Figured I’d share my experience of being on the slow carb diet while in Singapore. Being an asian society, our cuisine revolves around 2 main carb evils – rice and noodles. I love my rice and I love my noodles but it does make things a little trickier. I hope to show that even though that might be the case, slow carbing in Singapore (or anywhere actually) is not as hard as it looks.
Follow the Main Principals
Tim advocates simplicity to help with keep things simple.
But we have friends and family. With friends and family, you have hangouts, lunches and dinners and other (wonderfully) unexpected changes of plans. This is where the simplicity of the slow carb diet shines
If you’re faced with an unscheduled outing, just keep the main principals in mind: No white carbs, don’t drink calories and no fruits. Easy peasy.
One of the tools that I’ve come to utterly rely on is the toaster oven. You can get a decent one for less than $50 at NTUC. Pre-marinade a bunch of chicken, dump it in, set the timer to 10-15 minutes and ding! You’ve got a meal. You can even throw in
veggies like asparagus (rolled in a little salt, pepper and olive oil) beside the chicken, saving even more time.
Unlike a full fledged oven, it’s cheap, it’s small and it uses much less energy because you’re not using a giant oven for a small meal. An electric grill would be cool as well, though you’ll need to supervise the cooking a little.
If convenience is a biggy, I suggest you stick to canned beans and spinach. If you have some spare time however, I find that preparing a large batch in advance helps you save money. Plus, I love spinach, but I hate the canned variety. So what I do is I prepare a large batch of beans and cold spinach that would last me for about a week.
You see, if you get a packet of dried beans and cook them, you get like 3-5 cans worth in the end, and they cost the same. You’re paying for beans that have expanded and then you have the weight of the water in the cans. Plus, you have the choice of not adding sugar as a seasoning, which most canned beans have.
- Toaster Oven and Grills saves cooking time and effort
- Prepare foods for about a week
- Cooking saves more money than buying canned food
This is the tricky part yes?
When I’m out and not in a restaurent, I find myself having ‘western food’ and fish soup most of the time. Let’s use chicken chop (no cutlets) as an example; so chicken chop, no fries, no buns, more veggies/beans.
Coleslaw is actually slow carb friendly, the only concern is that because the mayonnaise is mostly soya bean oil, you’d get more omega 6 than you want to, but it’s a small issue and you can offset by supplementing with Omega 3, if you wish. Just remember to ease off on the sauce for both the chicken and the beans.
For fish soup, try to get the non-fried version, though I have on occasion had some fried ones (ehehe…) and find that the little bit of flour on the fish doesn’t throw off my efforts for the week. Oh and did you realise that prawn soup is slow carb friendly as well? Prawn soup and pork ribs, without the noodles. MMmm. And Bak Kut Teh (Literally pork rib ‘tea’) as well. See? It’s not that bad.
The bbq meat stores are also a great way to get meal or a snack to tie you over a dry period. I sometimes grab a chicken steak from cold storage, ntuc, bbq express and even from tori-q as a snack. There’s this new korean store (can’t remember the name, the one that sells the twisty potatoes?) and the bbq pork and beef are fine too. Again, the sauces are fine as a dip/coat but don’t have too much of it.
I try to avoid dim sum as a meal because even though there are some predominantly protein dishes like siew mai, they often have corn flour as part of the marinade to make it soft and tasty.
I’m fine with a little white carbs occasionaly (ie. from the fried fish and siew mai), but I usually offset it by bringing some Phase 2 carb blockers with me, just in case. You can read about it here. As there’s very little of it, I’d take 1 capsule before a meal instead of the recommended 2.
Drinks is easy. Mineral Water. If you want a flavoured option and don’t mind tea, there’s only 1 option that I can find…and that is Pokka’s Oolong Tea. It’s sugar free and I love the taste. Some of the bubble tea stores also sell brewed tea, remember to choose 0% sugar.
Fast food…hmm. Again, you’d be surprised by what you can find. McDonald’s grilled chicken salad is actually pretty compliant and Mos Burger’s Natsumi burger is nice but a little messy. And I just remembered, Carl’s Jr’s Low Carb Thickburger! Switch the cheese for guacamole, add some mushrooms and you’re in business!
- Stick to the ‘No White Carb’ rule
- Western food, prawn/fish soup and bak kut teh are great kopitiam choices
- BBQ Meats from supermarkets and small stalls if you’re in a hurry
- For flavoured drinks on-the-go, Pokka’s Oolong Tea & 0% sugar brewed tea from some bubble tea stores
- Fast food, McDonald’s grilled chicken salad, Mos Burger’s natsumi burgers and Carl’s Jr’s Low Carb Thickburger
As you’d probably realise, supplements in Singapore is not expensive…it’s ridiculously expensive. My heart aches when I see people spending money at GNC, Nature’s Farm, Guardians and Watsons. If China is the go to place for stuff like clothes and other textiles, the USA is the place to go to for supplements. The supplement infrastructure there is very mature, so supplements are of very good quality…and cheap. That, and the low US$, means that local supplement stores are a ripoff, considering most of our supplements are from the US anyway.
Let’s take Watsons/Guardian. A 200 capsule bottle of Glucosamine + Chondroitin + MSM is S$117.10 after discount. Bought from the US, a 240 capsule bottle from Dr’s Best costs me less than S$40. With delivery. And it’s not like it’s a counterfeit from China; these are original goods direct from the US.
As for the PAGG stack, I use Pareto Nutrition’s PAGG Stack. As per my review, they use the right amounts of the best ingredients. I’ve also communicated with them personally and I can tell that they know what they’re doing. Also, with 2 months supply or more, it costs the same, if not less, than buying the PAGG seperately and they have free delivery worldwide, including Singapore, so why not?
Green drinks are a great way to conveniently get powerful nutrients in a small package, but since it’s not practical to get Athletic Greens into Singapore, do check the alternatives I recommend that can be brought in affordably by clicking here.
As usual; supplements are ‘supplements’ and the actual dieting should remain the core of your weight loss efforts.
- iHerb – the place for supplements and natural products like spices, essential oils and organic bath products
- PAGG – Pareto Nutrition’s PAGG Stack
- Click here to learn more about iHerb
- Click here for the PAGG Stack Review and Comparison
- Click here for Top 3 Athletic Greens Alternatives
- Diet should remain as the core, supplements only to boost your efforts.
The main issue I experienced is finding grass fed meat. I remember coming across some grass fed beef at cold storage once, but couldn’t find it again afterwards. Those from organic stores tend to be blardy expensive. In the end however, I just stick to the normal fare available at the normal supermarkets and try to drink more water. If you have recommendations for affordable grass fed meats, please share!
If you’re interested, I talk about the concerns of grain fed livestock in another article where I weigh the Pros and Cons of Grass Fed Whey Protein.
So, good luck and if you have anything to contribute, feel free to comment below!