Staying Healthy When Living Abroad
Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Living abroad for a foreigner, particularly in India, can be detrimental to your health with a change in lifestyle, diet and environment. When I lived in Punjab my once varied diet became limited to spicy and rich foods at every meal of the day. Punjabi cuisines usually involve a lot of oil, chilli and dairy with every meal being accompanied with roti - an indian flat bread. Many of the curry's only featured one or two vegetables such as a lentil curry or peas & potato curry.
Therefore it made it difficult to have a varied diet and to suddenly start consuming spicy, oily and high in dairy cuisines wrecked havoc on my body. Don't get me wrong, I love their cuisines it just made me very ill living that lifestyle full time when my body isn't accustomed to such a lifestyle. However if you plan ahead you are able to incorporate healthy alternatives rather than consuming curry three times a day.
Living in Australia I absolutely love using my NutriBullet which is essentially a high powered blender that pulverises fruit and vegetables into a delicious smoothie. This is a great way to get your daily serve of fruit and vegetables even whilst living abroad. The NutriBullet is very compact and easy to fit into your luggage so you can certainly pack one with you. Or simply invest in a quality blender once you arrive.
What I love about using the NutriBullet is that I can keep on all the skins of the fruit and vegetables, which is where many of the nutrients are found. So don't peel that carrot when you put it in your smoothie! I certainly recommend packing one with you if you plan on having an extended stay. Your body will thank you for it!
Now depending on where in India you are travelling to will determine what fruit and vegetables you have access to. However when I make my daily green smoothie at home, below is a list of all the fruits and vegetables I usually use along with some of the health benefits. This is just one way to stay healthy when living abroad.
Coconut Water - Is rich in nutrients and an effective way to hydrate the body. It can also aid in weight loss.
Lemon - Aids in digestion and detoxification of the body. It also is effective for weight loss.
Ginger - Great for digestive health, aids in relieving nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and indigestion. It also has anti inflammatory qualities that can alleviate swelling and pain.
Spinich - Is full of antioxidants which can reduce the risk of cancers. It also has strong anti aging properties and increases muscle efficiency.
Cucumber - Are 95% water so are a great way to hydrate. They also good for digestion and help fight inflammation.
Carrot - Being high in fibre carrots are good for digestive health. They also help boost your immune system and decrease blood pressure.
Apple - Are extremely rich in antioxidants and can reduce the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Pineapple - Contains significant amounts of enzymes that help aid digestion. It also has anti inflammatory properties.
Kiwi Fruit - Is high in Vitamin C with twice the amount of lemons or oranges helping boost your immune system. Kiwi's are also a great way to help induce sleep if eaten before bed. They also have anti aging benefits, are a good source of folate and help aid digestion.
Celery - Is a great anti inflammatory agent helping to alleviate swelling and pain. Celery also helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can help to prevent urinary tract infections and has anti-microbial properties that help fight of infections. Celery is also an effective weight loss agent. It also is a good way to calm down with minerals that soothe the nervous system, which in turn can help for a better night's sleep when eaten before bed.
Avocado - Is rich in good fats helping to maintain cholesterol for a healthy heart. It is also a natural detoxifier and improves digestion.
Strawberries - High in vitamin C helping to boost your immune system. Strawberries are also great for reducing inflammation, aiding weight loss, lowering blood pressure and lower the risk of arthritis, gout and cancer.
What is great about this green smoothie is that you can swap ingredients depending on availability and to your own taste. A few of these ingredients personally weren't available to me when in Punjab, however I still had a great array of options such as Papaya, Pineapple, Apple, Carrots, Spinach, Cucumber, Lemon, Mandarin, Grapes, Coconut, Coconut Water and Oil, Tumeric, Ginger along with nuts and seeds. You could add more vegetables that are available locally such as zucchini, capsicum, broccoli or why not try lentils or chickpeas.
I also like to add vitamins or supplements should I have any at hand at the time such as protein powders. Or nuts or seeds such as LSA mix which is Linseeds, Sunflower Seeds and Almonds crushed into a powder. If you like, raw eggs are also an option though be careful as they can carry bacteria, and tend to be sitting out in the sun at your local bazaar.
Small amounts of certain spices are also beneficial and add flavour, such as cinnamon, nutmeg or even fresh turmeric. Depending on what your taste preferences are, the options are endless for spices. Apple Cidar Vinegar is another great ingredient to add as it helps to aid weight loss, good for digestive health and overall good health.
If you have lived on a Punjabi diet before, you know that whilst it is healthy to some extent it just isn't as varied as you may be used to. Drink one of these green smoothies a day and you know you are getting your daily serving of fruit and vegetables to help keep you healthy.
What is your daily health regime when abroad?