I’ve been an avid vegetarian for about 18 years, and even have gone so far as to drink only bottled water these days. But, after traveling to South America and returning with a fever that lasted a week, I’ve begun to question my eating habits. Why? – Becuase never has my body felt so weak, so vulnerable as when I was traveling in a place where the standards of cleanliness and hygene are far below that of the United States. This may seem silly, but Venus, who drinks tap water, eats anything that she wishes (while exercising to maintain her 108 pound frame), managed to escape illness altogether.
It led me to wonder if my constant bottled water/organic food only diet is making my system weaker and more vulnerable to pathogens that might normally be a part of the flora of my body. Not only was eating difficult to impossible (since I always crave fresh fruits and vegetables), my palatte was extremely limited at the same time. I read in Lonely Planet not to eat anything fresh, not even a single piece of lettuce, because it’s most-likely rinsed in local tap water, which has been known to get even the locals ill. I tried to eat as much fruit and avocados as I could, but a couple of evenings, I couldn’t help myself and had a piece of lettuce and a carrot that came sliced.
I don’t know if i will ever know if either of these are the culprits, but just like children who aren’t exposed to as many enviromental factors often develop immunue system deficiencies, it makes me wonder if my immune system needs a good kick in the pants every once in a while to steel itself, to help it better cope with external pathogens that attempt to invade my body and make me ill. I wonder if everything truly should be in moderation, and maybe I should drink some tap water, maybe I should look into eating some seafood, maybe I should eat a wider variety of foods, inlcuding non-organic fruits and vegetables. Afterall, there’s no escaping the world in which I live in, and it’s full of Coca Cola and Beer Nuts and Cheese Sticks. Eek.