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“I’m coming to Thailand. How do I tell people I need gluten free food?”

A few people have asked me this recently, and I got caught in a new restaurant without my card. So I’m going to share a little translation with you, that you can print and take out for dining. It’s helped me heaps – however you may need someone to slightly change some of the words depending on your dietary preferences (as I don’t personally eat red meat). I hope you find it helpful 🙂

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Gluten Free Bali

Hello readers!

Today’s post is all about surviving gluten free on the little lovely island of Bali. Known for its beaches, rice terraces and black volcanic sands, Bali is great little island paradise that caters for many appetites.

I was fortunate to stay for 8 days during my Songkran  holidays and discovered some interesting things when it comes to food and its customs:

  • Balinese people love to fry things
  • They cook with fish and soy sauce
  • Rice noodles and wrappers can be found in most restaurants
  • Fresh fruit juices are delicious
  • Black rice pudding is WAY TOO SWEET for even the most devout sweet tooths out there!
  • There are 2 major wine producers in Bali – Two Islands and Hagan. Both are quite nice (and cheaper if you purchase in shops instead of restaurants!)

Stay tuned for some Balinese recipes!

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Sloane’s #glutenfree #sausages

imageLiving and eating in Bangkok has just become easier!

Friends of mine recently found this gluten free sausage in Ari Villa and picked it up for me. Apparently, Sloane’s does a few different types of gluten free sausages which are available in several grocery stores around Bangkok and for delivery from Passion Delivery and Paleo Robbie. Sloane’s also regularly frequents the Farmer’s Markets in the city. Continue reading

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@Paleorobbie Bangkok’s Paleo Provider

I don’t know about you gluten free folk, but I can’t eat at my school’s canteen, or the soup stalls down the road. I usually spend Sundays cooking and preparing my lunches for the week, but I want my Sundays back!

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Some of the girls at work order from Health Box and other food delivery services, although the problem with them is that they don’t normally offer gluten free food, nor do they say that their kitchen is safe from cross-contamination. Continue reading

#Glutenfree Bab bim bap around Bangkok

imageEver since I had a stopover in Korea, I have come to enjoy the occasional bab bim bap. Laura over at Gluten Free Traveller recommended this dish as it contains steamed vegetables, rice, egg and kimchi.

I’ve had difficulty finding a gluten free bab bim bap around Bangkok as many of the Korean places I visited added soy sauce to the dishes, either in the rice or kimchi. But I found recently that Sukishi chains don’t – what a relief!

If you do find yourself heading off to Korea, here are a couple helpful websites to prepare you for the trip:

Lifestyle Juicery Cleanse

logo2At the beginning of the month, I completed a six day juice cleanse from Lifestyle Juicery. While I have completed detoxes before at Ananda Resort and The Yoga Retreat in Koh Pha Ngan, this was different.

The Reasons

After my trip to Myanmar, I returned to Bangkok very tired and sick. A couple weeks back into the work routine, I started getting insane headaches and extreme tiredness. It got so bad that I would go home and sleep for two hours after work, then go to the gym or resume my plans.

Had I been glutened? Or was I just exhausted from a long and stressful work year? Did I need another holiday?

I decided to do the juice cleanse as I knew I wouldn’t get down to Koh Pha Ngan until the end of July and I needed some help, FAST!

I usually do a detox once a year to help clear things out of my system and re-establish healthy eating and exercise routines. I find that cutting out the processed foods, sugar and dairy helps me reset my system. Some benefits I’ve noticed in the past are:

  • feeling of well-being
  • increased positivity
  • lack of headaches / head fog
  • increased energy and focus
  • better sleep
  • generally feeling refreshed
  • some weight loss

Motivation

While it can be hard to stay motivated, I found this juice cleanse much easier than the past detoxes. Perhaps that is because I had six juices each day, and just as soon as my stomach started rumbling again, it was time to have another juice.

I made the mistakes of moving apartments on my first day, so on the second day, I spent most of the day in bed reading and watching films. A certain amount of fatigue is to be expected, so I took advantage of the long weekend I had off work.

On the third day I had a bit more energy so did a workout on the treadmill and with free weights. In the evening, I was a bit more hungry than usual, but with a pot of peppermint and chamomile tea before bed, my stomach was satisfied.

