It’s a Monsoon out there…
The Heavens have opened up and pummeled Austin relentlessly with torrential rain, the most in its history, with no end in sight. Austin is built on limestone bedrock and there’s no place for the water to go…so it rises. Neighborhoods are flooding and residents are evacuating. I thought I saw Noah’s ark go by the Congress bridge, stopping briefly to pick up a pair of bats. Mud has inundated the water supply and treatment plants can’t filter out the debris fast enough to produce drinking water for all of Austin’s residents. For the first time ever, the city has issued an advisory against drinking from the tap. Plastic bottles are flying off store shelves—I saw a fist fight yesterday for the last bottle (just kidding). And we’ve been told to boil our water.
No one is knows how long this is going to last so everyone is guessing. The official word was 10 days. Then it was scaled back to just a few days. And we are not sure exactly what is—or might be—in the water. There are lots of questions about whether tap water can be used at all: can I shower in this untreated water? (Yes) Is it safe to wash my dishes in it? (Yes, in a dishwasher—use sanitize setting if available. Otherwise wash dishes in boiled water.) Can I brush my teeth with it? (Nope, use bottled or boiled water). Is reverse osmosis or other filtered water from my tap still safe. (No, it won’t filter out all of the particles in the water). How long do I need to boil the water? (For three minutes). Is the ice in the ice maker okay ? (No, it is not). Do I have to wash all my produce with bottled water? (Yes). What if I use the tap by mistake? What should I do in case of accidental exposure?
Whoops—I brushed my teeth with tap water!
Fear not—there’s a magic elixir that will probably protect you. It’s called grapefruit seed extract. This is a powerful compound with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which destroys invading microbes and protects the body’s tissues against damage from a range of pathogens. It can kill more than 60 types of bacteria and yeasts.
My friend Juniper went to India for three weeks with three teenage boys who had never traveled abroad except once to Mexico. India has very polluted waterways. And lots of infectious disease. And bacteria that your American body has never encountered. She brought with her a handy bottle of grapefruit seed extract and everyone took it every day—just 5 drops in some bottled water. Juniper was also advised by a naturopathic doctor to take a full-spectrum probiotic from a professional line (third-party verified pharmaceutical grade), one that included the strain saccharomyces. Orthomolecular is a good brand.
Here is Juniper with her boys on travels to Mumbai, Rajasthan, and Varanasi. Ostensibly absent is her Indian friend, Petunia, who did not take grapefruit seed extract and got so sick that she had to cut the trip short. Meanwhile, Juniper and her sons ate their way through India, with occasional uncooked fruit and veggies, and everyone was peachy. There was only one day of tummy trouble, and that’s when one of the kids didn’t take his drops.
Cuba: Fun without the Runs
Here is The Good Food Fighter’s family in Cuba. We are warned before leaving: our bodies are not accustomed to their communist bacteria, eat everything cooked, only at bonafide restaurants. But how do you orchestrate a “people-to-people” trip—the only legal way to travel to Cuba under current government regulations—without mingling with the people?
And how do you mingle with them if you’re not breaking bread together or buying tasty delights from vendors’ wheelbarrows or out of mom and pops home? Thus, we enjoyed lots of unidentifiable treats with unknown ingredients and did not get sick.
We even drank their water (gasp!) because we didn’t want to pass up homemade sugarcane juice. Here is my son making, then drinking, the juice.
Then I ran off to the Azores islands, little specks of volcanic earth 1000 miles off the coast of Portugal. What did I eat? Anything I wanted.
If it can keep pathogenic bacteria at bay on your foreign travels, grapefruit seed extract can protect you from local bacteria, as well. Five drops a day keep the runs away. Remember to dilute them in SAFE water! Adding drops does NOT make the water you’re putting it in potable!
Note that you shouldn’t take this if you are on medication that reacts with grapefruit—this powerful citrus fruit inhibits certain enzymes that are involved with drug metabolism. Consult with your doctor or do some research to determine if you can safely take this.
Other amazing effects:
- It has been shown to protect stomach from damage from alcohol, and also from stress.
- It is rich with antioxidants, which protects the body from the oxidative damage that is at the root of many chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Give it a try—it can’t hurt and it may save you from a world of gastrointestinal distress…you might also give this a shot if you feel a cold coming on.