Last night I was looking through some photos I took on a family vacation to Fethiye, Turkey. Stunning city – if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you visit.
But even though I had some beautiful memories from there, I couldn’t help but remember that the end of my vacation was a living nightmare…
That’s because I got food poisoning from an undercooked meal. You can imagine that for the next few days I couldn’t even leave my hotel room…
I have to confess – when it happened, I felt embarrassed that as a health expert I didn’t pay closer attention to the food I was eating…
But, you know, we learn from our mistakes. So after this very unpleasant experience, I put together a comprehensive travel guide for food poisoning. Having this “pocketbook” has literally saved my vacation on more than one occasion.
And I’m honestly surprised I haven’t shared it with you before…
Hopefully, you read this article in time to be fully prepared for your next vacation.
The first step to preventing food poisoning is to learn what causes it. So let’s find out the…
Top 8 Causes Of Food Poisoning
Foodborne illnesses are caused mainly by bacteria, but there are some viruses and parasites that can be toxic as well. There are a few foods and drinks that pose higher risks of carrying these infectious organisms and you should probably avoid consuming them while traveling…
- Contaminated water
The first food I’m telling you about is actually a liquid. It’s… tap water.
In many countries, tap water is not treated to eliminate all bacteria. The locals that grew up with this type of water rarely get sick from it. But for a tourist, drinking tap water can quickly turn into nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Undercooked poultry
If you eat undercooked chicken, duck, or turkey, you are very likely to get food poisoning from one of three types of harmful bacteria: Campylobacter, E. coli, or Salmonella. Honestly, I avoid eating meat altogether when I’m traveling, unless I know it’s a local specialty.
- Fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables can be easily contaminated with bacteria, especially if you wash them with tap water. The main fruits and veggies that have been linked to food poisoning outbreaks are melons, berries, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and tomatoes.
- Fish and shellfish
You’ve probably heard before that you should avoid fish on vacation. This is because fish that is not kept cold can get contaminated with histamine, a toxin produced by bacteria found in fish.
You should also steer clear of shellfish because mussels, clams, scallops, and oysters consume algae containing many harmful toxins.
- Unpasteurized dairy
Dairy products can also be carriers for a lot of harmful bacteria like Listeria, Brucella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.
Because there are so many microorganisms that are toxic to humans, pasteurization has become very common across the globe. The process basically consists of heating up the product to a temperature that kills all live bacteria.
In the US, most states prohibit the sale of unpasteurized dairy. However, in most Asian countries and a few European ones, they’re readily available. So before consuming dairy products, be sure to ask if they have been pasteurized.
Rice can be contaminated by Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that doesn’t die even if cooked. So if you’re eating rice, make sure it was recently cooked. Because if it’s left at room temperature, the bacteria have time to grow and multiply making the rice not safe to eat.
Eggs are another food that can carry Salmonella and can make you sick if you eat them undercooked.
I’m always extra careful with the omelet served at breakfast in hotels because that’s what gave me food poisoning in Turkey. I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but it left me bedridden for three days.
- Deli meats
Hot dogs, bacon, ham, and salami can all be carriers for Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria. So if you’re unsure of the cleaning standards of a local butcher shop, it’s better to leave without buying anything…
Now, I’m sure that after reading this list, it seems like you can’t eat anything on your vacation. But that’s not true – you just have to be mindful of your food choices.
Let me break down for you the top dos and don’ts for…
A Food Poisoning-Free Vacation
- Drink tap water.
- Pour drinks over ice made from tap water.
- Eat fish and shellfish when you’re traveling.
- Leave food sitting at room temperature and eat it afterward.
- Eat fruits or vegetables that are not washed or washed with tap water.
- Eat runny eggs.
- Eat undercooked poultry.
- Eat unpasteurized dairy.
- Eat food from street vendors.
- Eat wild mushrooms.
- Drink bottled water that’s sealed.
- Wash fruits and veggies with bottled or sterilized water.
- Eat food that is served steaming hot.
- Use your own reusable straw for drinks.
I also have to tell you that preparation for avoiding food poisoning starts even before you leave your home…
First, you need to do your homework about what risks you might face in your destination country. The CDC has a very comprehensive section on their website not only about food poisoning but the latest news about infectious outbreaks too.
Secondly, you need to boost your immune system and promote healthy gut bacteria, both of which are essential to prevent foodborne illness.
You probably remember a time when you got sick and your friends didn’t. Even though they ate the same thing as you… That’s because their bodies were prepared to fight these toxins.
I have a solution that you can use before and during your vacation so that your body will be 100% prepared to fight off any toxic microorganisms. I always stock up on it when I’m traveling abroad. I’ll link to it at the end of the article.
But let’s say you didn’t read this article in time and you have food poisoning already. What can you do?
How To Treat Food Poisoning
Note that I said treat, not cure. Because food poisoning is not exactly a disease – it’s the body’s response to bad toxins – it tries to eliminate them in any way it can.
So the best thing you can do is to make sure that your body has everything it needs to focus on getting rid of the microorganisms as fast as possible.
When you’re vomiting, you can get easily dehydrated…
So it’s very important that you drink plenty of water during the day. If your body doesn’t accept water (trust me, I’ve been there) you can suck on ice chips.
But remember, no tap water! If you don’t have access to bottled or sterilized water, be sure to boil tap water before drinking or freezing it.
Another thing I advise you to do is avoid foods that can irritate your stomach like spicy foods, fried foods, and high-fiber foods (nuts, seeds, dark-colored vegetables). These will only make your symptoms worse.
In this state, you need to consume foods that are bland in taste and high in starch like bananas, toast, apple juice, and rice. They won’t upset your digestive system and will also help with diarrhea.
It’s also extremely necessary that you consume an electrolyte boosting drink to help rehydrate your body. You could get a sports drink – but I don’t recommend it! A drink like Gatorade is filled with sugar that won’t help you recover.
You can get electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium) from other natural sources and feel better right away.
I have a rehydration drink recipe that is super easy to make and it will give you the necessary amounts of electrolytes needed to get over your sickness…
Easy Electrolyte Drink Recipe
I drank this when I was sick on my vacation and it made a huge difference.
And I recommend it to anyone who has food poisoning while traveling because the ingredients should be fairly easy to find in most countries and it’s actually pretty tasty…
- 2 cups of water
- Juice from half a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt (if you can’t find Himalayan, look for sea salt)
- 2 teaspoons of pasteurized honey (optional – included for sweetness)
Add everything in a bottle and shake to incorporate all ingredients. This is enough for two servings, so drink one now and save the rest in the fridge for later.
I drank this tasty concoction twice a day, and for the rest of the time, I drank at least 60 ounces of water. This kept me hydrated and helped me recover in just three days.
Food poisoning can easily last up to 10 days, depending on the cause and how you take care of your body. So be safe on your next trip!
I hope this article finds you in great health and that it helps you to be fully prepared for your next vacation. My secret for protecting my digestive health in any situation (but especially when traveling abroad) is taking my daily dose of ProBio 7. Click on the button below to learn more about this 100% natural solution…