For most people, the food whilst on holiday presents exciting and new experiences, alternatives to home and treats that we can eat to our hearts’ content ‘because we’re on holiday’. It can also however, be a minefield of the unknown, struggling to find foods that agrees with you and becoming accustomed to a different diet. This is often the case for allergy sufferers.
The classic airline and airport diet is not conducive to those wanting to keep on a relatively healthy track and it is often downright disgusting. In fact, apart from on a flight to India where I was presented with curry for breakfast and dinner I cannot remember ever enjoying an airline meal!
So, on a recent flight to Brazil I was downhearted but not surprised to be offered the standard dry white bread, potatoes and limp salad. As a Nutritional Therapist, you may as well offer me rat poison as white bread, such is the aversion in our circles! On landing I was met with café after café offering fried snacks, pastries and cakes for breakfast. I will admit that many of these were very tasty however after 18 hours of travelling, I was pleased to reach the wonderful Hotel Das Cataratas at Iguassu Falls where the food was very different.
I want to focus on the breakfasts here as they were delicious and contained some fantastic foods with which to start the day. Throughout Brazil the breakfasts are quite similar and normally offer a good selection for people wanting to eat more healthily.
The range of fresh fruit is always superb and in particular the pineapple and papaya. Both of these fruits contain digestive enzymes which help break down food and aid with our digestion. They are great choices to start the day, particularly if you have overindulged the night before. Other tropical fruits on offer include passion fruit, mango and watermelon. These are quite high sugar fruits and so it is best not to consume large amounts on a regular basis. However, they are a great source of antioxidants and micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium.
The Brazilians love their fresh juices and there are always several options on offer at every meal. Das Cataratas was no different and I enjoyed orange carrot and ginger as well as orange, beetroot and ginger juice. It is good to have some vegetables in your juice to limit the amount of blood sugar raising fruits.
Protein is important with every meal and particularly breakfast which needs to set you up for the day. Eggs are a great option and the restaurant each morning offered scrambled eggs as well as a fantastic omelette station with a selection of vegetables and other fillings where the chef will cook you a fresh omelette of your choosing.
It would be very remiss to talk about breakfast in Brazil and not mention pao de queijo or cheese bread. Nutritionally speaking it’s not the first thing that would spring to a Nutritional Therapist’s mind; what looks like white bread made with cheese. However, these little balls are a Brazilian institution; served everywhere and without fail at every breakfast and are in fact not as bad as you might think. The Brazilians and in fact everyone who eats them falls for them. They aren’t made with wheat flour, instead using manioc flour which we would know as tapioca. This is gluten free and is used a lot in Brazil. Tapioca is a good source of fibre and B vitamins, both important elements in breakfast to aid with elimination and energy. The fact that pao de quejio is gluten free gives it more points for allergy sufferers and, as I only eat it when I come to Brazil I think it’s important to include a little treat while on holiday!
that pao de quejio is gluten free gives it more points for allergy sufferers and, as I only eat it when I come to Brazil I think it’s important to include a little treat while on holiday!