Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rice Diet: The Review – Thank Goodness that is Over

It was wonderful to wake up this morning and know that I was no longer going to be fooling around with The Rice Diet. I was cranky for various reasons, either not enough total food or too much grain and the GI discomfort that came with the excess grain. I am very happy to be back to my normal routine. However being on that diet for two days did force me to look at my overall nut and seed consumption which I am going to moderate just a little. I never measure my nuts and seeds but I am going to for a few weeks to make sure they haven’t exceeded what I consider a reasonable amount for me (1/4 cup) in a day.

Like Monday we woke up to a very gray overcast day. This wasn’t a big surprise since the weather people were calling for thunderstorms and rain today and tomorrow. Thankfully the rain was running north and south of us this morning which meant I could go for a walk. Once I made Dan’s breakfast (oatmeal with wild blueberries) and packed his lunch I decided to head outside to get my blood pumping and ramp up my immune system. I did a quick 1.5 miles before breakfast. It was a little cold out there this morning, 43 degrees. Needless to say capri yoga pants were probably not the best selection. Oh well, at least I wore my gloves. ;-)

While I was walking I was listening to my IPod which probably looks odd at my age, LOL. I also took a few pictures this morning to share with you. I love it when the cherry blossoms start to bloom. The picture above is the best one from this morning. It was gray and rainy and it is hard to get a good close up picture with a cell phone. However I think this gives you an idea of what the trees look like now. They should be in full bloom in about a week.

Here are my miniature daffodils in full bloom and covered in rain. I think these are so cute. They are only about 4 inches tall. There is something endearing about miniature things to me.

When I got home all I wanted for breakfast was salad. I guess that is because I couldn’t have it the last two days. I made a huge salad in a serving bowl that contained: organic baby spinach, a red bell pepper, a small amount of the lentil and quinoa salad I made on Monday and leftover Sicilian artichokes and peppers (which involved a tomato sauce with fennel) in tomatoes that Dan had for dinner last night (only his was hot and over quinoa). I finished the salad with a sprinkling of white chia seeds (for the omega 3). It is nice to be back to my own food. I missed salad the last two days. Since you were only allowed 3 servings of veggies that wouldn’t make much of a salad. I had at least that much in spinach alone this morning but only what they would call 1 grain serving (1/2 cup). *shakes head*

For a late morning snack I had a little bit of okara that I flavored with almond butter and fresh ginger and carrot dippers.

Lunch was a big green smoothie which I was craving. This smoothie included: 4 raw kale leaves and stems, small frozen banana, 1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseed (for the omega 3), 2 Brazil nuts (for the selenium), ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, 1 cup almond milk, ice and a little water to process. You may need to add a little stevia.

I was busy in the afternoon talking to a friend who wants to get a little healthier and increase her knowledge of nutrition and health. Can you imagine how much I loved this conversation? In my opinion there is nothing better than talking about health. ;-)

Like usual time got away from me today and I needed to make dinner in a hurry. I decided to make a batch of French Market Bean Soup (no oil or seitan sausage) in the pressure cooker. Since the soup has many different types of beans in it I cooked the beans for 20 minutes under high pressure and then the finished cooking the beans normally. Once the beans were soft I added the tomatoes, rehydrated dried mushrooms (for the immune boosting impact), flavorings (onion, garlic, no-salt seasoning, thyme and black pepper) and finished it with fresh lemon juice and zest. Thank you Sue for introducing us to this, it is one of Dan’s favorites and perfect for a cold dreary day like today.

We also had a small spinach salad with salsa, cucumber and marinated mushrooms topped with a few raw pumpkin seeds.

After dinner Dan was convinced that he hadn’t had enough calories today. I bet everyone knows what that means. If you guessed that he asked me to make a batch of strawberry banana soft-serve you would be right. Some things never change!

I can’t begin to tell you how much I missed my food over the last two days.

Rice Diet Review:

Initially I had planned to do a week of this before reviewing it but I couldn’t do it. Then I decided to do three days and in the end two was enough for me. If you were following along the last two days I am sure you know why I had to bail on this. This diet was not meant for someone like me that eats a healthy no oil, no salt diet with lots with produce.

