Brown rice – superfood

Brown rice is constant. You do not need to buy it fresh every day.

It waits on the shelf ready to deliver its goodness when needed.

Cook it when you can’t be bothered to cook because it is a meal in itself. 

Extremely versatile and nutritious, we eat it nearly every day chez Winkler.

Its grains of soft chewy nutty sweetness deliver an abundance of nutrients.

Make sure it’s organic. The non-organic kind is grown with pesticides, and sprayed with fungicide post-harvest.

Call me fussy, but I like my superfoods toxic-free.

One of the world’s healthiest foods, brown rice has more vitamins and fibre than white rice.

White rice may be prized for her looks but sadly has little substance.

She has been stripped of her inheritance: her vitamins, minerals and all of her dietary fibre and essential fatty acids – gone.

How to cook brown rice

1. Always have some in your cupboard. Keep the rice dry. Get a big jar with a lid to store it in.

2. This is my foolproof way of measuring: one mugful of uncooked brown rice to two mugs of water.

One mug of rice (250g) is enough for two.

3. The rice absorbs the water and swells many times its original size. Bring the water and rice to the boil, then turn it down to simmer. Because you are using an exact amount of water, put a lid on to keep the water from evaporating.

4. Cook it about 40 minutes to get the grains nice and soft.

Customise to your heart’s content. I add nutritional extras like olive oil, snipped green leaves and sliced raw garlic. Or I cook brown rice with sliced onions and spices (cardamon seeds, for instance).

How do you like your brown rice?

25 responses to “Brown rice – superfood

  1. good read bookmarked will return to read more posts

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  3. I have just rediscovered brown rice!! I ate it a lot as a child and then for one reason or another didn’t eat it much as a teenager/young adult. Now, I can’t get enough of it. It’s great with spicy foods, such as a paneer and tomato curry, or a chicken and vegetable stirfry. I microwave mine and it always turns out perfectly. It’s so filling too.

  4. “How do you like your brown rice?”

    One of my favourites is the middle eastern dish, majadra. Brown rice cooked with brown or green lentils, onions and cumin; served with yogurt.

    Simple and delicious!

  5. I was glad to re-discover brown rice too, and like it cooked either with a spoonful of Marigold Bouillon, or creamed coconut. I learned that it’s important to soak all grains before cooking, putting the rice and water in the pot the night before, or porridge. It cooks better too.

  6. Hi Cynthia, thanks for commenting.

    I totally agree about soaking. It increases the nutritional value and speeds up cooking time (by 5-10 mins).

    I had thought about mentioning soaking but did not want to put new devotees off. So I am very glad you brought it up. And brown rice IS still wonderful sans-soaking.

    Marigold Bouillon is the best bouillon around but I find using a little salt is all that is needed to enhance taste.

    Love the idea of adding coconut! In what form?

    And do tell us a bit about your new book next time you visit!

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  9. Here is the secret to cooking brown rice use a rice cooker with a brown rice setting! If it takes you more than 2 minutes total prep/clean-up time with a rice cooker, you are doing it wrong.

    • Thanks, Morgan. I have never heard of a rice cooker but the brown rice setting sounds great.

      However, I find cooking brown rice pretty straightforward:

      Measure one cup of brown rice, add to a pan with two cups of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.

      On the other hand, whatever makes brown rice easier the better so if the rice coooker works, great. I am interested in is a pressure cooker, to cut down the cooking time.

  10. I’d like to clarify a few things: organic does NOT mean pesticide- and fungicide-free, but that synthetic pesticides were not used. Organic labeling allows for nonsynthetic fungicide use (http://www.helpguide.org/life/organic_foods_pesticides_gmo.htm).

    I am also unclear about what constitutes a ‘superfood’ and how is brown rice one? Brown rice contains low amounts of protein and a couple of B vitamins. It is high in manganese and selenium, trace minerals found in higher quantities in non-whole wheat pastas; not as an additive, but naturally occuring due to soil conditions where the wheat was grown. Selenium and manganese deficiency are extremely rare; both would have to be deliberately excised from the diet. Brown rice appears to simply be a high carbohydrate grain, albeit one with the fiberous hull intact. (http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2)
    (http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium.asp)

    Maybe if it was the one food a person in a 3rd world country had to rely on, yes, but as for a healthy American, I’m not sure.

    • Hi Lauri, thanks for your comment. I am not familiar with US organic rules which I believe are more lax but here in Europe they are strict.

      Organic standards ban all chemical fertilisers, herbidicides, fungicides and all but seven of the 430 pesticides allowed in non-organic farming. Of these seven, five are severely restricted by the Soil Association, the UK’s biggest organic certifier – and only if organic methods are inadequate.

      It is estimated there are 500 chemicals in our body that did not even exist 50 years ago. Organic farming has the potential to lower this toxic burden – especially vital for young children. No government testing is carried out on the impact of pesticide residues on children, despite their vulnerability (children absorb more toxins per kilo of bodyweight and their bodies are less able to break them down).

