Five years ago, I wrote about trying to shed by post-baby fat on this very blog. It’s now 2015, my son is in kindergarten, and I am still in the same place I was in when I started Bangkok Glutton, except now I’m older. Struggling with your weight and all the stuff that goes with it (knee problems, health issues, nagging from your mom) while staying an avid fan of all things edible is a chore even at the best of times. When you’re stressed out from all sorts of other stuff, it’s nearly impossible — unless you go all-out and become one of those people who detail to you every single thing they’ve ingested that day in lieu of actual conversation. I am now one of those people. You can make like my friends and family and stop paying attention now.
My new trainers-for-a-month, Dan and Dave, look after my nutrition and my physical fitness, respectively. Not surprisingly, nutrition is the very thing I have been struggling with for the past five years. Dan tells me that, in order to succeed in my goals, I need to cut out a few things from my diet. Those things are: caffeine. Alcohol. Sugar, including fructose and honey. Grains, including rice, noodles and bread. Legumes. Grain-fed beef. Pork. Duck. Any oil not coconut or olive. And anything made by anyone else. Half of my plate should be vegetables, and half should be protein. I can eat nuts and seeds but lay off the tofu. I should become BFF with lemon water. This is all so my body will begin burning my vast stores of fat, instead of the sugar that I have been living off of for the past 43 years. Before every meal, I envision the face of my trainer Dan, who thinks eating canned tuna mixed with wasabi is a treat: “Do I need this [insert bread-related item here]? Will it help me reach my goal?”
I end up documenting everything obsessively in a food diary. I become unbearable company, which is okay, since all my meals are at home anyway. I read cookbooks at night before bed, fantasizing about food. In the mornings when I wake up and take a sip of my hot lemon water, I literally want to die. I tell Paleo Robbie, whom I’m interviewing for a “clean eating” story, all about my problems within the first five minutes of meeting him. He gives me a strange look. “Some people don’t do well on ketosis,” he says. I decide that I will use that excuse for the rest of my life. Sorry for barreling into you on the Skytrain. Excuse me for cutting in line at the bank. I don’t do well on ketosis.
However, there comes a time when one must do as one does, because that is what they are pretending to do for a living. Like eat street food. It’s a shame that street food is LITERALLY THE DEVIL for this diet. It is full of delicious things, like noodles and rice and fried stuff. It probably has MSG. It most definitely has soy sauce and/or fish sauce. But life must go on. I try to compromise where I can, and that means a vastly reduced set of dishes: namely, gowlow (noodle soups without the noodles) and beef meatballs on a stick without the sauce, baby.
But the very best thing for diet street food is Isaan. It’s all the meat of course, and the plate of fresh veggies that usually accompanies your meal. The fact that everything is grilled helps too.
But if you must maintain tunnel vision in order to keep focus, like me, it’s best if the vendor serves only meat and nothing else to tempt you back into sugar-burning mode. That’s where the Chicken Guy on Thonglor Road (between Thonglor sois 17 and 19) comes into play. His stand is literally a grill set into the sidewalk, spattered liberally with grease from the chicken thighs he cooks daily. The thighs are juicy and lightly flavored, perfect for days when you need something from the streets in order to maintain the illusion that you haven’t tipped over entirely into insufferable gitface land.
Chicken guy is open in the mornings until he sells out.