Okay I probably should have stayed on this diet more than 2 days before writing the review but honestly I was missing my Brazil nuts, wheat germ and seeds. Day two of the diet was better than day one since it allowed veggies but I had been on it long enough. Here are my thoughts:


• Focuses on whole food, no processed junk.

• By eliminating salt it should help anyone overcome their salt addiction.

• No oil is used in this diet which should also help people overcome their fat addiction.

• Restricts unhealthy animal protein to 3 ounces per week during the weight loss phase, and six ounces during the maintenance phase and that can be avoided completely by substituting beans or tofu (I added the tofu).

• Encourages daily moderate exercise.

• Promotes meditation to reduce stress thereby reducing stress eating.

• Provides a template for food journaling which is also encouraged.

• Discourages the use of artificial sweeteners

• Promotes eliminating soda due to the additives. Specifically soda is high in dietary phosphates which results in calcium loss and therefore bone loss.


• The one day detox of starch and fruit is miserable because it does not contain enough food or variety of food to be sustainable even one day a week.

• Far too much grain per day in my opinion. I had trouble eating the amount of grain they suggested but since the overall calories were so low I felt like I needed to eat it.

• Why a limit on vegetables? This seems illogical to me. Vegetables are the nutritional powerhouse of the food world why would you ever want to limit them? The entire day’s allotment of vegetables on days 2-7 of this diet is one meals worth for me.

• Makes no distinction between sizes of people in the plan. For example men and women eat the same amount? That really doesn’t make any sense to me.

• No flaxseeds, hempseed or chia seeds is a problem.

• Total calories per day seems light 800 on day 1 (which happens once per week) and 1,000 days 2-6, with 1,200 on day 7 during phase one. Phase two isn’t much different. That can’t be enough calories for men or active women.

• Incredibly structured with allotments for all the food groups at each meal. I found this to be annoying but if you like structure this could be a plus for you.

• The book itself talks about people traveling back to North Carolina periodically to get a “diet tune up” which I interpret as they weren’t able to stay on it long term.

Overall, if you have a lot of weight you want to lose fairly rapidly and you like whole grains this would probably get the job done. I say probably because I didn’t lose weight on it, but I am only one person and was on it for a very short period of time. The one I think this diet is missing is the flaxseed (or chia and hemp) for an adequate amount of omega 3. Nuts and seeds as a condiment for a little textural variation and healthy fat would have also been a good idea in my opinion. I also think that raw undressed vegetables should be unlimited. Not too many people are going to overeat veggies.

I am curious, did seeing what I ate for two days on this diet help the review have more meaning?  If not do you have any suggestions on how to make this type of review more meaningful?

Happy thoughts:

• I am very happy to be back to my usual food. You have no idea how much I missed my veggies. The quantity of veggies that I typically eat in one meal was the total allowed for the entire day on The Rice Diet.

• It was great to get outside and get some fresh air before the storm rolled in.

• I love seeing the cherry blossoms starting to bloom. That is always a sure sign of spring in spite of how cold it was today. Brrrr!

• I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with my friend early this afternoon and am thrilled that she wants to learn more about health and nutrition. She may be sorry so mentioned that because I will be suggesting as many books as she can read. ;-)

• Later today I had another great conversation about health that has my wheels spinning with ideas. Don’t we all love thought provoking conversations?

• I am thankful that Dan made it home safely from work before the thunderstorm started.

• We are planning a trip to DC to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom this year. Since we haven’t gone since 1997 I am really looking forward to this. Of course I will take lots of pictures to share with you.

Signing out:

I am looking forward to tomorrow. I have a few things on my to-do list that I am actually looking forward to. Crazy right, who looks forward to their to-do list? LOL, I always say that I am not right. I didn’t forget about the homemade tofu post, that is coming. I got busy and didn’t have time to make another batch of tofu to take pictures of but that should happen tomorrow. *fingers crossed*

I hope you had a wonderful Wednesday, I know I did. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. Yum. Yum. Yum.
    Hooray that the ride diet is over!
    Years ago, I did the Barnes Diet which is rice and fruit. Period.
    We will have to talk... :)

  2. With all due respect, I think your experiment offered a prime example of why "diets" fail -- people are always adapting them for all kinds of reasons - they want a little taste of something and "cheat" by adding the forbidden item to the prescribed foods (IE - you added flax seeds because you are convinced their healthfulness outweighs the diet's prescribed rules -- and you're right! :-) ) or they "know" that dairy is good for them, so they have it anyway, or they "know" that the body requires lots of protein, so they serve themselves a larger portion of protein than prescribed.

