Traveling and the SCD Diet


I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitus in 2004 (at age 47). Never had any problems before that although upon reflecting I did from time to time feel quite bloated and have abdominal pain particularly after eating a rich or heavy meal.

I am currently on no meds and have been on the SCD since November 2010 (was also on SCD for a year in 2008 and then gradually went off until a flare in the fall of 2010.)

My Colitis Travel Story:

I just got back from a two-week trip to Peru and I am feeling better than ever.

I must admit that I was very nervous about what I would eat down there in the land of the potato and corn. And I was nervous about coming down with the tourista (travelers d). In our group of 5, three came down with it, and I was lucky enough to NOT be one of them. (The only trouble I had was a little constipation the first few days of the trip.) Here’s what I did:

Firstly, I packed plenty of snacks (SCD crackers, cheese, dried apples, Lara bars and SCD cookies). I swear, half my suitcase was filled with food! These snacks came in handy on the bus/train trips or just on the few occasions where I needed something a little extra to get by.

Secondly, Peru has lots of meat (you can even have guinea pig, if you’re so inclined), and wonderful homemade soups in the Cuzco area. So, usually I would have meat and veggies or chicken soup. Restaurant staff were very accommodating with my requests (e.g., no noodles in the soup, veggies instead of potatoes, etc.) I did sample a couple of potatoes because they just looked so damn appetizing; I figured I’d be ok and I was.

traveling to South America on the SCD Diet


Thirdly, I made sure to avoid anything that wasn’t cooked due to the bacteria in the water (so, no salads and only fruit with thick peels). My friend ate a peach that she washed with bottled water and it seems to have made her sick. Incidentally, when she had been sick for several days and not getting any better, she went to the pharmacy and asked for advice on what she should take. Interestingly, she was prescribed probiotics! And they seemed to help.

Speaking of probiotics, every day when I’m at home, I have homemade SCD yogurt. So, this was something I had to do without for two weeks. Probiotics in capsule form to the rescue and I was just fine without the yogurt.

Before going on this trip I would say that I was feeling about 80% “healed” after a flare late in 2010, which seemed to go on forever and then never completely subside. Whether it’s coincidence or not, I have been feeling 100% since the trip. Maybe it was all the coca tea I drank!

So, if any of you are feeling that you cannot travel while on the SCD, think again.
It is possible. You just need to be prepared (bring snacks) and be careful (eat cooked foods only and do lots and lots of hand-washing, which helps more that you think.)

Peru was wonderful, by the way. I recommend it to anyone.


My Current Medications:

No meds. SCD, vitamins (calcium & Omega 3 + vitamin D in the winter) & probiotics.

Moxie’s Story was submitted in the Colitis Venting Area

Feel Free to read Moxie’s other stories in the Moxie Section


For anyone wondering about the SCD Diet. 

It is a diet that many of us on the site use to treat our ulcerative colitis.  

You can read more about it at:

4 thoughts on “Traveling and the SCD Diet”

  1. Thanks for this! I am worried about my 2 month volunteering trip to Nepal next year, i will be working with children who cant afford physiotherapy.
    I was also worried about the yoghurt issue! i will get some probiotic capsules to take with me! thanks! i am so glad you had the courage to go to somewhere like peru with UC!! Well done!!

  2. I just went to Peru and Ecuador this summer after being diagnosed with UC about 2 months before leaving (eerily similar story, lol). I was obviously worried and heard many horror stories of people getting sick down there. My parents wanted me to cancel the trip, as they didn’t think I was well enough, but I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity of going. I was obviously worried and anxious about having a flare up or extreme diarrhea while traveling, but I was also constipated for the first 4 days of trip (probably too anxious to go!).

    I was extremely careful about what I ate and also ate a lot of soups, stews and basically anything cooked really well. We also only went to restaurants recommended in our Lonely Planet book or by the hostel owners to be on the safe side. I did have quite a few Pisco Sours (the national drink), which apparently contain raw egg whites, but I did not get sick while I was there. My partner was more adventurous than I was with the food and tried ceviche, cuy, beef heart, alpaca and all sorts of things, but he also didn’t get sick at all. We usually ate out one meal a day, then bought our own snacks or sandwiches for the rest of our meals like cheese and crackers and granola bars. And obviously drank only bottled water and no ice. The amount of food was probably the only thing that irritated me (the portion sizes are huge and 4-course lunches are the norm there).

    My anxiety about my UC and worrying about it was probably worse than my actual symptoms. I was worried about not being near a bathroom or having a flare up on an eventful day (like seeing Machu Picchu), but I was completely fine. My advice would be to be careful about it, but enjoy yourself and not let the UC stop you from the amazing experience of traveling.

  3. Thank you so much for writing about this! I am going to Peru for 2 weeks over the summer as a part of a study abroad/service trip and it’s good to see that other UCers have had success traveling there.

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