I have never been a big rice eater, so I never found it hard to pass on it – I amthat kind of person who is fine with a side of salad, but seeing all the varieties of rice dishes around – especially in Central America and the Caribbean – I was curious what makes people crave it so much.
And I think the no.1 reason is that it really satisfies hunger. Or makes you feel satisfied and filled up.
Especially white rice though is low in protein and fats, which many of you might see as a dietary advantage, as for many many years we thought anything fat will only result in weight gain and discomfort.
I can not speak for everybody out there, but for me at least – as a celiac and a general carb sensitive person – I figured that a food low in fat and low in protein can only consist of carbohydrates and that is what rice (no matter if white or brown) is all about.
What happens to your body when you consume a lot of starchy carbs, e.g. from rice?
One cup of rice provides an average amount of 45g of carbs – and most restaurants will serve a good 2 cup portion per meal, which means in one sitting you easily consume 90g of starch. Did you know that this is the equivalent of 6 slices of white bread?
Rice – like white bread, sugar, cake, chips and cereal – falls into the food with a high glycemic index. The so-called GI indicated how fast certain foods rise your blood sugar – the higher the index, the higher the increase. Any foods with a GI lower than 55 are recommended, find a nice overview here.
After consuming carbs in general, they are broken down into sugar and enter your blood streams – if we again look at our 90g of carbohydrates from the rice, our blood soaks up the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar and therefore spike your blood sugar levels.
With the help of insulin, our bodies normally cope with sugar in our blood and can break it down into energy – but if your blood sugar levels go through the roof though most bodies can not follow up quickly enough and we do not get all the energy out of our bread, rice or pasta. As a result, we need to get the energy from consuming more food – the lack of energy is balanced out by increased hunger. And maybe results in weight gain or at least prevents weight loss.
So what are the alternatives though?
As a paleo I am 100% grain-free, most days on a lowcarb level with only around 40g carbohydrates per day – which makes me and my body happy, satisfied and full of energy for life and workouts.
I get my share of non-starchy carbs by consuming many different vegetables and low-GI fruits, like berries or avocado. And when I feel like a salad is not going to cut it, I came up with a great rice alternative.
Cauliflower rice is similar in texture, can be flavored to your liking and therefore is universally addable to any protein choice of yours – satisfaction guaranteed and I am going to follow up on recreating the rice dishes I have encountered on my travels: arroz con coco, arroz con mariscos, arroz con leche … but cauliflowered.
Nutritional Showdown: Caulirice vs. Rice
Here’s some inspiration from my recipe categories
Craving pasta? We have paleo, healthy alternatives for pasta too.