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Whole30 in Thailand


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I live in Thailand and have tried numerous times to do a Whole30 but rarely get past a couple of days.

I had no problem in Australia but here I really struggle.I need to do this as I have a diagnosed allergic condition which is getting worse and I'm really not well.

It is difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible to get the foundation ingredients you need (in particular avocadoes and sweet potato are particularly difficult and expensive)

There is one supplier of paleo foods and meats but it isn't financially sustainable - everything is imported from Australia, the US and Europe and the import taxes make it prohibitive.

Just basic ground beef is around 800baht/kg ($32AUD, $25USD)

Eating out is completely impossible. Completely. Vegetable oil, soy, oyster sauce and palm sugar are in everything,

On the upside I can get coconut everything. LOL

Is there anyone else based in Asia who has successfully done this? Tips, ideas, support?

I'm starting again tomorrow (no point waiting till September) but I'm not feeling confident.

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I'm not based in Asia, but just wanted to comment that I haven't eaten an avocado or a sweet potato in months and I've survived perfectly well without them.

Look to other veg such as plantains, white potato, rutabaga etc for starch, and for fat try home made mayo, coconut milk/cream/flesh/oil, ghee etc.

In other words stop thinking in terms of what you can't have and start focusing on all the amazing fresh produce & amazing seafood you can have.

Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right ;)

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Thanks for the comment.

No plaintains here either and I have no idea what rutabaga is! The staple starch here is rice, rice and more rice. And then corn. The climate isn't conducive to growing root vegetables so they are either of very poor quality or imported and very expensive.

I bought a cauliflower on the weekend which was tiny and cost $6 only to find it was crawling with caterpillars.

The reason  I was hoping to find other people in Asia is because most of the Whole30 and paleo recipes and meal ideas come from more temperate climates, western cultures and where food quality is much better.  It can be a real struggle to get quality ingredients here. It would be just nice to find other people with similar challenges to get ideasand support from.

Not to worry.


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Ok, so how about Cassava, Jicama & Taro?

Cassava, which you might know as Yuca, is a fairly popular root veg in that part of the world - in fact Thailand exports a huge amount of it - it's also the source of tapioca starch when dried out & powdered down.

Jicama & Taro are also root veg, eaten more often as a fruit, but both equally high in starch, and can be cooked in a savoury way.

Rutabaga is a type of turnip by the way!

Hope this helps.

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Im starting my whole 30 tomorrow, and currently live in Thailand also!

Ive half done a whole 30 here before and totally agree with you re: eating out = impossible!

I managaged to find pumpkin and sweet potato at the  market, and ate a lot of carrots and different greens in a pan with chicken, to be honest my meals were pretty boring due to the lack of variety, but i enjoyed them non the less. 

What part of thailand are you in? 

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I live in Myanmar and we (spouse and I) are about to start. Luckily because of the mountainous northern areas we can get avocados year-round.

I successfully did Atkins while living in Bkk.  It just meant a lot of gai-yang (grilled chicken) and grilled fish from street vendors plus being quite strategic about meal planning around the veggies that were available.

If you live in Bkk try Khlong Toei Market or get your cook/maid to go (if you have one)  There is pretty much everything available there and much more reasonably priced than Central, Emporium or Villa.  I'd go for pork rather than beef in Thailand. It's outrageously delicious compared to our insipid Australian piggies!

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  • 1 year later...

Hello all...

I realize this thread is almost 2 years old, but I live in China and I've been contemplating doing a Whole30. I was wondering what kind of success you all have had while living in Asia and how you get around situations where locals want to take you out to eat but almost everything at a restaurant is noncompliant? In Asian cultures, not eating and saying "no thank you" isn't the same as it is in America and they won't really understand.

I have plenty of access to cheap meats, veggies, and fruits here. I don't have any confidence at all that there's a single restaurant here that would be compliant, but eating at home for 30 days isn't the hardest thing ever. 

What I'm wondering, though, is what to do after the 30 days? Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse... but living in this kind of environment is just challenging. I don't think living without rice is actually doable for me. 

I've been traveling for the better part of the last 3 months and haven't had access to a kitchen. While I was in South Korea,  healthy foods are so incredibly expensive and we ate out most of the time which didn't leave me feeling too great when I got back. :/ 

Any tips, thoughts or advice you have would be most appreciated... 

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You may not have to live without rice... the whole idea behind the Whole30 is to reset your system and then systematically add back foods that you're going to want to eat again to see how they affect you personally.  Maybe rice is fine for you or maybe it's one of those things that you only eat occassionally when you go out to dinner... you won't know until you try.  I imagine its quite difficult in a culture where saying no thank you to food is not seen as polite.... it's definitely something I"ve never experienced but I think you can do it... maybe for the people that you know will want to take you out, you can talk to them before you start and just explain what you're doing in advance so that you don't have to broach the subject at the dinner table?  What about telling people you're on a cleanse?  Is that a thing in Asia?  The Whole30 isn't a cleanse and we would never really recommend it be described as that but possibly given the culture you're living in, it might be a way to explain what you're doing around food?

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Thanks, SugarCube for your thoughts. I think you're right and it might be a bigger issue in my mind than it will work out to be in reality. Many Asian meals are naturally gluten free, but taking out soy and grains is almost impossible. For the 30 days it shouldn't be too hard, but after that I will just have to see how each of those foods affects me. 

I'm thinking to do my first Whole 30 in August since I'll be traveling for most of July and I'd rather try it out for the first time from the comfort of my own home environment. 

After I figure some of these things out, I can post for others living in Asia... :) 

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  • 2 months later...

Hello,  I'm living in northern Thailand.  I've not tried Whole 30 in Thailand, but it's crossed my mind a couple of times.  (That's how I found this forum.)  I did Whole 30 about 4 years ago in the States.  So I'm not up on any new updates or changes to the plan. 

I believe the Whole 30 is doable, but challenging in Northern Thailand.  Between local markets, Mackro, Rimpings, Tesco Lotus, and Yok, you should be able to find most of what you need.  Ghee and other similar whole 30 items are quite expensive here.  However, I do believe you can get it cheaper on iHerb.  www.iHerb.com will ship to Thailand.  

You might also find some Whole 30 foods on https://healthfoodthailand.com/en/.  They are based in Bangkok and ship anywhere in Thailand.  They have a variety of nut butters. 

If you are in Chiang Mai and craving a salad, head to Oh ka ju.  I think I spelled that right.  It's the salad place.  There are 2 in town.  Anyway, you can create a salad for like 50 baht.  They have tons of options (even some whole 30 ones)!!  You would need to check out the dressings.  I know many are vegan, but not sure if they are whole 30.  But it would be a great way to give yourself a break from cooking at home! 




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