basmati rice

Rice is a continuing source of debate in both the online world and my own. Sites like the Perfect Health Diet encourage rice as a “safe” starch, and other Paleo/Primal folks like Mark Sisson consider it okay provided everything else is going well in your diet. However, most Paleo dieters shun this gluten-free food due to its high glycemic index and label as a “grain”.

For the first couple weeks after starting the Paleo diet I was feeling great, with more energy than I had felt in years. And then I totally crashed, and was more tired than my usual constantly-tired state. I felt that it was probably because my body had run out of fat to burn (I was getting scarily skinny), and I just couldn’t eat enough fat to keep my body going, even after reintroducing dairy fats like butter and cream. So I reintroduced rice and potatoes in limited amounts, and felt great again. But then I felt guilty, that I wasn’t being “orthodox Paleo”, so I started to cut them out again. This time I tracked everything I ate through (great food tracker, btw), and cut my total daily carbs down to about 40g a day, almost all of it from veggies and some fruit. My tiredness returned in full force. In comes rice again (100-150g of carbs/day, the Primal Blueprint maintenance range), and I feel great again.

I may experiment with my diet again in the future, but for now, I’m sticking with rice. I simply can’t eat enough fat in one day to keep me from shrinking to near-starvation levels on a carb-free diet. 100-150g of carbs from rice and potatoes seems to make me feel the best.

In celebration, here’s how I cook basmati rice on a stovetop (we have a nice Zojirushi rice maker, but basmati never comes out right).

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