The following information has been gathered and compiled through personal experience, while traveling, teaching classes that include T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, herbal information, martial arts and other health related subjects. The article also contains feedback from students and anecdotal information from readers of my columns. The following are my opinions and deductions from those sources.
Our system builds up an immunity to some types of the bacteria we encounter on a regular basis in what we eat and drink. Even traveling across country we can encounter problems. Different spices used in cooking, the method of cooking, oils used in food preparation, bacteria in the water and overindulgence can all cause problems. Traveling out of the country can exacerbate the problem.
I lived in Mexico for a period of time on my sailboat. Finding a reliable source of water proved difficult, we were in the Sea of Cortez, on the peninsula side where water is scarce. We had to drink the water that was available, even though everyone tells you not to.
Boiling the water for at least en minutes is one way to purify it. Our water was kept in two sixty gallon plastic tanks. We could see the water level, color and anything that grew on the inside of the tank.
We were cautioned not to brush our teeth until we used boiled water, not to wash our vegetables with the water unless it was purified, no to cook with the water unless the food was boiled for at least ten minutes (which makes it about as nutritious as cardboard) and not to drink anything with ice cubes in it because freezing doesn’t kill the bacteria. This made life somewhat difficult and living on a sailboat long-term, is difficult enough.
At one open anchorage I went to shore and visited with a family who were camped there while the husband fished. He was a commercial fisherman and the family had been there a longtime and would be there long after we left. The subject of water came up and the man told me, “If we can drink the water, so can you.” He also said they squeezed fresh lime in their jugs to purify the water. I like lime so it wasn’t a problem for me, or the rest of my family, crew to give it a try. We never experienced any intestinal problems before or after that time.
When we sailed from Cabo San Lucas to Hawaii, a twenty day journey, the weather was to rough to be boiling water for fear of getting scalded. Before we left Cabo, we filled both tanks and put chlorine tablets in one and squeezed the juice of three dozen limes in the other. The chlorinated water tasted so bad no one wanted to drink it. We drank the lime water and none of us got sick or had any intestinal discomfort or problems. It was a rough, but fast trip and we had water left in both tanks when we arrived in Kauai. We used the chlorinated water for washing and cleaning and most of it was still left. The tank with the fresh lime was about eighty percent empty.
After arriving in Kauai, we looked to see how much water we had left. The tank with the chlorine water had a green algae type ring around the inside of the tank. The tank with the lime was clear, no algae, no scum, just clear, clean water.
Since that time, I’ve found or heard of other recipes for staying healthy and not having to make multiple, unscheduled trips to the bathroom. These are supposed to help prevent and/or remedy Turista and other intestinal problems of that nature.
1. Drink twelve ounces of ginger ale or seven-up mixed with the juice of one lime and one tbs of cornstarch.
2. Drink the juice of one coconut and the juice of two limes mixed together.
3. Grind up the seeds of a papaya and wash them down with a glass of purified water mixed with the juice of one lime.
Do you see anything in the recipes hinting that lime, and probably lemon except lime is a lot more available everywhere I’ve gone in Mexico, might be the “active ingredient?”