I think the strangest things I’ve eaten in this past month were crickets and bone marrow… but these weren’t items we were expected to eat on our trip to India and Nepal! These were some of the upscale tapas offered on the menu of the Ox and Tail restaurant in Rochester, NY, where Alan and I had dinner with our son, Stephen last Saturday night.
Did I like them? Actually, no. Would I order them again? Definitely not!
But, did they make me sick? Believe it or not, the answer is “no.” So, how is it that I can eat disgusting (sounding…and tasting)
food in America without getting sick, whereas Alan and I ate a lot of gourmet-appearing food but were still sick the entire time we were in India and Nepal, despite eating in extremely elegant places that catered to Western tastes? Part of the problem might have been that,
although we ate at some amazing venues —including some palaces and UNESCO world heritage sites— we were on a “discovery tour,” which included picnics on river banks in jungles, buffets in over 100°F. heat under tent awnings in remote areas, steamy dinners in the jungles of Nepal, and some gracious dinners prepared and served in local homes.We were always careful to drink only bottled water and tried to choose our food very carefully (although sometimes I wasn’t really sure what I was eating…), and we tried to make sure all the meats were well cooked. Unfortunately, these precautions weren’t enough.
I usually have a stomach of steel, but not this trip! I assumed it was simply that Westerners aren’t used to the types of bacteria in India, but after returning homeI learned that sanitation and water pollution is a huge issue in India, not just for foreigners, but for everyone. Diarrhea is the fourth highest cause of death in India today…way ahead of any type of cancer! Several of the men on our trip required prescription-strength medications to recover, and about halfway through the trip, I began to worry that Alan and I might be too old for this type of travel. After returning and thinking about things, I would like to offer this brief list of ideas for any adventurers who want to travel to India or other very remote areas of the Eastern world:
*Only use bottled water, never tap water, or ice cubes made from tap water.
*Take seriously all the precautions suggested by your travel guides
*Carry and use hand sanitizer before eating
*The one couple who never got ill took acidophilus tablets, which are an over-the-counter probiotic; I plan to use them too if I ever go again.
*Before you go, get a prescription for ciprofloxacin (or whatever medication your physician recommends for you in case of serious diarrhea and dehydration). Finally, I’d like to suggest that not only do our bodies require pure water for good health, so do our hearts and minds!
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).
“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Revelation 21:6).