TRAVELING TO MEXICO WITH DIABETES
Something tells me that you’re about to fly out to Mexico and have yourself some pretty awesome holidays!
Now, something else tells me that you’re a tiny bit preoccupied about how you’re going to manage your diabetes and enjoy your trip to the fullest at the same time… Otherwise, why would you be reading this article?
Don’t worry, we’ve got it all covered for you! Traveling to Mexico with diabetes only requires a little bit of organization and preplanning. And that’s exactly what Sweet Trip is here for! In this article, we’ll go through a few points together and make sure you’ve got the basic info at hand (click and jump to any part):
Did you know that Sweet Trip is also publishing country-specific diabetes travel guides?
Well, we’ve got the Mexican one!
Check it out, here are some sample pages for you:
MEXICAN FOOD AND DIABETES
Even UNESCO says that traditional Mexican cuisine is part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Wouldn’t it be a crime against humanity not to taste it, with or without diabetes? At Sweet Trip, we believe that eating and drinking are big parts of traveling. So, get a grip on your diabetes, follow the guide, and take your taste buds for a ride!
DIABETES-FRIENDLY MEXICAN DISHES
In Mexico, it’s not alway easy to find what you need to balance out your meals and enjoy diabetes-friendly meals. But it’s far from being impossible. You just need to plan a bit ahead and learn a few things about Mexican traditional food and its nutritional content.
Here are some of our favorite diabetes-friendly traditional Mexican dishes that you MUST try when traveling to Mexico:
Raw fish or seafood tartar marinated in a lemony seasoned sauce, which, depending on the recipe, is made up of cubes of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, onion, coriander… The tostada (crunchy corn tortilla) that it is generally served on, and which you may omit, is practically the only source of carbohydrates..
Typical dish from the Yucatan region, reserved for meat aficionados! Tender pig meat is slowly marinated in a secret achiote seed-based red dough, and wrapped up in banana leaves before it is cooked in a hole in the ground (the pib). Slightly fat, but pretty much carb-free, and with a well-selected side dish, it shouldn’t pose any danger. Our suggestion: some black beans and a tossed salad.
The world-famous Guacamole is avocado-based with fresh mild pepper to which coriander, onions, tomatoes or lemon juice is sometimes added. Everything is mashed up in a Malcajete (the traditional Mexican mortar and pestle). Guacamole is absolutely everywhere. Its name derives from the Aztec word ahuacamolli which means “avocado sauce.” Luckily, Guacamole contains very few carbs!
CHILES EN NOGADA
Poblanos peppers (they aren’t hot!) stuffed with pork (sometimes beef) and served immersed in a walnut and pomegranate seed cream. Aside from those seeds, we can see hardly any sugars in there!
A super tasty meat stew (traditionally goat or lamb, sometimes beef or chicken). The meat is marinated with a mix of spices before it is slowly cooked over a low fire. The stewed meat dish, in and of itself, contains very little carbs. It will be up to you to balance out your meal by selecting from the various side dishes available. Our suggestion: one or two tortillas with a vegetable plate.
HEALTHY DIABETES-FRIENDLY ADDRESSES
While traveling, we strongly encourage you to venture into any local restaurant that calls out to you and to balance out your meal as best as you can once inside. We aren’t particularly enthusiastic about the “special diabetes” restaurants riding the commercial wave. But we’re all too aware that it isn’t always easy to find three daily meals that will satisfy both your taste buds and your blood glucose levels.
It is precisely for this reason that, in our Mexico diabetes travel guide, we’ve come up with a special diabetes-friendly rescue list. Restaurants offering diverse and balanced menus; shops selling healthy and dietary products with no added sugars; local markets overflowing with life and fresh products… you’ll find everything you need, categorized by neighborhood! And here’s a few of these addresses that we’re revealing to all of you:
MEXICO CITY’S DIABETES-FRIENDLY PLACES (excerpt)
Buffet. Salads, meats, vegetables. Mexican and international dishes. Choose yourself how to balance your meal! Breakfast buffet.
Ad: Calle bolivar n°20
Bakery. Some choices of sugar free cakes and cookies. Yummy!
Ad: Calle 16 de septiembre n°14
MERCADO ABERLADO L.RODRIGUEZ
Local market. All kind of fresh products. Mouth-watering food stands.
