Eating abroad – Do I have to follow this list?

Someone posted an article from USA Today on my Facebook page today about the ten foods to avoid while traveling abroad.  Of course, I clicked on it immediately to see what it said.  While I am well aware of the dangers of drinking water in Mexico, I really don’t want to have to restrict my diet with respect to other food and drinks.  Trying street food in Mexico City is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most when Brian arrives to explore with me.  I think that like most things when traveling, taking precautions is good, but being fearful of everything is not a good use of energy!

The article gives the following list of foods to avoid.  Here are my thoughts.

Seafood – This one is such a bummer for me as I love, love, love seafood.  It’s my regular source of protein other than eggs, nuts and legumes.  I really don’t eat a lot poultry or beef, but will eat what is offered by my host family. When eating out, I will use my discretion to choose a dish that is safe.  It’s not like I’m going to be on the coast so seafood probably won’t be a staple in either my host home or in restaurants that I try.

Salad – This will be tough for me. I eat salad almost every day. I understand the perils of eating lettuce washed with Mexican tap water so I will probably try and avoid this, especially in my host home.  Many restaurants use bottled water to cleanse their vegetables, but not all.  I will have to be very careful with this.  The good news is that my garden back in Ohio should be ready for picking when I get home so I can always fill up on fresh veggies when I return!

Homemade liquor – No problem here.

Raw eggs – Don’t eat them here.  Won’t eat them there.  Problem solved.

Unpasteurized dairy – I will simply have to check labels, but don’t expect this to be much of an issue.

Buffet foods – I’m not planning to go to any buffets, so this won’t be an area of concern.

Undercooked meat – I don’t typically eat any undercooked meat. The biggest issue will be if my host family offers me some.  I will have to deal with that on an as-needed basis.  I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t want to get sick either. Hopefully, any meat that is offered will be cooked thoroughly.

Bush meat – This includes bats and squirrels.  Ok, not really an issue. At least I hope not.

Certain fruits – Again, this is a tough one.  Apparently, thick-skinned fruits are fine, but fruits like apples, peaches, tomatoes and grapes can be an issue because the water can penetrate the fruit and cause illness.  Again, I plan to eat fruit from street stands in Mexico City (i.e. mango doused in lime, pepper and salt) and will take my chances.  I just can’t pass up the good fruit in Mexico. Fortunately for me, my Mexican favorites are watermelon, avocado, mango and papaya. All are thick-skinned, so I should be okay.

Popsicles – I would not have thought about this, but I will be cautious. I’d rather have a big bowl of ice cream than a popsicle any day so this just gives me a reason to walk toward that bakery or ice cream shop rather than the paleta cart!

For more information about foods to avoid while traveling abroad, you can read the entire USA Today article here.

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