Travel Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

By Natalee Goodman

 All content or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Alternative Food Network Inc. is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a reader based on the content of this site. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.

When you travel, you may be at a higher risk for contracting a foodborne illness. In many countries across the globe, food, water and sanitation standards vary, leaving your immune system susceptible to a multitude of bacteria to which you are unaccustomed. On AFN’s podcast entitled Food Poisoning, Parasites and Food Safety, Dr. Ashley Salomon M.D. shares valuable travel tips to help prevent foodborne illness from potentially ruining your trip.

  1. Wash your hands often. 

This is something that everyone should do and often. Surfaces can harbour a multitude of bad bacteria and by not washing your hands before eating or preparing food, bacteria has the ability to enter your system and wreak havoc.

  1. Be mindful of water while travelling

Water is one of the largest potentially contaminated sources of foodborne illness when travelling. This is because water filtration standards vary by country. Dr. Ashley Salomon recommends always opting for bottled water but she cautions people to be aware that in some countries, bottles are filled with tap water, re-sealed, and then sold to unassuming travellers. Therefore, she recommends travelling with a hand held water filtration system that works using reverse osmosis to keep bacteria at a minimum.

If you can’t get your hands on a water filter, iodine tablets can also help reduce bacteria. They are sold over the counter and you just add to your water. This is not always the best option though, according to Dr. Salomon, as it isn’t suitable for people with iodine allergies. Furthermore, if the water contains stronger bacteria like Giardia, iodine will not be effective.

The easiest way to purify your water while travelling so it will be suitable for consumption is by bringing your water to a boil and letting it continue to boil for at least 60 seconds.

Dr. Salomon also reminds travellers to avoid drinks with ice. Though the drink itself may be fine, ice is very easily contaminated.

  1. Stay vigilant when eating out while travelling

Opt for fully cooked food (no raw fish sushi!) including vegetables. Produce can be easily contaminated with bacteria and parasites (see our other blog post) during the many steps from farm to plate and the best way to avoid is to order cooked produce such as stir fry or a sauté. When ordering meat, always asked for well done and don’t be afraid to send it back if it looks undercooked.

If you are indulging in any type of breakfast buffet look for fruit with peels, such as bananas or oranges. When peeling, be sure that the outer part of the peel does not touch the inner edible part in order to avoid contamination. When it comes to dairy, Dr. Salomon reminds travellers that dairy can contain different flora in different places in the world and is very easily contaminated so you may want to consider avoiding dairy products when you can.

  1. Travel items to bring with you

Dr. Salomon recommends travelling with activated charcoal capsules. They help bind toxins together in the gut and allow a person to flush them faster. However, Dr. Salomon recommends talking to your doctor first since charcoal can cause constipation. If you are looking for something that is easier on the stomach and gut, look for some shelf stable probiotics that you can easily bring with you on your trip.

If you are an adult travelling by air, she recommends bringing a colloidal silver throat & nose spray that can protect you from inhaling harmful bacteria.

Dr. Salomon also mentions a few immune-supportive herbs that you should ask your doctor about before you travel. Garlic oil extract, oregano oil, ginger, thyme, olive leaf, and cloves are anti-viral/antibiotic herbs that can aid in gut protection.

Safe travels!

Organic and Other Health Food Buzzwords Explained

Organic and Other Health Food Buzzwords Explained

Listen to “Organic and Other Health Food Buzzwords Explained” on Spreaker.

Are you confused by some of the health food terms you hear about or read on labels? This podcast explains 10 commonly used health food words. 

In this podcast you’ll hear about:

 0:40 –  Non-GMO

2:00 –  All Natural

2:35 –  Superfood

5:15 –  Grass Fed 

6:00 –  Grass Finished

6:30 –  Whole Food

7:30 –  Naturally Sweetened

8:45 –  Pasture Raised

9:30 –  Organic

11:30 – Macronutrients & Micronutrients

Antimicrobial Foods

By Natalee Goodman

 All content or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Alternative Food Network Inc. is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a reader based on the content of this site. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.

As heard on AFN’s podcast about food poisoning, parasite infections and food safety  there are anti-bacterial foods that you can eat to maintain a healthy and strong gut while also potentially protecting against unwanted foodborne bacteria. These foods can also be eaten while travelling to help protect yourself.  

  1. Papaya
  2. Pumpkin seeds
  3. Curry
  4. Cloves
  5. Thyme 
  6. Black walnut
  7. Oregano oil
  8. Garlic
  9. Manuka Honey

Before making any dietary changes, be sure to talk to your doctor. 

Food Poisoning, Parasite Infections and Food Safety

By Natalee Goodman

All content or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Alternative Food Network Inc. is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a reader based on the content of this site. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner if you’re in any way concerned about your health.

Everyone’s had it – food poisoning. But while you clutched your stomach, did the thought cross your mind, “How could I have avoided this?” According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 600 million people per year get sick from eating contaminated food. On a recent episode  about food poisoning, parasites and food safety on Alternative Food Network’s podcast series Doctors+, Dr. Ashley Salomon, M.D., discusses what foodborne illness is and how to avoid it both at home and while travelling.

Difference Between Foodborne Illness and Food Poisoning
Food poisoning and foodborne illness are used interchangeably, but technically foodborne illness is an infection that results from eating food contaminated with parasites, viruses or bacteria. Foodborne illness can also include an allergic reaction. Food poisoning is a type of foodborne illness wherein one consumes the toxins from bacteria.

Symptoms can last from 1-7 days but sometimes foodborne illness caused by parasites or bacteria can cause irritable bowel symptoms for a prolonged period of time.

Causes of Foodborne Illnesses
There are four categories of foodborne illness: bacterial, parasitic, viral and toxins.

Nearly all foods can become contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites but the most common are:

  • Raw/Unpasteurized Milk and Dairy: Bacteria including campylobacter, staph infection, listeria, and salmonella
  • Raw or Uncooked Seafood: Parasitic infections such as tapeworms, roundworms, and vibrio
  • Raw Eggs: Salmonella via the egg shell itself
  • Raw or Undercooked Meat and Poultry: Campylobacter, E. coli, salmonella, listeria, parasites
  • Canned Goods: Clostridium botulinum or botulism which can be very dangerous because it can cause neurological issues
  • Fresh Produce: coli from contact with manure that could contain animal/human waste, salmonella, listeria
  • Drinking Water: Drinking water could contain cryptosporidium or giardia.
  • Rice: Commonly cooked and left to sit, contracting and harbouring bacteria.

The most common foodborne virus in the U.S. is Norovirus, followed by Rotavirus and Hepatitis A.

When to Consult a Doctor
Trying to stay hydrated with small sips of water or ginger tea is recommended. Electrolyte tablets can also help. Dehydration can exasperate symptoms, making someone who is ill feel even sicker and more lethargic. If illness persists and a person is getting dehydrated, it may be time to see a doctor. Dr. Salomon suggests that if someone has trouble taking fluids, has bloody stool, chills, shakes, chest pain, shallow breathing or severe abdominal pain, they should seek medical attention.

For patients with prolonged symptoms over weeks and months, Dr. Salomon mentions in the podcast that she sends stool tests to advanced labs as it is extremely difficult to catch certain types of parasites and bacteria in regular stool tests.

According to Dr. Salomon, foodborne illness is a great area of integrative medicine because “there’s a place for using pharmaceuticals and then there’s a phenomenal place for using supplements that help detoxification, and herbs that can help the immune system and are antimicrobial.”

High Risk Groups for Foodborne Illness
Anyone can get a foodborne illness but certain people who have lower immune systems can be more susceptible. Pregnant women, young children and seniors as well as people suffering from cancer, chronic illness and Lyme disease are all at higher risk due to their weaker immune systems. People who are susceptible to foodborne illnesses should also avoid soft cheese and raw dairy and make sure that all of their food is both washed and cooked thoroughly.

Prevention Tips
To aid in prevention of these illnesses and infections, Dr. Salomon reminds listeners to be aware of what you’re eating, making sure that everything is cooked thoroughly. When at home, have a temperature gauge so you can verify that your food is properly cooked. Use a separate cutting board for meat/seafood/poultry and diligently wash the cutting board and your hands to eliminate cross contamination. Wash countertops thoroughly and be sure to wash all produce – even organic produce could be contaminated! When defrosting or marinating food, leave it in the fridge and not on the counter. With canned food, make sure the can is not dented or warped and do not use any food that is foul smelling. Lastly, think twice before eating all that raw sushi!

