Asian Paleo Diet

Summary: After living in Asia for more than 1,5 years, working in several Health clubs and trying out multiple diets’s, I  found out that the principles Paleo was founded on and the basics of the Asian kitchen aren’t too far apart. As it turns out Authentic Asian cuisines and Asian-inspired dishes aren’t too difficult to adapt to the Paleo diet. Why? Because they rely more heavily on meats and vegetables than on grains—and where they do need grains, we can easily replace them.

The Beginner’s Guide to the Asia Paleo Diet

Author: Alain Buffing
Reading time:
 5 minutes

At The Temple, we believe that a healthy mindset starts with feeling good and living an active life. This we achieve through a healthy diet. Back in the days when I was a student, I didn’t care too much about food, I was eating lot’s of sandwiches, pasta (this was fifteen years ago when the hype was all about carb intake), and drinking lots of sugary drinks like Red Bull and Orange Juice.

Visiting Asia

For the least ten years, this changed and it mainly had to do with my visits to Asia. I sold fitness memberships in health club’s and gym’s (yes, I was that guy). I always had a very strict diet thanks to the personal trainers who were giving me food and fitness advice. Through the years I tested many diets –  and, I found out that for my body it works best to do a combination that is described as Paleo mixed with an Asian influence.


Various Asian Cuisins

I spent 1,5 years in Asia and I found out that many dishes in the Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malai and Indonesian kitchens are in line with the Paleo principles. Think about dishes like Pad Thai, Egg Foo Young, Som Tam, Kung Pao Pork or Vegan Naengmyun? All these Asian dishes aren’t too difficult to adapt to the Paleo diet because they rely more heavily on meats and vegetables than on grains—and where they do need grains, you can easily replace them.

My diet combines the foods that we are genetically programmed to eat (Paleo) with the foods that I like from these foreign kitchens. Paleo says that you should only eat things that a caveman could eat, however, in my opinion, we are always evolving and I wouldn’t dare to skip on a Kick Ass Spicy Salmon Miso Soup in a Japanese Sushi bar or a 9 course menu in a Michelin Star Restaurant (I will discuss cheat days later).

I have the opinion that we can adapt to modern foods, but also acknowledge they simply aren’t as nutrient dense and optimal to our genetic code, which is why I prefer to add supplements to my recipe (more on that later).

The result of eating processed foods such as mass produced grains, legumes, and dairy  lead to a less optimized health condition, chronic diseases, and other complications. For this reason, I try to stick to as many organic products as possible. I am aware, that this is a bit more expensive than the stuff you get at supermarkets but it certainly gives a better feeling in the long run.

In my diet I eat totally awesome food! It consists of:

  1. Vegetables (with preference for organic ones)
  2. Lean meats (any cut from grass fed or wild sources)
  3. Healthy fats and oils (avocado, coconut, olive, macadamia, etc.; not canola, vegetable and all those other trans fatties out there, yuk)
  4. Fresh fruits (keeping an eye on high sugar), Herbs and Herbs (who likes to eat raw broccoli or a chicken breast with no flavor?)
  5. Supplements (I swear by Omega’s and Multivitamins ), a
  6. Proteins (love, love, love Organic Whey, Vegan Pea Protein, and Hemp Protein to name a few) and of course Carbs (Organic Brown Rice is my Jam!), so there you have it.

Unlike the Paleo Diet which is strict when it comes to carb intake, it is my opinion that your body will thank you if adjust your carb intake based on your activity level.

Nanning for example, who is an active runner, would need lots of carbs.

My stomach can become quite upset from slow carbs so I try to minimize them to one serving of carbs a day (preferably brown carbs like ‘wild brown rice’). That said, my diet does consist indeed of a lower carb intake than the standard Western diet would suggest.

I also try to focus on organic and whole foods products. When I was a student these products were way too expensive, however now that I earn a little bit more, I realize the taste and quality of these products are key.

So, in a nutshell: if you are up for my advice, the following 7 bad boys will be your new go-to standards and I call them the “The Mighty Seven from Heaven”

My diet consists seven components:

  • Vegetables: Power foods like Sauerkraut, Green Veggies, Asian Superfood’s.
  • Proteins: Lean Meats, Protein Powder, Organic Yoghurts.
  • Fats: Avocado, Coconut, Almonds, Cashew.
  • Carbs: Wild Brown Rice, Organic Home Made Sourdough.
  • Spices/Herbs: Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger.
  • Supplements: Omega, Vitamin D, Multi Vitamin, Caffeine.
  • Fruits: Banana’s, Berries, Oranges.

Feel free to click the links of the ‘The Healthy Mix of Six’ to explore these components. Give yourself a solid basis of what the benefits of a varied and healthy diet consist of.