Monday, May 5, 2014

Why I Broke Up with Rice

I was on the phone with my mother the other day while I was shopping pants for an upcoming trip.  I've gone down from a size 4 to a 2 and sometimes a 0.  I have lost ten pounds and I'm keeping it off without much effort on my part.  Anyway, she accused me of being anorexic because I don't eat rice and sugar.  Oh, if she only knew how much I eat outside of the grain family of food - heaping and overflowing servings of all sorts of vegetables with steak, pork chops, chicken, fish, many many servings of less sugary fruits throughout the day, raw unsalted nuts for snacks.  Eating whole and unprocessed, fresh and homecooked is not an eating disorder.

I also write for a Philippine-based food blog called "The Fat Kid Inside".  When I wrote about the suggestion of a low-carb diet back in February in article, "The Rice Breakup", the response was mostly positive, but it also sparked a debate about whether one should quit rice.

I don't understand why people (and maybe it's only true for people of my own Asian culture) have such an aversion to healthy eating sans carbohydrates and sugar.  I don't get it.  WHAT IS UP?

At the end of the day, I eat how I eat because I want to live long doing the things I love doing.  Here are just some of the things that make it unimaginable for me to revert to a high carb diet:

1  This type of diet fuels me for my hyperactive lifestyle.  For sports, I mountain bike (uphill climbs trying to keep up with men - YES), cycle (again, uphill - 2.5 miles), run, ski, snowshoe, hike up mountains - no naps after.  Seriously.  I'm not bragging but if I don't eat properly, none of this would even be possible.  The point is: I'm eating the way my body requires to sustain me through all these strenuous physical activity.

2  I don't have the 3 PM slump at work.  I have had it all my life thinking that's just the way it is.  I just pop a soda when that hits and I'm fine (more sugar - eek!).  I haven't had an afternoon like that (or a soda) in months.

3  My immune system is a lot tougher.  I used to get colds often and when I get them, they stick around for a looong time.  I've only had a cold once in one year.  A record for me!  And I do think there is a strong correlation with the diet change.  All those fruits and veggies must do something.

I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal about high-protein low carb diets.  Well, it's actually broader than that.  It's about the health authorities co-opted to drastically reduce saturated fats from the American diet.  The unintended consequence is that people are now eating more carbohydrates and sugar, the effect of which is diabetes and heart disease.  The article also describes the history of how and who came up with the theory that saturated fats will kill you.  The truth is, it was based on erroneous and biased research.


If this topic intrigues you, the full article can be read here.  But in gist, from the words of the author of this Wall Street Journal article:

"Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon, followed by fish. The reality is that fat doesn't make you fat or diabetic. Scientific investigations going back to the 1950s suggest that actually, carbs do."

I rest my case.

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