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Thread: A (maybe rather silly) question about white rice page

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    Happy Paleo Girl's Avatar
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    A (maybe rather silly) question about white rice

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    I have leaky gut. I recently went VLC (I'd done it previously with good results) and it has not agreed with me. Most veggies seem to make my insides angry. So I decided to do an n=1 experiment and add in some safe starches.
    Here's my question - when I went to buy white rice, the only products that actually said "white rice" on them were the minute rices that come in a box. The bagged rice that takes longer to cook just says "enriched long grain rice" on the package and is decidedly less white in color.
    So what the heck am I looking for when buying white rice?

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    The "whiteness" of the rice isn't important. Get the bagged and always skip the parboiled boxed stuff. It's like the junk food of rice. Is there an Asian, Mexican, or Indian market near you? You may be able to find some organic rice and more varieties. For me, rice doesn't get any better than organic basmati! Also, quinoa falls into the pseudo-grain category, and may be a good option for you. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare.
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    I wouldn't think for a second about adding any kind of grain with leaky gut. I'd add sweet potatoes & potatoes & winter squashes galore, but not rice. It's only "safe" if you have a healthy gut to begin with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SophieScreams View Post
    The "whiteness" of the rice isn't important. Get the bagged and always skip the parboiled boxed stuff. It's like the junk food of rice. Is there an Asian, Mexican, or Indian market near you? You may be able to find some organic rice and more varieties. For me, rice doesn't get any better than organic basmati! Also, quinoa falls into the pseudo-grain category, and may be a good option for you. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare.
    Thanks, Sophie! That was what I thought. I figured that the processed boxed stuff couldn't possibly be the healthiest choice! I might check out Whole Foods for some organic white rice. I used to love quinoa, but I'm not ready to test drive that out just yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaGrok View Post
    I wouldn't think for a second about adding any kind of grain with leaky gut. I'd add sweet potatoes & potatoes & winter squashes galore, but not rice. It's only "safe" if you have a healthy gut to begin with.
    Thanks for the advice, MamaGrok! I know it sounds absolutely counter-intuitive. Avoiding starches completely seemed like it would be the best way to go for leaky gut, but that hasn't been working out for me. Strict VLC not only hasn't helped me to drop any weight, it also made the basketball-belly bloating worse.
    I got the idea to try adding in white rice reading about BestBetter's experience with IBS (not that I have IBS, but I figure it's probably got a few things in common with leaky gut). I had steak and white rice for dinner last night, and it was the first time in a long time that I didn't have stomach churning accompanied by all kinds of strange noises!
    I don't have an issue with potatoes, but winter squashes definitely cause intestinal distress at the moment.

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    Hey Happy,

    I've also experienced digestive issues with high-fiber veg and no issues with white rice (though other grains hurt me). Though VLC does cause me to lose weight - of course I'm pretty carnivorous and not eating many veg in my VLC so maybe that's part of it. I'm not strict enough to be able to do proper n=1 experimenting so I'll be watching your experiment!

    About potatoes - I've noticed a big difference between high-starch potatoes like baking potatoes and the stiffer potatoes like baby russet or small purple potatoes. The smaller less starchy potatoes don't hurt me as much as the thick stuff. Same for small, sauteed sweet potatoes vs. the giganto baking sweet potatoes. Same with squashes - spag squash doesn't hurt me, pumpkin and butternut squash can. Just something else to experiment with if you want.

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    Take this advice lightly, but I think rice is a terrible starch source. If it was so great, why does it need to be 'enriched'? And what does that even mean? Even the author of The Perfect Health Diet says to rinse off white rice to get the enriching agents off it. White rice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says: "The milling and polishing processes both remove important nutrients. A diet based on unenriched white rice leaves people vulnerable to the neurological disease beriberi, due to a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1). White rice is often enriched with some of the nutrients stripped from it during its processing. Enrichment of white rice with B1, B3, and iron is required by law in the United States, although these nutrients are only a small portion of what has been removed."

