Healthy Food and Travel

June 01, 2012

food and travel -the healthy way

Can you eat healthy food while traveling as a family? Trust me, I've become an expert in this area after 6 years of a non-stop world trip, from organic raw food to celebrating holidays healthy to free travel food and organic gardening on the move!

But thanks to my travel health issues, I've been learning more than  ever as I research and learn about food cures.  I've been dealing with a serious and mysterious health concern since May 2010 when my Danish dentist in Spain gave me some antibiotics ( soon after I recovered from a broken and paralyzed arm in Austria) and I've seen the best M.D.'s and alternative folks on 3 continents. Nothing has cured me yet or even given me a diagnosis, ( stealth virus? dysbiosis? SIBO?  ), so I seem to be on my own in finding a cure and food seems to make a huge difference.

Hopefully, what I am learning can help you too whether you are at home or abroad. I've also done lots of reading on Osteoporosis because when I was in California, my 84 year old mother was diagnosed with it, so some of these food cures are also helping her. Our food plays such an important part in health and long life and sadly we are misled by big agriculture and a corporate-money led government.

I finally found things that helped a lot when in California as I explained in my organic raw food post, but most of the things available there ( like good raw organic milk and butter, supplements etc) are not available in Asia, so in many ways I had to begin again. Eating healthy at home in the USA  is very different than eating healthy while traveling internationally.

We also travel and live on a very low budget ( $23/day per person or less) and things can not be shipped here reliably ( ends up in customs), so those concerns impact. We also do not have an oven and only limited kitchen supplies and I eat different things than the rest of the family because there is so little that I can eat without problems.

So I am learning about foods for them as well as for me, with my goal being to get us all as healthy as possible. They don't have symptoms and appear very healthy, but I think we can always work on getting healthier. I'm learning so much through my problem which has made me a bigger health food fanatic ( as our daughter's friend call us) than ever.

yummy smoothy

I am proud of that title and the progress I am making. I've become a master at making my own kefir, lacto-fermented salsa, lacto-fermented chutney, lacto-fermented guagamole, cheese, beet kvass, bone broths, veggie juices, smoothies, home made, organic soaked grained tortillas, homemade, organic  soaked grain pasta, soaked organic brown rice, healthy deserts and more and will share them with you soon both recipes and instructions. Perhaps a food Friday regular or semi regular update.

At first I was doing well here ( about 90% recovered on good days) , but then the pain, toxic feeling and extreme fatigue started to  return, so I had to look for more solutions. Looking deeper I discovered I was taking FOS and Inulin hidden in two health supplements I got here ( and one I brought) which I now know is a forbidden food and harmful to me. A well known MD who specializes in digestive issues in California   prescribed it for me last fall  in a product called Ultra Clear Sustain which made me VERY ill. This happened over and over with doctors, things that were suppose to help, made me worse and I lost faith.

I considered LDN and MMS that people I know recommended, ( and still might do them, but I had some concerns with both because much of my pain seems to be in the liver area despite all tests not showing a problem there). So I  decided to first try the Guts to Glory Program by Dr. Brasco M.D. and Rubin N.M.D. from their book "Restoring Your Digestive Health" because it was easier with less risks and I could find most of the ingredients here. One great thing they have in Penang is DQ chickens which are perfect for making the bone broth and eating.

Delicious family supper of organic broccoli, corn, pastured chicken, soaked brown rice and topped with homemade lacto-fermented salsa

The author Rubin cured himself of incurable Crohn's disease, but they say it is also good for ANY gastrointestinal disease from ulcers to IBS to Candida, food allergies and more. My symptoms are different than all, but it is clearly a digestive based problem with severe dysbiosis ( and some liver, pancreas and spleen problems), upper abdomen swelling ( for 2 years!)  caused at least initially by a floral imbalance, so I thought worth a try.

Also because it was similar to the GAPS Diet by Dr. Cambell-McBride  ( who is a Neurosurgeon with masters degree in nutritionist who learned this protocol to save her severely  autistic son) and SCD by Elaine Gottschall ( who saved her child in the 1950's). ( I love people who like me know what it is to struggle with a mysterious disease and don't give up til they find a cure...notice a theme going on here).

All are very much aligned with Weston Price Foundation, ( and paleo) but more specific. All have helped thousands and I think very on track after all my reading,  but my symptoms didn't quite fit and I actually had tried the SCD diet, yet this one was a bit more specific and doable, plus allowed me to continue with WAPD principals.

tropical fruits and vegetables

The basic plan is to rest, repair and heal the gut, detoxify and reduce the microflora in phase 1 ( primarily fasting on bone broth). Then in phase 2 reinoculating the gut ( mainly with yogurt and  more bone broth). I had to tweak it a bit with what is here and use some of GAPS etc, but it is slowly working and I am onto phase 3 which means I can slowly add other foods.

