Saturday, May 17, 2008

Don't Eat Too Much Rice

This is a forwarded electronic mail that has long been kept in my mailbox. It might change your mind about eating rice.

The human body was never meant to consume rice! You see, our genes have hardly changed in more than 30,000 years. However, our food choices and lifestyle have changed dramatically. The caveman would hardly recognize our food or way of life. Caveman food was never cooked as fire was not yet tamed. Thus, he ate only those foods that he can eat without treatment with or by fire. He ate fruits, vegetables, fish (sushi anyone?), eggs, nuts and meat. Yes, even meat. You can even eat meat raw if you were starving in the forest. You have the necessary enzymes to digest meat. However, rice - like wheat and corn - cannot be eaten raw. It must be cooked. Even if you were starving in the desert, you cannot eat rice in the raw form. This is because we do not have the system of enzymes to break rice down. We were NEVER meant to eat rice. To make matters worse, we not only eat rice, but also make it the bulk of our food. In some parts of Asia , rice forms up to 85% 85% of the plate. Even if we take rice, let's keep it to a minimum. Remember, it is only for our tongue... not our body. Actually, rice and other grains like wheat and corn are actually worse than sugar. There are many reasons:
Rice becomes sugar- lots of it!

This is a fact that no nutritionist can deny: rice is chemically no different from sugar. One bowl of cooked rice is the caloric equivalent of 10 teaspons of sugar. This does not matter whether the rice is white, brown or herbal rice. Brown rice is richer in fibre, some B vitamins and minerals... but it is still the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of s ugar. To get the same 10 teaspoons of sugar, we need to consume lots of kangkong... 10 bowls of it.
Rice is digested to become sugar.

Rice can be digested only when it is thoroughly cooked. However, when thoroughly cooked, it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour... almost as quickly as it would if we took a sugar candy. Rice is very low in the "rainbow of anti-oxidants". This complete anti-oxidant rainbow is necessary for the effective and safe utilisation of sugar. Fruits come with a sugar called fructose. However, they are not empty calories as the fruit is packed with a whole host of other nutrients that help its proper assimilation and digestion.
Rice has NO fiber.

The fibre of the kangkong fills us up long before our blood sugar spikes. This is because the fibre bulks and fills up our stomach. Since white rice has no fibre, we end up eating lots of "calorie dense" food before we get filled up. Brown rice has more fibre but still contains the same amount of sugar.
Rice is tasteless.

Sugar is sweet. There is only so much that we can eat at one sitting. How many teaspoons of sugar can we eat before we feel like throwing up? Could you imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one seating?

Rice is always the main part of the meal.
While sugar may fill our dessert or sweeten our coffee, it will never be the main part of any meal. We could eat maybe two to three teaspoons of sugar at one meal. However, we could easily eat the equal value of two to three bowls (20 - 30 teaspoons) of sugar in one meal.

There is no real "built in" mechanism for us to prevent overeating of rice.
How much kangkong can we eat? How much fried chicken? How much steamed fish? Think about that! In one seating, we cannot take lots of chicken, fish or cucumber, but we can take lots of rice. Eating rice causes us to eat more salt.
As rice is tasteless, we tend to consume more salt... another villain when it comes to high blood pressure control. We tend to take more curry that has salt to help flavor the rice. We also tend to consume more ketchup and soy sauce which are also rich in salt.

Eating rice causes us to drink less water.
The more rice we eat, the less water we will drink as there is no mechanism to prevent the overeating of rice. Rice, wheat and corn come hidden in our daily food. As rice is tasteless, it tends to en d up in other foods that serve as rice substitutes... like rice flour, noodles and bread. We tend to eat the hidden forms which still get digested into sugar. Rice, even when cooked, is difficult to digest. Can't eat raw rice? Try eating rice half cooked. Contrary to popular belief, rice is very difficult to digest. It is "heavy stuff". If you have problems with digestion, try skipping rice for a few days. You will be amazed at how the problem will just go away.

Rice prevents the absorption of several vitamins and minerals.
Rice when taken in bulk will reduce the absorption of vital nutrients like zinc, iron and the B vitamins.

Are you a rice addict?
Going riceless may not be easy, but we can still go riceless. Eating less rice could be a lot easier than we think.

Here are some strategies that we can pursue in our quest to eat LESS RICE:

  1. Eat less rice - Cut your rice by half. Barry Sears, author of the Zone Diet, advises "eating rice like spice". Instead, increase your fruits & vegetables intake.
  2. Take more lean meats and fish.
  3. You can even take more eggs and nuts. Have "riceless" meals. Take no rice or wheat at say, breakfast. Go for eggs instead.
  4. Go on "riceless" days . Go "western" once a week. Take no rice and breads for one day every week! That can't be too difficult. Appreciate the richness of your food. Go for taste, colors and smells. Make eating a culinary delight. Enjoy your food in the original flavors.

  5. Avoid the salt shaker or ketchup. You will automatically eat less rice.

  6. Eat your fruit dessert BEFORE (Yes! No error here!) your meals.The fiber-rich fruits will "bulk up" in your stomach. Thus, you will eat LESS rice and more fruits.

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