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Why I Stopped Eating White Rice

Raised in an Asian household, white rice is a staple. Is it possible to bleed rice? In our culture, it probably is.

In all my years alive, I have never strayed from rice. The longest I have ever been without rice was 2 weeks, during my month-long trip to Europe. After weeks of bread and potatoes, my body was protesting for a bowl of rice. So there I was, in Paris, happily eating a bowl of salted fish fried rice in a Chinese restaurant.

Yet, everything changed 3 months ago. I stopped eating white rice.

I know, I know. At this point, you must be shocked. What! How? Why! – which are all questions I will address below. 

Why Did I Give Up Rice?

Firstly, there are MANY reasons why I gave up rice but overall, the most important is to save my health. Before I explain further, it’s important you understand what rice really is.

White rice essentially is a refined carbohydrate, similar to white bread and most breakfast cereals. Roxanne B. Sukol, a Cleveland Clinic physician and the medical director of its wellness enterprise, says people should simply call it a “stripped carb” — because it has been “stripped of all [its] nutrition.

Studies Show White Rice Linked to Diabetes

White rice gets digested quickly, raising your insulin levels as it is processed into sugar and also the main cause of diabetes. There are many studies that supports this.

In 2016, the HPB cited studies by the Harvard School of Public Health which showed that each plate of white rice eaten daily on a regular basis raises the risk of diabetes by 11 per cent.

And, in 2007, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study found that women who ate more than 300g of rice a day had a 78 per cent higher risk of diabetes compared with those who ate less than 200g a day.

The statistics were staggering enough but of course, these were just studies and it did not impact me as much.

And then, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes. I followed him to the hospitals, watched him inject himself daily. Soon after, my aunt had to amputate her limbs to prevent its spread. That was a wake up call for me – “Diabetes is no joke”

It became a turning point for me to really think about what I’m putting into my body. White rice was the first to go.

Cut Down Rice for Weight Loss

Another reason; this one is purely vanity but I decided to cut off rice to lose weight. As explained, white rice is heavily processed and refined. In other words, it is empty calories. I have been eating rice for 2-3 meals in day, multiply that with 22 years. Do you know how many empty calories I am putting into my body? And the worst part: white rice offers nothing to me.

Not only is rice seriously lacking nutrients, it makes me hungry faster. As a result, I end up eating more which leads to weight gain. As I age, it’s increasingly difficult to find time to exercise so I put more focus on what I’m feeding my body. 

How Can You Give Up Rice?

To be honest, at the start it was not easy. I found myself craving for rice when I tried other substitute like cauliflower or couscous as my base. The taste and texture didn’t fit with Asian dishes. And of course, while I value my health, I also love Singaporean cuisine. 

Until, I stumbled on quinoa.

Not only is the texture crazily similar to rice (P.S I cook my quinoa in the rice cooker too!), quinoa is extremely high in protein and fiber which is perfect for weight loss. Quinoa is rich in many more nutrients and is a rare plant-based complete protein. 

The most common question I get is: Why not switch to brown rice since it’s a healthier version of rice?

Well, I don’t know about you but I dislike the taste and texture of brown rice. So, that to me was a NO NO. 

Additionally, quinoa offers more nutrients than brown rice does. There’s a reason why Quinoa is termed as the “Mother of Grains” because it offers more protein, fiber, higher GI and antioxidants too.

My friends, heck even my mum shared concern that quinoa is too expensive to cook everyday. I disagree. While it is pricier than white rice, the fact that it saves me on a whole lot of medical bills in the future is worth it on its own.

Till today, I am going strong with my quinoa diet and yes I have lost weight in the process too! I shared my food diary + benefits in my 10 Days of Quinoa Challenge post. Since I started the challenge, I have not backed out.

Do I miss rice? Sometimes. I still do eat rice at times, when I am at a hawker centre and there’s no quinoa available. I definitely limit my intake. At the end of the day, I find that my eating habits at home and office has changed drastically. Physically and mentally as well, there is a difference. More awake, less bloatedness, more energy etc – the list goes on and on.

Now that I have switched, I strongly recommend everyone else to do the same. If you want to try replacing white rice, I suggest to go for quinoa and reap the benefits. You can even share your food diary with us in our Facebook group. It gives me joy to share recipes with everyone. I hope to see you there!

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