    For my starch needs there is only one choice, regular, white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are OK to eat, but eat them like they were carrots--not as a daily starch source.

    White potatoes have a property that makes them ideal for people with gut problems: Resistant Starch. Resistant Starch RS creates large colonies of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine which push out the bad. I have seen this first-hand in the last 4 months since I started eating potatoes after a 2 year LC hiatus.
    Up until recently, eating things like sauerkraut, cabbage, peppers, fruit, would lead to prolonged 'gassy-ness', of the worst kind. Now, I eat all those listed items with nary a poot.

    Best way to maximize the RS is eat potatoes that have been boiled and cooled to refrigerator temp. Eaten cold is best (like potato salad) but reheated to under 150 deg OK, too. Other preparations of potato have a certain degree of RS, but not like cooked and cooled. The highest fraction, though, is found in raw potato. Eat sparingly at first til you can handle it, but a slice or two of raw potato when preparing them for cooking is tasty and healthy. The pros and cons of munching on raw potatoes | UTSanDiego.com

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    I have celiac disease so my gut's been messed up pretty nicely, but I find that white rice is just fine for me. Things like rice and potatoes have been some of the easiest things for me to digest for pretty much my whole life (along with eggs and bananas). Brown rice can be more irritating, but without the bran, it seems to be benign in my case. My body lets me know loud and clear when I eat something that it doesn't like, but I don't react to white rice at all. Some people find potatoes far more irritating than rice--it's really an n=1 thing to see if you can tolerate it or not.

    I'd suggest adding your starches in stages, maybe. If you have a sensitive system, try adding just rice or just white potatoes (peeled) because they are a bit more likely to cause issues than squashes or sweet potatoes, and you want to be able to distinguish if it's the potatoes or the rice if you have any issues arising. Also, I would hold off on adding the quinoa until you try out the other ones to see how you do--the saponins are a potential irritant and some people who are fine with rice don't do well with quinoa.

    And yeah, don't buy the parboiled junk. I usually buy Indian basmati for my regular rice, and then sometimes other specialty types for specific recipes (sticky rice, etc.). I love the scent of basmati cooking. Brown rice will be labelled as such and is pretty distinctive looking, so don't worry about puzzling out whether the ivory coloured rice is white enough.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Paleo Girl View Post
    I have leaky gut. I recently went VLC (I'd done it previously with good results) and it has not agreed with me. Most veggies seem to make my insides angry. So I decided to do an n=1 experiment and add in some safe starches.
    It sounds like the excessive veggies are your problem not the carb level. I agree with Otzi that rice is benign as far as irritation goes but pretty useless for nutrition. If you want some more starch without the angry insides I would suggest peeling your spuds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarasue624 View Post
    Hey Happy,

    I've also experienced digestive issues with high-fiber veg and no issues with white rice (though other grains hurt me). Though VLC does cause me to lose weight - of course I'm pretty carnivorous and not eating many veg in my VLC so maybe that's part of it. I'm not strict enough to be able to do proper n=1 experimenting so I'll be watching your experiment!
    The first time I did VLC (about 6 months ago), I lost some weight and felt great. Now I think my gut is more messed up, and it seems that even the small amounts of irritating veggies that I'd been having were causing some serious inflammation, which increased my bloating, which has kept my weight up.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarasue624 View Post
    About potatoes - I've noticed a big difference between high-starch potatoes like baking potatoes and the stiffer potatoes like baby russet or small purple potatoes. The smaller less starchy potatoes don't hurt me as much as the thick stuff. Same for small, sauteed sweet potatoes vs. the giganto baking sweet potatoes. Same with squashes - spag squash doesn't hurt me, pumpkin and butternut squash can. Just something else to experiment with if you want.
    I read somewhere that the smaller red potatoes are the way to go, so that's what I picked up. And those little purple potatoes are amazing.
    I had the same experience w/squash - I'm ok with spaghetti squash, but butternut definitely causes some issues. I'm so glad you mentioned this! I'll keep this in mind as I experiment more with starches.

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