Rice vs. Potatoes – A Starch Comparison for Auto-Immune Diets

Overall

I decided to take a 1 1/2 month break from blogging since my last post on my 6-month review.  Overall I’ve gotten better, but I’m still in the marathon (read more below).  In this post, I want to go into detail on why starch works and why others flare up my body. I chose rice vs. potatoes as they are the only commonly found starchy foods that were approved from my Cyrex test. For many who suffer with AS & follow the NSD / LSD (no or low starch diet), this information might be very helpful for you as it was for me.

A Tale of Two Starches – Rice vs. Potatoes

Battling the auto-immune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis, foods that are notoriously bad for you are ones that contain starches.  Not only are auto-immune patients food intolerant to them, but according to the No Starch Diet (NSD), a bacteria called the Klebsiella feeds off of it and causes your auto-immune system to inflame most of your body.  In the beginning I followed the NSD system, but later found out through food intolerance testing that I needed starches in my diet.  It’s been over 1 1/2 months since I began eating food intolerant “approved” starches and here are the results:

Brown Rice and Spinach

Brown Rice and Spinach

baked potatoes

Baked Potatoes

As you can see above, both foods are similar in being non-gluten, passing the Cyrex food intolerance test, resistant starches, and gluten free.  However, rice has two main components that help me out:  it has the solubility I need to “bind” the food I eat plus it’s made of amylopectin starch – an easier broken down starch than the amylose starch that I ate, and flared up, from a baked potato.  The good news (which I still need to test) is that forms of waxy potatoes are more amylopectin (the safe starch):

Waxy Potatoes: Carlingford, Nadine, Round White, Round Red, Yellow Potato, Red Potato, Salad Potato, La Soda, Red La Rouge, Red Pontiac, Red Nordland, Red Bliss, Yellow Finnish, Ruby Crescent, and Australian Crescent.  These potatoes are good for roasting, or in use for soups, casseroles, and potato salads.

Test Conclusions:  I have safely tested white, brown and variations of them (cereals, pastas, etc.) without issue – a test that my gut health has improved.  In the future I will try high amylopectin glutinous rice (sticky rice) or black sticky rice. The amylopectin is what makes it sticky, just as pectin makes jam thick and gel like.  For potatoes, I will continue to test but stay away from outside the home.  No matter what, I will continue to stay away from the heavily processed forms of both rice and potatoes.
UPDATE 2013:  My body has built up enough resistance to accept potatoes (waxy potatoes are better).  However, I eat much more rice than I do potatoes.


Mom’s Chicken Soup With Rice

If I was ever on a stranded island and was only allowed one meal to eat every day, it would be my mom’s chicken soup.  I’ve modified the original recipe to amp up the veggies and make the entire meal organic.

mom's chicken soup with rice

Brown Rice Recipe (Takes 1-hour to complete)

  • 1 Cup gluten-free organic brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp (or more) minced garlic or chop up garlic cloves
  • Chop up 1/8 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Ground Pepper
  • 2 Cups Water

On medium heat, add coconut oil, onions, and ground pepper.  Let it fry up for 2-3 minutes (onions soft and/or translucent), add in garlic for another minute. Add in rice & water, cover until it boils.  Reduce heat to low, uncover & stir, cover again for 50 minutes.

Mom’s Chicken Soup

  • BIG Pot (I use a 7-quart dutch oven)
  • 1 Whole chicken
  • 5 Rapunzel Vegetable Bullion Cubes
  • 4 Tbsp Parsley or a small bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 bunch of carrots (9-10 individual)
  • 1 1/2 bunches celery WITH celery leaves (1 to 2 cups)

Remove the skin from the chicken (I suggest using paper towels to help pull the skin off), cut into large chunks (with bones still attached), wash & set aside.  Cut ends off onion & peel outer edge – leave the onion whole.  In the pot, add in water, bullion, onion, celery leaves, parsley, and chicken – cover and bring to a boil.  Once   it starts to boil, turn to low / simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Chop carrots (wash, do not peel carrots) and celery and set aside.  After 1 1/2 hours, remove chicken to plate & de-bone.  Add in the celery and carrots, bring to a boil & then simmer.  Add boneless chicken back in & wait until celery & carrots are tender, not soft.


My Current Health

Waverunner with Brayan

Just like my Segway Tour, happiness triumphs over the chronic pain.  Add a bonding experience with an adorable kid and it’s wave runner time!  Did I feel the pain after?  Did it last for a few days?  Of course!  But it was worth it.

