Monthly Archives: September 2016

In Praise of Rice

As part of an overall high protein, high fiber, low refined sugar and starch diet, rice is invaluable.  Don’t underestimate how important the second biggest food crop in the world is.

While too much rice, and it’s irrelevant whether you eat white, brown, or parboiled rice, is not necessary or even desired, the right amount will make your meals more satisfying and more nutritious.

You can’t eat the initial reduction diet of protein and low starch vegetables forever.  Your body will go into ketosis and waste away all it’s fat stores, and then it’s muscle stores too.  At some point in low carb dieting, you have to add good carbs back to the diet in order to find your carbohydrate threshold.  That is, the amount of carbs you can eat without gaining any weight back.

Rice and fruit are ideal foods, and protein doesn’t necessarily have to come from meat.  Rice is largely filler, a mixture of fiber, a lot of water, and a few minerals, but in that lies its inherent magic.  A rice grain swells three times in size as it cooks and absorbs water.  Rice is sweet, bland, nourishing, mild, and harmless.  You can eat it every day and not be adversely affected.

Brown rice may have all the fiber intact, and fiber is an essential factor in health, but white rice isn’t so bad either if you are eating a lot of vegetables.  The East Asians only eat white rice traditionally, and since there is so much fiber in their diet to begin with, nobody misses the bran or endosperm of the rice grain.

Parboiled rice may be the best solution to the brown vs white controversy.  Parboiled rice is boiled in the husk before polishing into white rice, so the nutrients go into the internal part of the grain and then the bran is rubbed away.  So what you are left with is rice that is nutritious like brown rice, but lacking the fiber of brown rice.  In the end, rice is a source of starch, or complex carbohydrates, so all three types of rice turn into a steady supply of sugar in the body.  Eat rice sparingly, but there should be some in your diet every day if you are near your desired weight.

And one last thing before I end this post.  Weight loss is not the end part of nutritional knowledge, and nutrition is not the end part of medical knowledge.  Everybody in America wants to lose weight and talk about food because they are obese and unhealthy.  Food doesn’t just help you stay near a certain weight.  It also cures diseases and fuels performance, and ultimately influences longevity.  And when it comes to medical knowledge, nutrition is just the beginning subject, not the ultimate subject of longevity and the possibility of immortality.

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The Relative Merits and Demerit of the Atkins Diet

To begin with, this article is only my opinion based on experience, observations, and intuitions.  You should do the diet that works for you.

There are many good things about the Atkins diet, and there are many flaws to it too.

One good thing about it is that the fundamental principles of it work.  Any diet should be high protein, high fiber, and low in refined sugar and starch.  Protein and Fiber are the two most important nutrients beside water, and refined sugar is the culprit in American obesity rates skyrocketing.  Just note that it is possible to be fat but fit.

But a low to no carb diet is not healthy in the long run.  The Atkins diet should be prescribed in cases of severe obesity or in the diabetic population.  There’s no reason for a fit active person to restrict all carbohydrate sources.  It takes it’s toll on the kidneys and liver, and not all low carb food is good for you.

The Atkins diet is not a free pass to eat all the bacon and high fat cheeses you want.  The main thing should be low starch vegetables as well as some lean protein.  I recommend for overweight people to eat low carb initially, and then add some whole grains such as brown rice and low sugar fruits such as apples and berries back to your diet when your weight returns to a normal level.

People should be aware that there are protein sources in both the plant and animal kingdoms, and that you should use both readily.  Beans and seeds are good sources of plant protein to begin with, and fish, seafood, and eggs are very positive proteins in the animal kingdom.

Also, remember that dieting is not a religion.  You can cheat here and there.  In fact, you have to cheat to keep winning on your diet.  Even a vegetarian can indulge in a chicken salad from time to time, just like an atkins dieter can eat a sweet potato.

If you eat lots of vegetables, lean protein, high quality fats, and some fruit and grain for fiber, you’re probably doing ok.

 

 

Eat to Live, don’t Live to Eat

This is a simple statement with a deep message.  Food is not an object of lust and pleasure.  Of course, eating is pleasurable that is why we do it.  We also have sex because it is pleasurable.  The good feeling and need for it keeps us doing it, and keeps life moving.  Desire moves life.

But instead of looking at food as a reward for doing something positive, or as indulging in your favorite taste, instead look at food as a fuel for your body.  Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

Less is more when it comes to eating, and as Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘to lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.’.  The less calories you eat, the longer your lifespan will be.  This doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself or abstain from what you love the most.  It just means that the body is a machine and that to be functioning optimally you must feed it optimally.

I used to think the atkins diet was the best because it gets you results in the short term.  And yes, there are atkins principles that work regardless of what fad diet you pursue.  But the reality is, grain is the ultimate human invention, the one that allowed for such a huge population explosion all over the world.

The Chinese have been eating a grain based diet for a long time, even back before they had rice they had millet.  Rice is a sweet, bland, neutral, mild filler that fills your stomach without adding too many calories.  People all over the world eat a mostly plant based diet with starchy grain as their staple.

Vegetables also happen to be man’s best foodstuff, and there is hardly a diet that doesn’t include lots of vegetables.  They are full of water, fiber, and vitamins and minerals, as well as other compounds science hasn’t found yet.

Protein is also important, not in the sense of avoiding a deficiency in it, nobody in America has a protein deficiency except in rare cases of starvation.  Protein improves satiety and decreases the feeling of hunger.  It also gives you strength and muscle tone.  When you eat a high protein breakfast or some kind of lean protein with dinner, it makes the meal much more filling and gives you more energy.

The Buddha said, ‘hunger is the worst bodily disease.’  Once you have eaten to satiety, stop eating.  I know eating can be a form of fun and stress reduction, very comforting to a worried mind.  But if you remember to eat to live, fueling performance and life itself, rather than a reward for good conduct, life will take on a new freedom that it never did before.