It’s a known fact – dating is tough. Dating when you have a sensitive stomach is arguably even more difficult because the most common date activity is dinner, and restaurant food often triggers gastrointestinal upset.
With some recent experience on the subject — dinner dates, that is — I thought I’d share a few tips on prepping your gut for such an event (or any other stress-inducing, food-centric excursion). Please share more tips in the comments section!
1. Don’t go into it starving.
Eat something plain and easily digestible an hour or so before your date so you’re not starving when you arrive at the restaurant. Even if you don’t feel hungry, a snack gives your gut a good eating and drinking base and will help stabilize digestion. Suggestions: a banana (yes, you can giggle here, given the context), a smoothie or a small bowl of rice or oatmeal.
2. De-stress beforehand.
Dates are stressful — so much anticipation! — and the combination of stress and nerves can throw your digestive system off. Try some deep breathing exercises before you leave and do what you must to avoid caffeine — the last thing you need is a stimulant to make you more jittery and your gut more sensitive.
3. Know your triggers and make menu choices accordingly.
If you know certain foods give you a not-so-hot gut reaction, avoid menu items with those foods as a component — even if it means looking picky. If I can turn down cheese plates and Oysters Rockefeller (read: high fat, rich and creamy), you can too!
4. Slow down and chew your food.
It’s easy to scarf down food and swig wine when you’re busy making witty remarks, asking insightful questions, nodding, trying to discern a person’s eye color, etc., etc. But if you can remind yourself to chew slowly and sip moderately, you’ll give yourself more time to digest properly. Oh, and borrowing from tip #2, some deep breaths throughout the date don’t hurt, either.
5. Go easy on the booze.
This isn’t just a tip for digestive health, obviously. But along with making you say and do things you might regret, consuming a lot of alcohol can majorly disrupt digestion (this is even more detrimental on an empty stomach, so if you’re going for drinks before dinner, pay extra attention to tip #1). Also consider finishing dinner with a mint tea instead of more booze. It’s not as sexy, I realize, but your tummy will appreciate it.
6. Prepare for emergency.
Sometimes the best precautionary efforts can fail. Stock some Pepto (the pill form!) in your purse or pocket in case you can feel your stomach getting upset. Just knowing it’s there might help you relax and enjoy whatever the night has in store for you.