Bicycle Network: Health Matters
Worried about eating well and staying hydrated when you're touring in remote areas? Why not sample some local fare? By Toni Jordan.
So you’ve done some long rides at home and now you’re ready for the big overseas tour. You can’t eat two minute noodles and muesli bars forever, and eating the local food is a great way to reduce the weight in your panniers. Still, it can be daunting knowing what to eat in remote areas to stay healthy and keep you pedalling. Here are some diet tips.
We all know that drinking the water is a bad idea in many countries, and the current craze for bottled water is creating an ecological disaster of mountains of plastic. So your options for water are boiling (give it more time at higher altitudes), purification tablets or filters.
Eat like the locals
When you’re in remote areas, remember that refrigeration is often poor or non-existent. Also if there are frequent power blackouts, be highly suspicious of food that requires refrigeration or freezing. It’s best to eat food that stores at room temperature, like the locals do. Lentil goods like dhal, made from lentils and common in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, are terrific sources of protein.
Long distance cyclists need a lot of carbs, and bananas, oranges and mandarins, or any fruit that can be easily peeled, are great. A multivitamin supplement is a good idea, but bring it from home. Some countries don’t have the same manufacturing standards as Australia.
Help to get over the next hill
As well as local foods, there are local habits to consider. Riding in the heat of the day will give much amusement to the locals in Mediterranean countries; they know the best time to take a nap. There are also traditional remedies to stave off fatigue in most countries, like noni juice from the South Pacific, ginseng in parts of Asia or acai from Brazil.
This article first appeared in the June-July 2006 Issue of Ride On.
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