How to get healthy in a third world country

During my six weeks in India I’ve lost 5kgs, gotten clear skin, walked more than I have in my life and felt substantially more peaceful – that’s despite the oily curry and roti (wheat based flatbread), humidity, lack of clean pavements and walking spaces, and stressful chaotic people and places. Here are some tips to stay (or get!) healthy whilst travelling:
Stay hydrated and pee clear
The need to purchase water in most third world countries can be annoying, but don’t skimp on the h2o. Particularly when it’s hot, aim for 4+L a day and carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Sugar cane juice (make sure it’s hygienic!) and fresh coconut water are delicious and readily available too. The only downside of staying hydrated is you’ll eventually have to start using Indian toilets, but hey at least you’ll get toned thighs from all the squatting!

Stick to plant based foods and only eat when you’re hungry
Being a predominantly Hindu country, India has a plethora of vegetarian food but it’s better to stick to completely plant based foods which are also super easy to find – safe options are dal, rotis, sabzi (pronounced ‘sub-gee’ and refers to vegetable curry), thalis (ask to replace the curd with extra dal), and rice – ensure there’s no ghee added to any of the food, helps if you pick up some basic Hindi when ordering food. If you’re sick of Indian food, try vegetable chowmein or, vegetable momos (dumplings) which usually come with a clear veg soup.

Try not to overeat just because food is cheap; I found that despite all the walking and India being generally more tiring, eating around two meals a day was sufficient and filling. If you’re travelling with someone else or in a group, try sharing meals too – that way you can try a variety of dishes, save $$ and avoid wasting food.

Ditch the cake face
Don’t bother wearing makeup, it’s so hot it’ll end up running down your face anyway. I took one bottle of foundation and some mascara and only ended up wearing the foundation once (in the first week I was there, ironically to see slum children). Let your face breathe and it will thank you!
Take advantage of the cheap coco
Buy a small bottle of coconut oil (should be around 50-100INR, so only $1-2AUD) and use it on your face and lips at night and on any dry, cracked skin. Slather it on your hair as well the night before washing – this was essential for me to maintain soft hair, as the humidity initially made my hair rough due to the bleaching.
Invest in a good hydrating toner so your skin doesn’t dry out – I used Zk’in’s hydrating mist throughout my trip and my skin remained soft and supple. I also used Zk’in’s softening cream cleanser, relief moisturiser, and soothing hand cream during my time there.
Run, don’t rickshaw
If places are a walkable distance, use your legs (don’t actually run, you’ll probably trip over) – no need to waste time haggling with auto drivers. Explore monuments, climb up to forts, explore shady gullys and get the best chai, look for photo opportunities. Embracing incidental exercise is key in really seeing a country – taking a taxi or auto will get you from point A to point B, but you miss out on the amazing experiences between them.
Be a happy hoe
It’s easy to get frustrated in a country if you don’t understand the language and people around you are seeming unhelpful (at times), but stay positive and life will seem a lot easier. You attract the energy you put out into the world and your mindset makes up the majority of your experience, so stay calm in stressful situations and radiate the energy you’d like to receive.



2 thoughts on “How to get healthy in a third world country

  • Great tips, staying hydrated is so important when traveling and you’ll feel so much better if you are. Another thing I always try to do while traveling is to have some dates or dried fruits with me so in case I get hungry and they’re no plant based options available I at least have a snack until I find something. Love the photos as well!

    • Thanks Svenja, yeah that’s a good idea – I didn’t have any difficulty finding plant based food in India but snacks are always good to have on hand! Xx

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