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  • Living Over Seas

    Hello everyone!
    Here is the problem I have been having. I live over seas in South Korea. My food options are extremely limited. I can't go buy a grass fed cows. Korea is 75% mountains, honestly, there are no cows. There are no co-ops. Also, grocery stores are extremely limited. If I want to eat veggies there are my choices: Lettuce (cabbage), carrot, pumpkin, eggplant, broccoli cucumber, onions (leeks), radish, potatoes, and sometimes tomatoes. Traditional markets don't usually have veggies in the winter, if they do they are all imported and covered in pesticides. Its a great day when I go shopping and find something other then these veggies listed above. Also the only somewhat healthy oils available are olive oil, and sesame seed oil. I can get fish, there are tons of fish markets. That seems to be the only plus. It is also extremely expensive here to buy foods that aren't already cooked. For example most Korean people eat several side dishes at meals. You buy all the side dishes pretty much already prepared at the traditional markets. You can't just buy seaweed, its already been processed. I am just really frustrated. I don't know how many more meals I can have consisting of different types of lettuce, onion, carrot, and broccoli. I can't even find spinach here half the time. And like I said, I can forget finding any kind of meat that is organic, in fact I can find a lot that seem very proud to put "grain fed" on the label.
    Height: 5'2"
    Starting weight: 180lbs
    Current weight 130lbs

  • #2
    I don't have any first hand experience with this, but I can offer what I'd do in the circumstance: base the diet around the local fish. Also I'm sure fish oil is plentiful, and if I remember my Andrew Zimmern correctly it's basically fermented fish stomach (sounds really primal). If you're getting a large portion of your meat from fish, there's not a huge problem with eating grain fed beef, because you're getting such a good omega-3 input from the fish.

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    • #3
      How about eggs and chicken or duck?

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      • #4
        Yeah there is meat. Everything but fish is wicked expensive but its there. It's just all the other stuff. Like coconut oil, flax seed, almond flour, cheese, spices etc. There just aren't any. Like there just aren't any veggie choices. So looking at a recipe on here, I can't make anything because I can't get any of the ingredients. I can't get alive vinegar, cold pressed oils.... there are just none.
        Height: 5'2"
        Starting weight: 180lbs
        Current weight 130lbs

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        • #5
          Nix,
          I lived in Korea (Daegu and Seoul) for a bunch of years, just left there a few months ago, actually. Yes, it will be hard to find grass-fed beef and quality oils. From what it sounds like, you're on the economy and have to shop at E-mart and such?

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          • #6
            Can you order online? I order 2/3 of grassfed meats/poultry/fish online. Even Amazon has lots of low carb/ primal foods.
            This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

            Any given day you are surrounded by 10,000 idiots.
            Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism

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            • #7
              I'm in Thailand, and I had similar concerns at first. But after a while, I found a lot of good alternatives, and made myself a Thai version of Paleo that works pretty well and is actually cheaper than my normal grocery bill. Maybe you can do that too. Only exception is the grass fed stuff; just forget about it. All these are some of the prices we pay for getting to live exciting lives abroad, eh?

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              • #8
                One thing I did while in Korea was a sort of cultural exchange. I found a Korean who wanted to learn English (well, to be honest, he found me) and he found an American who wanted to know more about Korea (that would be me). We'd get together and hang out. I'd talk to him in English and help him with his conversational English skills, idioms, and the like (real English not text books stuff) and he'd take me places and teach me about traditional Korean things - a pottery workshop, little restaurants where literally there was no menu you got what Aji-ma was cooking, markets which seemed to be stuffed into some small alley you would walk right past without noticing.

                The point being that if you hook up with a local you can find out where to get the things you are looking for or find if they are even available. If nothing else he/she can ask what is in the preprepared foods so you can do your best to avoid added stuff you do not want. Also, you learn a ton about the country, which rocks unto itself.

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                • #9
                  Are you friendly with any locals? See if you can find out what traditional diet their grandparents ate.

