summertime can be difficult.
Not only do many of us find the hot weather problematic (especially if you have IBD and are at risk of dehydration) but with it brings the stress of new places, what to eat, what to pack and how to manage an upset stomach after a combination of one too many ciders and undercooked barbeque food!
Read on for my top tips for socialising the summer with a digestive condition. And of course, if your diary is a looking a little bit empty, consider downloading Gutsy-who I’ve been writing this content for over the last month or so. It’s a dating app that specialises in connecting those with gut conditions-so you can have a summer of love all of your own!
Surviving the BBQ
Nothing says a British summer like a BBQ but a plate piled high of meat does not always a happy belly make! Here’s some of my top tips for surviving a BBQ.
- Speak to your host in advance. Many BBQs ask people to contribute a dish or two; so offer to bring a few options that you know are safe for you.
- Go first! Remember if you are intolerant to certain foods, using a shared cooking space is not always a good idea. One way around this is to ask for your food to be cooked first so there’s no cross-contamination happening.
- Pace yourself. BBQs can mean huge portion which can put a lot of stress on the gut! Try to pace out your dishes.
- Think beyond burgers! Many find lots of red meat problematic for their digestive-it’s high in fat and can take ages to properly digest. Dishes like grilled salmon or vegetable kebabs can all be great alternatives!
- Be cautious. Food poisoning from undercooked food is a real problem during the summer time-and is catastrophic for those with digestive conditions! Keep one eye on the BBQ (or better yet, offer to take on the grill yourself!) to check everything is properly cooked before tucking in!
Breezing through the picnic
It doesn’t get more romantic than a picnic in the park; but if it’s part of a first date, it can be nerve wracking! Here’s how to cope…
- Find a venue with public loos nearby and pick your picnicking spot carefully!
- Offer to pack the hamper so you can control the food and pack plenty of safe treats.
- Go easy on the champagne. It might be romantic but aim to bring a flask to keep your mint tea hot just in case.
Surviving the day trip
This can be stressful for many of us since we’ll be out all day in an unfamiliar place with plenty of opportunities for gut problems to strike. Here’s how to best prepare…
- Pack plenty of extras: think spare pants (better safe than sorry); imodium; plenty of water and safe snacks, loo roll and wet wipes. Never rely on finding safe places to eat straight away!
- Get appy: there are plenty of apps that can help you track your nearest loo in the nearest city. Such as Toilet Finder on ITunes or The Great British Public Toilet Maps.
- Read up: Many blogs offer dedicated city guides-with information on safe places to eat that cater to allergies and intolerances. Read up before you go to get advice from fellow sufferers!
- Pick your mode of transport careful. Car trips can be great as you can be in control of your journey (but just make sure you plot your service stations before you leave so you don’t get caught short!). However, trains can be more relaxing and many have on-train loos now too. In my opinion, coach and buses are the worst methods of transports for those with digestive conditions. Have you ever tried to use a loo in a coach driving at full speed? It doesn’t come recommended!
Surviving the mini-break
If things are getting serious with your dating partner, it might be time for a mini-break; perhaps the hardest summer challenge yet. Mini breaks in the UK (and even abroad) can be nerve-wracking but hopefully, by this time you’ll have gotten to know your partner and made them aware of your toilet issues!
- Pack plenty of toilet essentials-including air freshener and spare loo roll!
- Call the hotel beforehand and check things like a fridge for your medicines, food requirements for breakfast (like dairy-free milk) or a bath if you need one.
- Accept that plans might be ruined. Open up with your partner about how much you’re looking forward to the trip but how you might need to be flexible. At the end of the day, we don’t want to be controlled by our condition but it’s important to be aware that we might need to adapt sometimes-that’s just life! Sometimes we can burn out by planning too much and forcing ourselves to go through with it so a trip isn’t ruined.
- If you are jetting somewhere exotic, take translation cards-both for key phrases (like where is the nearest toilet or pharmacy) and for food intolerances.
- If travelling abroad, make sure you pack a note from your doctor and always pack extra medication in both your hand luggage and packed luggage.
- Where possible, always book hotels and flights with cancellation options or insurance (as a bit of reassurance if your health means you’re unable to make it!). Non-refundable rooms are often a little bit cheaper but it’s a small price to pay to know that you won’t be out of pocket if you’re flaring.
I hope you found these summer socialising tips useful. Don’t forget to use Gutsy dating app if you are single this summer! This post is part of the ‘Free From Summer. ‘ You can find more posts here: