“I have recently moved to Mumbai from Mexico. I am very fond of food but hesitate to try Indian food as it is too spicy. I have heard a lot about Delhi belly as well. Is it safe to have Indian food, and how can expats maintain a healthy diet in India?”
Whenever you move to a particular country, it comes with a variety of ups and downs and its fair share of experiences. India, the ‘Incredible India’ is a rollercoaster ride which you might not want to skip and certainly not miss out on any of the experiences that come your way. And to truly enjoy this adventure, you might come across a few hardships which (fret not) comes with multiple solutions.
Indians love their culture, and they are determined to make you fall in love with it too but what they love the most about it, is food. Food comes in a massive range here, full of flavours, colours, sometimes on a silver plate, other times on a banana leaf.
As an expat moving to India, you go through major changes in your diet. India has a lot to offer apart from spices, from different cooking styles, food that is creamy and mild to extremely spicy curries. You must be prepared to put your body through some changes, which may not always be bad.
You may not be used to the spiciness and the ingredients of the food; hence it is always safe to be prepared. Expats often end up with gastric discomfort, but it is not always due to the food. Waterborne ailments are common here. Drinking tap water is highly inadvisable, especially during the monsoon season. You may end up suffering from some stomach issues.
It is always essential, as an expat, to keep a doctors’s number at hand. Identifying a doctor should be one of the first steps when moving. Especially if you experience frequent digestion issues, they may tend to blow up due to change in the diet. You may want to avoid certain types of food if you’re aware of your problem beforehand. Steering clear of food that is too spicy or containing too much fibre may be a good idea. Most expats in India try to avoid foods including dairy, raw meat, uncooked products and peeled fruits. When preparing a meal for yourself, remember to wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly with purified water. Consuming probiotic tablets as a supplement is a good idea too.
When in India, try to forgo unhealthy food habits. Relying on take-out food can lead to bowel difficulties. Always try to have home-cooked meals instead of eating out no matter how hygienic or healthy it may seem. Eating out can also lead to high-calorie intake, which is not beneficial or healthy in the long run. It is also helpful to shop locally and get familiar with local markets and vendors. Cooking is an art, and you can always learn how to make your own renditions of dishes with the ingredients available according to your tastes and habits. Spending your time amidst the locals will get you familiarised with their lifestyle and patterns. Everything you do gets you an inch closer to being and belonging to that place.