3

votes

Any paleo practitioners of east Asian descent out there?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 07, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Hey Everyone, I'm an American living in China, and have been eating and working out paleo (as much as I can here) for about 6 months. It's been awesome, and I've been trying to convince my Chinese friends, some of whom are suffering from chronic health problems, to give paleo a try.

Some of these friends, however, think that my success with paleo has something with me being a westerner (that is to say, a white guy), because my DNA is somehow different- or something. Some of them think they can't live without rice ( I know this has been discussed before here).

So I figure the most convincing case I could make to them is to show them examples of east Asians who are doing paleo. So I'd very grateful indeed to hear from any of you out there.

BTW, if some of you happen to be women who lift heavy things, that would be excellent. Almost all women here think weight lifting is only for men.

Cheers!

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:23 AM

We need women to teach women to lift haevy things. they'll never take it from a man, esp a fitness/bodybuilding type spokesperson.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:22 AM

I also do believe the calorie restriction due to poverty does play a significant role lolol. my parents were rail-thin in china, but after only a few yrs of living in the US, both struggle with their weight tremendously

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:21 AM

I'm Chinese, my grandfather only used lard to cook in the past. He got pissed when my father's "know-it-all" generation told him veggie oils were better, and to cook less red meat. now my father's generation of my family has all sorts of neolithic diseases including cancer while my grandparents lived til their 90's. who's retarded now. ps. Philly represent! I attended Penn

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:19 AM

I'm Chinese/Korean American, living in DC. @Melissa mmm Paleo Asian women :) To the discussion, I do think there are genetic or at least EPIGENETIC differences between many Asians and Americans in terms of how they handle carbohydrates.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on October 17, 2011
at 08:36 AM

Wait, are we arguing that soymilk is a Western food? Soymilk and other soy products are a huge part of the Chinese diet and have been for a very long time. Devout Buddhists who go veg use it as their main protein source.

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on October 17, 2011
at 08:29 AM

In regards to grassfed meat in China, I'm in a big city full of westerners and it's almost impossible to find. I've found pastured lamb from Mongolia, but there's no way to be sure of the source really. There is no demand yet for pastured things, as Asia hasn't had a huge health movement like the states. Consumers don't really know the difference, so producers haven't begun catering to that yet.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:16 PM

shoot! I meant to start that comment with his comment NOT being directly related.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:16 PM

I'd agree that his comment is directly related to the discussion as this is paleohacks but if you've traveled throughout east asia you will know that generally speaking his is completely correct. Even in Japan which has a very high level of public education, "DNA" differences etc are much more accepted as the difference between white folk, black folk, and east asian folk.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 02, 2011
at 04:13 PM

As you and Patrik have eluded to above, I think you should have been more clear with your comment. It definitely could be taken as a direct stab at the poster of this question. It seems, based on your additional explanation, that you are referring to what Nico friends are telling him as being racist, but if you're gonna put "typical Chinese racist nonsense" in any comment/answer/question anywhere on PH and pretty much anywhere on the web, you'd be wise to make certain your intent is clear. Even then, I'm not so sure it's an appropriate comment.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on November 18, 2010
at 09:15 PM

The Chinese government pushes that Asians all came from the Chinese and that the Chinese did NOT come from Afica. I can see this throwing a lot of people off (it's bunk science).

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on November 18, 2010
at 09:12 PM

Thanks for making this Gary. I think it'll help alot of people

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 17, 2010
at 02:34 PM

Happy to. I lived in China for several years and a lot of cultural or other differences between Chinese people and others are explained away as genetic or racial in a way that most Westerners (although not all, I wouldn't want to over-generalize) find appalling. Racial / genetic difference is also a cornerstone of Han nationalism and that is something I have a real problem with. My comment was poorly worded for this site, and I apologize for that, but if a Chinese friend said to me "paleo only works for you because you're white" that would be my exact response.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on November 17, 2010
at 04:32 AM

@Alex - please clarify your comment -- it seems unduly inflammatory.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 16, 2010
at 03:13 PM

That sounds like typical Chinese racist nonsense to me.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 06:36 AM

Hi Gary, Thanks for the comments! It would be super cool if you could translate your site into Chinese. China is one its way to adopting something like the SAD. Even in the 4 years I've been here, you see more and more overweight people, including Children. People seem especially oblivious to the effects of sugar. So any work done to raise awareness could make a huge difference.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:36 AM

