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Practical Paleo Abroad

China is where Paleo dreams go to die. Everything has gluten in it, grains haunt me constantly, and MSG is a basically staple in the Chinese diet. Great. It’s gotten to the point where I’m trying reintroduce gluten back into my diet because my system can’t sustain 100% Paleo 100% of the time anymore.

Because scientifically speaking, it’s possible to absorb gluten from simply looking at Chinese food.

Recently, people have been asking for me to share my routine more and more on THE Facebook and Instagram so I decided to write down my daily routine for those who are looking to create a program of their own. Keep in mind that every body is different and what works for me might not work for everyone.  Here’s some quick information about Paleo.  It’s basically no grains, no dairy, and no refined sugar.  Sounds daunting, but I’ve been doing it off and on for the last two years and I love it!

Paleo is no longer a diet to me, it’s just the way I eat.

Author’s Note: I am not a nutritionist. My opinions are based on independent research and tons of trial and error. Keep in mind that weight loss and gain is largely influenced by genetics so my body will react differently than yours. Improper sleep and increased stress levels also play an incredibly significant roll when it comes to weight gain as well. Be gentle with yourself and your expectations….

… But with that being said, I also bust my ass at my CrossFit box 3 to 4 times a week so I’m not going to downplay the amount of effort I put in.

***

Sunday:

Sunday is my sacred day. It is reserved for blogging, work, and meal prep. I try to be as anti-social as possible on my holy day because humans directly diminish my productivity; especially since all my friends are so interesting. On Sundays I normally head to Sanyuanli (an underground grocery market) and stock up on my imports and local products for the week. Here’s a breakdown of my normal shopping list:

2 Kilos of Kale (Purple or Green)

1 Kilo of Spinach

1 Packet of Imported Australian Beef Sausage

2 Blocks of Unsalted Grass-fed Butter

5 Sweet Potatoes

3-4 Pieces of Fruit

Fresh Ginger

Fresh Garlic

1 Kilo of Nuts (Walnuts or Unsalted Almonds)

30 Eggs

And then I buy the same groceries over and over again, every week. Sometimes I add a few imports here and there based on my taste for the week, but normally I try to keep my weekly menu as consistent as possible.

I normally only do prep for my afternoon/morning meals because I like to keep my evenings as flexible as possible. Sometimes I’ll go to dinner with friends or other times I’ll grab some quick depending on my schedule of course.

Point is: I have control over most of the food I consume.

It’s all about creating a system that works for you, your cravings, and your goals. I’ve been studying and tracking my eating habits for over two years now and I can always count on my starch, fat, and sugar cravings to kick in four hours after I wake up. For that reason, I normally prep some sort of sweet potato concoction as my base and then add sausage, raw spinach, nuts, and baked fruit into the mix. This way, all of my cravings are addressed in the afternoon and I’m completely full for the rest of the day.

On Sundays, I slice and bake the sweet potatoes and then adjust them slightly (or not at all) Monday through Friday. Sometimes I have ginger caramelized sweet potatoes and other times I feel like having sweet potato hash with bake apples and cinnamon. I change it up quite often. After I’ve baked or boiled the sweet potatoes on Sunday, I stash the cooked sweet potatoes into 5 separate containers and refrigerate. Then, each morning, I reheat them in the oven, with the sausage and fruit I bought on Sunday, for 15 minutes while I shower and primp. After everything is all warmed up, I throw everything back into the tupperware and head out the door. Super simple.

During the week, I always start with my normal staples: the Bulletproof Kale shake and a Bulletproof coffee to go. My version is a bit different from the official Bulletproof copyright version, but I was forced to adjust the ingredients according to what I can afford/find in China. Here are the recipes:

Bulletproof Kale Shake

Steamed kale
2-4 Tbs of grass-fed butter
1-2 tbs of MCT Oil (I use coconut oil)
1 tsp of Sea Salt
1-4 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar

***

Bulletproof Coffee 

1 Cup of Coffee
1-2 Tablespoons of Grass-fed, Unsalted Butter

The Bulletproof kale shake pumps my blood full of vitamins and the Bulletproof coffee keeps my body in ketosis for an extended amount of time. What’s ketosis you ask?

Ketosis is an energy state that your body uses to provide an alternative fuel when glucose availability is low.  It happens to all humans when fasting or when carbohydrate intake is lowered.  The process of creating ketones is a normal metabolic alternative designed to keep us alive if we go without food for long periods of time. Eating a diet low in carb and higher in fat enhances this process without the gnawing hunger of fasting.

Read more about ketosis here.

I consume the Kale Bulletproof shake and Bulleproof coffee every morning because it keeps my digestion in check and weight under control. Here’s a complete break down of my eating schedule… neurotic I know.

Monday through Friday:

6:30am – Bulletproof Kale Shake

8:00am – Bulletproof Coffee

10:30am – Afternoon meal prep

4/5pm – Random snack found wherever I am at the time

7/8pm – Dinner after work or CrossFit

Saturday:

 8:30am – Bulletproof Kale Shake

9:00am – Bulletproof Coffee

10am – CrossFit

11am – Yoga

12pm – Brunch

… life…

Sunday

 8:30am – Bulletproof Kale Shake

9:00am – Bulletproof Coffee

10am – Work

12pm – Dumplings

3pm – Finish work

4pm/Forever – Blog and Chinese

 

It’s all about structure when it comes to keeping Paleo. Put yourself in the position to succeed! While some people may get frustrated with the monotony of the morning and afternoon routine, it’s only monotonous if you let it become that way. Switching up different flavors with the same base ingredients allows your body to develop a system and it helps regulates your insides accordingly. It’s all about finding what’s right for you and your body.

Good luck and comment about what works for you! No Herbalife crap please.  I refuse to promote anything that isn’t natural or a product of hard work.  There are no short cuts in life so stop looking.

 

XOXO V

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Peking Productions

Aaron Berkovich is one of my personal friends and long-time supporters. He believed in my dreams before it was cool.

He’s been shooting in Beijing for the later year and by photographing travel, parties, people, and food, his intimate images allow him to share his own journey with like-minded people. Like his page here.

aaron

 

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About Vanessa Elizabeth

Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.

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  • Shani B.

    I really want to get into paleo/clean eating and smoothies and what not. Thanks for this! I really think this will help.

  • Nick

    I noticed you said you like crossfit. How easy is it to find place in China?