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Un-Fun Food Travel

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Happy Monday all (it'll be Tuesday by the time most of you see this but who's checking?). I have been MIA for a few days as I was busy traveling and getting food poisoning! I couldn't believe it myself. But what an apropos topic to write about on a nutrition blog. At the miserable time I wasn't thinking "hey, this is great blog material" but in hindsight I couldn't have asked for a more "real" experience to make a point.

Here's the rundown. Traveled to Denver for a friend's wedding and to see some family this past weekend. Flew out Friday and all was well. I didn't do my best to eat well that day, you know how traveling gets in the way of healthful eating. Thus, by the time I had dinner I was famished and didn't leave a morsel on my plate. I did have "just" a salad however, so I didn't exactly overindulge. But, in the end, that is what did me in. The culprit? The SPROUTS!

I'm a dietitian and should know better. "Don't eat raw sprouts" is like Food Safety 101! But I let my appetite take over my good sense and ate them anyway. I did think about it for a second and decided the risk was low, 'I'll be ok'. Boy was I wrong. I will spare you the sordid details but let's suffice it to say I missed visiting with my family and missed the wedding. I did not leave the hotel room from Friday night until Sunday morning. I really did learn my lesson.

Bottomline, don't eat raw sprouts under any circumstances. That includes alfalfa, bean, clover and radish sprouts. It's just not worth it. Rinsing them won't get rid of potential bacteria. The only safe way to eat them is cooked and thoroughly.

Because I am a relatively healthy adult I only endured two days of misery (and social isolation). But for the very young, very old and/or individuals with otherwise weakened immune systems the consequences can be much more serious.

I hope that by sharing this experience, I can save at least one person. That will make it all worth it.... Ok enough drama, but seriously, we see raw sprouts all the time on salads and sandwiches and often don't equate them with food borne illness. You may be saying to yourself "I eat them all the time and have never gotten sick". That doesn't mean you won't, and every time you do eat them you increase your chances. If you want 'em, cook 'em. Personally, I don't think they're that great anyway so no big loss for me. I hope not a big loss for you either.

Have a raw-sprout free day!

To learn more about how to avoid foodborne illness visit www.FightBac.org.
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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