      Nor does government testing take into account ‘the cocktail effect’ – combinations of low-levels of pesticides which may adversely affect our health in ways that chemicals in isolation do not.

      This 2008 study from Seattle analysed the urine of two groups of children and found that those eating organic fruit and vegetables were more protected from pesticides than children eating non-organic produce.

      As for brown rice, I am surprised by your nutritional findings and will have a look at your links. I eat a lot of brown rice and am convinced from my own experience – and the research – that it is one of the healthiest foods around.

  11. having abit of a debate with a friend over whether meat should be included in our diet, and he is advocating a paleolithic diet, check http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5710/2
    he also says brown rice is not very nutritional http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5710/2
    kind of goes against my macrobiotic ways, but he was veagan and macrobiotic for 20 years and has now changed his ways!
    what does the real food lover reckon?
    i guess its all our own choice!?

    • Hi Peter – I think eating healthily is a mix of information, personal choice and common sense. Everyone is different and our needs change too, depending on circumstances such as being old, young, pregnant, very active, sedentary…

      I like the idea of people becoming more tuned into their needs. To ask: what do I need/want to eat for supper? What images are being conjured up? What do I have a yen for? To ask: “Body, what do you want?”….and listen!

      I also like the idea of checking in with our bodies AFTER eating too. So, fast food may taste OK at the time (those food technologists know what they are doing!) but how do we feel in several hours time?

      Or how do I feel after eating just high-fibre food all day? It sounds healthy but I might end up with a stomach ache.

      This is where the common sense bit comes in.

      We need to get informed – and then think for ourselves!

      PS I love brown rice. I love its taste – and how I feel afterwards. It suits me. The brilliant (down-to-earth) George Mateljan certainly considers it one of the world’s healthiest foods.

      And….brown rice may not suit everyone.

  12. Hi, Just to say i found this good webpage on why brown rice is so good for you (particularly see the bit phytonutrients)
    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=128

  13. I eat long grain organic brown rice often, as well as non-organic brown rice noodles. My question is, are there sufficient pesticide residues in all rice products to warrant eating only organic?

    • Hi Margaret and thanks for your question.

      Non-organic brown rice is grown using pesticides then stored sprayed with fungicides. Both agrichemicals are linked to health risks.

      The US government now counsels prevention. In May the Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now report from the President’s Cancer Panel urges the public to eat foods grown without chemical pesticides, fertilisers, hormones and antibiotics.

      I don’t want to scaremongery – moderation is key. I eat food that is non-organic. But I prefer organic. When I shop I buy local organic food as much as possible.

      Local organic food is fresher. My actions also supports local farmers. And buying organic means I know it has been grown or reared with respect to the animals and the land.

      Soils farmed organically are replenished with recycled and composted materials and become increasingly moisture-retaining and carbon-rich. In contrast most non-organic soils become increasingly arid.

      I also choose organic because it is my vote for more fertile growing soil.

      Thank you again for your question.
      Feel free to ask away
      and research more.

      Ideally I want people to make informed choices by making their own enquiries.

  14. Hi,

    Ive been talking about diet with someone, and they are advocating a diet that increases the alkalinity of the blood and apparently grains mack the blood more acidic. What do you think are you a follower of this pH based diet? i guess you can offset the pH of the grains with other stuff?

    Thanks

  15. I am not a great follower of the acid/alkaline arguments so this is not my expertise.

    However I do know from a family member that a low-acid diet has been deeply beneficial in curing acid reflux. I also know from another family member that starting the day with foods with high-acidity such as chocolate croissants and orange is not good for her Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

    My belief is that brown rice and most grains are quite balanced on the acid/alkaline front.

    However my strongest beliefs is that everyone’s make-up is different.

    It is important to make informed choices about food and find food theories that make sense to you. (I personally find the acid/alkaline theory a bit confusing.)

    Study your own unique body to see what suits it. Try different foods based on different food-health philosophies such as macrobiotic (or whatever…)

    Taste appears to be no indicator as to whether my body happily tolerates some foods or not.

    So I reckon it is important to see how food feels several hours AFTER you have eaten.

    Hope this helps.

  16. Thanks Elisabeth….makes sense, ill try to discover for myself, as you say i think intuitively we know alot about what suits…! cheers!

  17. I cook Hurst’s HamBeens soup and add it to my brown rice. Talk about a fiber explosion! Plus, the beans give me a potassium boost. I eat this combo almost everyday. It is also extremely cheap. No more excuses that Americans cannot afford to eat healthy. The soup and brown rice cost about as much as a McDonalds value meal.

  18. Would love to know where we could purchase ‘bulk’ (25 kg bags) of brown rice in Ireland, in particular Co. Antrim. Brown rice here is nearly an extinct species, selling only in one Kg. bags at silly prices. On the bright side though, it’s not nearly as scarce as ‘real’ bread; you know, made with water, salt and whole grains. We would settle for non-organic, if we had to.

    • I will try to find out. Have you thought of starting a food coop with a few other people? Google: Sustain food coop. Will do my sleuthing-best as soon as I can!

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