HOW TO SURVIVE GIARDIA ILLNESS (BEAVER FEVER) WHEN TRAVELING ABROAD
If your like me and plethora of humans not covered by health insurance then once in a while you have to be your own doctor. Even the folks covered by health insurance may still need to take a health matter into their own hands. Some people shirk at the thought of self-diagnosing and self-treating while others find the task to be self-empowering. Us medicine women (and men) have our work cut out for us, especially those of us who share a love for travel. Unfortunately, travel and sickness are inextricably linked. You can do all things possible to prepare for a trip but the unexpected is inevitably waiting to burst forth. It could burst forth in the form of a beautiful romance, a conversation with a stranger that changes the course of your life, or (as in my own experience) a low, telling grumble in your stomach called Beaver Fever.
Beaver fever is also known as Giardiasis, which is caused by the flagellate protozoan Giardia lamblia. It's a parasitic organism that infests the digestive tract hatching it's eggs and multiplying by the thousands. It is one of the most physically painful experiences I have ever had. It gets its name because beavers and other fresh water mammals are known to carry the parasite where the unhatched eggs travel through their feces and end up in your drinking water on a romantic camping trip soon to be nightmare.
The first sign of Bever Fever is a big Buddah Belly. It's not going to be the warm, fat belly of the Buddah himself filled with love, fresh fruits, homemade cookies, and energy fields from every frequency of the color spectrum. No, your Buddah Belly is going to be filled with an overproduction of water, enzymes, and or blood cells releasing your digestive system of foreign matter. This Buddah Belly can be a result of eating rich, heavily spiced foods in a beautiful country like Jaipur, or it could come from a simple sip of water.
If you are dehydrated for more than a couple of weeks and feel helpless, seek out a clinic. Beware of their cleanliness, diagnosis and possible prescriptions for antibiotics. It may do more harm than good. If you have traveler's insurance, which I do recommend, see if your plan has coverage for a developed sickness upon returning home. It may just save your life! But, enough with all the details. To begin and with bravery, I give you a list of foods and technique to help you fight off this nasty microscopic critter on your own. These ingredients are easy to find, no matter where in the world you may find yourself:
RAW GARLIC: Raw garlic is a real killer. It has strong antibacterial properties from a compound called allicin. Also known as Russian Penicillin, this stuff can kill those eggs sitting in your lower intestine waiting to hatch and never return. One way of taking raw garlic is to cut it up into small pieces and add it to warm water with lemon. Lemon helps to stimulate the pancreas and liver because you sure are going to have a lot of toxins wanting to leave the body after this bug is through with you.
COCONUT WATER: It has a lot of hype these days, but for good reason! Coconut water is such a magical drink replenishing the electrolytes in the body better than any bottle of gatorade or pedialite. It just kind of makes sense, since coconuts thrive in a tropical climate withstanding high heat and humidity. When you are sick with a bug like giardiasis or general traveler's diarrhea the reason you can't stop going to the bathroom is because your body is sucking up all the water it has and emptying it out leaving you feeling completely drained and fragile. The body is only doing its job, but its your job to get it back to a healthy state. Aside from sipping on water all day, simple coconut water with no added sugars is the way to go.
ALKALIZING FOODS: Our bodies have a pH balance, much like chlorine in a swimming pool. You need the acidic and alkaline properties to be just right and in balance. Humans thrive with more of an alkaline body chemistry. And guess what? Giardiasis doesn't survive in an alkaline body. Beaver fever does however enjoy thriving off the fried food, sugar, and processed matter in your digestive tract. These foods are considered more acidic and are not meant to be in your body for vibrant health anyway! And when your bodies pH balance is off it sucks up the stored nutrients you have in your bones and cells to be used, creating nutrient deficiencies. Yes, this is how deficiencies happen. Anway, here are some alkaline forming foods that will help strengthen you and say farewell to the bever. Root veggies like carrots, turnips, and beets. cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. And leafy greens like spinach and kale. Oh, and don't forget garlic and lemon!
Here is a start. There are a lot of herbal supplements you can take as well like black walnut. But I will leave it up to you to create a remedy of foods and supplements that work for you. Let's just hope you never have to fight off one of these nasty invaders to begin with. With all down to earth sincerity, happy and safe travels. Send me a postcard! xo