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Thread: Difficult to Impossible to be Primal in India

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Aubrey, TX

    Difficult to Impossible to be Primal in India

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    From March 22nd to April 1st My wife and I were in India! (Mostly Delhi and Haryana) It was a really exciting time since we'd never been there before, but it became clear very soon that Primal would be very difficult for me. It seemed like everything was carb and starch. Hardly any fruits, vegetables, or meat. It's pretty obvious why, I've been to several developing countries before and this is definitely the norm. The only difference is India is a little more intense about it because you can't eat any livestock or pigs.
    Of course part of exploring the culture is exploring their food and I did take the opportunity to sample everything, favoring the most meaty and veggie dishes, but the question I'd like to ask is: Do you put your PB on hold when you travel? What sort of modifications do you make, if any?
    "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace by those who have been trained by it."

    Age: 25
    HT: 6' 2"
    Peak Wt: 303lbs- Nov 1st 2011
    Current Wt: 240lbs- Sep 1st 2012

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    I was there recently. I agree it was hard to stay primal. I even noticed that they don't use ghee for cooking anymore. They use vegetables oils now to be healthier. LOL.

    Fruits and vegetables were plentiful. Not sure what you mean by that. Just about ever other corner or restaurant is full of veggie dishes. It's pretty much the bulk of the staple dishes. Meat was harder to come by, but we did even find a restaurant that served beef. We had chicken, lamb, goat and seafood as well. Lots of eggs, too.

    I ended not being primalish, but I ended up losing weight while eating a higher carb diet than I'm used to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Sydney, NSW
    Agree that vegetable oils are the biggest problem. However, it is easy to avoid wheat. Never seen any shortage of meats or vegetables and I've been to India on business several times, covering a large part of the country.

    Even some of the breads are passable for WAPF, even if not fully paleo. Eg dhosa is made by fermenting ground rice and lentils for at least a day. Sambar and idli make a pretty good breakfast
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

    Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Gosh, when I went to India you could go out for Italian and Chinese if you wanted to. But to answer your other question, when I travel I try to sample the authentic local cuisine, as much of it as I can.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  5. #5
    Yes to all of that. In India you cannot escape vegetable oils and getting your protein is a real problem. And then it is pretty much only chicken and eggs... but masala dosa is a delicious breakfast, so I enjoyed it. And almost everything which comes out of a tandoor tastes good.

    That said, I payed for all the "bad" food with breakouts and a migraine, both of which I haven't had for a long time... Does it keep me from traveling and enjoying local fare? Certainly not. Will I go back to my usual healthy stuff when I'm back home? Of course.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Pune, India
    I live in India, and I agree that it is very hard to be primal when eating out. Avoiding omega-6 vegetable oils is probably the hardest part, specially in North and East India. Chicken in India is generally avoidable as chicken farming is heavily industrialised now. It is possible to find canned sardines in bigger cities, and reasonably good vegetables, though. Butter, at least the Amul variety, is quite good as it comes from a cooperative of smaller farmers and is more likely to be grass-fed. Ghee can always be bought and eaten as a snack!

    Anyone staying for a longer period of time is well-advised to cook - the options really open up even with simple tools and ingredients. Goat and buffalo (not bison!) are available in most cities and are generally grass-fed (though the retail outlet standards are not always for the squeamish).

    The sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of doctors in India are strongly CW-centered - with a tendency to recommend vegetarianism, at that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Manchester, UK
    I think the biggest trial when travelling is the vegetable oil as everyone uses it. I go to Cyprus once a month with work and the food out there is delicious and fresh but they use vegetable oil. I try to stick with a nice greek salad and some grilled meat which isn't that hard. I also eat a lot of seafood when I am out there, as its only 2-3 days at a time it's not so bad.

    On holiday is a different story! we are going to Austria and Switzerland this year and the cakes in Austria are to AWESOME, it is going to be really difficult for me to resist sugar the entire time I am out there as these cakes aren't your normal sticky manufactured sweets that you can easily pass up, these are patisserie quality, melt in the mouth, awesome little bombs of chocolately sugary toffee temptations. Now THAT is going to be hard
    Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
    Walter Elliot

    I am a horse for a single harness, not cut out for tandem or teamwork; for well I know that in order to attain any definite goal, it is imperative that one person do the thinking and the commanding. Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Dallas/Fort Worth
    I was in the Chennai area before, and while I don't remember much meat being around, there was plenty of fresh fruit and veggies.

    I'm headed to Ireland/Scotland for a two week tour later this summer. I'm worried about losing to much strength as I doubt I'll be able to get enough calories/protein. Any tips on foods to bring? I could stash some quality jerky perhaps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Brussels, Belgium
    I just spend a month travelling in India, Thailand and Hong Kong.
    In India we stayed with our vegetarian friends didn't touch any meats, so staying primal was next to impossible. Thailand and Hong Kong was better but because I usually don't get very bad reactions to carbs and gluten, I tried to sample as many things as possible, regardless of their non-primal origins. It turned out to be a real gourmet trip and I did gain a couple of kilos but hopefully they will be gone very soon If holidays don't happen too often, I don't think it is a problem that I try to taste as many local foods as possible when I am in a new country.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Purton, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMouse View Post
    I'm headed to Ireland/Scotland for a two week tour later this summer. I'm worried about losing to much strength as I doubt I'll be able to get enough calories/protein.
    Why not?

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