Ad: Calle República Venezuela (corner with calle Rodríguez Puebla)
Open: everyday 7am-6pm
Restaurant and groceries. Organic and dietetic products. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Sugar-free yogurt. Gluten-free choices.
Ad: Calle Mazatlan n°81
Restaurant and groceries. Full healthy menu. Sugarfree drinks option. Breakfasts. Shop with good products.
Ad: Plaza Popocatépetl n°41-A
Gourmet groceries. Good choice of dietetic and sugar-free products. Cafeteria service.
Ad: Avenida Sonora n°180
MEXICO DIABETES TRAVEL GUIDE
25+ Mexican traditional dishes
20+ Mexican desserts & drinks
40+ healthy addresses
60+ tantalizing pictures
Nutritional balance tips and ideas
Spanish food vocabulary
MEXICO WITH DIABETES:
MEXICAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
In Mexico, you will receive the necessary medical attention in case of a problem. Mexico City and other big cities have competent and generally well-equipped infrastructures. Medical consultations are easily accessible. Most drugs and pharmaceuticals are commercialised there and you can get all of your medical tests done on the spot if necessary. Now you just need to find out how it all works there!
Before your departure, we want to make sure that you’re holding all the cards you need to act swiftly and calmly if your diabetes decides to act up during your stay.
DIABETES TRAVEL INSURANCES
Your social security system won’t cover the medical costs that you incur during your holidays in Mexico. In the event of an hospitalization or a complicated intervention, these costs can run to several thousand dollars (one day of hospitalization in Mexico amounts to approx 1000 dollars and the repatriation fees can run up to 10, 000 dollars). Furthermore, some establishments will refuse to manage your case if you lack insurance or financial guarantee, sometimes even in life-threatening situations. It is therefore strongly advisable to take out travel insurance to bear these costs.
Certain forms of travel insurance do not bear the medical costs related to a “pre-existing disease” such as diabetes. Double check your in-surance contract and have it reviewed to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
If you are still unsure about the kind of travel insurance you need to be traveling with diabetes, I’d recommend you read our recent article about Finding the Best Diabetes Travel Insurance:
MEDICAL EMERGENCIES WHILE IN MEXICO WITH DIABETES
In the Medical chapter of our Full Guide to Mexico with diabetes, you will find 26 pages, we’ve come up with all the useful information you’ll need to deal with the slightest diabetes-related mishap during your stay. You’ll find inside everything about:
MEDICAL COVERAGE and travel insurance
MEDICAL EMERGENCIES: how to act fast and where to go
CONSULTATIONS: general and specialised in diabetology
PHARMACIES: how to get your treatment, costs, paperwork, etc.
LABORATORIES: where to get your medical tests done
MEDICAL VOCABULARY: English-to-Spanish medical dictionary
LOCAL SUPPORT: diabetes organisations and useful contacts
Here are some sample pages:
KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS LOW WHILE TOURING AROUND MEXICO CITY
Mexico City is vast and abounds in tourist attractions and hidden nooks to venture into. Add to that the generally mild weather conditions and you have got yourself the perfect opportunity to combine tourism with physical exercise. Remember: physical exercise is key to diabetes management!
If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Mexico, check out this wonderful article and its interactive graphic by Bookmundi.
DIABETES AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Whether or not you have diabetes, OMS advices adults aged 18–64 to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. That means we all should walk at least 30 minutes a day. And, the more we walk, the healthier we’ll be!
Walking helps stabilize blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and substantially reduces the risks of developing complications, in particular with regard to cardiovascular diseases. The faster the pace, the more effective it is. And climbing some stairs adds to the effort!
You could also take advantage of the opportunity to discover a new city by bicycle. Cycling is an exercise that is comprehensive, harmonious, and excellent for your health. You exercise both your muscles and your cardiovascular endurance, which is particularly important in avoiding the complications associated with diabetes. Each at his own pace, an intense half hour or a leisurely half-day tour will do you a world of good!
In case you’re short on time to get organised or if you’re lacking inspiration, we have put together some great ideas for you to discover Mexico City while getting some exercise done!
Beautiful walking itineraries
Free guided walking tours
Bicycle rentals and tours
Cultural infos & pictures
Jogging, yoga, fitness…
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