5

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What about Asian Food

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 03, 2010 at 10:35 PM

My friend is considering the switch to eating Paleo, but the "no rice" rule is scaring him because he's Asian. As I understand it most eastern Asian meals are fresh fish/meat, vegetables with rice as a small side.

Anyone have some good resources for traditional Asian food recipes that fit with the Paleo diet?

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Exactly - rice may be part of his evolutionary metabolic millieu. If you've already put the fear in him, get him to test his post-prandial blood glucose to see how well he tolerates rice. If there's no problem, there's no problem.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 20, 2012
at 03:52 PM

Some of the things I've read suggest that wild rice is worse, because it contains more anti-nutrients, where white rice has a lot of them stripped out.

Ff198eda98c8df43faeed07dc9b56a5f

(15)

on February 25, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Technically that is incorrect. Wild rice is still a grain. Marketed as better for you than white rice the same way whole wheat bread is marketed as better than white bread.

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on November 18, 2010
at 11:37 AM

That's how the halmoni's traditionally make gochujang at home.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 08, 2010
at 05:55 AM

Thanks! Can't wait to try!

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on August 04, 2010
at 10:30 PM

WOW, thanks for all the suggestions everyone! He's trying to lose weight, so I'm suggesting he taper off all grains, then add rice in sparingly later on... although I have a feeling once he adapts to eating Paleo he won't feel the need to go back. And, he's very active. I find that for most people if their diet is "off" no (reasonable) amount of exercise is going to matter for weight loss.

F4f084bc2e4c6ccf41b9aab59426103b

(70)

on August 04, 2010
at 06:19 PM

The thing about gochuchang is that most store brands have MSG, soy, or wheat in them. So I experimented for a long time, and still don't know the exact measurements. I usually mix and taste. Here are my main ingredients though: A bit of sesame oil Chili powder Glutinous rice powder (gluten free of course) or pumpkin A tiny bit of raw honey Salt

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:07 AM

Rice bucket - love it!

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:04 AM

Any chance you'd be willing to share your gochuchang recipe?

499f188c87c6980742b9ba98caa6f563

(683)

on August 04, 2010
at 03:24 AM

I meant to say, rice does have anti-nutrients, but doesn't have have the really bad factors like WGA and other molecules that can actively attack the integrity of the intestinal wall, etc.

F4f084bc2e4c6ccf41b9aab59426103b

(70)

on August 03, 2010
at 11:58 PM

It really is a psychological issue coupled with sugar addiction/insulin craziness. I used to think that I was hungry if I didn't eat at least a half a cup of rice with each meal. He just needs to break through that first phase. A little bit of rice won't hurt once he's over the craving for it, but it's best to go cold turkey in the beginning.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on August 03, 2010
at 10:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. He's Filipino. I told him basically the same thing: give it month and you won't even think about rice because there are so many other good foods (plus the cravings tend to disperse with the insulin).

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16 Answers

6
7bea72ef073e8f76b5828727f1460900

(2718)

on August 04, 2010
at 12:43 AM

My nickname used to be ?????? (rice bucket). Now I'm grain-free, and I don't miss it at all.

For a lot of Asians who have grown up eating rice all the time, the concept that rice is bad for you is completely unbelievable. I would give the suggestion to gradually reduce the amount of rice and see how he feels.

As far as recipes go, South-East Asian food is actually very easy because rice is usually cooked separately, so all you have to do is to just eat the meat and veggie dishes without rice.

1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:07 AM

Rice bucket - love it!

5
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:49 AM

We have a lot of Phillipinos in our extended family. From my experience, Phillipinos in my family tend to think that rice is the single most nutritious food in the entire universe. You may think I am exagerating but I am not. My stepfather actually thought that if he did not eat rice every single day, he would get sick and die. (not kidding). Now not all of them are quite that extreme, but it's pretty darned close. The minute I say that you can't eat rice on paleo, they instantly reject the concept. THe mind slams shut.

Therefore, I have to start much further back on the food chain. Most of the time, I find myself lecturing that you need to eat other things besides just rice. Rice alone is not enough. You must eat meat and vegetables. Quit eating the cookies and the cake, etc. I can usually make progress on everything except for the rice. SO basically, what I aim for is showing them they should eat a variety and not just fill up on rice. THe result I strive for is some rice and lots of other healthy things instead of a giant hoard of rice and like 5 bites of something else. And let rice be the only carbs. NO cookies, cakes, flour, sugar, etc. They can usually accept that all the other carbs are unhealthy and if they eat lots of healthy stuff and only some rice, I consider that pretty good progress considering the starting point. You have to work with what you have and work within the culture or you will often be rejected outright.

