Hi friends! How are you? Hows your new year going? I have to say that mine is going pretty well. Marlowe and I have had a great time traveling. We’ve been healthy and happy. Well, actually, Marlowe got sick for the first time in maybe tow years. It was super weird. One day she started burning up and said she had a headache. No mucus, no cough, no anything. Just a fever. I kept her in bed all day with water and she said she felt totally fine the next day. Super weird. Happy it was a quick pass though. Other than that, good good good.
So I wanted to pop in and say hi and share this post with you guys. This is actually a question I get asked A LOT and the answer is so easy that I thought I should just come in and share!
Obviously eating out when traveling can create a few problems. When out in restaurants germs can spread or cross contamination or whatever. But even buying produce out on the streets or in the grocery might cause some discomforts. It’s just that the bacteria we find on our fruits and veggies at home can be totally different from the bacteria found in other places in the world. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the produce, it’s just different little bugs than your stomach is used to!
Theres also the problems of dirt, grime, and dangerous bacteria if the produce isn’t handled well. Or theres the problems of parasites. Or the reality of nasty pesticides being sprayed on fruit if you’re not buying organic. Also, please remember that pesticides make their way inside the fruit and veg– so even giving produce a wash doesn’t protect you from the chemicals! SO organic is always best. Unfortunately travel doesn’t always have the luxury of natural and organic foods– so you just gotta do you best.
So yeah, washing fruit and veg– especially you ones you plan on eating raw is super important! But then the question comes up— well, if you’re not supposed to drink the water in the places you’re visiting, then how does one wash the produce safely?! Bottled water? Maybe sometimes, but thats no economical or a great option for the planet. So then what?
For us, it’s simple. We travel with a tiny bottle of liquid grapefruit seed extract! A tiny bottle goes a long way! We carry a tiny one– I believe it’s about 1-2 ounces and it lasts us months. It basically kills everything. (good bacteria too unfortunately). But it’s completely antimicrobial so you don’t have to worry about nasty bacteria, parasite, viruses, whatever on your food!
And it’s actually safe enough to take internally so if you worry about parasites living in your gut, you can kill those too. But it is strong, so you have to take it with caution.
So how do you wash produce while traveling?
Well, we fill up a giant pot or bowl with tap water and add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract. The amount varies on how big the pot/how much water we use. But somewhere around 5 to 10 drops. then we plop as much of the fruits and veg we can into the pot and let it soak for a few minutes. Swish them around, makes sure they’re all submerged (some fruit/veg floats– some sinks). And the pull out of the pot and lay on a towel to dry. And repeat– using the same bowl of water and new dirty produce.
Sink water? Yes, usually. In some occasions I’ll use bottled water– like for things like salad greens or herbs that I’ll eat, I do prefer to use bottled + the grapefruit seed extract. But for all else, I’ll typically use tap– especially if I dont plan to eat the peel. No grapefruit seed extract? You can also use liquid iodine! Iodine is amazing at killing unwanted germs as well! The only tricky thing is that it’s a bit more difficult to travel with as it’ll stain EVERYTHING if it leaks! Trust me– I know this from experience. There are also things like veg wash/rinse that are supposed to be useful– but I’ve personally never used them so I can’t speak from experience. I’ve never even checked the ingredients in them, but I like to stick to the natural things I know.
Like you guys know, we’ve traveled in Guatemala and Mexico for months at a time without any problems. The only time we’ve had a problem is once in Nepal at a hotel/restaurant— not cooking on our own. So it’s safe to say our method works.
Anyway, this isn’t the most world stopping post, but hopefully it’s something that can be useful for a few of you guys 🙂 Fresh food is important no matter where you are in the world– don’t skip it out of fear 😉 Cheers friends!