2

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Backpacking and trying to stay paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 03, 2013 at 12:59 PM

I hope that someone out there will be able to offer some words of wisdom and advice. I've been travelling for a while now, but whilst on an extended stay in Australia I got into crossfit and consequently moved over to a paleo lifestyle. However having over the last month redooned my pack and gotten back on the road, I'm coming up against great difficulties in sticking to truly paleo lifestyle and to the fact that I'm now travelling through south east Asia. So there are rice and noodles everywhere, along with soy sauce sugar added to nearly everything (including bizarrely carrot juice, which I didn't even think to ask for not). Though it is very amusing to see people's expressions when I order food and ask for the rice to me omitted.

I've made really good strides with my nutrition and was immensely pleased with natural results that came because of it and don't want to see it all completely ruined. But with no access to my own kitchen and sometimes spending a whole day on buses/ trains with only processed and convenience food immediately at hand the food situation is becoming harder to control and nuts are more difficult to fine by here than I would have thought, but even so I can't live off if those.

Sorry I've ranted and not asked anything yet! But I just wanted to know if anyone else has been backpacking and how they dealt with the whole food issue; and if anyone could offer any ideas on what I could do. Any help much appreciated.

Adc407585927a82f9868dd98a05a7318

on February 04, 2013
at 02:41 AM

Michael - there is lots of fresh produce in the markets and things and its great, but as a backpacker you have no kitchen so no way cooking. Therefore left to the devices of kitchens and street vendors. The food is in no way bad (it's all delicious which is part of the problem), there's no control over what's in it.

Adc407585927a82f9868dd98a05a7318

on February 04, 2013
at 02:38 AM

Yeah I do appreciate that as a westerner I do have have the luxury of picking and choosing what I eat and I should think about em that more. Didn't really think about the rice noodle option though so thanks.

Fab409ac4a30957e3ed508514f7bff02

(295)

on February 03, 2013
at 07:12 PM

Depending on body composition, I wouldn't worry about the (white) rice if you aren't overweight. Check out: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on February 03, 2013
at 01:52 PM

I was wondering about this sort of thing (Eating generally 'well' on the road). I'm going to head off next year myself. Was under the impression that lots of places across SE Asia showcase fresh produce all the time...?

Adc407585927a82f9868dd98a05a7318

on February 03, 2013
at 01:13 PM

I've just arrived in Cambodia yesterday, so I'm now hoping you're right. But Thailand and Laos was rampant.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on February 03, 2013
at 01:04 PM

Oh, no. It's difficult to avoid soy sauce in southeast Asia? I thought places like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand wouldn't use much soy sauce.

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2 Answers

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1
42cd0feeeda5fa2e2fe1c4fd8255073a

on February 04, 2013
at 01:19 AM

Hi Charmaine! It's one of those challenges I think that make living a truly optimised healthy lifestyle very very difficult since you don't have access to your normal creature comforts and food sources. So you definitely learn how to compromise and I believe a bit of flexibility in diet is required/necessary fullstop. Having travelled a lot myself (South-East Asia included!) I believe there were still a lot of good options although the source and cooking methods of food is always questionable. But you have to eat, so I always looked for the old vegie, egg and meat dishes. Rice noodles are widely available and a good substitute for egg noodles and whatnot. Plus, I think it'd be a shame to miss out on an amazing bowl of Pho! Coconut based curries are everywhere and totally delicious. As mentioned, just pass on the rice or just leave it to the side if you want to avoid the strange looks by specifically not requesting it. So what, it probably costed a whole 10 cents haha.. I steered clear a fair bit of chicken having been freaked out about food poisoning, but that would depend on the feel of the restaurant and where I was. It's such a situational thing. Lots of fruit smoothies and juices in Thailand. Always refreshing for the climate. As you said though, they love adding sugar, so just ask for no sugar and they usually comply. Go nuts on the fresh coconuts! Whilst not ideal, you can still make good choices that won't necessarily have a negative effect on your health. I look at it as a temporary 'plateau' if anything. I think it's difficult to truly 'optimise' your diet when travelling.

So try and not stress too much about the little hidden bits of soy sauce and whatnot. It's not worth the elevated cortisol! (unless of course, you have SERIOUS aversions to this stuff). A little bit here and there won't do any major harm for the period of time you'll be travelling through.

Last word: travelling is a wonderful experience but it sure does make you appreciate the luxury we have in the first world to experiment and optimise our diets and lifestyles. This is a true blessing in itself. Billions of people live as they do and surprise surpirse, yes, they live. Maybe not optimally, but nevertheless, they do, so short term exposure to these lifestyles will not do you long term harm. Just putting it back into perspective for you :-)

Adc407585927a82f9868dd98a05a7318

on February 04, 2013
at 02:38 AM

Yeah I do appreciate that as a westerner I do have have the luxury of picking and choosing what I eat and I should think about em that more. Didn't really think about the rice noodle option though so thanks.

-2
23f701386ac9e4ccc6767b627c5e3abf

on February 03, 2013
at 02:46 PM

I love traveling and I have been following a paleo diet for the past few years. So I do a lot of backpacking and I always keep my bag packed with a lot of paleo snacks. Dry fruits and nuts are easy to find so they form an essential part of my diet. In addition, I carry a few cookies, bars and Kale chips. I also know quite a few paleo recipes, so when I stay over, I give myself a nice healthy meal.

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