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Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle in Korea

June 20, 2013


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Ok, so this isn’t really fully a TL;DR on Korean culture and might not be fully relevant to you, but some people might be interested in different food lifestyles in Korea. You can get by eating Korean food just fine. It’s lovely and delicious, but you might be interested in trying a different lifestyle, for different dietary purposes, like our own. We’ve found Korean food to be a bit too…carb-heavy, and that lead to us getting a little softer than usual. We told you that we dropped carbs to lose weight, so here are more of the specifics on how we got by.

We mentioned two key phrases that got us by: Bap Baeh-Jusayo “No rice, please” and “Hwang-Jay Diet-uh” which is…you know, I’m not too sure what hwang-jae means. Diet-uh means diet, that much I know, but Hwang-jae? Not sure. I just learned that phrase and it worked perfectly well when we’re at restaurants and trying to avoid carbs.

We also took a lot more responsibility in preparing our own food, primarily for the low carb purposes, but also because we’re just trying to eat healthier ingredients as well. White sugar and white flour are great tasting, but not all too great for your body. So we started using different sugars like Xylotol, for example. We use a lot of flax seed, chia seeds, coconut flour and coconut oil, almond flour, protein powder, textured vegetable protein, and such. These products aren’t easy to find in Korea, and when we do find some of them, they’re RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. So we order lots of stuff online.

Also, yes, I know there’s lots of debates about what ingredients are good or not. Some ingredients seem healthy, but then one blog will say that they’re not healthy, and another blog will say something else. The point is, we’re trying to avoid foods and ingredients that we know aren’t all too great, you know? So much food is so processed, and you just don’t know how good it is for you. Sure, some people might eat it and be healthy tanks. For us, though, we’re feeling a lot healthier and more energized after taking more control over what we eat and what ingredients go into our foods.

We talked about our spinach smoothie, which is more of a lumpy, and it sounds gross, but we actually REALLY LIKE IT! When Martina was last in Canada, she went to an alternative food course, and learned some cool recipes, the spinach smoothie being one of them:

Healthy Green Breakfast Lumpy


1 whole organic apple chopped (if non-organic peel it first)
1 lemon chopped (peeled but not seeded)
1 large handful of spinach chopped
6 additional leaves of sturdy greens (ex: kale, collard greens)
1 heaping tsp of peeled fresh ginger
3 cups of cold water


1. Dump all of it into the blender and blend on maximum speed until no longer super chunky.
2. Drink it immediately or seal it in an airtight container for one day.
3. Feel like a better person because you drank down a bunch of healthy green slop

Another thing we’ve started doing is something that we heard about a lot before but were too hesitant to try. I think the English word for it is “exercise” or something like that. People go to these rooms called “gyms” and they lift and push heavy things, or they walk on the spot on machines that let them walk without going anywhere. It sounds silly, and we refused to do it for the vast majority of our married life, but over the past couple of months we’ve given in and tried it out. It’s not that bad, you know? We feel like we’re looking better than before, and our bodies are getting somewhat tighter, and we can see and feel muscles that we didn’t know existed before. It’s weird.

After the gym we make protein shakes:

Berry Soymilk Protein Shake (For One Person)


1 (200ml) juice-cartoon of chilled Yonsei Soymilk
1 scoop of unflavoured natural Whey Protien powder (Now Foods)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp raw cacoa powder
2 heaping tbsp berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mix is fine)

Additional Options:

1 tbsp of honey/sugar (if the smoothie is too dull tasting for you)
2-3 ice cubes to make it less thick
1 banana (very carby but makes it more delicious if you don’t care about carbs)
1/4 cup of cool brewed coffee (adds your morning kick)


1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and stir. Let it sit for 1 minute for the chia seeds to expand.
2. Blend on maximum power! VROOM VROOM!
3. Drink it all. It’s easier to drink it in one shot.
4. Yell at the person next to you “BRO YOU EVEN LIFT?!”

Some of you follow us on Twitter. If you don’t, you should! We do cool things on Twitter, like last night when it was 3AM and we made coconut pancakes. We made a Vine video for it. Here’s our recipe for it:

Low Carb Coconut Pancakes


1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp coconut sugar Xylitol (or normal sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk (or almond milk if you want)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Additional oil for the pan


1. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and slowly add the melted butter.
3. Add the egg mixture to the coconut flour mixture and stir well to combine. Let it rest for 1 minute until the coconut flour absorbs the liquid.
4.Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and brush with vegetable oil. Most important part: SMALL pancakes or they will fall apart when you flip them! I use about two big tablespoons of batter onto the frying pan and spread into a circle.
5. Cook until bottom is golden brown and top is set around the edges. Flip carefully and continue to cook until second side is golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm in tin foil plate or on baking sheet in oven (170c).
6. Eat them mofos any time of day. It’s better really late at night, when you feel like a crazy person for making pancakes at 3AM.

Ok, last recipe we’re going to share, because this seems like a crazy ass long post about recipes, and I’m sure it’s going to be hella sucky to read. This last recipe here is for pizzas we make on our own, and they’re freaking delicious and we like them more than other pizzas we get. Yes, it could be because our standards of pizza have really degraded from being in Korea for so long, and good pizza is hard to come by here, but I’d like to not think that. This pizza, to us, is delicious, and healthy, so give it a shot!

Low Carb Pizza Crust


1/2 cup flax meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano or Italian spice mix
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs


1. Mix everything but the eggs in a bowl.
2. Add the 2 eggs and stir until a dough forms. I find using my hands are a lot easier to use than a spoon or whisk.
3. Using parchment or a silicon pad on a cookie sheet, flatten the dough to the thickness you want. You can use a cookie roller but you need to grease it. I use my hands to just press and spread it thin.
4. Bake at 350 degree (F) oven for 12 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven, add pre-cooked* toppings, and then return to the oven. Use the grill setting until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 2-5 minutes.
6. Eat that pizza and look at the person next to you and be like “I KNOW RIGHT? THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN IT SHOULD BE!”

Side Notes:

*I cook chicken breast cubed with eggplant while the crust cooks. I also make homemade tomato sauce with garlic and I drain the excess liquid so the crust doesn’t get soggy. In order of operation I do tomato sauce, shredded cheese, chicken and eggplant and crumbled feta cubes. After the pizza comes out I use the drained liquid and pour it onto since the crust is very crispy and dry.

Ok, that’s it. It’s a lot more information than we thought we’d be sharing about our lives and how we’re trying to live healthier.



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