                  Most traditional diets are pretty free of fake crap, which is the main point. You will do fine, you don't have to knock yourself out trying to precisely replicate what people are doing "back home".

                  Good luck! And remember to have fun.

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                  • #10
                    I lived in Seoul for a while. I'm in California now. Difference of course - here we can get just about any fresh produce any time of year because it is coming from China, Chile, etc. There it is what is right off the farm, the old-fashioned way. Good news for you is that the tomatoes are delicious, the winter apples and pears are out of this world. What's available is tasty, and not bland.

                    Beef is expensive but you should be able to get pork more cheaply?

                    Visit this site for recipes: Maangchi.com.

                    And rest assured that by spring you will have a much broader selection of fresh produce and remind yourself that you are eating close to the farm.
                    Positively Radical Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!

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                    • #11
                      It might help to just ignore most of the recipes and simply bone up on cooking techniques. Rather than look at a recipe for primal pizza and try and substitute half the ingredients do something like trying to cook in banana leaves and try it with different fish/meats/vegetables/seasonings and try to build your own recipes. If you concentrate on perfecting your techniques like braising, grilling etc you'll end up with great meals whether or not it looks like the primal stuff people are eating in the States. Concentrate more on what is at your disposal rather than what isn't and you'll get it.

                      And when you vary techniques it will make a lack of variety in meats/vegetables seem less important. It's like the difference between steamed cauliflower and cauliflower that's been oven blasted at 500*. It tastes completely different.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the replies everyone. I actually am extremely friendly with the locals, I'm dating to a Korean. I can speak Korean decently enough to get around etc. I am not fluent, however, I can read, write, and have simple conversations. I live in Ulsan which is the largest City by AREA. About 6 or 7th by people. LOL Actually I shop at HomePlus. E-mart is like an hour away.

                        When I first got to Korea I actually lost 20lbs in two months of being here from eating entirely traditional Korean food. Traditional Korean food is centered around eating different courses. The first course are side dishes make from veggies, oils, and meat. The second course is meat. My favorite is raw fish. The last course is rice or noodles. What most people don't know is that a rice serving here is less then a cup. You eat the rice or noodles with a soup. The soup is usually based with veggies, clear, well red, broth, and (in my area) a little seafood.

                        Do fish cake (Oodaeng), the Korean version, where they take small fish, dry them, grind them into powder, then add water and form them into a sheet count as processed or unprocessed. There is a lot of salt due to the drying process. Also, is Korean raddish, and mung bean sprouts ok to eat or not ok? They are in everything.

                        I actually just got an oven for Christmas from my boyfriend. Korean apt. do not come standard with ovens. So at least now I can roast things. I think that is one of my problems. I don't know what to make. I do have some cooking skills. I can even cook some Korean foods. But I am a bit lost unless I have a recipe to follow.
                        Height: 5'2"
                        Starting weight: 180lbs
                        Current weight 130lbs

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                        • #13
                          The fishcakes are definitely processed and contain sugar and filler. Korean food is pretty Primal, except for the rice and noodles, which you can avoid easily. Radish is fine, I don't know about bean sprouts - more experienced Groks can answer that.

                          Maangchi has loads of recipes - please check her out - perfect for your situation. Good luck and stay warm!
                          Positively Radical Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!

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                          • #14
                            Hey thanks, I think someone else mentioned Maangchi too. I just checked it out and it looks awesome. I think tomorrow morning I am going to make the dried pollock soup (북어국) tomorrow for breakfast. I already got the agreement to eat raw fish for dinner tonight. Raw fish is my favorite food.

                            They need to have "The Primal Blueprint: Asian Cooking". How does tofu stand? Its made from a beans, that definitely counts as processed... is meso counted the same way, and other soup bases?
                            Height: 5'2"
                            Starting weight: 180lbs
                            Current weight 130lbs

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would steer clear of tofu. It's made from soy, which has estrogen-like effects in the body. These effects are not perfectly understood, but odds are against it being good for you.

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