Want to add some starchy carbs to your gluten free Paleo Diet? Here’s a meaty article with lots of important links. Read on, and LEARN some valuable new stuff! I’ll explain starchy carbs vs non starchy carbs too.
There’s buzz lately in the Ancestral Food world about adding back some gluten free starches such as WHITE rice. Why? Two reasons that I see…. Well, maybe three. OK, four!
First is that many of us still ARE eating starchy foods such as grains, beans and potatoes, so why not look at the best choices health and nutrition-wise?
Second is that non-digestible fiber is needed in our modern (unhealthy) gut to feed the good bugs that protect us from colon cancer, manage insulin sensitivity and weight gain, and contribute to whole body health. In a purely primitive diet, starches may not be needed at all (Eskimo), or they may play a key role in the diet, depending on an area’s climate and terrain. Tubers, in particular, show up in more than one primitive culture that Dr. Weston A. Price visited. HOWEVER,it may be that tuber-eating was a last-choice option if game reserves were diminished.
Third, it’s difficult for some of us to get enough calories with our Paleo proteins, veggies, fats and a little fruit. While some feel we can live on fat for 50% or more of our calories, I don’t agree. It’s not our normal evolutionary food, right?
Coconuts, yes. A cup of coconut oil, no. Duck, yes. Pure duck fat, no.
Plus, for me (skinny, fast metabolizer), and for heavy exercisers, some extra calories would be welcome. Carb calories are the hardest to get on a strict Paleo Diet. I eat about 8 cups of vegetables a day but it still only gives me about 40 grams of carbs. I think my health would be better at 100 grams per day. So, I’m trying a bit of white rice and a few bites of well-soaked homemade beans to see how they do. (See below on white rice vs. brown).
This important recent post on Marks Daily Apple has some excellent info on Resistant Starch, a “food” category I never heard of. Resistant Starch from potatoes provides a fair dose of pure probiotic food with no calories. Eat just a spoonful or two – available from Bob’s Red Mill and most Whole Foods. We can’t digest it, so it’s strictly food for the bacteria that produce our benefical short-chain fatty acids. It’s starch for those who don’t need extra calories!
Starchy Carbs vs Non Starchy Carbs
What’s wrong with starches? As a short answer to a big question, it’s the heavy calorie burst found in bread, rice and beans that contribute to weight gain and fatigue, as well as the gut-damaging problems with the Phytic Acid and Lectins that ALL seeds have. (Yes, grains and beans are seeds). It’s part of their defense mechanism to keep from being eaten (they might taste badly to a bird), or if eaten, they won’t digest and will end up as a new plant farther down the road.
But Phytic Acid binds up minerals, robbing us of key nutrients and affecting our cellular energy pathways. SO we MUST reduce it in our food. Here is an excellent article from the Weston Price Foundation on Phytic Acid in various foods. Notice in Figure 2 that BROWN RICE is by far the worse offender. This is why plain, milled, white rice is recommended (not basmati which is a whole grain) if you want extra calories. But beware! White rice has almost zero nutritional value other than calories! DO NOT OVEREAT rice, beans, etc. Here’s a great article on understanding how many carbs YOU need.
NOTE: if you eat beans, you MUST soak for 24 hours and cook at length to reduce harmful lectins and improve digestibility. Canners and restaurants don’t do this. A few tablespoons a day may be OK if you don’t get gas from them and they supply plenty of the mineral Molybdenum which is needed to process certian enzymes and food additives.
This article from Kitchen Stewardship shows the BEST way to reduce bad stuff in brown or basmati rice. It goes a step beyond the traditional Weston Price method of long-soaking. If you want brown rice, this is the way to do it. Or try it on other grains and see if they’re more digestible (less gas, bloating, stool change, etc.)