  • Exercise: A few things have switched since I started exercising.
    • Chiropractor 2X per week :  Neck warm-ups, wobble chair, adjustment, new wall exercise for curving my thoracic area (10 minutes), head weights for 10 minutes (with ice).
    • Head weights when needed for 10 minutes each.
    • Walking 10-20 minutes.
    • Pool exercises on days not at the chiropractor.  Times range from 1/2 – 1 hour and consist of exercise gloves, walking / high-stepping, push-ups and pulling legs in/out / side-to-side to strengthen core.
  • Sleep:  I go to bed at 10:30pm, get up around 1-2am (take 1 ibuprofen, 1 probiotic, and fish oil), then finally get up at 6:30-7:30am.  Still very difficult to get out of bed due to neck.  Plus I still need to go to the bathroom quickly due to cortisol levels at it’s peak during that time of night (review Diagnostachs test for more information or comment below & I will explain).
  • Supplements:  Probiotics, Vitamin D3, Magnesium (Gluconate) rarely, HCL only when eating red meat, digestive enzymes, and Maine Omega-3 fish oil,  Chromium Picolinate (will discontinue usage and I see no benefit & need to test) and Vitamin B-Complex – most of supplementation is done at breakfast time.  Recently added acacia powder (alternative to psyllium powder for solubility in my diet) and will discuss in my next blog post.  I’ve also just started eating aloe vera from the plant itself.
  • Current Areas of Concern:  Since June 14th (Week 21), I’ve had issues with my neck & shoulders due to chiropractic manipulation and inflammation.  Since then, it has slowly improved by updating the chiropractic routine (the “pope” machine to using “the wall”), heat, massage, and stretching.  Still battling stiffness and soreness, but the length of these issues is getting shorter (depending upon the types of food I eat & testing “fringe” foods).  I’m still losing weight, but have a plan on fixing that this month.  My sleep habits only allow me to sleep on my back which can create new pains in my body.  I only drive locally since I almost got into an accident because I could not turn my neck and the driver was in my blind spot.
  • Areas of Improvement:  I’ve gone from 6 ibuprofen a day down to 2.  Also, I got an update on my blood test & my SED rate went from 101 down to 34 (more on that next blog post)!  I can stay out longer at night, I have moments where I feel “close to normal”, and I’m able to bend / pick up things easier than before.  Waking up from sleep has gone from 2-3 times down to 1 time a night.  I’m also at the beginning of being able to test foods and see a difference in how I feel.  I’ve gone to a massage therapist and got a full-body massage for the 1st time that I can remember (if ever).  Next blog post will explain more on “why” this is happening with increasing the solubility in my diet.
  • Enbrel:  It has been almost 7 months since my last shot.
  • My lowest weight was 127 lbs. and a BMI of 17.75.  My next blog post will discuss this in more detail.
  • rosezajac

    Son, your receipe for chicken rice soup sounds delicious, glad you tweeked mine……really Grandma Roses & her Mom’s, Grandma Crile.

    You hang in there, trying hard to stop loosing weight. Glad your sleeping pattern is better & you now have times of feeling closer to normal.

    See you shortly,

    Love,

    Mom

  • Sean

    Hi Brian

    You are such a determined individual – a real inspiration!

    I have suffered (not as badly as you) for nearly 30 years – my Dad has very bad AS.

    I have been gluten and corn and try to be dairy free for nearly 20 years now. I too take rice and potatoes but have concerns from time to time. I have a great bread / scone loaf recipe made with rice flour, 2 eggs, honey, bicarbonate (gluten free) and cider vinegar if you are interested.

    Supplements have been part of my regime that stop / help my disease – I take 4 Biocare Mag2 1Cal per day along with Manganese, zinc and selenium – and a Biocare b complex every other day.

    Once about 8 years ago I was so good with my diet and supplementation and lots of exercise that I went in to a type of remission where I only needed the diet.

    I first saw your blog in April when I suffered flare ups from a supplement with wheat in! Reading your notes about rib and back pain remind me of how much better I am again now.

    Strength to you! Sean.

    • brianzajac

      Thanks for the encouragement Sean. Food intolerance issues (for now) include eggs (http://100percenthealth.us/my-goal/autoimmune-tests/). And I learned that any type of flour may not be so good for me. But thanks for the offer.

      Glad to see you’ve found some supplements that help you feel better. I’ve been getting better and have been off a lot of my supplements recently. One I’ve added is Acacia powder and it’s doing quite well for my diet & will have a blog post all about it. If you’re subscribed to my blog posts, you’ll get notified the next time a blog post is made. April was one of the worst months for me and I’m so glad those days are over!

      • Robin henry

        I too have AS. I am 35 and feel like I have really got it under control. I have tried the gluten free, low starch and tried so many supplements and drugs. I am now on the paleo diet, for three months now, and I have to say I feel amazing. My energy is awesome and flexibility and inflammation have greatly improved, leading to way more positive outlook on life. With this disease, one needs to be so vigilant and limit the foods that make us hurt. I have also found a chiropractor that uses a very non invasive technique, a tool called an arthrostim I believe. I cannot believe my improvements. I can actually lay flat against a wall and on the floor without pain. Anyhow keep up the good fight. Robin