This last month my husband and I had our 30th wedding anniversary. Ron and I and our three kids are a tribe and we've always done everything together. This was the first vacation we have had alone since our honeymoon which we spent on a houseboat in Lake Powell, Utah. So it seemed only appropriate to celebrate our 30 years together on a bigger boat, which was a cruise to the Caribbean. Taking cultures is a hard thing to do on an airplane, let alone a cruise, but I will find a way when there seems to be no way because it's important to me. I have learned a trick or two and want to pass them on to you. But first I want to address a few things about why it is so important to have cultured foods with you, even in small amounts, on vacation.
Viruses on cruise ships
The first thing I noticed on the cruise ship was the giant containers of hand sanitizer everywhere on the ship. They want you to use them before every meal and as often as you can. Viruses on cruise ships can be a terrible thing, and they are continuing to get worse and not better. Here's the deal with these antibacterial soaps - the chemical Triclosan in these soaps can mess with your thyroid, is hard on your liver, and kills both good and bad bacteria, so the bad bacteria can mutate and get stronger. They are not making things better, they are making things worse. Antibiotics (which, for the record, I am not against - I think they are still necessary in certain cases but have been overused and abused) are used to wipe out the bad bacteria which are causing an infection. But some bacteria are stronger than others, and if you don't finish the entire regimen of antibiotics, some bacteria will survive and pass on their resistance to antibiotics. Antibacterial soaps also kill bacteria that actually are helpful to the body because they keep other troublesome bugs in check. The overuse of antibacterial soaps might actually help create drug-resistant mutant germs, because of the chemical Triclosan that creates an environment where the resistant, mutated bacteria are more likely to survive. No one can even say for sure whether these antibacterial soaps are any more effective than plain soap and water. Some are saying this antibiotic crisis is bigger than the AIDS epidemic. It is becoming a scary thing.
Kombucha on the ship lounge
When they asked me before every meal to please use the antibacterial soaps before I entered the dining room, I would tell them,"No way, no how" and after the 13th time they insisted, I completely lost it. I told them they would have to throw me overboard before I would ever, ever use those soaps. Those sweet porters in broken English smiled, and looked at each other and said, "Oh, you a rebel!" to which I replied, "Yes, and I will not hush about this - you can't make me! They're making your ship worse, not better." Then I walked off and tried not to stomp my foot. I'm sure they thought I was a crazy person. It was hard for me that so many people are unaware of what is happening. In fear, they do the only thing they can do, kill all bacteria because they don't know the consequences or see another way. This just breaks my heart and makes me want to help people even more. I was so shocked how everybody will file in and use these soaps without even thinking about it. Being surrounded by 5,550 people on this ship who don't know anything about cultured foods made me feel like a little fish in a big ocean and I felt powerless and disheartened.
I told my husband I had my work cut out for me and oh, my word! I was so glad I brought kombucha and kefir on my trip. They're the good guys in a ship that was killing bacteria left and right.
It was that night in the internet lounge that a lady and her daughter next to me began talking to me and expressing the health struggles they were having, and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew we had several people all talking about health and cultured foods. She took my website and name and passed around her phone at the dinner table that night showing everybody my website and sharing with them what she had learned. She subscribed to my emails and free ebook and started on her own journey. Here's the deal - going on a cruise made me feel like I had a ten-ton gorilla of desire sitting upon my shoulders to help people feel better and change the misconceptions about killing all bacteria, even if it is only a few people. When something as simple as cultured foods loaded with good bacteria changes your life like it has mine, you want to shout it from the rooftops, or across the seas, and I pray I can do this very thing.
"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or . . . a pioneer of the future." Deepak Chopra
Taking Cultures on a Plane
Taking cultures on a plane can be tricky, but I have a new method that has proven super easy and convenient. My husband suggested I take the kefir powder packages with me, and a jar, and put these in my suitcase. When we got to the ship, I added some milk to the jar (no need to heat the milk it can be cold) and sprinkled in the powder package and in 24 hours I had kefir that I could eat and make more from. Each package will make from 1 quart to many gallons so it would be plenty of kefir for the length of our trip. You can take a small portion of this and make more kefir by just adding it to more milk and letting it sit for another 24 hours. There are no kefir grains to take care of, and this makes it very easy to have as much or as little as you need on any given day. The refrigerator in our cabin wasn't working very well and didn't chill my kefir but still, the kefir was fine even though it wasn't kept cold. Kefir preserves the milk and makes it safe. I was surprised at how good it tasted even though it wasn't kept very cold. I had kefir in my room and with very little effort on my part. My live kefir grains were at home, kept in a lot of milk in the refrigerator, waiting for my return and this method was just what I needed for my trip.
I also took some kombucha, but you can't really take this on a plane. I was afraid it might explode, so I waited till I arrived in Florida where the ship was docked and some very sweet friends that I had met through my website met us for dinner. They went and bought us some kombucha at a health food store. We put it in a cooler and took it on the ship with us. I didn't take cultured veggies with me, but this too can be packed in a suitcase in a jar with a plastic bag around it in case it leaks. This would have to go in your suitcase that you check and not your carry on since security might frown at this. Then refrigerate your veggies as soon as you get to where you are going or place them in a cooler.
So my sweet friends, can you do me a favor and please start making and eating these sustainable, delicious cultured foods? We must stop the madness of antibiotic resistance that has started to change the world we live in. We have to fight evil with good and this includes good bacteria. You have to begin to build up the stronger strains of good bacteria inside of you and this epidemic of resistant strains of bacteria will slow down and even reverse. I know that I am only one person but with you I am many, and we can make a difference and change this precious world we live in. I want you to be happy, well, and not afraid of disease. I want the world we live in to thrive and not be overrun with resistant strains of bacteria. As I sat on that cruise ship and looked out at the water, I thought maybe I was born for such a time as this and maybe this is why I love it so very much - to help others find the good bacteria that we are mostly made of. You are 100 trillion bacteria and only 1% is harmful. If you will but start on this journey to discover the bacteria that is in you and all around you, your life will change and then so will the lives around you. It has to. We could do it together and we will leave this world a better place. Don't let your heart be troubled about this, it's just a wake-up call that we need to change, and I will help you - it's a promise.
We are all in this together.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."Margaret Mead