4 hacks to eat RICE and lose weight!

Are you one of those who fear rice? Do you think rice makes you fat? Read on …

As an enthusiastic parent of an 8-year-old, my parents enrolled me for my first swimming class. Mother took me shopping and we bought a swimming costume, a pair of swimming goggles and earplugs – all the fancy swimming essentials. I was very excited to learn swimming.

The day came and we reached the club. I remember the swimming coach asking me to wear a buoy and step into the pool. With me were another bunch of 8-10-year-old kids. I stepped into the water and sudden fear gripped me. It shook me and I lost all my confidence. I was suddenly very fearful of water, or rather, it was my first episode of aquaphobia.

There were kids who jumped in the pool with ease, and here I was skirting around the pool, grasping on to the pipes on the peripheries. Multiple weeks passed by and I refused to leave the sides of the pool. My parents were encouraging, accompanied me for all my swimming classes to assure me that I have nothing to fear. Sadly, I never learned how to swim.

However, I learned multiple things from this episode:

  1. You may have the best plans and preparations, yet it all boils down to the final day of action. The best of the plans can fail without adequate execution.
  2. You are your only companion on the journey of life. Family and friends will be around to support, but you have to jump into the pool all by yourself.
  3. You may lose a battle, but you must win the war.

My war was against my fear of water, not swimming lessons. How could one be fearful of water? Is this even possible, I asked myself. Thereafter, I took a tub, filled it to the brim and immersed myself into it head-down. I repeated this regularly until a day came where I could hold my breath underwater for longer and longer. I was not scared of water any longer, be it pools or seas, I am now very comfortable. In fact, beach destinations are my favorite holiday destinations.

I may have lost my battle to the swimming pool, but I won my war with aquaphobia. Learning swimming is now on my bucket list.

Like many other irrational, unexplainable fears, I see many people develop a fear of food, a fear of gaining weight. I cannot believe why people fear food, just the way it surprises many to hear about fear of water.

One of the most commonly feared foods is plain rice.

Rice is the staple food for over half of the world’s total population. It comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Rice is mostly carbs (75%) and a minimal protein, negligible fat. Unpolished rice or the famous brown or red rice comes with a bit of fiber, some B-complex vitamins, and minerals. Considering rice forms such an integral part of a person’s diet and is a major energy source – the concerns of whether or not rice can make one fat or leads to obesity are quite alarming and need to be addressed.

There are 2 points here that one must consider –

  1. The rate of digestion

While the carb content of white and brown rice is the same, the rates of digestion and metabolization differ. Brown rice hasn’t been refined and polished hence the bran is intact. This makes is more fibrous in comparison and requires a large time for the body to break it down. A slow rate of digestion makes you feel full for longer and blunts the blood sugar spike that white rice potentially causes.

  1. Portion control

If you tend to eat too much of anything, it hardly matters if it’s good or bad, it will definitely reflect of the weighing scale. For rice, one medium-sized bowl of cooked rice per day is safe to consume without tipping the scales. When a well-nourished individual goes beyond a maximum of two servings, there is a possibility of triglyceride build-up in the blood. Triglycerides are the storage form of fats in the body. The excess carb intake gets converted into triglycerides (fat) for storage.

So now we know the real science behind the myths. Both the above points are true for any source of carbs – e.g even wheat. Rice is wrongfully blamed.

I will now share 3 health hacks with you that will help you increase the nutritional value of rice right in the comfort of your own kitchen –

Health hack 1

Combine rice with Pulses.

Every time you eat rice, make sure there are pulses to complement your meal. A combination of cereal and pulses makes your meal a source of complete protein, this is important especially for vegetarians and vegans. The proportion of rice and pulses should be 1:1 that is, for every Katori of rice, you need to add one Katori of dal or pulses.

Health hack 2

Add Protein

Enjoy rice with other sources of lean protein with your rice – like paneer, tofu, eggs, chicken or fish. The meals with rice must be wholesome and balance with other nutrients like protein, fat, and fiber. Protein, fat, fiber delay digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes that simple carbs are responsible for. A maintained and regulated blood sugar release is what we aim for.

Health hack 3

Add whole vegetables to your rice.

While cooking rice; add a hearty amount and variety of vegetables to increase the overall fiber and nutrient content of the meals. Use a 1:2 ratio of rice and vegetables.

And one bonus hack just for you –

Health hack 4

Cook rice in advance.

Research has shown that when rice is cooked, refrigerated overnight and consumed the next day without reheating, the starch in the rice is converted to resistant starch. Resistant starch has properties similar to fiber in terms of blunting the spike of blood glucose. Let the rice naturally come back to room temperature and eat with hot dals and curries but do not reheat the rice.

Conclusion

Did you know of any of the above hacks that I share with you? How regularly do you use them? Let me know in the comments section below of any hacks that you use to make your rice healthier.

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