Kiss the Rice Goodbye: Healthier Carb Choices & Filipino-Friendly Alternatives

Hey, foodies! Let's talk about something personal real quick – my relationship with rice

Ever had a friendship that you thought was perfect until you discovered it was the cause of your unease and discomfort? Well, that's precisely how I felt about my lifelong partner, rice.

You see, I've always been a certified rice lover. I mean, who could resist the charm of steaming hot rice on the side of adobo or liempo? But over the recent years, I noticed an unwelcome pattern... every rice-filled meal left me bloated and uncomfortable, accompanied by skin breakouts. You could say, I was at a "grainy" crossroads.

Then it hit me, could it be the rice? A short stint with an elimination diet confirmed my suspicions. The culprit was right there on my plate, nestled next to my favorite ulam or sud-an (viand). The transformation after removing rice from my diet was surprising because I had less bloating, clearer skin, and a general sense of lightness. I was in denial for years! This happens in a vicious cycle. I'd eat rice, then I get breakouts and bloat like a beached whale. I'd quit rice, and I'd feel better.

But I know what you're thinking now... rice is a staple in the Filipino diet, and importantly, a crucial source of carbohydrates. And you're right! Carbohydrates, after all, are the body's main source of energy. However, it's vital to choose healthier sources. 

So, let's ask ourselves, what are some delicious, affordable, and Filipino-friendly alternatives to rice?

1. Tofu (Tokwa) - High in protein and versatile in cooking, this can be a delightful rice substitute, adding a unique texture and nutrition boost to your meal

2. Sweet Potatoes or Kamote: Who can forget the humble kamote? A root crop that's both affordable and healthy.

3. Adlai or Job's Tears: Adlai is a local grain that tastes similar to rice but has a lower glycemic index. It's slightly more expensive but can be an excellent occasional treat for your body.

4. Corn: A versatile and commonly available alternative. You can have it boiled, grilled, or turn it into corn rice!

5. Shirataki Rice: With its low calorie and high fiber content, it presents a guilt-free, keto-friendly alternative that fits seamlessly into a Filipino diet.

6. Quinoa: Rich in protein and fiber, quinoa is an excellent rice substitute. It might not be as commonly found in our local markets, but it's worth the effort and goes well with many Filipino dishes.

BONUS: My favorite - Jackfruit: Not the sweet/ripe one. Think of it more like a pork alternative if you will, but hey, it's a satisfyingly hearty addition to your meal, trust me on this! I love it so much as Ginataang Langka or sometimes just plain Kinilaw.

Now, we've talked before about the benefits of carb cycling about eating more carbs on active days and less on rest days, remember? (Catch up HERE, if you haven't read it) With these alternatives, carb cycling can easily be a part of your daily routine, even on a budget. It's about being clever and flexible with your choices!

Here's a challenge: Next time you're cooking tinola or sinigang, why not try it with a side of quinoa or a steaming bowl of corn rice? Or how about grilling sweet potatoes with your inihaw na bangus?

Want to see what I ate during my 28-day Transformation Challenge and how I lost weight? Take a look!

@yoliwowedmymaria #YoliWowedMyMaria #BastaYoliLami #YoliParaBuhi #YoliTransformationPower #TransformLeyte #YoliWowed #Yoli #BetterBody #YoliBBS2023 #bastaigatsikat #weightloss ♬ original sound - YoliWowed MyMaria

I hope this journey of mine inspires you to look into your diet and listen to your body. I assure you it tells you more than you think. Here's to making healthier, happier choices!

As always, your health is in your hands. So, are you ready to embark on a rice-free adventure with me? 

Join me and start your health & wellness journey
by changing your eating habits with the 28-day Transformation Kit!

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Maria Franco