Travel Tips
In AFN’s podcast, Dr. Ashley provides tips for travellers to aid in the prevention of foodborne illness but she also reminds us that it is difficult to fully eliminate the possibility of contracting one of these illnesses when travelling.

The number one prevention tip is to always wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating. Opt for fully cooked vegetables, bottled water and fruits with peels that protect the inner edible portion of the fruit such as oranges or bananas. Water quality varies from country to country and sometimes even bottled water is tap water with the cap resealed. Avoiding ice is also recommended.

In order to eliminate as many toxins as possible, Dr. Salomon recommends buying a handheld water filtration system that has reverse osmosis, or bringing water to a full boil and letting it boil for 60 seconds before drinking. Iodine tablets also work well in a pinch. From a more holistic standpoint, Dr. Salomon also recommends travelling with activated charcoal. It can mop up toxins and reduce nausea and abdominal pain. Lastly, probiotics are great for helping mend the gut lining after an episode, and while many probiotics require refrigeration, there are some that can be stored at room temperature.

For people who don’t have a contraindication, immune supportive herbs can also be used. In the podcast, Dr. Salomon lists garlic extract, garlic oil, oregano oil, ginger, thyme, olive leaf and cloves as examples of herbs that are anti-viral.

Eating foods that are high in spices such as curries and foods with garlic, onion, oregano and thyme are anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Examples of foods that are anti-parasitic are papaya, pumpkin seeds, clove, thyme, oregano and black walnut. Manuka honey is also a great anti-bacterial. Anti-parasitic herbs are great to take when travelling, but these are strong so it is advisable to consult with a licensed medical practitioner.

Other recommended resources:

Food safety: GI Society

Travel safety: CDC

Episode 4: Food Poisoning, Parasites and Food Safety with Dr. A. Salomon

Episode 4: Food Poisoning, Parasites and Food Safety

Listen to “Food Poisoning, Parasites and Food Safety” on Spreaker.

What can you do to prevent foodborne illness? How long does food poisoning last? In this episode of Doctors+, Dr. Ashley Salomon, M.D., discusses what foodborne illness is and how to avoid it both at home and while travelling.

In this podcast you’ll hear:

2:40– Causes of foodborne illness

3:05 Length of symptoms 

3:30– Food offenders 

4:25 Sushi warning

8:20– Water

9:30– Common viral infections 

10:45– Symptoms

12:20– When to consult a doctor

14:20– How to stay hydrated (water, ginger tea, electrolytes)

15:25 Role of integrative medicine for foodborne illness (diagnostics & treatment)

21:35: Difference between foodborne illness and food poisoning

23:15– Who is high risk

25:10 Prevention tips at home 

26:45– Most common food offenders

29:00 Travel prevention tips

33:10– Foods and herbs that can protect our stomach

Doctors+ Episode 3: Heavy Metals in Food & Water: What You Need To Know with Dr. A. Salomon

Episode 3: Heavy Metals in Food & Water: What You Need To Know with Dr. A. Salomon

Listen to “Toxic Heavy Metals in Food & Water with Dr. A. Salomon” on Spreaker. Episode 3 Toxic Heavy Metals in Food & Water with Dr. A. Salomon What are heavy metals and why are they in our food? In this episode, MIT, Princeton and Rush Medical College graduate (to name a few), Dr. Ashley Salomon, MD, provides examples of toxic heavy metals, the big food offenders, and the symptoms and illnesses associated with heavy metal exposure. You’ll learn what foods can protect you plus hear about some great alternatives to foods that are high in heavy metals. Brown or white rice? How should you rinse your rice? Red or white wine? If you’re a fan of sushi, rice and/or wine, you’ll want to listen to this one!

1:00 –  Dr. Salomon’s educational and professional background

3:25 –  What is functional medicine

10:20 – Examples of heavy metals

12:00 – Symptoms and illnesses associated with heavy metal exposure

16:37 –  Arsenic in rice; brown rice v. white rice

17:40 – Recommendation for soaking rice

18:45 – Mercury in fish; fish with higher metal levels v. lower metal levels

20:20 – Who should avoid foods with heavy metals

22:20 – Omega 3’s

22:50 – Alternatives to foods with high heavy metal levels

24:00 – Water and water filtration

26:00  – Protective foods

29:00 – Pesticides and heavy metals

30:45 – Wine

31:40 – Heavy metals in medicinal herbs & supplements

34:00 – More on wine and heavy metals

37:30 – Testing for heavy metals

What Is Moringa?