The next day, I did a hot yoga session and almost passed out, but I’m happy I did. Going to the gym gave me the opportunity to weigh myself and I found I had lost 3kgs.

The fifth and sixth days were a bit of a challenge for me as I had to go back to work. Luckily though, I was used to the routine by then, and armed with my water bottle I was determined to finish it. Despite not eating whole food, my headaches were gone and I felt lighter and more energetic. For me, that was really the motivating factor.

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The Juices!

About Lifestyle Juicery

I heard about this company from a friend who received a gift voucher for her birthday. I hadn’t realised that there was anyone in Bangkok who did this, besides Rasayana, and that they deliver! They also have stands at the BKK Farmer’s Markets!

Several of my friends are avid juicers and I must say, that after reading about Jason Vale I became convinced of the benefits.

Lifestyle Juicery have a range of juices on offer, but also provide advice on how many days you should juice for. Their website is very helpful!

I will definitely cleanse with them again as they are convenient for people living in Bangkok and it makes detoxing much more accessible than traveling to the islands every few months.

New Health Goal: Do a juice cleanse every three months. Challenge accepted 🙂

Hair Cuts & Hair Removal – Where to go in Bangkok

Updated 14 October 2015

It’s often quite difficult to find a good hairdresser, but being an expat, it’s even more difficult to find one who speaks English and knows how to deal with non-Asian hair! Luckily there are a bunch of salons in Bangers and here’s a run-down of just a few that I’ve found and personally tried.

125329_9cfba60838f34f5b84b51742e70c7bc1James Mac

tel 02 663-7399

James & Justin are simply amazing! I’ve been to see them twice and had heard about them from two colleagues who couldn’t stop praising them. At first I went in for a cut to fix what I called ‘dog flaps’ around my face and James did a great job personalizing my hair to suit my style. The second time, just recently, James toned down my ‘Thai highlights’ and made my colour multi-tonal and lovely. While I was at the salon, two women came in to have their hair fixed – one had a bad straightening job and the other woman had a horrendous cut and colour combo. James & Justin will make you feel lovely and comfortable – and they are experts when it comes to expat hair. They are superheroes in their own right 🙂 🙂

Zen Red

tel 08 3600 6176

Located a bit out of the way, but if you take the MRT to Queen Sirikit, you can easily get a taxi down to Monopoly Park. Their website lists all the services available, including high quality hair extensions, colour, perms, permanent straightening and many others. The owner and manager speak very good English and they have a huge ferrang clientele.

Fan Fan

tel 08 1171 8187

This is another great salon, the owner Frank is French and has been living here for years. While the prices are a bit more, shall we say European, he always does a great job and several of my friends are regular customers. I find that Frank always knows what’s on trend and can manage curly/frizzy/more difficult hair. The salon is nestled down Sukhumvit soi 31 but is very easy to get to.

In terms of waxing, that is a completely different kettle of fish. Most spa places that you pass will advertise waxing, but I can tell  you that quantity is definitely not quantity! I’ve seen one pot of wax used on many customers, which leaves butterflies in my stomach! You need to use your discretion here, as sometimes you will find poor hygiene, poor quality or end up with a skin condition. Here’s 2 places that I frequent and recommend to others:

Logo_3604The Waxing Bar

This place is great for Brazilians and the like. While it is a bit more expensive, a Hollywood will set you back 1,800 baht or full legs 1,400 baht, they are very friendly and accommodating at this spa. You are greeted with a cold drink and then taken to a private room. All of their waxes are new for each client, so you don’t have to worry about double dipping. Afterwards, you may shower and finish off the session with herbal tea.

The Strip (Ministry of Wax)

I found this place recently and was very impressed with their service and central location. A Brazillian was 1600 baht, but they were professional and for some reason the wax they used did not seem to be as painful as some other experiences! Located in Central Embassy by Phloen Chit BTS, they can be found on the 4th floor near the Aveda Salon & Anastasia shop.

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Guide to Thai Spices

thai_spicesThai Cuisine is popular around the world for its rich use of spices and unique flavours. Here’s a list of common spices you will find in popular dishes. Many of them are similar to other spices you may know, but if you don’t use the Thai version in your cooking, your dishes will taste very different (as I found out with basil when I first moved here!)

thai parsley

Thai Parsley

Thai Parsley (pak chee farang) – Used for tom yam and salad. It looks like very skinny romaine lettuce and has a very strong smell.