Makes me so sad to hear that they're drinking soy milk. What a total scam. Also, on second thought, pushing the "avoid Western foods" angle may not be idea. Things like pizza and burgers seem really cool to so many people in Korea, and I'm guessing it's no different in China. I dunno. Figure out what works for your friends. Best of luck.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 12:13 AM

Also, I agree with you that Chinese food is actually pretty paleo friendly, especially if you use lard instead of veggie oil, which was much more common in China before. Also there's tons of variety in terms of veggies and animal products- way more than the typical western, or even paleo western, diet.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 12:01 AM

I like what you say about avoiding Western foods. Though some of my friends drink soy milk everyday, and force their kids to drink it. I wonder how long this has been going on. You're right on about avoiding wheat, veggie oils, etc. I would also add sugar. I would bet average sugar consumption here has increases over a thousand percent over the last 30 years here. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 07, 2010
at 11:58 PM

Very helpful comments. Thanks!

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:03 PM

Hahaha ok, I will concede that one. =)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:56 PM

One rice option that I've been meaning to try is cauliflower rice. Sure, it won't exactly taste like rice, but it will provide a bed of something to put meat and veggies on.

A480640a53eb5dc8966f49141942f705

on September 07, 2010
at 04:27 PM

I'm from Philadelphia. A hoagie or a cheesesteak without the roll just doesn't hang together, physically or aesthetically.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Why can't you do sandwiches without the bread? The Atkins people have been doing this for years. While I don't eat processed lunch meats often, I will resort to this in emergencies.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 07, 2010
at 02:31 PM

I've been working on that one. The Chinese, especially in the south, are big pork eaters. I buy my pork in a little farmer's market, but I have to admit I haven't asked them what the pigs eat. In China, as I understand it, pigs are fed mostly left-overs and things like sweet potato greens, and I imagine the situation is similar in Vietnam. I've talked about buying meat directly from farmers, but I haven't done so yet. In some mountain villages I've been to there are chickens roaming around freely, which are also quite tasty.

88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

(803)

on September 07, 2010
at 02:08 PM

Are you able to find out if the meat you buy in China is grass-fed? I recently moved to Vietnam and it's unclear whether that concept exists here.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 07, 2010
at 01:06 PM

There are a lot of Asian women in our NYC meetup.

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8 Answers

3
7bea72ef073e8f76b5828727f1460900

(2718)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:26 AM

Yes we're out here. :)

I'm a male in mid-30s, and was born and raised in Taiwan. I've been Paleo for a bit more than a year. My before-and-after is here.

For me, getting rid of rice has been surprisingly easy. The hardest part has been sushi buffets where they really frown on you picking out the rice from the sushi rolls. Fortunately there are more sushi buffets that serve sashimi nowadays.

Feel free to point your friends to my site Paleo for Life for a whole bunch of Paleo materials and resources. Maybe it's time to translate them into Chinese, eh?

EDIT: I have translated the Intro to Paleo page on my site now. See ???????????????????????????.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 06:36 AM

Hi Gary, Thanks for the comments! It would be super cool if you could translate your site into Chinese. China is one its way to adopting something like the SAD. Even in the 4 years I've been here, you see more and more overweight people, including Children. People seem especially oblivious to the effects of sugar. So any work done to raise awareness could make a huge difference.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on November 18, 2010
at 09:12 PM

Thanks for making this Gary. I think it'll help alot of people

3
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:02 PM

I'm Korean, 30YO male, and have been Paleo for over a year. Pretty strict (grass-fed, local, etc.) except for whey protein, as I am currently on a mass gain cycle. I've seen dramatic improvements in health, both physical and mental, that I've mentioned elsewhere, both here and on my blog. Reduced inflammation, cleaner teeth, fresher breath, fat loss, etc. etc. etc.

"But how will I live without rice?!" Well, there are several options.

  1. Deal with it. Optimal means avoiding empty carbohydrates. If their health problems are severe, they may be willing to try this.
  2. Eat less of it.
  3. Shift to brown rice and make sure you soak it well. Here's a tip from Whole Health Source regarding proper soaking techniques. (Basically you save 10% of the soak water each time, like a starter.)
  4. Don't worry about it. If they do not have serious health problems, they can probably tolerate rice better than any other grain. The key is to avoid wheat and soy, vegetable oils, etc.

There is another post dealing with genetics, but my take on it is this:

In Japan, people have higher rates of certain cancers (e.g., stomach) and lower rates of other illnesses (breast cancer, heart disease). When they move to the US and change their diet (to varying degrees), their rates of illnesses more closely match that of the general US population. Stomach cancer goes down, heart disease goes up, etc.