Moringa is gaining in popularity as a new “superfood” with nutritional and medicinal advantages.

The Moringa oleifera plant, also called the “Miracle Tree”, grows in parts of India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, the Philippines and parts of Africa. It is considered to be one of nature’s healthiest and most nutritious foods.

It has been used for generations in Eastern countries to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, and respiratory, skin, and digestive disorders. In Ayurveda, India’s holistic health system, it has been used as a curative for 300 diseases.

In addition to anecdotal evidence regarding Moringa’s efficacy, there are scientific studies from various parts of the world that provide preliminary evidence of its therapeutic benefits.

If you’re wondering how to use it, one option is to add Moringa powder to a smoothie or tea. “I like to make a glass of iced Moringa tea for myself in the spring and summer. It’s a lovely, healthy and refreshing way to drink it”, says Rose Verjee, Founder of Esme + Sita. The following is Rose’s recipe for Moringa Iced Tea.



  • 4 cups of hot water
  • 2 teaspoons Organic Moringa Leaf Powder
  • Juice of one lemon or to taste
  • One finger of whole, peeled piece of ginger cut into a few pieces
  • Organic honey to sweeten
  • Mint leaves and lemon slices to garnish


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add ginger pieces and take pan off the heat.
  3. Let ginger steep.
  4. Let water cool to tepid temperature.
  5. Add the Moringa powder and lemon juice and steep for 5 minutes.
  6. Strain and stir in honey.
  7. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices. Add a few cubes of ice. Store any extra in the fridge.

As always, you should consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner to confirm whether Moringa is safe for you.

Doctors+ Episode 2: Integrative Medicine with Dr. E. Konigsberg Part 2

Episode 2: Integrative Medicine with Dr. E. Konigsberg Part 2

Listen to “Integrative Medicine with Dr. Konigsberg Part 2” on Spreaker.

Episode 2
The Role of Food in Integrative Medicine
This is Part II of AFN’s interview with Dr. Esther Konigsberg, MD CCFP, where she discusses the role of food and nutrition in integrative medicine versus western medicine. While food and nutrition are often discussed in the context of maintaining general good health, what about food as medicine? Do students in medical school learn about nutrition? Diet changes to help with pain, inflammation and digestive problems are just a few of the topics discussed in this podcast. In this podcast you’ll hear:

1:50 – The large role of food and nutrition in integrative medicine

3:20 – Inflammation and diet

5:30 – Gluten-free diet

6:55 – Is diet and nutrition being taught in medical school?

11:50 – Dr. Konigsberg’s recommendations for educating current and future MD’s about nutrition

16:05 – Listen to your body

17:50 – The misinformation about soy

20:13 – Nutrition in the media

Doctors+ Episode I: Integrative Medicine with Dr. E. Konigsberg Part I

Episode I: Integrative Medicine with Dr. E. Konigsberg Part I

Listen to “Integrative Medicine with Dr. E. Konigsberg Part I” on Spreaker.

Episode 1
What is Integrative Medicine?
This is Part I of AFN’s interview with integrative medicine consultant Dr. Esther Konigsberg, MD CCFP. Dr. Konigsberg, whose teachers and mentors include Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil, explains what integrative medicine is, why patients seek it out and how it fits in with an overall treatment plan. The podcast also explores whether western and alternative healthcare practitioners are really on opposite sides or is the landscape changing? This episode leads into Part II of the interview with Dr. Konigsberg which delves into the role of food and nutrition in integrative medicine. In this podcast you’ll hear:

2:15 – Why Dr. Konigsberg wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor

3:05 – Dr. Konigsberg’s experience in medical school

4:30 – Dr. Konigsberg’s pursuit of further education and her mentors

8:00 – Dr. Konigsberg’s views on evidenced-based medicine

10:00 – Benefits of Integrative Medicine

14:10 – Are western and alternative/complementary medicine practitioners still on ‘opposite sides’?

16:25 – What to look for in an alternative healthcare practitioner

18:10 – Integrative medicine in the U.S. v. Canada