Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eating Healthy Food on the road

One of the great challenges of any backpacker/traveler on the journey of a lifetime is eating well. For me eating well means eating a diet that is primarily plant based and when possible organic. The problem is that in most places particularly in Central America, the diet is animal based. There is never a lack of meat and dairy products available, and there seems to be a lack of good fruit vegetables and legumes. At the hostel the debate that we are having as we try to create our bambu hostel menu is how far we can push our food ideals to others. Gregg my business partner and friend of 20 years was a vegetarian in New York City. After moving to Panama he adopted a 'local' diet which primarily consisted of chicken and white rice. After a year of that he got sick. No energy, headaches and a nagging cough. I had met a lady on my trip to David Panama in April that was promoting vitiamins, herbs and vegetarian lifestyle. She was a pioneer in David. The day i found her, I had been drinking rum the night before. I had drunk so much rum that i decided to go for a run in the 95 degree heat to sweat out the toxins. It started out ok but after an hour i realized that i had no idea where i was. David really doesnt have street names or much in the way of signs. As I walked (it was too hot to run at that point and i was dizzy) i passed by a house with a sign that said 'Vitaminas Naturales' I stopped in and was greeted by a very nice woman form Panama City that was selling herbs and vitiamins. I drank her tea and she gave me a banana for the hangover which worked. I kept her card and sent gregg to her after being sick for months. She gave him teas for his asthma and digestion and a vitamin mineral supplement powder. In a few days he was feeling better again and we both figured it was a form of malnutrition that he was suffering from..

That brings us back to menu. I want to have a menu that offers for dinner a choice of fish, vegan (with tofu or beans as the protein) or yard chicken, which is free range and organic. I dont want factory processed meat and would also like to offer some organic food as well. Gregg feels that if we do that we may cut out a large percentage of folks that want to eat pork and beef and really dont care what they eat as long as it is cheap.

The other issue is global warming. the consumption of meat is one of the top producers of CO2. Thus by offering meals that dont participate in factory meat we are doing our best to keep this world around for future generations.

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