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How do you strengthen your stomach for travel?

cherie

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  • Added on: March 5th, 2007
I think the answer is to travel more, and expose yourself to more risks--but is their an easier way to prepare and strengthen your stomach for travel? I have a very sensitive stomach and I met these guys while traveling--they were all American but all born in other countries--and they claimed that they could eat anything and it didn't bother them, but their American-born-and-bred friend was sick.

Any clues?
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static

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  • Added on: March 5th, 2007
My guess would be misdirection. It had nothing to do with a "strong stomach"

Sure, their American friend was sick, but he/she had not been eating properly, were not getting enough rest and had been drinking a lot more alcohol more than usual. That's why they were sick. In addition, I think American kids are kept indoors for much of their life.

PhotoChick

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  • Added on: March 6th, 2007
I believe in less antibacterial stuff all around, which can help your immune system overall. The best way to avoid being stick is to avoid food that will make you sick. I am the only person I know who spent a fair time in India and didn't get Delhi Belly.

No ice, no unpeelable fruit/veg (incl salad), no food from places that aren't teeming with people. Definately no buffets, ANYWHERE. Oh, and don't mix lassis with beer. IT's violent.

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jedimasterbooboo

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  • Added on: March 6th, 2007
I've got my own pet theories about this, and traveling has only strengthened my beliefs, right or wrong.

American (western?) mothers are nuts about germs and bacteria. They freak out way too much and tend toward the imbalanced side when it comes to cleaning and medicating children. I think the Japanese pass us up here as far as imbalanced cleanliness. But I never understood why parents would put kids on anti-biotics for colds. Why? If my kid had a cold we waited for it to finish. Big deal. I saw kids that were constantly on anti-biotics. How can that be good?

And the information that we get from media about food handling is good generally, but because of this I think some people are mislead to believe that bacteria is a bad word. That really gripes me. We live among millions of microbes…I’m in a danger now of going into this whole big thing about human beings being disconnected from knowledge of what we really are- organic sentient robots, which is why I have the karma title, carbon based life form, we are just all the elements on the periodic table, not outerspace ghosts, but…don’t get me started.

Here’s my point. We may be weaker with all the cleanliness.

Having said that, I really don’t know ultimately though if that’s true because we vary by the individual as far as the strengths of our stomachs. ...

And then there’s the issue of being in really dirty environments. The water here is filthy, you should see my water filter. But I don’t get sick if I drink some of it anymore, because I drank little bits of it here and there. I don’t recommend long term drinking of this water, though, it’s certain to lead to an early death.
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  • Added on: March 7th, 2007
I've been taking probiotic supplements for years. I recommend Kyodophilus by Wakunaga. Also, I drink lots of green tea. When I went to Brazil, I ate everything--including the acaraje cooked in that strong dende oil--and I never got sick. I don't drink very much alcohol--I think it weakens the stomach.

xoom

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  • Added on: March 7th, 2007
i definitely think there's a germaphobia-fad going on. cmon live a little!!

anyway, i don't know about prepping your stomach for travel, but there are other things you can do while you're travelling. you should pick up a copy of 'how to shit around the world' -- it rocks! lol. they have some helpful tips, like.. yogurt and sorbet are usually safe because they're too acidic to support msot of the bacteria that upsets your stomach, avoid pork or dog meat since they're usually the animals that eat all the stuff we throw out, avoid fried foods because they may have been flash-fried and not heated properly.. i thikn that's all i can remember off the top of my head. but yeah it's a good book.. and it's hilarious too!
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  • Added on: March 10th, 2007
I just read an article in National Geographic that was all about allergies. The thing that stuck out the most to me was that allergies are virtually non-existance in third world countries or farming communities.

It is suspected that as you are exposed to animals and dirt as a young child, your body builds up immunity to them and learns how to deal with "new invader" micro-organisms. However, most people in the West don't live in close proximity to farm animals but rather in insulated airconditioned houses. Our bodies haven't learned this trick, and hence kids are developing crazy allergies to mundane things like peanuts. The body freaks out and over-reacts and says "KILL IT!!! KILLS IT!!!" and causes general havoc for all.

So, for me this would be a reason to let your kid be exposed to dirt more often. Let em eat mud pies I say!

Side note: I have a friend whose daughter's first full phrase was "Mommy, Purell!" CUCKOO!!!!! Smile

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gato feo

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  • Added on: March 11th, 2007
I remember that great article from Nat Geo...facinating stuff. I grew up rambling around the fields and cow pastures around our house. I had rabbits, cats and dogs as pets and cared for our neighbors chickens and peacocks when they were away. I don't have any allergies so far so, I guess that my life experience supports their theory that exposure to thing early in life prevents allergies later in life.

I really find this germaphobia (that seems to have sprung from the advertising of antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-everything hand "sanitizers", soaps etc ) very troubling. Not only are they not very effective as talked about in numerous articles for example: NPR antibiotic soap .
The active ingredient triclosan is now believeed to be found in 60% of US waterways as this article in John Hopkins School for Public Health describes:
Anti-Bacterial Additive Widespread In US Waterways . About 1 million pounds of the stuff is used a year and they don't know the long term effects yet...

