A few weeks ago I came across an article that talked about the effectiveness of the Rice Diet. Chaunie Brusie, a Registered Nurse, reviewed the diet and described its benefits.
I was intrigued. My first thought was, “Oh no, here comes another fad diet.” Then I thought, “Aren’t carbohydrates supposed to be bad for us?” We all hear that to lose weight, get fit, or achieve health we need to minimize the amount of carbohydrates we eat. Then I thought, “It must be a brown rice diet,” given that brown rice is a nutritious food. Still, I thought this was too good to be true, so I read on with a certain amount of trepidation.
What the Rice Diet Entails
The diet is based on a concept that was introduced by Dr. Walter Kempner in 1939, and has been re-popularized through the years, most recently in 2006 by a Registered Dietitian named Kitty Gurkin Rosati. It is meant to help the dieter reduce weight, decrease bloating, and shed excess water stored in the body (Brusie, 2017).
The diet focuses on consuming more carbohydrates, but as was to be expected, not the simpler forms of carbohydrates, such as sugars and refined flours, but rather on fruits, vegetables, grains, sweet potatoes, beans of the complex type. This of course includes rice. However, the original diet of the 1930s was with white rice, and Rosati modified it to include brown rice. The diet also involves limiting dairy, sodium, and saturated fats.
Brusie pointed out that there were people who did not do well on the diet, and this got me thinking about the concept of bio-individuality, which is something that I try to instill in all of my clients, as well as my friends and family.
I learned about bio-individuality from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. In a nutshell, bio-individuality says that what works for one person does not work for everyone. We are all unique individuals, and as such, need to determine the right diet, lifestyle, remedy, healing method, or fitness program that will work specifically for us. It is the reason fad diets often do not work on us. It is also the reason that when someone says, “You should try this! It worked for me,” it doesn’t work for us.
I am certain that many of us have faced this issue. We have people in our lives who are able to eat foods that cause us discomfort. They eat it and feel fine, and we eat it and it doesn’t feel right. Or we may find that others are able to eat foods that do not cause them to gain weight, but if we were to eat them we would have to run an extra hour on the treadmill to keep the weight off.
Often, this happens to members of the same household, whether they are partners, parents, siblings, or roommates, who perhaps share similar lifestyles and eating habits, yet certain foods or practices work better on them and not on us.
This goes beyond people who have different health conditions. Let’s say our partner has diabetes, and we do not. Clearly, they need to mind their blood glucose level, where we do not.
This pertains to cases where let’s say both of us had diabetes. There would still be certain foods, medications, remedies, etc. that work better on them than on us, and vice versa.
Our bodies are unique, and thus need to be treated uniquely. In fact, the Personalized Nutrition Project was started on this basis. Scientists studied 1000 people and measured how their blood glucose changed after consuming different foods. They found that even bread could affect people different. Some people had an increase in blood glucose from bread consumption, and others did not (Sample, 2015).
Think about it this way. We each see the world differently, have different personalities, and have a unique set of genes. As such, we need to tailor our diets, lifestyle, remedies, healing approaches, and everything else in life to our individual needs. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all.
How to Apply Bio-Individuality
Coming back to the rice diet. We hear about this and other diets and we don’t know if there is truth behind it. How can we determine if the rice diet will work for us? Sometimes we may know right away. Maybe rice and carbohydrates are not something we have been able to digest properly or we know have caused weight gain in the past. Then do not bother. Do not even try. It is unlikely this diet will work.
But, some of us may not know, and the only option is simply to try it. I encourage my clients, and anyone I speak to about this subject, to give different diets, lifestyle practices, or remedies a try, and then to listen to our bodies to determine if they are the right fit for us.
For instance, I know my body reacts best when I limit carbohydrates, so I would not try the rice diet myself. But, if I decided to try the rice diet, I would keep a food journal. In it I would record what I ate, at what time, and in what portions, but most importantly, I would note how I felt afterwards.
I would record not just physical symptoms, like bloating, headaches, pain, rashes, sleepiness, or anything else, but also emotional and mental symptoms like energy levels, anxiety, and stress. Negative reactions to the food would indicate that they are not the best choice. Positive reactions would indicate that we could proceed.
Even though I started this with a discussion about a rice diet, the concept of bio-individuality is one that we can apply in all aspects of our lives. Anything that we try should be tailored to our specific needs. There has been a growing trend towards customized and personalized products. Even I offer personalized aromatherapy blends. The trend exists for a reason, and is one that is here to stay. It recognizes that we are bio-individuals.
Brusie, C. (2017). Rice diet: effectiveness, results, and recipes. HealthLine. Retrieved on October 9, 2017 from http://www.healthline.com/health/rice-diet-effectiveness-and-recipes?utm_source=Sailthru%20Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=generalhealth#brown-vs-white-rice5
Sample, I. (2015). Bespoke diets based on gut microbes could help beat disease and obesity. The Guardian. Retrieved on October 9, 2017 from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/personalised-diets-diabetes-obesity-heart-disease-microbes-microbiomes