My friend is considering the switch to eating Paleo, but the "no rice" rule is scaring him because he's Asian. As I understand it most eastern Asian meals are fresh fish/meat, vegetables with rice as a small side.
Anyone have some good resources for traditional Asian food recipes that fit with the Paleo diet?
My nickname used to be 飯桶 (rice bucket). Now I'm grain-free, and I don't miss it at all.
For a lot of Asians who have grown up eating rice all the time, the concept that rice is bad for you is completely unbelievable. I would give the suggestion to gradually reduce the amount of rice and see how he feels.
As far as recipes go, South-East Asian food is actually very easy because rice is usually cooked separately, so all you have to do is to just eat the meat and veggie dishes without rice.
We have a lot of Phillipinos in our extended family. From my experience, Phillipinos in my family tend to think that rice is the single most nutritious food in the entire universe. You may think I am exagerating but I am not. My stepfather actually thought that if he did not eat rice every single day, he would get sick and die. (not kidding). Now not all of them are quite that extreme, but it's pretty darned close. The minute I say that you can't eat rice on paleo, they instantly reject the concept. THe mind slams shut.
Therefore, I have to start much further back on the food chain. Most of the time, I find myself lecturing that you need to eat other things besides just rice. Rice alone is not enough. You must eat meat and vegetables. Quit eating the cookies and the cake, etc. I can usually make progress on everything except for the rice. SO basically, what I aim for is showing them they should eat a variety and not just fill up on rice. THe result I strive for is some rice and lots of other healthy things instead of a giant hoard of rice and like 5 bites of something else. And let rice be the only carbs. NO cookies, cakes, flour, sugar, etc. They can usually accept that all the other carbs are unhealthy and if they eat lots of healthy stuff and only some rice, I consider that pretty good progress considering the starting point. You have to work with what you have and work within the culture or you will often be rejected outright.
Also, if they follow your advice and feel more healthy, then they are more likely to listen to the next pieces of advice you give them. Nothing gives credibility like success. -Eva
What kind of Asian is he? I'm a dedicated paleo and diagnosed Celiac Korean and I have no probs. I use wheat free tamari, fruit to sweeten, and have ditched rice altogether. Lots of veggies including bok choy, seaweed, kim chi, onions, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms etc. and I wrap almost all of my Korean marinated meats in lettuce leaves. I make my own wheat free, soy free gochuchang (hot pepper paste), and use sesame oil and sesame seeds that are organic and unprocessed.
I used to eat almost two cups of rice per day, but after going cold turkey, I don't miss it at all.
Based on my experience travelling around South Korea and Japan, rice is a pretty big deal. It's like meat is here, the centre and most important bit of every meal. Everything else is just garnish. That being said, I don't think it's impossible to be healthy with a rice-centric diet. I certainly met loads of healthy people travelling around those areas. If he's trying to lose weight it's probably a bigger deal, but it can still be done. Most of the people I've met while Paleo have lost weight with "lower" carb, not VLC or no-carb diets, those seem to be particularly unsustainable anyway. He can still eat rice and remain within the 125ish gram-carb maximum most people recommend.
I don't see that eating some rice is going to have much negative effect on an other wise good diet. I think trying to diminish the amount of rice eaten in east asia is a way for some people of reconciling the good health of many people there.
Populations of East Asian countries get roughly 25-40% of their calories from rice. South East Asian countries consume even more with 50-70% of calories from rice.
If you avoid processed junk food/fat, sugar, refined foods etc if the rest of the diet is good quality food and so long as he is not eating mountains of the stuff I don't really think eating some rice is going to have any negative effects. Also his ancestors have probably been eating rice for along time.
Eva's got some good advice. Check out Kurt Harris' blog, http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/. This is the 'getting started' part. Look at step 3.
3. Eliminate gluten grains. Limit grains like corn and rice, which are nutritionally poor.
It says "limit" rice, not eliminate it, like you should eliminate gluten grains.
He also says:
"If you are not fat and you like to eat potatoes, EAT THEM. I don't, but that doesn't mean you can't."
From his other comments, I think he means this to apply to (white) rice as well. To Harris, rice is just a pure shot of glucose: it has no anti-nutrients like wheat does, no fructose, so moderate consumption by healthy people (NOT people with metabolic syndrome) should not be a problem. It's one of the things about which he remarks: "tolerable" does NOT mean "optimal".
Have to agree with Matthew that rice might not be all that bad for him. Although I don't think rice is necessary. Most of my time in China the restaurants did not serve rice with the meals. The main focus was on meat & veg. But in the home, rice was a staple yes.
My Chinese boyfriend has eaten my primal food for the past 3 years, plus oatmeal with breakfast and rice with dinner. He has seen improvements in his already decent health without us even trying. I don't think he'll need to go completely grain-free to have good health.
Get a good Chinese cookbook that focuses on stir-frys. Use gluten-free sauces and skip the noodles and rice, and you'll find thousands of useful and tasty combinations. To my mind, a wok is as useful for paleo cooking as a grill.
i have a visitor from taiwan staying with me over the summer. her father is starting to get a pot belly. he eats no sweets at all. he loves fish, rice, vegetables, etc. i asked her why she thought her father was getting fat (48 yr) when he was eating traditional chinese food that has been around for thousands of years. she said it was because he had an office job while chinese in the past had been very active. so if you want to eat rice, don't eat sweets and do lots of exercise.
For a rice-like substitute, try cauliflower "fried rice" -- sautee very finely chopped cauliflower for a few minutes and it is great under meat and veggies, even if just for the psychological factor. It's especially good for saucy things like thai curry.
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