Dealing With A Sensitive Stomach On A Night Out? Here Are Our Tricks!

by Olivia Charlson

sensitive stomach alcohol

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer intern
Olivia Charlson. Find her on Instagram at @olivialee2000. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at thezillennialzine@gmail.com.

Everyone has had their fair share of eating the wrong thing at the wrong time and regretting it. But not everyone has struggled with symptoms of IBS or a spastic colon. Going out to the bar, to a restaurant or any sort of activity with your friends can be hard when you can’t keep up with their stomachs. As a college student, I can attest that the shared bathrooms, dining halls and late nights out aren’t ideal for tummy troubles. Having a sensitive stomach alcohol option is something to plan now and not worry about later. That’s why I’ve written down some tricks I’ve learned from my mom’s gluten-free household, my close friends with chronic pain and from all the people in my life who can’t handle their cheese. Here’s how to have a night out with a sensitive stomach.

The snacks

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It’s time for you to start styling with a tote bag (because tote bags are great for bringing snacks). Bringing your own snacks to a friend’s house can be fun if you do it right. No one wants to be the person at the party with their “special crackers” but bringing your own can improve your night. I love bringing some gummy snacks that I can share with others, my own butter-free popcorn for a movie night or some dried strawberries to chew on in the car. Don’t eat snacks just because the TV may be on, but don’t deny your body food when you’re hungry.

The drinks

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I’ve come to prefer a night in with alcohol I can pick out at the store vs. a night out bar crawling and drinking my money away. But both are still fun. If it’s BYOB (bring your own booze/beer) then you can have more control. There are a lot of options these days and you can find gluten-free beer and hard kombucha if you go to the right stores. It helps to know what you like before going to the bar. Is a vodka soda a good option because it limits your sugar intake or will the carbonation cause a problem? Can you order a blended drink or will unsuspected dairy ruin your night? Sometimes it’s smart to have a safe word to tell the bartender. 

The menus

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I always look up the menu before I go to a restaurant to avoid indecision doom. Look up the menu on Yelp. A lot of restaurants will have menus online, but for smaller places without it, often times there will be pictures of the menu online. I will warn you though, that sometimes the restaurant will update the menu and said pictures will be showing you food options from five years ago. I can’t drink coffee on an empty stomach and it’s good to know what food a coffee shop has (or even if it has food at all). I found an adorable spot on vacation with a good setting, drink menu and enticing food pictures online. But upon arrival, it turns out they weren’t serving food at all because of how COVID had affected their business. Sometimes places will have specialty menus if you tell them about your intolerance, but if you need to know what food is available ahead of time, go with the restaurants without the risks. It’s a good rule of thumb to not break the restaurant rules according to what you can’t eat: if you’re gluten-free don’t go for the new sub shop and if you’re vegan don’t gamble on the sports bar.

The know-how of your own stomach

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Unfortunately, the best advice I can give you is to figure out what works for you. Yes, foods will affect you based on what you got. I’ve looked up time and time again “can I eat this food if I have acid reflux right now,” and that works (sometimes) because I can go off Google’s general consensus. However, if you have persistent pain after eating, you’ll need your own tricks for how to go out and not have your gut… gut you. Sometimes eating your own food beforehand is the way to go even though that isn’t always the fun option.

The friend group

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Going out with friends for drinks or late-night snacks is a part of being a Zillennial. So, if you’re constantly struggling to figure out what to do when your friends are only inviting you out for fast food, picking a restaurant that you can’t eat at on long drives and insisting on always drinking the pink margarita mix that you know you can’t have you should speak up. If you have difficult food restrictions it’s understandable if your friends don’t remember for every night out, but if they’re blatantly ignoring you and your needs it may be time to revaluate a different aspect of your weekend plans. A night out on the town is supposed to be fun and the people you surround yourself with could possibly give you more of a stomach ache than they’re worth.

Do you often have to figure out how to deal with sensitive stomach alcohol intake? Or maybe how to navigate gluten or dairy free? These tips are for you! Let us know if they help you below!

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