Undoubtedly there are some genetic differences at play. For example, some populations tolerate dairy better. But, it seems to me that these genetic differences are mostly overwhelmed by the effect of Neolithic agents of disease. If you want to argue about milk or rice or fermented soy, that's one thing. Wheat and vegetable oils and trans fats are a different story altogether.

Also, depending on your audience, my approach would not necessarily be to tell them to try "Paleo." I would try to get them to avoid "Western" or "processed" foods and see if that strikes a chord. On the other hand, if you can convince them that Paleo is the "cool American thing," they may be more enthusiastic about it. I dunno.

Good luck getting women to lift heavy. It's hard enough in this country. Maybe show them videos or photos of the lightweight women on their Olympic weightlifting team? Those women are TINY and can put some huge numbers above their heads.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:56 PM

One rice option that I've been meaning to try is cauliflower rice. Sure, it won't exactly taste like rice, but it will provide a bed of something to put meat and veggies on.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 08, 2010
at 01:36 AM

Makes me so sad to hear that they're drinking soy milk. What a total scam. Also, on second thought, pushing the "avoid Western foods" angle may not be idea. Things like pizza and burgers seem really cool to so many people in Korea, and I'm guessing it's no different in China. I dunno. Figure out what works for your friends. Best of luck.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 12:01 AM

I like what you say about avoiding Western foods. Though some of my friends drink soy milk everyday, and force their kids to drink it. I wonder how long this has been going on. You're right on about avoiding wheat, veggie oils, etc. I would also add sugar. I would bet average sugar consumption here has increases over a thousand percent over the last 30 years here. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

9ffe43c6c5990ed710c7c49b12d6ee7f

on October 17, 2011
at 08:36 AM

Wait, are we arguing that soymilk is a Western food? Soymilk and other soy products are a huge part of the Chinese diet and have been for a very long time. Devout Buddhists who go veg use it as their main protein source.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:23 AM

We need women to teach women to lift haevy things. they'll never take it from a man, esp a fitness/bodybuilding type spokesperson.

3
A480640a53eb5dc8966f49141942f705

on September 07, 2010
at 03:55 PM

I suspect that Asians tend to be more grain-tolerant in the same way that Westerners tend to be more lactose-tolerant. Polished white rice is as close to pure starch as grains get, with a reduced load of the nasties that wheat carries.

That said, it's much easier to be Paleo in East Asia on account of the rice being usually served separately -- in the West you can't really do a lunch sandwich without the bread.

I'm a pureblood Chinese and have been very happy and healthy on low-carb paleo. Cheese is okay for me, as is yogurt.

There's a cultural history of general calorie restriction due to poverty which ameliorates the usual effects of a carb-heavy diet.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 08, 2010
at 12:13 AM

Also, I agree with you that Chinese food is actually pretty paleo friendly, especially if you use lard instead of veggie oil, which was much more common in China before. Also there's tons of variety in terms of veggies and animal products- way more than the typical western, or even paleo western, diet.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on September 07, 2010
at 11:58 PM

Very helpful comments. Thanks!

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 05:03 PM

Hahaha ok, I will concede that one. =)

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 07, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Why can't you do sandwiches without the bread? The Atkins people have been doing this for years. While I don't eat processed lunch meats often, I will resort to this in emergencies.

A480640a53eb5dc8966f49141942f705

on September 07, 2010
at 04:27 PM

I'm from Philadelphia. A hoagie or a cheesesteak without the roll just doesn't hang together, physically or aesthetically.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:21 AM

I'm Chinese, my grandfather only used lard to cook in the past. He got pissed when my father's "know-it-all" generation told him veggie oils were better, and to cook less red meat. now my father's generation of my family has all sorts of neolithic diseases including cancer while my grandparents lived til their 90's. who's retarded now. ps. Philly represent! I attended Penn

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:22 AM

I also do believe the calorie restriction due to poverty does play a significant role lolol. my parents were rail-thin in china, but after only a few yrs of living in the US, both struggle with their weight tremendously

2
Cfccbcf3450ac4919311ded8ef162d49

(2312)

on November 18, 2010
at 01:47 AM

I am a 45yo paleo eating filipina woman who is a 20yr veteran o-lifter. My family jokes that they (husband is caucasian so kids are half) don't have a filipino stomach like me. I can pretty much eat anything, even something that has gone off just a little and not get an upset tummy. LOL I went paleo because I wanted to not because I had to and only keep paleo foods in the house (except maybe sugar and honey) When my husband jumped on board he noticed a big difference in how he feels - no more upset stomach, gassiness, bloating, heart-burn, so he is absolutely sold. I think for many people, asian or not, who don't have any obvious diet related health issues it's a harder sell.

