As a firm believer in REAL FOOD (that means that it was alive recently) I love rice as a healthy carb choice and recommend it to all of my clients.
However even simple food choices can be confused by all of the misinformation that is force fed to us about what “healthy eating” really is.
So let me clear this one up for you….
Aside from being easy to prepare in bulk, rice is fantastic with pretty much any protein choice.
But what makes rice so special is how it reacts in your gut….or more specifically, doesn’t react.
You see, an alarmingly high percentage of our foods go through a disgusting amount of processing before they ever make it to our table.
( I could go on for days about processed foods but i’ll stick to rice for the time being)
Luckily rice is already a food that has very little reaction in the stomach ( that means it won’t make you bloat) and if you’re diligent when you shop then you can find a variety that is not only super tasty but also relatively unaltered since the day it was harvested.
So let me clear this one up for you….
First thing- THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!
Like I said rice is great, I eat it literally every single day, but if you’re not careful you may be walking into a trap. Before I get into the different varieties let me give you the primary rule:
THE FEWER WORDS IN THE “INGREDIENTS” PANEL THE BETTER!!
I’ll show you what I mean.
Next time you are browsing the bottom aisle of your favorite grocery store and you come across the bag that says “white rice” flip it over and read the nutrition panel. Chances are it says something about being “bleached” or “enriched” (sounds tasty, huh?) Listen there is a reason that it only costs 1$ for 5 pounds.
Now let’s look at the Jasmine Rice on the shelf above. Flip that bag over and what do you know? The ingredients label reads “Jasmine Rice”. This is an example of what we mean by “real food”. Your body will recognize those unaltered nutrients and use them for energy.
Like I said I could go on and on about the real food thing but I think I have made my point. Now let’s talk about RICE 🙂
I always describe our starchy carbs as either “brown, dark” (the slower digesting variety) such as brown rice, sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa etc, all being darker in color. or “white, light” (the faster digesting carbs) such as white rice, white potato, pasta, etc, all being lighter in color. As a rule of thumb we want to stick to our slower digesting carbs as they take longer to broken down in the stomach and released into the bloodstream.
The Idea is that if your carbs are released slowly the they will be easily burned for energy before they can become fat cells. If the carbs you eat are quickly digested, however, then there is a chance that they will be released into the bloodstream before they are needed, which means that your body will HAVE TO store them as fat.
(There is no backfeed on the human body, if you eat it you will hold it until your body uses it, period.
So let’s take this logic and apply it to rice:
Brown Rice: With almost no bloating effect to speak of for most people, this variety of rice has been a staple of healthy eaters for decades. Slow digesting and full of usable carbs.
White Rice: This one can be a tricky one. Your run of the mill bottom shelf rice is, well, on the bottom shelf for a reason. The sterilization process leaves it void of nutrients and usually full of foreign toxins.
As far as rate of digestion, white rice naturally tends to be a little quicker
As an alternative I like Jasmine Rice. It is clean, has a light fluffy texture and a distinct, delicious taste.
As far as rate of digestion, white rice naturally tends to be a little quicker, and therefore leads to a greater spike in blood sugar. For this reason I prefer to see it eaten at the first big meal after a vigorous workout, when your body is wanting to absorb nutrients as quickly as possible.
Another great alternative is Basmati Rice. This too has a distinct, earthy taste that I love. It doesn’t digest as quickly as other types of rice so you can really work it in any time of day.
Alright I don’t think that there are any more words in the English Language about the subject of rice, but let me point out that we covered much more than just rice. If you apply the practices of:
1) Choosing Real, Clean Food
2) be mindful of the rate of digestion when it comes to your starchy carbs. Then you will find that the battle of the bulge isn’t much of a battle at all