Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Rice For Me, Please!

Rice. These white, pearly beads that accompany every Filipino meal is nutritious and delicious. It's very adaptable. You can make fried rice, rice toppings, garlic rice, bagoong (shrimp paste) rice, the list goes on and on. I loved rice.

When I was a kid my mother would always tell me not to eat too much rice. I remember slicing up my fried chicken thigh into tiny pieces so I could shovel three tablespoons of rice into my mouth with one tiny piece of chicken. Hence, making the chicken last longer. I would do that with everything, every meal. If we had chorizo (sausage) for breakfast, my brothers and I would fight over the chorizo grease, mix it with cups upon cups full of rice. Rice made us eat more. It made our delicious chorizo or hotdogs or corned beef last longer. It filled us up.

Fast forward to when I spent a few months in Japan where the rice is not only as white as snow and as fat as rosary beads, it also smelled so sweet! When the rice finished cooking and the rice cooker is open, the aroma wafting through our apartment would make my mouth water. I would immediately grab a bowl, fill it with rice and just sprinkle soy sauce, tongarashi (chili powder) and mayo and I'm good to go.

I had a love affair with rice. It seduced me, tempted me and left me weak with desire, longing for more. It made me sluggish, tired all the time and most of all it filled me up.

See rice is a filler. The way I ate it was to make my "other" food last longer. Much like feathers fill up and fluff up pillows, that's what rice did to me, to my hips, to my thighs, to my tummy. It fluffed me right up. But I stopped it.

After 29 years of my rice love affair, I quit it. I quit rice. It wasn't easy for a couple of days but now, after three weeks I can honestly say I'm over rice. I don't miss it, I don't crave it not even a little bit, not even at all.

I've had people ask me why I'm not eating rice anymore and I just say I want to lower my sugar and starch intake, tell them I'm going low carb or Atkins. The reply is 99% the same. "I would LOVE to go low carb but I can't LIVE without rice!"

1% of the time I want to say, "I thought that too, but look at me now. I can eat an 8 oz steak with a side of salad and finish it all because there's no rice to fill me up and ruin my meal. I can eat 3 cups of veggies in a day, bacon, eggs and not get tired or feel sluggish because of the carbs rushing through my blood. I thought I wouldn't survive it. But here I am."

But 99% of the time I end up just smiling and shaking my head. And when that big rice platter is handed to me I just say with a big smile, as I look down at my FULL plate of fish, chicken, beef, pork, veggies, cheese and butter, "No rice for me, please!"

And I mean it.


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