Playing for #teamwhiterice? Keep it from hurting your health!

Playing for #teamwhiterice? Keep it from hurting your health!

So I have to admit…. I have been playing for #teamwhiterice. For those of you who are wondering what the heck I am talking about, #teamwhiterice refers to a growing sector of people who have added white rice to their “paleo” diet. Here is my personal experience, why I am quitting the team, and some guidelines that will help you “play safe” if you too are tempted to join this fluffy and delicious squad.

I have been following the autoimmune protocol since 2012 and my attempts at “reintroductions” have been pretty dismal.

Eggs: NO

Dairy: NO

Nuts/seeds:NO

Nightshades: resounding NOOOOO

Alcohol: only if I want a sinus headache

Caffeine: only if I want to stay up all night

Chocolate: maybe a square… but where is the fun if you can’t eat the whole bar

 

To my surprise when I ate some white rice for an experiment I had no reaction. I had previously thought of reintroductions as  a progressive thing… if I couldn’t do any of the stage 1 reintro’s I would probably not be able to progress to stage 2. I thought that for sure stage 4 reintro’s like rice and pseudo grains were going to be impossible. I was overjoyed to discover that I was wrong. After asking around I have found that there are quite a few people who have had similar experiences.

At first I used rice as an occasional naughty treat…. sushi on a special occasion or a little white rice added to my veggie stir-fry. But things started to get out of hand. Soon I was filling my dinner plate with rice (along with a few veggies and some meat or fish) and using the leftover white rice to make a porridge in the morning. Creamy rice porridge with blueberries, coconut cream and a little cinnamon tasted like a bowl of indulgence. It made me feel like a “normal” person who eats whatever they want. It was also SOOOO EASY!

So why would I quit white rice if it isn’t hurting my tummy? Why would I abandon something that is making my cooking so much easier and my grocery list so much shorter? What is wrong with white rice? Meals served with white rice were showing up all over my formerly 100% paleo instagram feed and many leaders in the paleo movement seem approve of the inclusion of white rice as part of a balanced diet (which only helped me justify my consumption).

Let me be clear: I don’t have anything against white rice. There is nothing inherently bad about it. The trouble for me was what rice was replacing on my plate. My normal breakfast of sauteed veggies and fish? Replaced with white rice. Olive oil and garlic bathed zoodles to eat with my chicken? Replaced with white rice. Diced squash baked with coconut oil and cinnamon as a side for my ground beef? Replaced with white rice. White rice was pushing far more nutrient dense items off of my plate. It was making me lazy… and while the rice itself was not hurting my health, it was taking the place of many other foods that were helping me become stronger and healthier.

So I quit. Cold turkey. No more rice cereal. No more rice sushi. No more rice stir-fry. My plates are more colorful and I am going through veggies like they are going out of style. When I want a “normal” breakfast I pull up my AIP breakfast cookbook and make some porridge instead of rice. If I want to get really crazy I make AIP pancakes…. but usually I just eat veggies and fish.

Now I don’t think that my extreme approach is for everyone, I am kind of an all or nothing girl, but I do think that #teamwhiterice is a team that we should think twice before joining.

 

Here are a few things to think about:

 

Is white rice taking the place of more nutrient dense foods on your plate?

White rice is not bad, but it also isn’t as nutritious as many other foods. Make sure that rice is just an add-on to an already nutrient rich diet… not a replacement for your liver pate.

Are you eating more rice than veggies?

Part of what makes a diet with paleo principles so healthy isn’t what you don’t eat, but rather what you DO eat. That means that your plate should be full of veggies and organ meats, not just sweet potatoes or rice.

Is white rice helping you add extra carbs to fuel your active lifestyle?

#teamwhiterice is a great team for athletes or extremely active people who simply need more carbs than they can easily get from sweet potatoes or other carb-dense veggies. It can also make an already healthy meal bigger without too much strain on your food budget.
nutrientdenseplate
While a little dramatized here, you can see how rice might often sneakily push other more nutrient dense foods off of your plate!white rice plate

3 Responses

  1. Afellowcrohnie

    Thanks for this post! A reminder not to let nutrient dense foods get pushed off the plate was just what I needed. I, too, fell into eating more and more rice, and even gluten free oats, justifying it because I hadn’t tested as sensitive to them. They took over my plate! The quantity of veggies I ate daily plummeted with my really missing them. After all I was enjoying having rice! Gradually I started feeling not as well has I had been (I have crohns and am AIP) but I was struggling to quit the rice given that I thought could eat it, then I read your post and it struck me: I can’t keep eating rice if I want to be eating the veggies. So I quit #teamwhiterice and am already seeing the benefits. Really appreciate the insight!

    • Thanks for reading! Glad that you liked the post. It is a reminder I often have to give myself as well 😉

  2. Great post! Thank you for explaining the info behind eating white rice. I think I would be like you… I’m such an all or nothing person that it would be hard for me to eat just “a little” whit rice!

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