Sweet Basil (horapaa) – Similar to the kind used in Italian cooking. Is used in green and red curries. It’s often available on street food stalls.

Basil flowers in the garden

Holy Basil

Holy Basil (kaprao) – Looks similar to regular basil, but the leaves are flat, not curved like sweet basil. It has a slightly licorice smell/taste. They are used in stir-fries and vegetable spring rolls.

Coriander (pak chee) – The seeds are often roasted and used in many curry pastes. Leaves are used to add flavour to salads and soups.

bird's eye chilies

Use sparingly until you’re used to the spice!

Bird’s Eye Chilies (prik kae noo) – This is the smallest variety of chili and they are very hot!

Galangal (khaa) – This is also known as Siamese Ginger, and in fact, the two plants are closely related. Its roots are longer than ginger. This is used in curry pastes, Tom Yam and Tom Kha.

Lemongrass (ta krai) – A grey/green grass with the most fantastic aroma! You will find this used in soups, curries, teas and as a fragrance.

lemongrass

Lemongrass

 

keffir

Keffir Lime

Keffir Lime (mo krut) – This looks like a Thai lemon but it has a rough knobby skin. The flesh is bitter and contains very little juice. The rind and leaves are used in curry or soup. You’ll often see these limes at spas.

Resources:

 

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Bangkok Osteopath Centre

http://osteopathcentre.com/Located close to Ari BTS, Philip Hambly and his wife run a small clinic based on British Osteopathy. Struggling with hip and lower back pain that caused my awful bout with iliotibial band syndrome, my friend Ruth mentioned Dr Phil and how he had helped her and her partner.

Osteopaths are like massage therapists and chiropractors got together and had a love child; they know how the muscles join with bones and seek to solve issues without drugs or surgery.

Check out their website for more information. I highly recommend them over physiotherapy any day!

 

 

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My Great Canadian Food Adventure (Ontario & East Coast)

So Canada is a good place for Celiacs. I only starved thrice – on Korean Airlines to Toronto,  and in Campbellford, Ontario and Ingonish, Nova Scotia.

It can be a bit tricky to cater for my diet, as I require gluten and dairy free, but choose not to eat meat. I still have fish and eggs though. People generally get confused.

But back to the highlights:

I had a stopover in Seoul before Toronto. A friend recommended babimbap – rice served in a hot bowl with veggies and or meat. There is no soy sauce in that or the kimchi. However, I was unsure about the other three bowls. But this dish was pretty hearty. They serve it with a raw egg on the top, which you can mix in with the rice.

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Toronto and Ottawa were very easy to navigate. With the help of this website, I knew where to go and find some delectable treats – www.glutenfree ontario.ca

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This is how I found the gluten free AND vegetarian poutine in Kensington!

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Raw vegan food at Cafe My House – lasagne

My favourites in Ottawa were Cafe My House and The Table (both on Wellington St) and The Green Door Cafe (on Main St).

My grandpa brought this back from his shopping spree. I was pleasantly surprised with the cinnamon buns. The raisin bread made great breakfasts and French toast! He also picked me up a vegan cheesecake – amAZIng!image

My grandmother was pretty good about feeding me. We had fresh fish, with roasted veggies and a lovely strawberry salad. I will post her vinaigrette recipe in a few days.

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Now onto the East Coast Fare:

This was a typical camping/hiking lunch. Thank goodness for humus and gluten free beer!

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And yes, I did hike with a frozen beer. I wasn’t driving 🙂

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I travelled with some Thai curry spice packs and managed to use two while I was a guest in people’s houses. This here is a green curry with shrimp.

Another great thing was all the fresh seafood, including lobster!

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Under attack!

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Lobster the New England way – with corn on the cob.

We found a place called Masstown Market in Nova Scotia that served a number of gluten free items. I tried the battered and deep fried (rice flour) fish and scallops.

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I was lucky in Charlottetown, PEI as well. I had Thai flavoured mussels with smoked salmon and potato cakes at a place called Fishbones.

image My first taste of scallops was at the Telegraph House in Baddeck, Cape Breton. Their whole menu was gluten free. It was quite impressive (and posh).

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