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Thread: Is it possible to be healthy/primal in a country like South Korea?

  1. #1

    Is it possible to be healthy/primal in a country like South Korea?

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    I am an English guy living and working in South Korea and I have been trying to go primal for the last 5/6 months. I have always had this thought at the back of my mind though - "is it even truly possible in some countries, such as Korea".

    Mark's post about Human Interference Factor (HIF) brought this to the forefront of my mind, and hence this post.

    In Korea I believe that the HIF is huge. They have no concept of organic vegetables or fruit, and they certainly do not produce or distribute any grass-fed meat. Obviously this transcends into the eggs they produce - currently of which I eat 6 a day. (note Mark's comments in the aforementioned post about how badly produced eggs can actually be harmful). The dairy is truly awful with the milk giving everybody bad guts and there is no prodution of decent cheese or yogurt etc. As with meat, they also see no need to import this kind of stuff.

    So if I am eating heavily fertilised vegetables and fruit, grain-fed meat, bad eggs and very little dairy, am I actually any better off than before when I was eating carbs/grains and processed foods.

    Interested to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    You might start with a diet of traditional Korean foods which have kept them slim for the most part, rather than trying to swing a healthy robust western diet in a place where, where western foods exist, are not likely to be the healthy type.

    Find a nice Korean girl to help you out there.

  3. #3
    a couple of points - first off, i dont need to lose any weight. very elan and currently trying to build more muscle. so my diet is trying to be very protein heavy with plenty of calories etc. also, i have been out here a while now and so i am well aware of the traditional diet here which is basically rice served with kimchi and some kind of basic soup. eating copious amounts of rice is not primal. yes, recently (relatively speaking) it is what the majority of asian countries base their diet on and they are usually slim people. this does not necessarliy mean they are healthy though.

    i revert back to my first question of whether eating the kinds of food that i mentioned in my first post, is this a healthy way to go or am i just plugging away at something which is having little benefit for me?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    You're the only one that can answer that in my opinion.

    If you've been purely primal for the last 6 months and you feel better than you did - great stick with it, if not then tweak slightly or change it completely - your body should be your guide.

    After saying that I don't eat dairy 99% of the time, but ignoring the dairy aspect which if in doubt I'd suggest getting rid of, many people including myself are a non organic primal and its still been a huge benefit even though its not totally ideal according to the primal blueprint.

    Personally I'd rather buy food I can afford to eat as much of as I want that is not organic but allows me to follow the primal way for the rest of my life as it feels right to me, than give up after a couple of weeks as I'm hungry and don't feel comfortable spending such a fortune on feeding us - at the end of the day its choice each individual makes.
    1st June 11 to 30st Aug 11 - 36lb removed in 13 weeks
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    San Francisco
    Just a couple of points:
    1) We have seen time and again that even conventional supermarket stuff (i.e. grain-fed animals and heavily treated veggies) is superior to even organic grains and grain oils and legumes.
    2) The traditional Korean diet is actually quite healthy: vegetables (fresh when available, otherwise pickled and/or fermented), meat, seaweed, rice. I think they use sesame oil, but as a condiment; I've never seen anyone use sesame oil as a cooking oil since it has such a strong taste.

  6. #6
    i guess my main concern is with the quality of meat and eggs. i feel fine (great actually) but that doesnt mean i am good on the inside. is eating poor quality eggs and fatty meat a bad idea? i think it is marks post about human interference that has posed these questions for me. should i stick to lean cuts of meat only perhaps?

    and you are right, the korean diet can generally be good - vegetables, kimchi etc, but it is really the quality of animal products that is concerning me at present.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, Ontario, Canada
    If you stick to lean cuts of meat (probably a good idea) can you get a fish oil supplement to counteract any Omega 6s you are taking in?

    Are you buying your meat & produce from grocery stores or from farmer's stalls?
    Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Calgary, AB
    I think you are better off not eating rice than eating rice in large quantities. For all the rest, I would follow the taste buds & because the meat products are not grass-fed, I would chose leaner cuts as opposite to fatty ones, to reduce the heart desease risk factor (from the saturated fats in the grain-fed beef and poultry) & try to find avocado and coconut oil to compensate. If dairy is yuk, don't add it in. Yes, they fertilize them. No, they are not organic. You do what you can. Also, try checking what fruit/vegetables grown locally require the least fertilization etc. If they do not need it, they probably won't be spraying it heavily.
    Last edited by Leida; 08-12-2011 at 06:46 AM.
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    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Philadelphia (currently Seoul)
    Hey, I'm currently in Seoul for an exchange program until January. I've been having the same problem. I've recently gone primal and I'm having trouble finding the right stuff to eat. Like you said, there is no "organic" aisle so to speak. Although I have seen eggs that I think says "pastured" or grass fed but I don't really know what food labeling standards Korea has.
    Btw I'm a Korean national who grew up in the U.S.. I can speak and read Korean pretty well.
    Have you tried duck? I don't really know about the nutrition but they're pretty darn delicious.
    What area do you live in? Have you tried Itaewon? Haven't been there myself but I've been meaning to go.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Wild caught fish and traditional foods should be available. In the U.S. Korean barbeque is the most primal-type restaurant I can think of. Organic is not the most important aspect of primal. If you get the sugar, wheat, and seed oil part right you're doing good.

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