    Though I am sure reading about your two-day experiment with the rice diet was helpful for some, I wasn't a fan, but I am of a mindset that "diets" don't work. Having a nutritarian lifestyle does.

  3. I think your review was boosted by the descriptions of what you ate and how you felt during your two days on the diet. I am astounded, too, that any diet would restrict vegetables, and I think the only time someone should have an 800-calorie day is if they are sick and physically unable to eat. It makes me angry to see the extremes so many fad diets offer, and this sounds like a fad diet to me. It also sounds like a diet that would promote yo-yo dieting.

    I know I haven't left a comment in a while, but I've been faithfully keeping up with your blog (and my veganism). I finally took the plunge and ordered a Vitamix, in part because I can't wait to try some of the smoothies you have mentioned in your blog. :)

  4. I have issues with the idea of such calorie restriction. If you're exercising as you should be, then restricting calories as such ends up doing the opposite of what you want. And by you I am not literally meaning you of course ;-) Sounds more like a quick fix type of thing rather than long-term lifestyle change?

  5. Teresa,

    I second that hooray. What a miserable way to live, I am happy my friend got the idea from seeing the food on that diet. *bleh* I would love to say I have never been on a diet but that isn't true. But I am happy that I know better now. With a little luck "my experient" will stop a few others before they start this diet. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  6. tsweeney,

    I used myself a s guinea pig to get through to a friend who was considering this diet and it worked, thankfully. With a little luck I will get through to others who are considering it before they start. I agree with everything you wrote and hope that is what other people that read the two days and my review come away thinking.


  7. Jessie,

    The calorie count was ridiculously low on this plan. I can't imagine that being enough for any adult. As you probably know I am not a fan of fad diets either. In the end the only thing that really works is a permanent lifestyle change.

    Woo hoo for a new Vitamix! Yay you! I am extremely excited for you. Also I am thrilled that you are still vegan I wasn't sure when you stopped blogging. :-) Can't wait to hear what you think of the smoothies. Dan thinks you need to start with strawberry banana soft serve which probaby isn't a big surprise.

    have a great Thursday,

  8. Heather,

    I agree completely, 800-1200 calories is extremely low unless you are bedridden and even then it probably isn't enough. I wish Americans didn't always want a quick fix, but that probably isn't going to change any time soon. With a little luck when people google this diet they will find my blog and learn a bit about it and that will get through to them.


  9. Any time you and Dan want to enjoy a Florida vacation, come down & work with me on my cooking skills! *lol* :-)

  10. Neca,

    LOL you crack me up. Something tells me your cooking skills are better than you say.

    The idea of Florida is very appealing at the moment since it was 41 degrees this morning here. Darn I dislike cold weather.

    I hope all is well with you,

  11. I love all the yummy food pics.. So glad you can have your favorite foods again!
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  12. Debra,

    LOL, me too ... you have no idea! At least my friend who was considered this plan got my point. Sometimes seeing what you are in for before hand is enough to make you think again.


  13. Diets like that don't particularly interest me, but people that need to lose weight might find your experiment interesting.

    Good news - my husband just got a lipid profile and his numbers are near perfect (if there is such a thing): total 172, HDL 75, LDL 89, Tri 41!!! He's been eating extremely well lately and even cut out alcohol to see whether it would make a difference. I'm getting my test tomorrow and hope my numbers are similar (we're competitive like you and Dan).

    Are you still going to review "From Oil to Nuts" and the DVD you watched (or maybe it was an online video) about oil? I'm always interested in your research, but don't have time to read much.