Also, if they follow your advice and feel more healthy, then they are more likely to listen to the next pieces of advice you give them. Nothing gives credibility like success. -Eva

5
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on August 03, 2010
at 11:45 PM

I don't see that eating some rice is going to have much negative effect on an other wise good diet. I think trying to diminish the amount of rice eaten in east asia is a way for some people of reconciling the good health of many people there.

Populations of East Asian countries get roughly 25-40% of their calories from rice. South East Asian countries consume even more with 50-70% of calories from rice.

If you avoid processed junk food/fat, sugar, refined foods etc if the rest of the diet is good quality food and so long as he is not eating mountains of the stuff I don't really think eating some rice is going to have any negative effects. Also his ancestors have probably been eating rice for along time.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Exactly - rice may be part of his evolutionary metabolic millieu. If you've already put the fear in him, get him to test his post-prandial blood glucose to see how well he tolerates rice. If there's no problem, there's no problem.

4
90776a24cf6fe35d7610386e71304030

on August 03, 2010
at 11:25 PM

Based on my experience travelling around South Korea and Japan, rice is a pretty big deal. It's like meat is here, the centre and most important bit of every meal. Everything else is just garnish. That being said, I don't think it's impossible to be healthy with a rice-centric diet. I certainly met loads of healthy people travelling around those areas. If he's trying to lose weight it's probably a bigger deal, but it can still be done. Most of the people I've met while Paleo have lost weight with "lower" carb, not VLC or no-carb diets, those seem to be particularly unsustainable anyway. He can still eat rice and remain within the 125ish gram-carb maximum most people recommend.

4
F4f084bc2e4c6ccf41b9aab59426103b

on August 03, 2010
at 10:55 PM

What kind of Asian is he? I'm a dedicated paleo and diagnosed Celiac Korean and I have no probs. I use wheat free tamari, fruit to sweeten, and have ditched rice altogether. Lots of veggies including bok choy, seaweed, kim chi, onions, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms etc. and I wrap almost all of my Korean marinated meats in lettuce leaves. I make my own wheat free, soy free gochuchang (hot pepper paste), and use sesame oil and sesame seeds that are organic and unprocessed.

I used to eat almost two cups of rice per day, but after going cold turkey, I don't miss it at all.

F4f084bc2e4c6ccf41b9aab59426103b

(70)

on August 03, 2010
at 11:58 PM

It really is a psychological issue coupled with sugar addiction/insulin craziness. I used to think that I was hungry if I didn't eat at least a half a cup of rice with each meal. He just needs to break through that first phase. A little bit of rice won't hurt once he's over the craving for it, but it's best to go cold turkey in the beginning.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on August 03, 2010
at 10:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. He's Filipino. I told him basically the same thing: give it month and you won't even think about rice because there are so many other good foods (plus the cravings tend to disperse with the insulin).

F4f084bc2e4c6ccf41b9aab59426103b

(70)

on August 04, 2010
at 06:19 PM

The thing about gochuchang is that most store brands have MSG, soy, or wheat in them. So I experimented for a long time, and still don't know the exact measurements. I usually mix and taste. Here are my main ingredients though: A bit of sesame oil Chili powder Glutinous rice powder (gluten free of course) or pumpkin A tiny bit of raw honey Salt

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:04 AM

Any chance you'd be willing to share your gochuchang recipe?

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on August 08, 2010
at 05:55 AM

Thanks! Can't wait to try!

3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on November 18, 2010
at 11:37 AM

That's how the halmoni's traditionally make gochujang at home.

2
499f188c87c6980742b9ba98caa6f563

(683)

on August 04, 2010
at 03:18 AM

Eva's got some good advice. Check out Kurt Harris' blog, http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/. This is the 'getting started' part. Look at step 3.

3. Eliminate gluten grains. Limit grains like corn and rice, which are nutritionally poor.

It says "limit" rice, not eliminate it, like you should eliminate gluten grains.

He also says:

"If you are not fat and you like to eat potatoes, EAT THEM. I don't, but that doesn't mean you can't."

From his other comments, I think he means this to apply to (white) rice as well. To Harris, rice is just a pure shot of glucose: it has no anti-nutrients like wheat does, no fructose, so moderate consumption by healthy people (NOT people with metabolic syndrome) should not be a problem. It's one of the things about which he remarks: "tolerable" does NOT mean "optimal".

499f188c87c6980742b9ba98caa6f563

(683)

on August 04, 2010
at 03:24 AM

I meant to say, rice does have anti-nutrients, but doesn't have have the really bad factors like WGA and other molecules that can actively attack the integrity of the intestinal wall, etc.

