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Developing Country Food Problems!

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  • Developing Country Food Problems!

    Hello fellow Primalites!

    I am in a difficult situation here for my Primalness and am just looking for suggestions for nutrient replacement and wondering if anyone else is in a similar situation.

    I work for USAID as a foreign service officer. I was on tour in Washington, DC when I discovered primal living. It was great! I was eating giant salads for lunch and huge chunks of meat with plenty of fruits and nuts all the way. It was fabulous--I'd never felt better. However, I was sent (as foreign service officers are) to New Delhi, India for the next two years. Has anyone been here? It's dirty. The Water's dirty, the air is dirty and as a result, the food is dirty. (And I'm in Agricultural Development, I know food!)

    Problem I'm running into is that I've been here three weeks, and haven't had a salad since we passed through Frankfurt on our way over here four weeks ago! Raw fruits and vegetables are very dangerous, because many farmers here use "night soil" to fertilize (no need to look it up, it's human waste), and it's necessary to *SCRUB* your fresh produce in a chemical bath of destilled water and bleach or Dettol before it's even considered *fairly* safe. Leafy greens cannot stand up to the scubbing and so salads are *gone* from my life. This makes me sad. In addition, and partly as a result, my primal-ness has slipped from the 85%-95% range down to maybe 30% (15% if you don't count my primal exercise routines). This makes me sadder.

    It's impossible to find food that isn't slathered in Rice or Naan (Indian flatbread), or if you're in more modern places, sided by fries or chips, and Bread is everywhere because it's cheap and the people here are generally poor. We don't have room at our house to grow fresh produce, even though the climate would be perfect for it.

    Are there any other PBers here in India? Do you have solutions or suggestions? Anyone else want to weigh in? I would be very sad if I had to concede defeat and choose to live, eat and generally feel like crap for the next two years.

    {It's not all bad, mind you. Free-range chicken, lamb, and eggs are plentiful and cheap, and with the scrubbing, it's possible to get an okay variety of fruits and vegetables like broccolli, peppers and apples along with local mangoes and bananas. So breakfast and dinner can be quite primal, if I'm cooking at home (50% of the time, it seems due to travel and late work meetings). It's the *lunch* part of the day that's killing me, as the only safe things at the restaurants here are covered in Rice, slipped between bread or deep-fried. There is very little variety, and I find I'm getting bored of eating the same thing for breakfast every day (Spicy Lamb omelette or scrambled eggs for breakfast, meat and broccolli for dinner) which causes me to slip at lunch in a search for a different flavor. Like a cheeseburger with *sigh* ...fries... or... nachos... }

    Help, advice, or just support is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks everyone!

  • #2
    Difficult! One tiny suggestion that might help with salads - sprouted seeds. You can soak and sprout a variety of seeds, nuts and pulses (yes, I know, but better than nothing) in next to no space at all. Presumably you can get whole lentils, which sprout nice and easily after a night's soak, taste good and are scarily nutritious. Most pulses are OK to sprout and eat raw - the exceptions I'm aware of are red kidney beans and soya beans. Real chickpeas are OK (and delicious), but I seem to remember reading that some things labelled 'chickpeas' in India were something else and caused food poisoning eaten raw. If in doubt, you can get sprouting kits & seeds from mail order firms.

    I envy you those mangoes, though.

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    • #3
      Damn that does sound pretty tough. How do the locals prepare the veggies? I was thinking if you can get meat and safely cook the veggies you shouldn't have so many issues right? Rinse them throroughly and always cook them... now as far as salads I'm no help there, is it possible to pre-heat vegs then let them cool and eat them? I suppose you could do that too... boil them to get rid of bacteria... tough spot but do your best and enjoy your stay, life-changing experience I'm sure it will be.

      Edit: Though at first your system might be in shock, over time you SHOULD get used to that type of bacteria, right? I just went to Peru where I grew up and had no issues at all, in fact upon re-entering the US I've had some digestive issues.
      Last edited by iniQuity; 08-18-2010, 06:14 AM.
      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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      • #4
        What a tough situation! It looks like your choice is to be creative or to feel crappy w/ the processed food. I think I'd focus on slipping the meat out of the bread/naan, as that's easier than avoiding rice if it's all mixed in. Rice occasionally won't kill you, but I wouldn't want a lot of it every day. Eat whatever you can that's whole & nourishing from what you can find. And you can cook lettuce like other kinds of greens, btw, so that might be an option!

