By Donny Shankle
Growing up I ate a lot rice. Louisiana is a rice eating culture and I grew up eating jambalaya, red beans and rice and gumbo. Plus there is a large Vietnamese population in Louisiana which only adds to the culture’s preference for rice. I still eat rice with nearly every meal today. During a given week of heavy training I would easily consume a 10lb. bag of rice. It’s one of my favorite foods because it’s easy to prepare, a great source of carbohydrate, and it’s inexpensive.
I like all types of rice but my favorite is the long grain Jasmine or Basmati. Both have a nutty aroma which I find goes well with meat and gravy dishes. Occasionally, I’ll switch to a sticky rice with rice vinegar or a rice I found in the Philippines called Tarlac. This rice I find goes really well with fried garlic in the morning for breakfast.
I eat a lot of rice when training because it goes a long way in cheap calories. A 20lb. bag of long grain white rice will typically cost you between $10.00 to $15.00 (other brands like Basmati are much more expensive) and give you 40 cups of uncooked rice. There are approximately 670 calories per cup of raw long grain white rice so a 20lb. bag yields an extra 26,800 calories in your diet by the time you finish it. Rice too is easily measurable. If you are gaining too much weight then cut the amount of rice you are preparing for your meals in half and vice-versa if you are not gaining enough. The simple preparation is another added bonus. If you can boil and simmer water then you can make rice. I suggest getting a large rice cooker (especially if you live with other weightlifters) and always have rice ready to go. Try and get a rice cooker which keeps your rice warm after cooking and has a setting to make congee for an occasional welcomed change. A rice and slow cooker should be on a weightlifters kitchen counter with vegetables, meats and rice ready to go. Lastly, rice goes great with just about everything and it can be seasoned easily with a myriad of ingredients ranging from chili peppers, citrus, saffron, garlic and onion, and even milk and sugar for dessert. My favorite desert actually is sticky rice with condensed milk and mango.
Rice has some nutritional value but calories are what put on the size. Rice has plenty of economical calories to get you not only big but strong. When I take rice out of my diet, I notice my strength levels significantly drop. Any weightlifter who has stayed with me knows the amount of rice I serve in the morning for breakfast would be considered a sumo wrestler’s portion. The energy you will have eating rice with breakfast and lunch especially will help you in the gym chasing those personal records so don’t skimp out on the rice. For the sake of affordability, calorie convenience, and easy preparation rice can’t be beat.