"What I am saying might sound a little cruel and extreme, but necessary," my favourite doctor informs me with a grim expression.
I brace myself for the bad news.
"For the next few days, keep your food intake minimal. In fact, you can do without food for the next day or two- you might lose a pound, but our bodies have more than enough reserves."
Not like I have an appetite anyway- for the last week I've been forcing myself to eat only when I hear my stomach growling and I can't go beyond a few bites, which I assure you is very strange behaviour for me. Whatever I eat, it takes just a few minutes for my stomach to start churning and I find myself running off to the toilet with abdominal cramps and loose bowels.
What I do have is traveller's diarrhoea, which the doctor cheerily assures me is part of the fun and excitement of backpacking.
The day after Valentine's Day, E and I had come down with a case of mild food poisoning in KL (caution to all travellers: avoid Penang fried kway teow, or anything that comes with shellfish) and we had to take a taxi to the nearest hospital and get ourselves examined. We spent an entire day in our stuffy and depressing room in our guesthouse, too weak to get out of bed, much less venture out for food. E had it worse in the beginning but recovered after one day, while my ailments persisted for the next few days.
Moving on to India thereafter probably wasn't the best thing for my stomach. We tried to be as careful as possible, eating either in our hotel or proper food stalls and only drinking bottled drinks. There was one day we went on a tour with the locals and we had to skip lunch entirely because the scheduled lunch stop was at a dodgy place that did not look like it had any hygiene standards, and we survived on a few tiny bags of chips and soft drinks for over 12 hours. Still, a diet of curry 3 meals a day for a week can really upset your tummy.
I'll just have to stick to my diet of soy milk and water for the time being until the balance in my stomach has been restored.