        Re: iniQuity's thoughts on the bacteria; I just recently read Weston Price's chapter on Africa where he mentions the incredibly difficult toll that life had on Europeans, to the point that they had to return to Europe at least 1 of every 3 years to regain their health from the malaria, yellow fever, dengue, parasites, bacteria-laden water, etc. But what he noticed was that the natives didn't have these problems at all, so long as they continued on their native, unprocessed diets. Adding in or totally consuming the European's processed foods, though, left the native Africans with the same problems as the Europeans. It's not the bacteria; it's the soil - iow, you can resist most any illness with the strong immune system that you were born to have.
        5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
        Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
        Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
        Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
        ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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        • #5
          Have you considered making a little patio garden, for your own consumption? I saw a fantastic set up on a series on permaculture, where a couple was able to produce 1/5 of their total produce needs via container gardening on their apartment balcony. This might allow you to increase your choices and control (to some extent, anyway) what went into growing the food, which would put a significant boost in your diet. (It also provided a lovely little oasis, and improved the air quality, at least right there, by the living room.)

          What about frozen veggies? Are you in an area that has anywhere at all that you could procure that?

          Finally, barring either of those options (or perhaps in supplement to them), you might consider looking up Emergency Preparedness sources and look at getting yourself some freeze dried, dehydrated, or canned goods. Some have chemicals and you'd obviously want to avoid those, but some of them are relatively "clean", and especially so by comparison with what you have available.

          Good luck! You're in an interesting spot, but what a great opportunity to use your brain power to find unique solutions!
          ~ Loving the good life, built the way we want it. ~

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ZenRevolver View Post
            {It's not all bad, mind you. Free-range chicken, lamb
            Are you eating the organs to make up for vitamins and minerals you're not getting from the veggies?
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ZenRevolver View Post
              Raw fruits and vegetables are very dangerous, because many farmers here use "night soil" to fertilize ... [so] it's necessary to *SCRUB* your fresh produce in a chemical bath of destilled water and bleach or Dettol .... Leafy greens cannot stand up to the scubbing and so salads are *gone* from my life.
              So soaking salad greens in a potassium permanganate solution, as people used to do, is no longer recommended?

              It's the *lunch* part of the day that's killing me, as the only safe things at the restaurants here are covered in Rice, slipped between bread or deep-fried.
              I guess deep fried-food would mean food deep-fried in unhealthy vegetable fats. But what's the problem with the other dishes? Can't you leave the rice or take what's in the bread out of the bread? And why not take some fruit with you?

              ... I find I'm getting bored of eating the same thing for breakfast every day (Spicy Lamb omelette or scrambled eggs for breakfast, meat and broccolli for dinner) ...
              Adapt the local cooking traditions? Wherever you go in the world people know their own produce and have usually developed some interesting ways to use it. Why not lamb curry for breakfast? Hard-boil the eggs and take them for your lunch instead. (They can be doing while the lamb is cooking (or make that the night before). Heat till they just reach the boil, then turn down to a simmer - they shouldn't literally be boiled, since that denatures the protein - let them have about 6 or 7 minutes, and then plunge them in cold water to arrest the cooking.) I'd suggest buying a good but simple book on Indian cooking. Can you get fish? Curried fish would make a good breakfast dish. Can you get tins of coconut milk? Coconut products are a heck of a healthy option, and you can use the spices that're certainly available locally for Thai-style curries, too:

              Mouthwatering curries and soups made from chicken or fish broth, and creamy with whole coconut milk, offer the palate a variety of delicious spices and flavors, including coriander, anise, cumin, nutmeg, lemon grass, chiles, ginger, turmeric (a variety of ginger), basil, mint, garlic and lime. ...

              ... the most protective factor in the Thai diet - and one most ignored by investigators - is the lauric acid found in coconut products. Coconut oil contains almost 50% of this 12-carbon saturated fat, which the body turned into monolaurin, a substance that efficiently kills parasites, yeasts, viruses and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
              http://www.westonaprice.org/traditio...f-coconut.html

              Here's a recipe for Thai Green Curry. It's a slightly complex version, but just simplify it if you can't get everything/don't want to use something:

              http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/m...h-chicken.html

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