As far as heavy lifting, that's a hard sell for women in general still. But I'm 5'0" and weigh in at 110lb (105 when I'm competing nationally) People do notice that I "workout" but even though I'd like to be a little leaner, I don't consider myself bulky or manly. Then again "bulky" is a very relative term.

2
3995458c8ba769c7e95d07a2e438d875

on November 17, 2010
at 08:24 AM

Checkout this blog run by an Asian Canadian:

Beyond Paleo: http://beyondpaleo.blogspot.com/

Excellent blog. Really excellent, and 100% evidence based. I know the guy personally, great dude. Constantly putting up with my random questions! He also just started studying medicine, so few years down the road we will have a hardcore Paleo doctor! ;)

2
3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on November 16, 2010
at 08:58 AM

My girlfriend is Asian, I'm a mix of a bunch of racial groups, we both live in Korea, eat Paleo, and hit the weights. She's had a lot of success with the diet especially in terms of feeling better, energy levels, and clearing up her skin.

Notify the Chinese people you are talking to that they too came from an evolutionary process. It was not just Caucasians who evolved. You may alarm them when they learn that Asians where not just put here on the earth directly from God. Human beings evolved eating a certain diet (what we refer to as the Paleolithic diet) and Asians are no exception. People were not in Asia eating rice and making dumplings 300,000 years ago.

I just wanted to add that I eat rice and see nothing wrong with it. If you're a pre-diabetic, sure, cut out the rice. If you are missing micronutrients in your diet because you're overindulging in rice, then cut back and replace it with micronutrient dense foods. But rice is the best among the grains since it doesn't contain any lectins and polished white rice is free of phytates. The only issue is the glycemic index--but that is not a problem in young, healthy, athletic people my girlfriend and I. In fact, we need it as a carbohydrate source to replace muscle glycogen after strenuous workouts. Keep in mind that evolutionary nutrition is about using evolutionary principles in order to create an optimal diet for yourself, not to ask the concrete bound question, "What would Grok do?"

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on November 18, 2010
at 09:15 PM

The Chinese government pushes that Asians all came from the Chinese and that the Chinese did NOT come from Afica. I can see this throwing a lot of people off (it's bunk science).

1
Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on October 16, 2011
at 06:51 PM

I'm chinese living in America lol. I'm your typical cliche Paleo super-success story LOL. went from obese, pre-diabetic, acne-laden, fatigued/hanging onto life to vibrant, muscular, pain-free, handsome 23yr old guy. Been following a STRICT Paleo Diet (as outlined by Quilt aka Dr. Jack Kruse, neurosurgeon) + 5 rules of leptin + HIIT/heavy weights, low volume. I don't focus on exercise but rather on my diet (and supplementation). People don't even believe its the same guy just 2yrs after graduating from college (when I weighed 280lbs and looked like i was dying and 30yrs old). Now I'm 5'8, 165lbs of muscle, little fat/ripped, proving that 1. Paleo Diet does work 2. not all Asians are unsusceptible to high carbs

I'll summarize by saying my health rejuvenation has changed every aspect of my life, physically AND psychologically. Key being they're linked i.e. confidence, effects of higher T levels, better hormonal balance etc. Also following the 5 RULES OF THE LEPTIN DIET is crucial, as mentioned by Quilt. In addition to avoiding grains/sugars like the plague, also avoid PUFAs (veggie/soybean/corn oils etc)! They're highly inflammatory, we're eating omega-3 to offset those PUFA's

0
71ffbcca08a7eb64eb66208348e51351

on May 02, 2011
at 04:03 PM

I'm a Korean-American 70% Paleo newbie who chose to pursue this to clear the slate and start a healthier way of life. After the first month, I felt brighter and more alive. Then, I realized that I needed to add small amounts of lentils, sprouted grain bread, goat's milk kefir, and sheep's milk cheese to my diet to round it out (since I am not a big meat eater). When you realize that you need only 100 or so grams of carbs a day to maintain your weight, I would rather "spend" them on more interesting options since rice is just a filler of empty calories. Tastier and healthier food exists in the fowl/seafood/vegetable arena that doesn't need the rice accompaniment. Normally it's the high salt in Asian foods that makes one crave the rice, noodles and the like. When you get rid of that, those "needs" disappear.

Though I am not a lifter of heavy objects, I am active and enjoy a good primal sprint or two!

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