Hey Everyone, I'm an American living in China, and have been eating and working out paleo (as much as I can here) for about 6 months. It's been awesome, and I've been trying to convince my Chinese friends, some of whom are suffering from chronic health problems, to give paleo a try.
Some of these friends, however, think that my success with paleo has something with me being a westerner (that is to say, a white guy), because my DNA is somehow different- or something. Some of them think they can't live without rice ( I know this has been discussed before here).
So I figure the most convincing case I could make to them is to show them examples of east Asians who are doing paleo. So I'd very grateful indeed to hear from any of you out there.
BTW, if some of you happen to be women who lift heavy things, that would be excellent. Almost all women here think weight lifting is only for men.
I suspect that Asians tend to be more grain-tolerant in the same way that Westerners tend to be more lactose-tolerant. Polished white rice is as close to pure starch as grains get, with a reduced load of the nasties that wheat carries.
That said, it's much easier to be Paleo in East Asia on account of the rice being usually served separately -- in the West you can't really do a lunch sandwich without the bread.
I'm a pureblood Chinese and have been very happy and healthy on low-carb paleo. Cheese is okay for me, as is yogurt.
There's a cultural history of general calorie restriction due to poverty which ameliorates the usual effects of a carb-heavy diet.
I'm Korean, 30YO male, and have been Paleo for over a year. Pretty strict (grass-fed, local, etc.) except for whey protein, as I am currently on a mass gain cycle. I've seen dramatic improvements in health, both physical and mental, that I've mentioned elsewhere, both here and on my blog. Reduced inflammation, cleaner teeth, fresher breath, fat loss, etc. etc. etc.
"But how will I live without rice?!" Well, there are several options.
There is another post dealing with genetics, but my take on it is this:
In Japan, people have higher rates of certain cancers (e.g., stomach) and lower rates of other illnesses (breast cancer, heart disease). When they move to the US and change their diet (to varying degrees), their rates of illnesses more closely match that of the general US population. Stomach cancer goes down, heart disease goes up, etc.
Undoubtedly there are some genetic differences at play. For example, some populations tolerate dairy better. But, it seems to me that these genetic differences are mostly overwhelmed by the effect of Neolithic agents of disease. If you want to argue about milk or rice or fermented soy, that's one thing. Wheat and vegetable oils and trans fats are a different story altogether.
Also, depending on your audience, my approach would not necessarily be to tell them to try "Paleo." I would try to get them to avoid "Western" or "processed" foods and see if that strikes a chord. On the other hand, if you can convince them that Paleo is the "cool American thing," they may be more enthusiastic about it. I dunno.
Good luck getting women to lift heavy. It's hard enough in this country. Maybe show them videos or photos of the lightweight women on their Olympic weightlifting team? Those women are TINY and can put some huge numbers above their heads.
Yes we're out here. :)
I'm a male in mid-30s, and was born and raised in Taiwan. I've been Paleo for a bit more than a year. My before-and-after is here.
For me, getting rid of rice has been surprisingly easy. The hardest part has been sushi buffets where they really frown on you picking out the rice from the sushi rolls. Fortunately there are more sushi buffets that serve sashimi nowadays.
Feel free to point your friends to my site Paleo for Life for a whole bunch of Paleo materials and resources. Maybe it's time to translate them into Chinese, eh?
EDIT: I have translated the Intro to Paleo page on my site now. See 舊石器時代飲食簡介.
My girlfriend is Asian, I'm a mix of a bunch of racial groups, we both live in Korea, eat Paleo, and hit the weights. She's had a lot of success with the diet especially in terms of feeling better, energy levels, and clearing up her skin.
Notify the Chinese people you are talking to that they too came from an evolutionary process. It was not just Caucasians who evolved. You may alarm them when they learn that Asians where not just put here on the earth directly from God. Human beings evolved eating a certain diet (what we refer to as the Paleolithic diet) and Asians are no exception. People were not in Asia eating rice and making dumplings 300,000 years ago.
