What happens when you do not eat rice?

At the beginning of this month, I decided to do the #31NoRiceDays challenge. This meant I had to NOT eat rice during those 31 days (ie. the whole month of October) – and I had to do it CONSCIOUSLY. Gulp!

Rice was a staple in the main meals everyday in my life so just the thought was quite unimagineable.

But you won’t know what you can do, or in this case, can do without, until you try it. And I am pleased to say that I DID IT!

So, what happens when you do not eat rice?

1. People look at you funny

When you decide to do something that is not “normal”, be sure that people will react. And the reactions vary widely:

Some will insist you eat “at least just a little” – though they mean well, you have to be firm and politely insist that you will not.

Some will tease/tempt you with it – again, you just have to be firm

Some will scoff/doubt that you can do it – more than ever, these should make you more determined

Some will encourage and support you – this is the best kind of reaction:

When I started the challenge, only 1 other person was doing it with me. At the end of the challenge, there are at least 6 of us altogether encouraging and supporting one another along the way. 1 of the them has even stated that he would go on to do the Atkins diet next! This would be a lot more challenging than not taking rice so I wish him the best of luck!

2. You learn something about your eating habits

I learned that eating on time or not being hungry was important. As it was during these “very-hungry” moments that I would be most susceptible to forget it and “fall-back” on what used to be the “norm”. There were a few occasions where I thought of having rice. There was once where I very nearly took some onto my plate! But fortunately, I remembered and I was able to consciously decide to eat something else. Thus I survived a month without a single grain.

I learned that not eating rice was relatively easy – in comparison to eating clean/eating healthy! I documented my eats using the #31NoRiceDays hashtag on instagram and there were a number of meals there I wasn’t so proud of. While I indicated up-front at the start of the challenge that it was NOT a low-carb diet, I did try to reduce the amount of carbs I took as well as processed foods. There are some days I succeed. There are some days I successfully failed.

I learned that vegetables and water are my bestfriends. It just became natural to eat more vegetables and drink more water when I did not take rice. Not quite sure why, but both are good stuff so at least that’s one eating habit that I’ve happily acquired in the process.

I learned that I can survive without rice.

3. It will change you

While I didn’t expect to have a bikini body by just not eating rice, I did hope to lose some weight in the process. And I am pleased to note that I did lose about 1.5kg and 1 inch off the belly. Nothing much to shout about but it’s still a change that I happily accept. Also, a slower weight loss is more healthier and sustainable compared to a sudden one – the latter means something is very wrong somewhere.

Coincidentally, I also went for a medical check-up towards the end of the challenge and written off with a clean bill of health plus an average BMI, so while there’s loads of room for improvement (like exercising!), I am healthy and that’s what is most important.

Apart from the physical changes, there is also a general sense of feeling more “lighter” and healthier. I don’t get as sleepy or tired after non-rice lunches compared to when I had rice for lunch. And there is just a positive feeling about life overall.

Thus,

As I approached the end of the #31NoRiceDays challenge, I kept asking myself: Will I go back to eating rice again or would I continue with the non-Rice path? Or will I go completely low-carb? Or will I only eat real food (no processed foods)?

I can conclusively say that I will continue to reduce the amount of carbs I take (including rice) as well as processed foods. And it will not be a one-month challenge; it will be a lifelong one.

Cheers to healthy eating!

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#31NoRiceDays Challenge

It is the 1st of October.

The challenge begins today – and ends on 31st of October.

Self-explanatorily titled “#31NoRiceDays” the challenge is to NOT eat rice during these 31 days (ie. the whole month of October).

WHY? you ask…

Well, I have noticed that I personally can go without rice (unitentionally) for 2 to 3 days BUT by the end of that period, I start to feel weak and crave for rice. The explanation is simple. “Asians have 2 stomachs; 1 for rice and the other for ‘everything else'” – so for as long as you don’t have rice, you will always “feel hungry”.

One reason I am doing the #31NoRiceDays is to prove to myself that I CAN go without rice for a whole month.

My mom flipped when I told her what I intended to do. (BACKGROUND: We are a rice-eating family. We have rice everyday for lunch and dinner. Plus, Mom always insisted that only rice can truly “fill” us.) She immediately asked what then I would be eating instead of rice and she assumed it to be noodles. However, noodles are less healthier than rice (I heard) so that’s definitely not the plan.

So WHAT will I be eating?

I did some research online. Normally, when people give up rice, they also give up noodles, breads and grains, dairy and sugar etc. but I decided early on that #31NoRiceDays was NOT a low-carb diet. It simply is just 31 days without rice, thus, noodles, breads etc are still allowed. That said however, I want to stay as healthy as possible during this challenge, so I shall try my best to reduce their intake (especially noodles) and increase on the healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables.

WHO would be crazy enough to do this?

I am actually inspired by a dear friend of mine. She loves rice more than me. She even has it for breakfast! And a few years ago, she gave up rice for Lent! That is 40 days. More than a month. I told myself I could never survive….Time to prove myself wrong.

Lately, a few friends of Facebook have also given up rice and lost considerable amounts of weight DAILY. To good to be true it sounds. But that motivated me to try it myself.

Lastly, was chatting with some colleagues last month (over our heavy rice lunches) and it somehow came to me blurting: “Let’s not eat rice for a whole month!”….and the rest is history.

While it’s nice to know they are doing the challenge with me, the more the merrier right?

So, feel free to join me in the #31NoRiceDays Challenge, if you’re up for it.

And journey with me using the #31NoRiceDays hashtag on instagram as I will be posting pics of my non-Rice meals there.

P.S. I may update my blog occassionally during the challenge and definitely with the results when it is over. Stay tuned! 🙂