Saturday, March 11, 2006

Living In Thailand, Needs Help With Low-Carb

Blog reader living in Thailand desires to get back on low-carb lifestyle

I live in the United States and have only visited one other country in my life: Chile, South America. I did a mission trip to Puerto Montt in 1992 as part of the Baptist Student Union at the end my college days at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

But other than that I'm just a Southern American boy who dreams of seeing the world someday.

That's what makes it difficult for me when I receive an e-mail from one of my blog readers about what they can eat living in countries where low-carb foods may not be as accessible as they are here in the U.S.

Here's what my dear reader wrote to me:


I am 66 yrs old my husband and I are living in Thailand until April 06. I came off my Atkins diet when I arrived here on the 1st Nov 05. I put on a lot of weight (I mean a lot big time) my husband is fine he cut out a few things he is now back to normal.

I have gone onto fish, glass noodles don't know the make and Thai home made soup. I wanted to know if the soup is high in carbs its: Bean curd sometimes stuffed bean curd soup, fish soup, mushroom, beef and hodge podge soup.

Can you help?

Again, not knowing what the food choices are like in Thailand, it makes it very difficult for me to know what to say in response to these kind of queries.

Nevertheless, here was my response:

THANK YOU so much for writing today! I am so very proud of you for taking control of your weight by making a concerted effort on keeping it under control.

Since you have gotten off the program, it certainly stands to reason that you were going to gain the weight back. It's amazing how fast it comes back on your body when you stop doing it. But that's why I talk about making this a LIFESTYLE CHANGE and not just a "diet."

Keep eating the fish because you are getting healthy omega-3 fatty acids from that. I'm not sure about the carb content of the "glass noodles" since I don't know what those are, but try to find out how many carbs are in them. As for the
soup, again you will need to watch how many carbs are contained in them. Beans can tend to be high in carbohydrates.

Does this help you? Find the low-carb foods you CAN eat (might I suggest shirataki noodles!) along with fine cuts of meats and vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, and much more!

Livin' la vida low-carb is flexible enough to work ANYWHERE in the whole world and I am so glad to see you taking it seriously enough to make it work for you.

God bless you and don't ever stop keeping your focus on the prize at hand -- controlling your weight. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Does anyone else have any insight to share with my reader living in Thailand about what other low-carb foods she can eat? I'm really at a loss here and would love to hear from people who are livin' la vida low-carb on Thai food. THANKS!


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Actually, it is not that hard to eat low-carb and to maintain weight in these countries. The trick is to simply eat the way the indigenous people of these countries eat. Ignore the rice and noodles (except for shirataki) while you are not in the maintenance phase yet. The ready-made spicy sauces are a no-no too as they are sugar-based. The glassy noodles are most of the time made of rice and are to be avoided.

If one keeps glycemic load in mind it really is easy. Make sure to load up on veggies and eat the many fish-based dishes, and of course the fantastic assortment of meats and barbequed delicacies. If there is some naughty (sweet tasting) ingredient in them, offset it by loading up on healthy carbs from veggies.

Don't drink ready-made fruit juices and starchy vegetables and of course steer clear of all forms of sugar, even "cane" sugar or other so-called "natural" products. The soups are generally o.k., they are often broth-based and that is fine.

Focus on seafood: tons of shrimp skewers or fish-based soups, milkfish (white fish), fried fish, veggies, chicken (make sure it's well-cooked), and simply ignore the rice and noodles except for shirataki noodles.

Personally, I find it easy to maintain weight that way. The other day a friend remarked that I lost some weight: I have been very busy and travelling a lot lately and I didn't notice it myself. Turned out he was right. I travel all over the Asia/Pacific region all the time and have little problems with it. In fact I find the foods, flavors, colors, presentation, even the odours as well as the incredible variety of foods here absolutely fantastic - even on a low-carb diet. Especially if one keeps an eye on traditional dietary habits here it's easy. Much better than the mountains of bloody potatoes I find everywhere else.

The biggest problem for me is the horrible airline junk food! I always throw away over 90% of the low-fat, sugary junk that is offered. The stewardesses often look at me and ask "Something wrong with the food, sir?". I invariably reply "Yes. The nutritional content" and then we have a laugh. Most of them don't eat the stuff either :-)

3/11/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

As an afterthought: it might be wise to stay away from touristic places to eat. That's often "customized" to Western tastes: more sweet and sugary foods and ingredients. Go to the sidestreets, the back streets and the street hawkers. That's where you find excellent foods against rediculously low prices.

If you have to eat in "high-end", Western oriented restaurants, tell them that you're a diabetic and will get unwell at the spot if you get anything starchy or sugary. The'll be very careful with what they serve. Tell them also to use fat, butter and lard generously and that you love fish and meats. How to do that? Tell them "old style, not modern" foods and cooking methods. That works for me.

For veggies, ask for Kangkong with shrimp paste. A extremely cheap, dark green, leafy veggie, lightly steamed, sprinkled with oil, and covered with salty yet very tasty shrimp paste with garlic and mild peppers. An absolute delicacy, colorful and extremely healthy. It resembles spinach somewhat.

Try to avoid soy too. It's not as bad as the Western stuff which is loaded with heavy metals, but it's avoidable anyway.

Remember: offset damage (if you eat something that's you suspect is not 100% low-carb) with lots of roughage from dark green, leafy veggies. And try to make sure the very next meal is healthy and low-carb.

3/11/2006 8:39 PM  

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