On a lighter note...living in Yosemite we didn't always have reliable refridgeration especially in Tuolumne Meadows. I usually just left my food in the "bear box" (a large metal cabinet outside the tent cabin to store food in...bears are unable to get at the food) We rationalized "it's in the shade." and "we're at 9,000 ft elevation, it doesn't get thaaat hot". Milk, eggs, some leftovers, cheese, whatever were usually were left in there and were sometimes of questionable um okay-ness. I got used to saying "well, it will just make my stomach stronger." and I definately had travel in mind...
Placebo style thinking??? I don't know but then, placebos have been found to work too.

I will say that I agree with Xoom, read those books and know what preventative things can be done. I've taken quite a few food handling safety courses(for work) and knowing what foods are more likely to "go bad" and create an environment that grow the little beasties that make us sick helps alot in food choices, knowing food temps etc.

Rambled on long enough...
Your germ loving friend, Kate

Mim

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  • Added on: March 12th, 2007
Ditto about the germ-warfare making us sick. I spent my first years on a dairy farm in the tropics. Mum and Dad left us to roam with the animals - cuts, scratches, bites, ticks and all manner of tropical size germs. The only time we ever came near clothes was when my grandmother came to visit - she would try to put them on and we would try to get them off. We sat in puddles and made our mud pies, threw cow pats at each other - especially the gooey ones!!

The only thing that can provoke an allergic reaction in me is perfumes and even that is mild - my sinuses get uncomfortable. I have no qualms about using anti-biotics when it is necessary, but where possible I will try to get over infections myself.

As for my stomach - I have a stomach of steel as long I follow a few common sense rules - most of which are noted above i.e. flora maintenance, what not to mix at the same time. In addition to these, several years working on tourist boats can make you immune to nauseating situations. There is nothing like holding the vomit bag for a heaving, weakened passenger to test your mettle.
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Yamina

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2007
In general I agree with jedimasterbooboo - Parents here in England also tend to be extremely overprtective, which means that kids aren't exposed to any of the normal germs and bacteria which are hanging about. Hence I believe that when they come in to contact with bacteria etc later on, their bodies can't cope so well. having said that, it really must depend on the person...........

My parents (who seemed to have a very relaxed attitude to the whole child-rearing thing!) let me wander the pastures, eat a variety of wild fruits and vegatation, swim in and drink pond-water, play with all the local farm animals and generally be quite wild. As we had little money, much of our food was home-produced, and it was part of the breakfast ritual to scrape the mould off the jam before eating it.............!

I also used to eat a lot of slightly rotting or unripened fruit (green raspberries etc!), cooking apples, gooseberries and bullaces (little green damson/plum things), so that I now seem able to stomach most things!

I wouldn't really suggest that most people follow this as a regime, but to date I've not been badly ill in any of my travels(famous last words!) This is despite eating some strange items at the side of the road in North Africa, drinking some very murkey tap water and sharing a glass with someone who had been vomiting violently (no, I didn't realise it hadn't been washed!!).

Hmmm, I suppose that sometimes it just takes a while for your body to get used to new things, so taking the slowly, slowly approach may help.....

Conti

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  • Added on: May 24th, 2007
I think you build up your immune system by being exposed to germs.

Haci Richard

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  • Added on: May 27th, 2007
I agree with all the stuff about cleanliness being the death of us. PhotoChick, do you have a link to that allergy artice? I'd love to read it.

I've done a reasonable amount of trveling and only recall getting sick from eating or drinking twice -- once when I ate at some dodgy Indian place in Johor Bahru as they we able to close (I guess the food had been sitting out in the heat all day) and another time off rancid butter in Tunisia, when I had a lot of emotional issues going al which may have compromised my immune system.

My "method" for building up my body for the local bugs is to drink lots of the local coffee -- not the Starbucks variety, but the stuff in the local market which as often as not comes in a dirty glass. My theory is that the boiling (or near boiling) water kills or weakens any critters in the water, which allows my body to build up its defenses by being exposed to it in much the same way a dead virus vaccine works. Being cheap, I can't stand paying for water (I'll buy coffee, juice, booze, etc, just not water), so I tend to drink the tap water wherever I go and nothing ever seems to happen to me. I do draw the line when I see impoverished locals paying for drinking water...
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Mim

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  • Added on: July 1st, 2007
Alright... just got back from India and a few other places. Yes I got the dreaded Delhi belly, but I blame myself. Here is the combination that I believe was my undoing:

1) Accidentally ate a chilli that I knew would burn my ring for the next week. It literally stripped my gut.
2) Drank tap water, hence ingested bacteria that found no resistance - enter left stage 'delhi belly'.

How did I patch it up? Yoghurt my friends. Lots of it.

It was not a huge deal and I definitely did not lose any weight because of it.
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Prisa

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  • Added on: August 15th, 2007
When I moved to Morocco I decided that I'd no longer be bottled-water dependent. It's just too much of a pain in the ass. So I started introducing tap water into my diet in small ways.
Now I've had plenty of food borne illnesses. E.coli, samonilla, giardia...but I learned about a new one shortly after my tap-water experiment got underway:
Ameobic Dysentary.
It's good stuff.

Anyway long story short I was sick for a long time. About a month. But after that I found that I could drink the water with no problems. I could even drink the water out of the hamam taps. That's something not every Moroccan can do.

Anyway point is that you just have to build it up naturally. You will get sick, you'll probably get over it, and then you'll be better for it. At least that's my working theory so far.
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whalewatcher

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  • Added on: August 16th, 2007
The locals don't drink unboiled water if they can help it, and I would advise you not to do it either.


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