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Delhi Belly

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Delhi Belly

We are travelling to ND in 2015 and very worried re food. We are aware of water related problems

but would appreciate other advice as to what to avoid. We have a first class tour booked to the Golden Triangle plus several days on our own in ND. For instance is it ok to have coffee in a Starbucks/Costa? Is it ok to have eggs for breakfast? We are very experienced travellers but this is our first time to India.

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Mumbai, India
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for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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1. Re: Delhi Belly

Travellers get stomach upsets in India due to multiple reasons. The primary reason is of course hygiene, or rather, the lack of it.

If you're eating at an upscale restaurant or a five-star hotel, you can be more or less sure that the food is hygenic and the ingredients are fresh. Even in mid-range restaurants, there are lots of places which are very popular and where the food turnaround is quick. If you're on a driving tour, your driver will know of such places. They are usually places where lots of tourists go, and where the drivers are often offered free meals.

The street stalls are definitely iffy. Avoiding street food is a good idea, although that usually means missing out on some of the best food in the country. If you want to try street food, then eating at places where the food is fresh, where it is cooked right before serving, is a good idea. Many stalls often offer freshly cooked or fried food, but their eating utensils and the water they use to wash them in are questionable. If you're just eating a freshly deep-fried samosa off a piece of paper, you will actually be ok, but eat a little, and don't gorge whole platefuls.

Eating vegetarian is an even better idea, especially if you are on a budget, because at cheaper non-vegetarian stalls, there is usually no refrigeration and the quality of the fish and meat is questionable.

The second (and bigger) reason why people get stomach upsets is the nature of the food in restaurants. Indian food tends to have a complex set of spices, and while this makes it delizioso :) :) it also makes it difficult for your stomach.

When I travel in Rajasthan, I always get stomach upsets because the masalas and cooking techniques of Rajasthani food are different from what I use at home. Also restaurant food tends to be more greasy and buttery than the light food we eat at home. The way to handle this is to try and mix familiar and unfamiliar foods in your trip. For foreigners visiting India, I would recommend eating Western breakfasts and dinners, and Indian lunches (while sightseeing). This gives your digestive system the ability to handle things well. Another major secret is yoghurt. Indians drink lots of lassi, and eat lots of yoghurt. This keeps our internals in good order.

Some other do's and don't: Stick to bottled water. Avoid fresh juices from street stalls. Avoid salads that have been in the open too long. Stay in places where the food is of good quality. Bring hand sanitizer. That's about it. Beyond this, you have to trust to luck!

P.S. Yes it's ok to eat at Starbucks, Costa, Pizza Hut, KFC etc. They are franchises of global chains and they have to maintain the hygiene levels mandated by the parent company.

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Mumbai, India
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for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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2. Re: Delhi Belly

And P. P. S - Eggs are ok.

London
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3. Re: Delhi Belly

Really helpful information. Thanks

Herts, UK
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4. Re: Delhi Belly

Hi we are in the UK and also going to India in 2015 and I have been researching all manner of stuff in preparation....

One thing I have come across is a product called Bimuno, available on line and in Boots (both shop and Boots.com). Basically it is travel pastilles you eat from a week before you travel, all through the holiday and maybe a few days after you get back (just in case). You eat 3 pastilles a day after breakfast and it protects the digestion system with "good bacteria", which in turn fights off any "bad bacteria"....it has great reviews.

Well worth a look as Boots.com are doing 3 for 2 at the moment. One pack of 30 (10 days treatment) is currently £9.99

We're not going until Dec 2015, but I'm having great fun "planning".

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5. Re: Delhi Belly

Thank you Deepa - great advice. BTW we are from Canada.

Perth, Australia
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for Penang, Kuala Lumpur
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6. Re: Delhi Belly

We recently visited India for the first time (it was brilliant).

Given we had a month and were visiting Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, (back to) Delhi, Agra, (back to) Delhi, Varanasi, and Kolkata in that time we didn't want to risk losing any time with belly upsets. Our GP, who is from Bangladesh and who knows us very well (including that we travel frequently and extensively in SE Asia and eat street food all through the region) sternly advised us not to eat street food (he told me, and then thinking I wouldn't heed his advice told Sabrina to tell me I was not to eat street food no matter how good it smelled)...

We stuck with the Doctor's advice, and just wandered past the street food (gazing at it longingly)... We did a heap of research here on TripAdvisor reading restaurant reviews, and noted down a number in each of our destinations that had received positive reviews and no mention of people getting sick. We ate both veg and non-veg food on our travels (OMG the Afghani and Tandoori Chicken!!!! And a spicy mutton curry in Jaisalmer! Divine!)

We brought heat stable pro-biotics (Sabrina is a fan of yoghurt so enjoyed the lassis, I am not so much so I stuck with the tablets), one each day of our trip.

Something else we did, and we do for all our travels overseas, is brought along little sachets of raspberry jam.

There is a saying in Australia that if you're travelling to Bali (where of course there is the risk of Bali Belly) that taking red cordial will help stop you getting sick... The cynic in us said "yeah, right" so Sabrina did some research (quite some years ago) and learned in part this is true. Unfortunately most Aussies take along their Cottees Raspberry Cordial which contains no raspberry at all - this won't help. It has been proven in lab studies that raspberry juice and blackcurrent juice can kill at least 12 different types of bacteria including E. Coli, Shigella, and a number of strains of Salmonella. The trick is you need to have at least 35% raspberry or blackcurrent (then diluted down to 1 part cordial in 3 parts water).

There haven't been clinical studies on humans, but from our experience the one and only time one of us has gotten sick with any kind of food poisoning/stomach bug was the one trip where we didn't take our raspberry jam / cordial! Also, at one stage (at home as it happens) I had been going through a phase of having raspberry jam sandwiches for breakfast (toast would have meant getting out of bed earlier), Sabrina was very unwell with gastro over a weekend, she managed to pass it on to my Dad, but I came through unscathed even though I had been in contact with her (and then with both of them) all through their illness! I thank the raspberry jam :-)

We'll note we find jam easier to transport (buying the individual serving sachets you often get at hotels), and just have some on toast in the mornings, or while in India (or Malaysia or Singapore) even on a parantha (roti canai) or fried Indian bread!

After all of this, noting that as a back-up and in the expectation that we would not avoid a dose of "Delhi Belly" (as we were assured by friends who have been to India that it happens to everyone and is unavoidable), did bring with us a stack of anti-diarrhoea, anti-nausea, and anti-cramping medications - well, Sabrina joked with her Chemist could we not return them for a refund as we didn't need them!

Enjoy India - it is fabulous!

Lise & Sabrina

References:

abc.net.au/health/…2797762.htm

baliforfamilies.com/bali_belly_and_raspberry…

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11798288

forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au/index.php…

iol.co.za/scitech/….U92L-eOSyE4

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Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur District, India
Udaipur
Udaipur
Udaipur District, India
Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur District, India
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer District, India
Agra
Agra
Agra District, India
Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi District, India
Kolkata (Calcutta)
Kolkata (Calcutta)
Kolkata District, India
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
canberra
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7. Re: Delhi Belly

First of all I think that you need to relax and not be overly concerned as I know more people who have visited India and not got the dreaded Delhi Belly than those who have.

Always drink bottled water,use it for cleaning your teeth,only eat fruit that has skin i.e. bananas ,mango etc..

Always be prepared and the very best instant cure for a funny tummy is IMODEOM which is available at all chemists

Enjoy Delhi and don't worry yourself sick!!

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8. Re: Delhi Belly

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