This past weekend I decided I’d try something I haven’t tried in a few years.

A road trip. I headed up to northern California to help my girlfriend move up there.

I knew ahead of time that my limitations on food places would be slim to none, but I didn’t realize how bad.


Along the way the closest thing to healthy meal is a subway. I refuse to go to chain delis for moral reasons. We brought along a protein packed trail mix with minimal salt, and lots of water to drink. our schedule made packing sandwiches impractical.

A few days before the trip I halted my diuretics, as the side effects prompt me to do from time to time.

The hardest part of a road trip is sitting still and not being able to use the restroom for portions of the drive.  Due to my toe injury, my feet swoll up in an odd, imbalanced almost comical look.  Along the way I miscalculated my salt intake by 1,000mgs, which to a normal person isn’t really a big deal. But when I strive for about 1,000mgs per day, it’s suddenly double. The reason for this was our choice of roadside eats: McDonald’s.  I’d forgotten about the salt intake from the  food I’d had for the first leg of the trip. So walking into McDonald’s I only had about 300mgs of salt left for the day, that I could consume with no risk of ascites.

The trip taught me a lot about what I can, and can’t do, so if you have ascites or advanced liver disease Road Trip Tips!

It’s the guide I’ll be following.

-Frequent stops, for every hour on the road plan ten minutes  of walking or laying down somewhere.

-Drink a good amount of water, on a spring/summer trip I plan on 80 oz of water, on a winter/fall trip I plan on 60oz. About  10oz per hour on the road, and extra 20oz for hot summer drives.

-Vitamins/supplements:  I pack an extra week’s worth of everything, just in case I’m stuck somewhere.

-Keep Salt to a minimum:

                - an ice chest with fresh fruit, and cool juices is great.

                - salt minimal trail mix ( I use cashews, almonds, peanuts, mac nuts, and honey nut granola for some taste)
                -low salt sandwich/wrap (I typically use turkey-spinach-tomatoes-red onion-sriracha mayo on     Milton’s whole-grain or a low salt pita wrap if I have it) ~400mgs of sodium

-every 4 hours take a 30 minute break to walk around. Yes, each of these stops add to the trip length, but from my experience they’re necessary.

-if you notice pressure/pain in your lower back, try going to the bathroom, I’ve noticed it help alleviate the pain.