1
F5a7de7614edf5f4d9ff6b43e539cb1b

(10)

on September 28, 2011
at 11:24 PM

It's a common misconception that individuals of Asian descent eat "a lot" of rice. Traditional Asian cuisine is mostly fatty meats and large servings of vegetable dishes, with rice as a small side. To say that rice is anything more than 25% of the total calories is ridiculous.

1
3a966a805e09d88b0f223f2985392e4f

(836)

on November 18, 2010
at 11:41 AM

My experience living in Korea for several years is different from the people who claimed rice is the center of Korean and Japanese food. Rice is offered in a small bowl and most people only eat half of that little bowl. The table is filled with vegetable and seafood side dishes, and a meat or seafood soup is the main entree.

That said, I don't think anyone needs to quit eating rice to get the benefits of the Paleo Diet unless they are a pre-diabetic. Rice doesn't contain any lectins, and polished white rice doesn't contain any phytates. If you exercise at all, keeping the rice can be beneficial.

1
03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

on August 05, 2010
at 07:42 AM

For a rice-like substitute, try cauliflower "fried rice" -- sautee very finely chopped cauliflower for a few minutes and it is great under meat and veggies, even if just for the psychological factor. It's especially good for saucy things like thai curry.

1
8564091e3cf82ea53843c0dbcf57857a

(990)

on August 04, 2010
at 07:17 PM

Have to agree with Matthew that rice might not be all that bad for him. Although I don't think rice is necessary. Most of my time in China the restaurants did not serve rice with the meals. The main focus was on meat & veg. But in the home, rice was a staple yes.

My Chinese boyfriend has eaten my primal food for the past 3 years, plus oatmeal with breakfast and rice with dinner. He has seen improvements in his already decent health without us even trying. I don't think he'll need to go completely grain-free to have good health.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2010
at 05:44 PM

i have a visitor from taiwan staying with me over the summer. her father is starting to get a pot belly. he eats no sweets at all. he loves fish, rice, vegetables, etc. i asked her why she thought her father was getting fat (48 yr) when he was eating traditional chinese food that has been around for thousands of years. she said it was because he had an office job while chinese in the past had been very active. so if you want to eat rice, don't eat sweets and do lots of exercise.

1
95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on August 04, 2010
at 02:41 PM

Get a good Chinese cookbook that focuses on stir-frys. Use gluten-free sauces and skip the noodles and rice, and you'll find thousands of useful and tasty combinations. To my mind, a wok is as useful for paleo cooking as a grill.

0
4d144b8e606f1f4efbd58ae2caa5cac3

on March 30, 2012
at 10:03 AM

Hey, Rice and asians only came about when agriculture started. One of the oldest hunter gatherers can be found in the Philippines called the aeta. Or nigritos.

They are still hunting and gathering and they eat lots of jungle vegetation such as heart of pine. Tubers if they can find some and wild meats here and there. Rice only became staple when we needed to feed alot of mouths. Like bread its easy to grow and thus we went for it. Rice even in japan was so helpful in feeding the masses was used as payments.

But like all good things... they come with a price. Traditionally all asian paleo diets consist of starches taken from roots and the like. And then you have the wild vegetation that is edible. Dont cut out rice, have it as a once in a while treat. Like the native indians would gather rice in canoes. Once or maybe twice every few months. Thats all you need. get the rest from mushrooms, roots, fruits, berries, nuts, vegs and more importantly, the meat.

0
2f61c841a2834c23f15e6134cf733bff

on September 29, 2011
at 05:15 AM

I recently read, in one of the paleo books, that wild rice is the exception to the rule so I picked up some (organic) today and plan to add it to my diet and see how it effects me. I'll update this post in the weeks ahead.

Ff198eda98c8df43faeed07dc9b56a5f

(15)

on February 25, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Technically that is incorrect. Wild rice is still a grain. Marketed as better for you than white rice the same way whole wheat bread is marketed as better than white bread.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on April 20, 2012
at 03:52 PM

Some of the things I've read suggest that wild rice is worse, because it contains more anti-nutrients, where white rice has a lot of them stripped out.

0
8aa3fa60c0a3151b0047f6733b7dabe6

on September 29, 2011
at 01:02 AM

There is a cold sea vegetable noodle (search for Sea Tangle Kelp noodles) that I've used in place of rice for some dishes. Kind of pricey (about $1.50 per serving) but worth it when I want it.

0
D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on August 05, 2010
at 08:26 AM

See here for a discussion of traditional Asian diets.

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