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How Bad is Rice?

What did I do this morning, my shoulders sore from climbing, my quads aching for unknown reasons? First off, I slept in till 8:30, a full 9 hours of glorious bedtime. And after my coffee, if you guessed that I snuck in some uphill sprints before the rain came pouring down, you’re right! My endurance was better than expected; it took me just under a minute to recover from each 20-30 second sprint. I did 5 altogether, then back to the house for a sweet potato and a 4-egg omelet cooked in coconut oil.

While I’d like to sprint twice a week every week, having a job that starts at 8am most days is going to make that a challenge, save today, since I kinda played hookie. Recommendations on how often to sprint vary from website to website, with Jim Wendler suggesting 4 days a week, and marksdailyapple suggesting either twice a week or once every 7-10 days, depending on which post you read. I think his more recent posts have all stuck with the latter. But since conditioning is such a big goal for me, I’d like to hit some sort of exercise (not counting walking) 4-5 days a week (2-3 lifts, 2 sprints).

Dinner tonight (possibly preceded by an attempt at a 1-rep max bench press, I haven’t decided how masochistic I want to be yet): I have a great piece of salmon thawing in the fridge, and would like nothing more than to pair it with an Indian-spiced pilaf. Coconut-creamed spinach on the side (easy recipe: boil a bag of chopped spinach in a can of coconut milk, maybe adding some chicken stock to it, then thicken it with coconut flour or coconut butter/manna; season with a lot of red chili flakes and salt).

But when one is looking for the perfect starchy carbohydrate to gradually replenish one’s muscle glycogen, and one is getting slightly sick of the same-old sweet potatoes, what does one do? Sweet potatoes and salmon don’t seem like the most appetizing combo by any means. There’s always the other root vegetables – rutabaga, jicama, parsnip – just buy myself a potato ricer and voila! I’ll convince myself that I had fake rice with all the good starchy carbs I need to maintain my strength and performance. Definitely next on my shopping list. And rutabaga is cheeeeeeap around here.

From culling popular opinion on the subject, I can conclude a couple things:

The hierarchy of starches goes: sweet potato > other root veg > potatoes > white rice > brown rice. Brown rice has lectins and other nutrient-binders in its husk that eliminate the positive elements of having the fibrous husk to begin with. But what is white, pure, unpolished rice? Just a starch, nothing more, really. Less mineral nutrition than potatoes, but that’s not my goal. I’m getting plenty of good vitamins and such from the fish and the spinach. But is it BAD for you in any way? If you’re trying to lose weight, it could be bad. It’s a sugar. It boosts your insulin a bit. I’m trying to cut this effect down by mixing it with good fats and eating it at a time when my body is most insulin-sensitive. Is it allergenic? Probably not. Here’s another good synopsis of the conjectures/data out there.

The conclusion, like it always seems to be – it’s on the safe end of questionable foods. Not meant to be a staple. No more than 10% of your daily calories (which, for me, means that 50g or a cup of cooked rice tonight isn’t going to kill me.) Done and done. Oddly, I’ve dived into a pint of ice cream on many occasions without giving it one bit of the thought I’m giving this… Alright, rice for dinner it is. Off for a leisurely walk to the grocery store before the storm hits.

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