Last year, after holding my shit for a day and a half or more, I finally hunkered down and let fly on the throne (or into it, not ON it). It wasn't diarrhea, but it was a lot sloppier than my usual fare because of some indigestion. The constant vibrations caused by the drive to the playa doesn't help either. Near the end of the festival my bowels assumed normal function and all was good. I think some of it had to do with me being more hydrated than I normally am because I was constantly drinking water while out there.
It sounds like you just have have some irritated stomach problems, not necessarily food poisoning-type diarrhea which would be caused by unwashed hands, etc. which would be much more severe and affect you in other ways. The former can probably be solved by just changing your habits while on a trip.
Stuff to avoid:
- Fructose. Excess fructose (which is most of it) gets dumped into the bowels where it serves as food for the microorganisms in your gut. This means you should drink plain water instead of Gatorade/sports drinks if you're thirsty. It's common on trips to have too much candy and sweets, which contain substantial amounts of fructose (it's hard to avoid in America).
- Unrefrigerated vegetables. Not all of them, but vegetables like cucumbers go bad very quickly if not refrigerated, especially after being cut. Eat your vegis while they're fresh, and don't slice them up until the last moment.
- Alcohol. Yeah, right, we're not going to cut that out. But don't have too much on an empty stomach.
- Certain kinds of mushrooms. You know the kind. They're effectively food poisoning, so don't go overboard on them.
- Gum containing sugar substitutes (which is practically all of them). They draw water into the bowels. Have some in moderation, and I'd suggest getting gum with xylotol so at least you'll be helping your teeth against cavities.
- Cold drinks. Not cool drinks, cold drinks. They irritate the stomach.
- Holding your shit for a day and a half. Uh yeah, like me. Then again, it might help it solidify. Let it go, and purge the enemy from your bowels.
- Ginger, as mentioned above, settles the stomach, and can fight diarrhea. For a more palatable snack, get a jar of sushi ginger at oriental stores to munch on while you're doing stuff. There is also red ginger you can get at oriental stores which I like as a snack, and candies that have ginger in them like GinGins, Ginger Altoids, etc.
- Eat food. I know I certainly didn't feel like eating much food during the day, but you need solid food in you as best you can. Also eat food that is solid and somewhat normal, not just junk food/snacks/quick meals. I thought Spam was pretty good on the playa, and being salted and meaty, it stuck with me and I wasn't afraid of it going bad (provided we opened a can anew). It's almost like bacon in a can when fried up. Try it on some cucumbers. Potatoes are good too, don't spoil, and can be cooked up into virtually anything. Get a bag of bagels for some bread, so you don't need to slice bread, and can have something a bit more hardier to eat. Also, the amount of inherit sodium in most foods you'll be eating will mean you don't need to drink sports drinks to keep up your electrolytes.
- Tea, possibly with honey. Help yourself to some anti-oxidants while you're in the desert. It's also very easy to prepare, keeps you hydrated (even those with caffeine), and you can even get some ginger tea if you're digging the flavor.
- Manuka Honey? Supposedly has anti-microbacterial properties. Might help, but I'm not sure. Lots of snake-oil sites on the web touting its properties.
- A better seat for your car? The vibrations from the vehicle have effects on the bowels. You can also get it from running, dancing, or other bowel-jarring activities, but those usually don't last quite as long.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens
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