  14. Laura,

    Honestly structured diets don't interest me because they always seem nothing but temporary, but not everyone agrees with me or you. ;-)

    Woo hoo for your hubby's blood work. Is he doing the happy dance? I hope your results are just a little better since you are competitive. ;-)

    I am still going to review "Oil to Nuts" once I have time to watch it a second time. For some reason I always run out of time. Gee ... I wonder why? LOL

    talk to you later,

  15. Congrats on making it through 2 days! The Vegan Epicurean diet is one I'd be quick to recommend, not so much the Rice Diet. From your review it seems that there is a small window of people that this might work well for, but I'd still sooner recommend your diet ;) When are you going to write a book, eh?!

  16. Sarah,

    You are too sweet. I have something that I am thinking about doing. I will send you an email so we can chat.

    talk to you soon,

  17. Yay for being back on real food! That soup looks delicious. It's also been gray here, and I am in the mood for soup again.

    I'm so glad to hear you talking about people coming to you for advice on healthier eating. It's such a delicate subject with people who don't want to get healthier, since food has so many other cultural meanings. Getting an interested learner must be a treat. I keep trying to tweak my diet from what I see you do.

  18. Jessica,

    It was fabulous to be back to "my food". I had no idea it would be so difficult to follow a diet. I have no idea how anyone does it.

    It is great to have people want to learn about nutrition. You are right that people can be very defensive about food, almost more so that religion which is a bit of a mystery to me. I wish you could see my smile over your comment about tweaking your diet. There is nothing you could have written that would have meant more to me. Thank you so much for sharing that. :-)

    big hugs,

  19. Are you still using spirulina in your smoothies? I did a search & saw that you've mentioned it in the past but not recently. Just curious.

    Ryan did a food detox diet (to identify food allergies) a few years ago...he was super grumpy and, after a week, loopy (forgetting things, couldn't concentrate, zoning out of conversations, etc). It was awful. I have to admit I'm glad I didn't do it with him.

  20. Jackie,

    I am not using spirulina in my smoothies. I bought it and then read about the potential negative health impact and never used it. Thanks for reminding me to do some research on that so I can either use the spirulinea or throw it out.

    Poor Ryan, I feel his pain. I only did two days on that crazy diet to show my friend it was a bad plan and I was miserable.

    have a great Friday,

  21. "While I was walking I was listening to my IPod which probably looks odd at my age, LOL." You are so funny--my mom had an ipod for well over a year or two before I finally got mine, and hers is still bigger and nicer than mine! What does age have to do with it?!? I have seen people well into their 60s/70s walking around with ipods :-)

    I am glad you are off of the Rice Diet and back to eating the way you normally do--you are already so healthy and thoughtful about what you eat, I don't think you could do much better :-)


  22. I just got my results... my total is slightly better, but my HDL is a little lower and my LDL/tri's are a little higher. We're calling it a tie although I'd really like to get my LDL down more.

    The woman who took my blood said that she takes a handful of pills every night, including statins because she has a gene that puts her at a high risk for heart attacks (some letters plus the number 8 at the end)--have you heard of that?

  23. Laura,

    Sounds like the cholesterol contest was very close. The hubby is nipping at your heels. ;-)

    I have no idea what gene the women is talking about. Also I thought I read about a year ago that statins don't seem to be reducing heart attacks as was expected. If you remember what the gene was let me know.


  24. Courtney,

    I am just having my annual age crisis since my birthday is in May, that is all, LOL. That and the senior citizens around here don't walk around with IPods. ;-)

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. That means a lot coming from you.

    big hugs,

  25. I looked at the book after you said you were trying it. I'm not defending it, but to be fair, it did say you could substitute 1/3c of cooked beans for a starch at any meal. I don't really understand the banning of vegetables, though.

  26. wife2abadge,

    The diet did say you can subsitute beans for grain but the macronutrient (specifically calories) and micronutrient counts overall are still extremly low. I can't imagine anyone being able to make this a lifestyle which is the sign of a bad plan to me.

    I am not a fan of diets in general and only did this little experiment to show my friend who was considering it (and everyone else) that it was a bad idea. If you thought I was at all a fan of this plan I am very sorry that was not my intention.


  27. Oh no -- it was clear you weren't a fan. You had just said something to the effect that your tummy was upset due to eating so much grain, so I wondered why you didn't sub beans for some of it. I'm not a fan of structured diets either. I'm pretty sure a week or or is the longest I've ever made it on one (sadly, even Dr. Fuhrman's...)


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