I even ate my homemade organic tortillas the other day ( first grain or carb in several months) but mostly stick to fresh made juices ( especially beets/cabbage/carrots/greens), bone broths, yogurt, homemade kefir and kefir cheese, coconut and coconut oil, fermented foods and juices, pastured eggs, wild salmon, DQ pastured chicken, organic grass fed butter, raw honey, ginger, turmeric  and a little raw veggies like cabbage or avocado, a little cooked... for now.

I am learning that truly healing the gut can take a while, but so worth the effort as most of our immunity comes from the gut and healing it helps prevent degenerative diseases, autoimmune problems ( possibly part of my problem), heart disease and cancer. Both the strict Guts to Glory and GAPS programs have limited time frames ( up to 2 years on GAPS) so one can eventually add many things, even soaked grains as a "not too bad food", but processed foods, pasteurized dairy, bad fats like margarine, trans-fats, corn and  canola oil etc should always be avoided.


My problem is not completely gone yet, but I seem to get better every day and my energy is getting much better like the old me. This is the right direction for me now, I will keep you in the loop and will post some of these easy yummy recipes we are making and eating.

I hope what I am learning can help others at home and traveling. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and ways I continue to learn to do this during travel and in foreign places. Lots of people blog about nourishing traditions kind of  food, but I don't think anyone is telling how to do this in foreign countries! I hope to share it as I learn and heal.

Looking for more books on this topic? Try Nourishing Traditons, Deep Nutrition: why your genes need traditonal foods, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.








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This post is part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade

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Steve @ Back-Packer

Thx for this detailed article - healthy food is an important base of travelling, too. I think if you eat healthy you also feel much better to do active stuff during your trip.
Although it's sometime much more expensive i'd recommend to buy fruits and vegetables anyway and save the money by drinking less beer ;)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Glad you liked it @Steve! Thankfully I don't even like beer and almost never drink, so it's very easy to pass them up for fresh, organic veggies and fruit etc!

It is not so expensive if you buy what the locals buy at markets and in season. ;)

Lifecruiser Travel

I'll tell you my story about how I got healthier:

I have had problem with my digestion since I was a kid, never understood why, no doctor either and I did eat several medicines for it, I did eat omeprazole for about 25 years (!) without knowing what was wrong. I also had lots of other health problems as well as problem with my gallbladder.

2 years ago I tried a Swedish LowCarbHighFat-diet - and already after 3 days my stomach were improving BIG, after a month I was totally convinced and so was my husband. We have never been at so good health or have had so much energy! This diet (or more like lifestyle) increased my immune defense BIG TIMES. I was always sick before, catching all colds and flu's, now hardly ever. I could go on and on with positive effects on both of us. Less inflammations in our bodies is another example, we both had problems with lots of inflammations creating ache.

Every time we "cheat" too much with the wrong food, we can feel it, getting worse again, so there is no doubt that it's this diet helping.

I highly recommend to give it a try, I'm sure you will be surprised. Very many people world over are already eating like this and there is many studies done that support this diet.

And I tell you: I have never eaten so much yummy food since we started this "diet", it's so delicious...

If you want to check up, there is some information here:

Feel free to ask me if you have questions.

Good luck anyway, I hope you find what's wrong and cure it!


This is how I healed me and my family. I have never been stronger or healthier in my life. Keep with it. It takes time and tweaking. Many blessing to you and the family!


This is how I healed me and my family. I have never been stronger or healthier in my life. Keep with it. It takes time and tweaking. Many blessing to you and the family!


i'd love a weekly health update. i find it SO DIFFICULT to eat healthfully living in manila. there is processed junk everywhere and they add sugar and bad oils to what could be healthy dishes. it's so frustrating! kudos to you for keeping the course. i hope you find healing soon.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks LT for sharing your experience. At the moment I am on a low carb diet and have been for sometime.

Interesting to see this in Sweden too!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Happy to hear that @Lauren! I get impatient sometimes because it does seem to take time and tweaking. I do see we are getting healthier and healthier, so that makes me happy. Wish I was 100%...but more tweaking or time needed I guess.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much @Joy! It certainly is much more challenging here than in California..but then again it is much cheaper here.

I think there is processed food and junk food every where sad. Makes it much more challenging trying to stay healthy while traveling.

We're trying to be really pure, so that makes outings a challenge here. We usually do a smoothie before going and bring snacks with us. Even my daughter is getting good at this...and I am packing her a lunch at school.

LOTS more work this way, but we see our long stay here as a good opportunity to tweak things and be pure. Once you get on a roll of avoiding junk food it gets easier.

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