After a few months of travelling around South East Asia I found that I was getting a little flabby and losing strength.
Asian food is tasty and cheap - but for a reason. It is generally loaded with carbs (including a load of sugar) and fat, very low in protein and vegetables.
Also I was on holiday in Thailand and a bottle of Chang costs a pound. Then in Vietnam I could get three bottles of 333 for that same pound.
I had been drinking every day for about three months when I went to the gym and found that I had lost all my strength when I struggled to bench 60kg for 5x5.
After this embarrassing experience I decided to get some healthier food. We were staying in hostels or budget hotels so didn’t have any cooking facility so 7-Eleven and their microwave were the closest to home cooking I could get.
Westeners in Asia probably get around 30% of their calories from 7-Eleven cheese toasties, they cost about 65p so it’s understandable if you’re on a budget. If you don’t mind breaking the bank and spending arond £2-3 on a meal from 7-Eleven you can get some surprisingly healthy and tasty food.
Even on the 7-Eleven Diet I rarely spend more than about £2.50 on a meal.
The 7-Eleven Diet, the most convenient way to get lean.
Disclaimer: this is almost definitely not a healthy way to live. This is for entertainment purposes and I do not take responsibility if you get scurvy or other illnesses.
Since you’re trying to get lean chicken and rice is likely to be your bread and butter, of course you’re not actually allowed to eat bread or butter if you’re getting lean.
These are the main chicken products I can find at 7-Eleven. My favourite is the Thai spicy chicken, the nutrition claims 0 carbs and is the cheapest which surprises me.
If you don’t like spicy food go for one of the others. I tend to avoid the plain single chicken breast because it lacks flavour.
3 Chargrilled Chicken Breast Fillets (40THB) - 110 kcal / 2g carb / 2.5g fat / 21g protein
Garlic and Pepper Chicken Breast (40THB) - 90 kcal / 3g carb / 1g fat / 17g protein
Thai Spicy Chicken (32THB) - 128 kcal / 0 carb / 8.4g fat / 13.2g protein
The two salads I see consistently are the chicken caesar salad and the tuna and egg salad. They are both pretty good.
I remember the first time I ever had a 7-Eleven tuna and egg salad, it was the freshest tasting thing I had eaten in a long time. The raw carrots, cabbage taste so good after living so long on fried food and rice.
There isn’t much protein in these so I add a pack of chicken as well. The salads are just really good for some micro nutrients, flavour and some extra bulk to your meal.
Chicken Caesar Salad (55THB) - 230 kcal / 9g carbs / 17g fat / 10g protein
Tuna and Egg Salad (55THB) - 200 kcal / 8g carbs / 15g fat / 9g protein
They’re eggs, they normally have hard boiled or soft boiled.
The eggs are in the fridge so they’re cold, I’m in to some weird stuff but cold eggs is a bit too far for me so I don’t actually eat these.
Egg (8-16THB) - 66 kcal / 0.5g carb / 4.6 fat / 6.8g protein
These 7-Eleven special Keto Friendly sausages are actually quite nice, and I’m not normally a fan of extremely processed mystery meat.
There are a load of different sausage types in 7-Eleven and most of them do not look very appetising. If you stick to the ones in the black packages like pictured above you should be ok. My favourite are the fresh chilli flavour.
Fresh Chilli Fried Sausages (39THB) - 180 kcal / 1.5g carb / 9.8g fat / 17.8g protein
Pair rice with any of the protein sources and you have a meal. There are normally a few varieties of rice in 7-Eleven but my favourite is the plain white jasmine rice.
Plain jasmine rice is one of my favourite foods, the caucasity…
Steamed Jasmine Rice (15THB) - 250 kcal / 56g carb / 0.5g fat / 5g protein
Additional Protein Sources
The Milo extra protein drink tastes better than the other protein drinks, has less calories and is half the price. It does have half the protein though.
Milo Protein Drink (25THB) - 138 kcal / 18g carb / 1g fat / 12g protein
Dutchie 2x protein greek yoghurt is available in a few flavours and they all taste good.
Dutchie 2x Protein Greek Yoghurt (20THB) - 120 kcal / 18g carbs / 2g fat / 7g protein
Drinking is most definitely allowed and actually encouraged on the 7-Eleven diet.
We want to get drunk whilst keeping monetary expenditure and caloric intake low. For that reason beer is banned. A small Chang has 155 calories and 12.8g carbs.
The approved drink of the 7-Eleven diet is Hong Thong whiskey with soda water and ice, drank on the street. You may sit on a curb or squat while drinking.
A single shot has around 70 calories and zero carbs. Hong Thong is also enriched so you can drink as much as you want and not get a hangover*.
Hong Thong 350ml (139THB) - 828 kcal / 0 carb / 0 fat / 0 protein
Singha Soda Water (9THB) - 0 kcal / 0 carb / 0 fat / 0 protein
7-eleven x Virgil Abloh Ice (6THB) - 0 kcal / 0 carb / 0 fat / 0 protein
Things to Avoid
Pretty much everything else. Here are some things you might think are healthy but are not which have caught me out.
I saw a load of people drinking this at the gym so I got one. Only after drinking it did I find out that it’s just a load of carbs and a little bit of protein.
I think there is a government scheme that is telling people to drink this. I don’t know why, the macros are awful and it doesn’t taste good.
I suppose it’s a good cheap way to get some calories if that’s what you want because a bottle is only 15 baht.
Vitamilk (15THB) - 250 kcal / 32g carb / 10g fat / 8g protein
* This isn’t true but I have drank a lot of Hong Thong at once and never had a hangover from it.