Lying on the floor retching is not a good way to spend a vacation. Should you bring 30 cans of tunafish and 50 Clif bars on your next trip abroad or is there a better way?
The Better Way:
Juniper (not her real name) goes to India for three weeks with three boys ages 10-15 who have never traveled abroad except for one trip to Mexico, and no one gets sick.
Scene 1: Preparing for Trip
Milo had just gone to India on a business trip in which all his colleagues got sick but he stayed well. Milo found out that his sister Juniper was planning to go and he called her with a tip: bring grapefruit seed extract and take it every day. Juniper also consulted with a naturopathic doctor and a homeopath who gave her a second piece of advice: take a full-spectrum probiotic from a professional line (which means a pharmaceutical grade which has met strict standards for purity and processing conditions and is verified by an outside agency) and one that includes the strain saccharomyces. Orthomolecular is a highly recommended brand.
Scene 1: India
Juniper travels with her boys and an Indian friend, Pria, to various cities in India, including Mumbai, Rajasthan, and Varanasi, which is near New Delhi. Unexpectedly, her Indian friend gets so sick that she has to cut short the trip. Meanwhile, Juniper and her sons are not exactly reckless—they don’t eat from street vendors or drink water from the famously polluted Ganges River—but they occasionally enjoy uncooked fruits and veggies. And there is only one incidence of slight stomach disturbance, and this, on a day that one of the boys doesn’t take his antidote.
Scene 2: Cuba:
The Good Food Fighter travels to Cuba with her family. We are told pretty much the same thing: 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 treats with names and ingredients totally foreign to us.
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.
We took our morning dose of bitter yucky grapefruit seed extract (and probiotics!) and didn’t get sick at all. Grapefruit seed extract 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.
Note that you shouldn’t take this if you are on medication that reacts with grapefruit—it inhibits certain enzymes that are involved with drug metabolism—so consult with your doctor or do some research to determine if you can safely take this.
Scene 3: Azores Islands
I’m currently in the Azores islands, little specks of volcanic earth 1000 miles off the coast of Portugal eating anything I want.
Give it a try—it can’t hurt and it may save you!