I grew up on glutinous white rice as a result of my Japanese heritage and never thought twice about it. Then when I began competing in 2009, I had to cut out the white food and actually went through a bit of separation anxiety. In a sense I was probably feeling more guilt than anything else, but I eliminated it from my daily meal plan and suddenly noticed that my physique leaned out rapidly. It’s not like I had started out with a weight problem, but I certainly did not have the chiseled appearance of someone who stepped on a bodybuilding stage regularly.
Though it has been relatively easy to avoid regular bread, sweets, and other contest prep busters, I still find myself pining for sticky white rice, because it is the bosom buddy of the lovely raw fish slices that characterize sushi. I absolutely love sushi and sashimi but only indulge in it on rare occasions when I can afford it and when I know I can have a fun meal. What drives me nuts is the fact that all-you-can-eat sushi places require you to eat all the rice you are served, which means that you are almost force fed a large quantity of high glycemic index starch. It’s wild to think that people frequently negate the health damaging effects of the rice, only concentrating on the fish being served. Truth is, the insulin-spiking effects of white rice can wreak havoc on general health and can certainly set one back on contest prep. So if you consume sushi frequently, you may be setting up your body for insulin resistance over time.
Another thing I have noticed personally whenever I eat sticky white rice is that my hamstring region holds water. The following morning is always disappointing because I wake up to waves and ripples, and sadly, they aren’t the kind you would see in the ocean. It takes 24 to 48 hours to get rid of that too, and also requires me to hydrate aggressively to flush everything out. It’s dramatic and it’s very upsetting. My body has actually gotten more sensitive over time too, and my body struggles to digest white rice. To be honest, I am not sure it’s really worth indulging in the white rice I used to love to much because it sets me back so much health-wise.