Resistant Starch is it Paleo?

Resistant Starch Foods, Why Paleo

resistant starch and paleo style diet

Resistant Starch, does it belong in a Paleo style diet?  You are eating paleo, should you make an effort to include resistant starch foods?  How much resistant starch (RS) did the average caveman consume?

I think those are all the wrong questions to be asking.  What it is best to ask is… Will adding RS to my diet improve digestion, blood sugar control, sleep, energy levels?  Will I feel better if I include RS in my diet?  Is RS going to feed my gut bacteria and strengthen my immune system?

I mindlessly followed the food pyramid for years and it made me fat and sick plus my joints ached.  I found the paleo style diet and lost weight, joint aches went away and overall well being improved exponentially.  Is there still room for improvement?  Hell yeah.  I’d like to trim off about another 20 pounds and my digestion, while still better than it ever was on a standard diet, it needed some improvement.

Along comes RS.  I heard Richard going on about it at Free the Animal and gave it a try.  After about a week, I quit.  The gas was killer and the one thing I loved about my diet was the lack of gas.  A few months later, anecdotal evidence starts to pour in.  Improvements in digestion, sleep, blood sugar.  So I give it another shot.

After a couple of weeks the gas starts to wane.  My digestion is amazing, effortless bowel movements that occur like clockwork.  Is everything now rainbows and butterflies?  No, there is still room for improvement.  Still plenty of tweaking to do.  But, it is worth it.  I feel RS is key to gut health.  I was even able to eat something that had some wheat in it and not feel like a truck had hit me the next day.  The RS seems to be critical for gut health… and a healthy gut means better food tolerance and less allergies (for me anyway).

So I say quit asking if RS is Paleo and ask if you have room for improvement.  I really enjoy the work of Byron Katie and one of my favorite quotes of hers is “defense is the first act of war.”  Basically, that means we will automatically defend our current beliefs without questioning if they are ultimately true or if our current set of beliefs is really serving us.

Do you have some room for improvement in your health?  Well, then try RS for at least 4 weeks.  No need for improvement?  The go do something you truly enjoy and leave everyone else to decide on their own.  Entertaining shitty thoughts in your head is just as bad as putting shitty food in your stomach — pay attention to how you feel and make an effort to improve.

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Resistant Starch in Parboiled Rice

Resistant Starch Foods

increase resistant starch in parboiled rice

Parboiled Rice is a good source of resistant starch (RS) and your preparation method can increase the content.  I have been trying to increase resistant starch foods in my diet while still supplementing with Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch.  I really am grateful for Richard and Tim sharing all the information about resistant starch via Free the Animal.  I really believe this was the the missing element in my paleo style diet, not just a safe carb, but an essential carbohydrate.  Essential in the maintenance of a healthy gut, feeding those bacteria that digest your food and provide much of your immune system.

Preparation

The increase in RS happens even before your purchase the rice.  Parboiled rice, also known as converted rice, is partial cooked just after harvest.  The rice is soaked, steamed and then dried.  The process increases the vitamin content and makes it easier to remove the husks.

The main benefit I’m looking for is the retrogradation.  The process that forms the RS makes parboiled rice one of the lowest glycemic types of rice.  And, you can increase the RS production even more if you prepare it properly.

Just follow the package instructions.  I like to substitute my homemade chicken broth in place of the water and prepare the rice as directed.

Once the rice is cooked and then cooled some.  I divide it up into freezer bags and freeze.  The freezing process will help retrogradation occur.  It basically adds more RS that is resistant to further heating.

Enjoy

Then I thaw one bag out at a time and use in all sorts of ways.  The rice is very handy for adding to stir fry and bean dishes.  This great mixed with black beans.

Other Resistant Starch Foods I’ve found easy to incorporate in my diet are green plantains (especially as dehydrated plantain chips), Lentils, Pinto Beans, Black Beans and cold cooked potatoes.

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Cold Cooked Potatoes and Resistant Starch

Why Paleo

cold cooked potatoes fried and eaten for resistant starch

Cold Cooked Potatoes have more resistant starch (RS) than just plain cooked ones.  They have a handy chart of RS content of certain foods at Free the Animal.  It is going to be tough to determine the exact content of potatoes that you have cooked and then cooled.  I suspect potato type and cooking method are just a couple of the variables at work when cooked potatoes undergo retrogradation.  The process that causes RS to increase as cooked foods are cooled.  The nice part is that the RS remains once the food is heated again.

How to Prepare and Eat

Prepare your potatoes in the normal fashion.  I like to fill a 9 by 13 glass pan with spuds skin left on but stab them with a fork a couple of times.  Then bake at 375 loosely covered with some aluminum foil for about an hour or until a knife sticks in easily.  Then I store them in the refrigerator.

Using them is simple.  I pealed and fried them in some bacon grease in the photo above.  Or, peal, slice, and add some meat and vegetables and you’ve got a meal.

More

I must admit, I think RS is a pretty important part of our diet.  It is food for our gut.  Feeding the bacteria that provide our immunity and properly digest our foods.  This is the not just a safe carb, but an essential carb.  I feel this was a missing piece in my paleo style diet.

I don’t think this is an invitation to eat all the potatoes you want, but a reason to include some in your diet.  Prepare the foods with RS in mind and pay attention to how you look and feel.  Pay attention to your digestions and energy levels.  I think since I’ve been adding RS to my diet my appetite has decreased, my mood has increased and it makes intermittent fasting easier.

Other foods high in RS I’ve been adding to my diet include dehydrated plantain chips, properly prepared black beans, loads of potato dishes like hamburger hash, potato salad, and curry. It certainly makes the food budget go a lot further for our family of six.  And, I really think the RS is improving the health and wellbeing of me and my kids.

Follow the latest progress on RS at Free the Animal and I know I am looking forward to the book Richard and Tim are working on.  If RS was a drug just the effects on blood sugar would make it a blockbuster.  I really think this going to help a lot of people.  Don’t take my work for it, try it your self.

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Steamed Artichokes Recipe

vegetables

simple steamed artichoke recipe

Steamed artichokes don’t require a fancy recipe.  Wash, cut and steam… and about 40 to 60 minutes later you have tender artichokes.  Starting off a meal with a real treat.

I must admit I’d had a very limited knowledge of artichokes until I watched The French Chef: The Artichoke episode.  Julia Child has a great way of making you feel like you can cook any dish.

Preparation

Wash the artichokes in cold water.  Remove the stem from the bottom and trim about 1 inch off the top.  If the ends of the leaves are real prickly trim off the ends with some kitchen shears – I didn’t trim the leaves.

Place water in your steamer pan and bring to a boil.  Or, just place a Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer in the bottom of a large pot and add water and bring to a boil.

Cooking

Simple put the artichokes in the steam basket and cover.  Check for doneness starting at about 30 minutes.  A knife should go in the base easily and if you remove a leaf, the meat on the base of the leaf should come off easily.

Serving

Artichokes can be served hot, warm or cold.  I can’t decide which I like more, it seems to be good at any temperature.  Just start pealing off the leaves starting at the base.  Scrape the “meat” off the bottom of each leaf with your teeth.  Once you get to the middle, remove the choke or the inedible hair like pieces that would have been the bloom.  Once the choke is gone, enjoy the tender heart – either on it’s own or with some melted butter.

Steaming is a simple way to make them, but my favorite is cooking the artichokes in the pressure cooker.  It is a bit faster and always tender.

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