Malaysian yellow watermelon – super sweet and delicious
GUYS! I’m back from the East and my latest amazing set of culinary adventures, and not only did I survive, but I thrived!
Being on a super restrictive diet can be hard when you’re travelling, so I’ve decided to share with you all the things I ate, safely, while I was away.
Eastern eating for SCD/Paleo peeps
Travelling to the East (we were in Malaysia, where K’s mom lives, and Bali) can seem daunting if you’re on a limited diet, but it needn’t be. In fact, speaking only for myself, my gut fares sooo much better on that side of the world. I don’t know if it’s the weather, the lack of stress or just the fact that I absolutely love the East, but whatever it is, it works wonders for my system.
First of all, let me start by saying that if you’re travelling to the East, there are plenty of safe food options available. While you might have to look harder – and a bit more carefully (I had to bin a bag of cashews that I bought, not realising they were roasted in sugar and a bunch of other bad things – here in South Africa, we get tons of natural, quality products so I never really have to check), you won’t really struggle.
And the food is SO. GOOD. Think curries made from fresh ingredients, seafood, chicken, tons of fresh fruit and veggies, nuts and freshly-squeezed fruit juices.
Sticking to my diet… and then, not
We started in Kuala Lampur in Malaysia, and for the first half of my trip, I ate extremely carefully. I had no gluten or dairy, and I tried my utmost to avoid sugar. About half-way through our holiday, whilst in Bali, we found ourselves at a nature reserve that was actually a 15-minute ferry trip away from the mainland. So when I say we were in the middle of nowhere, I absolutely mean it! We arrived on the island to discover our guest house… and nothing else. So we had to eat what was served, and all resistance crumbled when they brought out a basket of fresh croissants at breakfast!
We returned to Malaysia and I carried on cheating. Guys, it was SO bad. Chocolate – not only the ‘good’ organic/dark kind, but the normal dairy kind too – and even a PIZZA! Okay, it was a teeny one, but STILL! I also don’t even want to think about the breakfast binge I had at the buffet at the Hard Rock Hotel in Bali. Em.BARRASSING! (let’s just say I went back three times – it was a disgusting gorge-fest).
As soon I got home to Cape Town, I got back to my healthy eating, and I’ve stuck with it ever since. It’s more paleo than SCD, just in terms of including spices in my diet and not being fastidious to the point of obsession. But I did gain a kilo or two while I was away, which I’m not ecstatic about. However, it was worth it for the week or two of indulgence!
Holiday BMs and bloating
Interestingly, my BMs were SO much better and more regular over there. I don’t know if it’s because I was eating more oil (Eastern food tends to contain quite a bit of it), or if it was the rice – I practically lived on rice – or whether it’s because I was simply eating more. But my BMs were a daily, twice or thrice-daily occurrence (no diarrhoea) and I had ZERO BLOATING. What an amazing holiday treat, especially because we spent most of our trip in bikinis!
Holiday belly: no bloat, just sunburn!
I also realise that being on holiday and feeling totally blissed-out and stress free must work wonders for one’s gut. I felt no ill-effects of my naughty binges, except for a few cramps after some Chinese food. I was obviously extremely lucky and I think that eating badly for longer than a week would have some serious repercussions. But for the duration of my holiday, I was fine.
I ordered the gluten-free meal on the plane (my reasoning being that, despite my lactose intolerance, it’s easier to see and avoid dairy than gluten), and it was actually a REVELATION to land, after 24 hours in transit, with NO BLOAT. That’s never happened to me after long flight. I’ve even found myself doubled-over in pain after gorging on airline food (yes, I like it!), so this was so wonderful for me.
And now.. the food!
That’s definitely enough blah from me, so with no further ado, here’s a selection of the paleo/SCD-legal food I ate when I was in Kuala Lampur and Bali: [for SCD/Paleo, avoid the grains/rice]
Freshly squeezed mixed fruit smoothie (watermelon, pineapple, papaya) and Balinese coffee – Balangan, Bali
Yellow watermelon (delicious!) – Kuala Lampur
Fresh fruit and boiled eggs – hold the toast! Bangalan, Bali
Freshly squeezed fruit juices – Kuta, Bali
Fresh watermelon juice- West Bali National Park
Red snapper curry made with coconut milk – Kuta, Bali
Vegetable stir-fry – West Bali National Park
Chicken betutu – spicy chicken steamed in a banana leaf…
… delicious! Kuta, Bali
Fresh salad – avoid the curious salad dressing
Chicken and lime salad – West Bali National Park
Chicken curry made with coconut milk – West Bali National Park
Nasi goreng – fried rice with vegetables and chicken – Bangalan, Bali
Chicken salad – Bangalan, Bali
Fresh salad (at an Australian restaurant!) – Pedang Pedang, Bali
Baramundi (fish) – partly SCD/Paleo (not so sure about that sauce, and potatoes to be avoided). I ordered this because I’d never heard of baramundi before, and it was very tasty – Kuta, Bali.
… YUMMO! Kuta, Bali
Organic cashew cookies I spotted at a health store in Kuta. I didn’t have any of these but good to know there were ‘safe’ cheats available!
Dairy-free dragon fruit sorbet – Kuta, Bali
Fresh fruit platter
Papaya and watermelon covered in RAW EGG! I couldn’t finish this
Probably the healthiest thing we had in Bali – lemongrass, ginger and honey tea, following an incredible massage in Bangalan, Bali
I discovered a selection of organic dark chocolate at a health shop in Kuta, Bali, which stocked the most amazing selection of organic, natural products. This chocolate is obviously not SCD, but it’ll definitely suit a paleo 🙂 The Wonder Chocolate is made in New Zealand and the Charly’s is Indonesian.
While some of these foods are definitely a little borderline when it comes to SCD or paleo, plenty of them are completely legal – and you don’t have to look too far to find them.
But, of everything I ate, the best thing was undoubtedly the slice of fresh English cucumber served on the first leg of my journey, the flight from Cape Town to Doha en route to Malaysia. It was the first time I’d eaten cucumber in more than 100 days (I hadn’t introduced it on SCD) and it was INCREDIBLE! I’d forgotten just how delicious cucumber is.
So that concludes the ‘good’, healthy food choices I made. I’ll follow up in a few days with a few of the naughtier, funnier and stranger things I ate.
I hope your diet’s going well, and that these photos are encouraging you to get busy exploring!