Eating Well in the Fast Lane

Eating Well in the Fast Lane

Bangkok has evolved in the last five years in ways I doubt most folks would ever have imagined. The former capital of jai yen yen and laidback fun is now fast and furious, with harried workers scrambling up the BTS steps to try to catch overpacked trains, fit in that extra hour at the office, and earn a bit more to keep up with the neighbor’s latest iPhone, as well as being able to afford a stop at the latest new local craft beer bar or food truck. Work and lifestyle habits here are starting to resemble those in most of the Western world, with minimal time to cook, let alone eat, and one look around the city makes one realize that not only are our wallets a bit fatter than five years ago, but that the same can be said about our waistlines.

With meals becoming hurried affairs and yet people wanting to watch their diets, another niche market has been born, that of the diet delivery service. While we might not have nor make the time to cook, at least we want to be assured that in those free minutes we do have to wolf down a few calories, that they at least ought to be filled with something nutritional.

Leading the charge is Absolute Fit Food. Coming from the team behind Absolute Yoga, this healthy meal delivery service was started to cater to the demand for healthy eating for those whose schedules are too busy to allow for it. Serving up high nutrient and low calorie “superfood” (nutrient-rich, unprocessed) meals that are abundant in organic vegetables and hormone free meats, Absolute Fit seeks to help customers reduce fat, improve their physiques, and eat a healthier diet.

Chef in the kitchen, Bangkok, Thailand

Photo: Dave Stamboulis

Director Claire Bostock says that people want a healthier lifestyle in Bangkok these days, and that the rise of preventable illnesses like high cholesterol and heart disease have made folks more aware of their lifestyle and eating habits. Bostock also says that (people see that) celebrities are able to get into good shape quickly due to having personal chefs tailor-making meals for them, and that Absolute Fit seeks to emulate this by having affordable personal chefs available to a larger audience.

Absolute Fit Food is quite unique in that it uses organic spelt flour in all its bakery products, hormone-free chicken and ocean-caught fish for its meats, and abundant superfoods such as quinoa, chia seeds, wakame, spirulina, and goji berries in many of its meals and dishes. In addition to regular meal delivery, the outfit also has specific program plans available, ranging from weight loss to anti-ageing to pre- and postnatal meal-focused options. Absolute Fit Food also has onsite luncheon specials at its charming little eatery in Lang Suan, offering standout meals such as green curry quinoa or salmon risotto served with salads and desserts.

Another player on the catered diet food scene is Paleo Robbie. Run by American brothers Erik and Robbie Verspui, Paleo Robbie whips up meals set to emulate our caveman ancestors. The Paleo diet, which does have plenty of naysayers, believes that we should be eating the foods eaten by early humans, mainly meat, fish, veggies, and fruit, and not dairy products, grains, or processed foods that have come into our lives since the advent of modern farming.

Gourmet green curry quinoa risotto, Bangkok, Thailand

Photo: Dave Stamboulis

While many envision this diet to be a couple of chicken drumsticks in hand or large bones to gnaw on, in reality one cannot use any kind of hormone-fed meat, and Paleo Robbie’s catered meals actually take things up several notches, serving a variety of healthy fresh meals made from scratch. Menu selections include wild Alaskan pink salmon with wasabi avocado aioli, confit pork belly with puttanesca sauce, chicken fajitas, and even coq au vin, hardly anything one would expect from a caveman diet. I’m pretty sure my Neanderthal predecessors never got close to such epicurean heights! At 300 baht a meal, dinners resemble middle-upper restaurant prices, but one doesn’t have to go out, although after a trial run, one has to order a prepaid amount equaling about twenty meals per month.

For those looking to satisfy their inner vegan craving, Fox Box fills the need, providing “Happy Days” and “Super Slim” meal boxes to those on the go. A five-day Vegan Box only costs 1,559 baht and gives you breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but calorie counts are pretty low.

Other newcomers on the delivery front, not quite so gourmet oriented nor pricey, include Cleansheet Kitchen, which delivers low-calorie Thai dish box sets and Pin Toh Por, which specializes in low-calorie, spicy southern food, with free delivery all along the BTS lines. Larb salads substitute tofu for meat, and most of the rice boxes feature healthy low-calorie ingredients.

Eating in the fast lane

Photo: Dave Stamboulis

And once you’ve spiced up your meal plan, lost a few kilos, and are feeling five years younger, well, there’s always that new gourmet pizza place that’s opened up on the corner.

Absolute Fit ­– 31 The Portico Building, 3rd Floor, Room #304, Soi Langsuan. Tel. 081-371-3721.

Paleo Robbie – Tel. 094-483-9834.

Fox Box – Tel. 094-559-0566.

Cleansheet – Tel. 091-961-6496.

Pin Toh Por – Tel. 082-955-5277.

Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer and photographer based in Bangkok, Thailand. His photos, represented by Alamy and Getty Images, have appeared in publications around the world. He is the author of Odysseus’ Last Stand, which received the Silver Medal for Travel Book of the Year in 2006 from the Society of American Travel Writers. In addition to working as the updating writer for Fodor’s Guidebook to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, he is the "Bangkok expert" for USA Today's 10Best website, and a regular contributor for publications throughout Southeast Asia such as Silver Kris (Singapore Airlines), Asian Geographic, International Traveller (Australia), Virgin Voyeur, Tiger Tales (Tiger Air), Bangkok 101, Look East, Tropical Magazine, Get Lost (Australia), Sawasdee Thai Air, and Bangkok Post among others.