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Paleo food in Kenya?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I'm going to Kenya this summer (mainly Nairobi, with some time in reserves outside), and I was wondering if anyone has been and has some paleo advice and/or tips? Their traditional staples are corn, potatoes, and beans so I'm a bit concerned. Thank you!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:39 PM

you also find high carb food there and processed food.

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5 Answers

2
C8521a858edd480815a55f683afff86a

(2065)

on April 28, 2011
at 09:27 PM

My advice- Do not be concerned. Eat anything that is offered to you that you are not allergic to. It is the height of rudeness to refuse food while in another country. I'd personally feel no better than the silly vegetarians turning up their noses at meat while traveling in another country. If you will be living and/or eating with locals while you are there and you go out of your way to eat differently than them it will create a separation between you. There are far more important and interesting things to be thinking about while you are there- screw your diet, you're a resilient and adaptable human! Personally I would pretend I had never even heard of the paleo diet or any other diet, especially while in a non-western country.

When in Nairobi...

2
C0c00a236586bdd3ccad87d21cac3de2

on April 28, 2011
at 07:02 PM

Does anyone else find it ironic that LiveBigger is essentially going home to the Paleolithic cradle of our evolution, and has to worry about finding paleo food there? What a mess the world has become.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:39 PM

you also find high carb food there and processed food.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on April 28, 2011
at 09:29 PM

My wife lived in Kenya for several years in the 90's, and based on her anecdotes, I don't think you'll have any problem with a paleo diet there (unless eating habits have changed a lot). Meat, especially freshly killed game meat (the ultimate organic meat) is widely available and is a bit of a social institution, to the point that gout is not unheard of. She has fond memories of the Carnivore restaurant, you can guess what they serve. Sukuma wiki (which literally means "stretch the week") is traditionally-prepared greens (think collards) and is a staple in many areas.

Except in the highly developed areas, unprocessed food is the norm since that is what's easiest, for instance a common roadside snack is roasted ears of corn. However, in impoverished areas (which is to say most of Kenya), they stick to cheap starchy staples such as ugali out of necessity. Every region of Africa seems to have its own starchy grain which might not be particularly "paleo", though I agree with the earlier comment that you're headed right into the most paleo part of the world, so I think just eating like the locals do (except when they're emulating Westerners) you should be fine.

0
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on May 01, 2011
at 12:08 AM

As far as I know the Kenyans like their meat as well, unless they can't afford it. I agree with Hannah, that diverting a bit off the paleo path for the sake of respect and rich experiences is well worth it. I am pretty sure you will be fine :) Enjoy your stay, I would love to visit Kenya one day. Say hello to Turkana Boy from me :)

0
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on April 28, 2011
at 08:48 PM

You mention their traditional staples being corn (not optimal Paleo), potatoes (Paleo friendly if you don't mind the carb load) and beans (not optimal Paleo). However, all of these avoid the Three Horsemen (gluten grains, excess fructose and excess LA), from which 90% of the benefits of Paleo come. I also presume that these foods will be traditionally prepared, which will help to mitigate anti-nutrients and other irritants, and will not be overly processed with industrial additives.

A short spell of eating tolerated but not optimal foods will not do you any long-term harm - and may even be beneficial: see hormesis ;) - so provided that you have no specific medical issues for which you're eating Paleo, my advice would be to not offend your hosts and take the opportunity to soak up some authentic local food culture.

On a more practical note, if your carb intake is currently very low, I suggest that you gradually ease it up in the weeks prior to the trip so that there's not a shock to your system. Depending on customs regulations, take some backup Paleo supplies of fat and protein which will survive at room temperature (think jerky, coconut oil, nuts). Also bring a light-weight aluminium water flask with you - this will save you from using BPA leeching plastic bottles.

Relax, enjoy your trip and be sure to soak up plenty of vitamin D!

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