I just wanted to add that I eat rice and see nothing wrong with it. If you're a pre-diabetic, sure, cut out the rice. If you are missing micronutrients in your diet because you're overindulging in rice, then cut back and replace it with micronutrient dense foods. But rice is the best among the grains since it doesn't contain any lectins and polished white rice is free of phytates. The only issue is the glycemic index--but that is not a problem in young, healthy, athletic people my girlfriend and I. In fact, we need it as a carbohydrate source to replace muscle glycogen after strenuous workouts. Keep in mind that evolutionary nutrition is about using evolutionary principles in order to create an optimal diet for yourself, not to ask the concrete bound question, "What would Grok do?"
Checkout this blog run by an Asian Canadian:
Beyond Paleo: http://beyondpaleo.blogspot.com/
Excellent blog. Really excellent, and 100% evidence based. I know the guy personally, great dude. Constantly putting up with my random questions! He also just started studying medicine, so few years down the road we will have a hardcore Paleo doctor! ;)
I am a 45yo paleo eating filipina woman who is a 20yr veteran o-lifter. My family jokes that they (husband is caucasian so kids are half) don't have a filipino stomach like me. I can pretty much eat anything, even something that has gone off just a little and not get an upset tummy. LOL I went paleo because I wanted to not because I had to and only keep paleo foods in the house (except maybe sugar and honey) When my husband jumped on board he noticed a big difference in how he feels - no more upset stomach, gassiness, bloating, heart-burn, so he is absolutely sold. I think for many people, asian or not, who don't have any obvious diet related health issues it's a harder sell.
As far as heavy lifting, that's a hard sell for women in general still. But I'm 5'0" and weigh in at 110lb (105 when I'm competing nationally) People do notice that I "workout" but even though I'd like to be a little leaner, I don't consider myself bulky or manly. Then again "bulky" is a very relative term.
I'm chinese living in America lol. I'm your typical cliche Paleo super-success story LOL. went from obese, pre-diabetic, acne-laden, fatigued/hanging onto life to vibrant, muscular, pain-free, handsome 23yr old guy. Been following a STRICT Paleo Diet (as outlined by Quilt aka Dr. Jack Kruse, neurosurgeon) + 5 rules of leptin + HIIT/heavy weights, low volume. I don't focus on exercise but rather on my diet (and supplementation). People don't even believe its the same guy just 2yrs after graduating from college (when I weighed 280lbs and looked like i was dying and 30yrs old). Now I'm 5'8, 165lbs of muscle, little fat/ripped, proving that 1. Paleo Diet does work 2. not all Asians are unsusceptible to high carbs
I'll summarize by saying my health rejuvenation has changed every aspect of my life, physically AND psychologically. Key being they're linked i.e. confidence, effects of higher T levels, better hormonal balance etc. Also following the 5 RULES OF THE LEPTIN DIET is crucial, as mentioned by Quilt. In addition to avoiding grains/sugars like the plague, also avoid PUFAs (veggie/soybean/corn oils etc)! They're highly inflammatory, we're eating omega-3 to offset those PUFA's
I'm a Korean-American 70% Paleo newbie who chose to pursue this to clear the slate and start a healthier way of life. After the first month, I felt brighter and more alive. Then, I realized that I needed to add small amounts of lentils, sprouted grain bread, goat's milk kefir, and sheep's milk cheese to my diet to round it out (since I am not a big meat eater). When you realize that you need only 100 or so grams of carbs a day to maintain your weight, I would rather "spend" them on more interesting options since rice is just a filler of empty calories. Tastier and healthier food exists in the fowl/seafood/vegetable arena that doesn't need the rice accompaniment. Normally it's the high salt in Asian foods that makes one crave the rice, noodles and the like. When you get rid of that, those "needs" disappear.
Though I am not a lifter of heavy objects, I am active and enjoy a good primal sprint or two!