Rice- The King Of Grains?

Wether you love Rice or can’t stand the stuff, you can’t deny that it serves as a staple for many. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a cheap, reliable source of energy. And Without it, where would many of us be? But as popular as it is, Rice has the misfortune of being a grain. And since it was discovered that gluten can be harmful, Grains in general have started to fall out of favor.

And it’s true! Gluten really is a total pain for most of us. Even if we are not allergic, it can still cause massive amounts of inflammation. And unless you go to the trouble of buying expensive heirloom grains there really is no way around this. Now Rice? Rice doesn’t have this problem. In comparison has changed very little over the centuries. That begs another question: Brown or white? Most people would assume that Brown was better, yet some Paleo advocates would disagree. The ‘Anti-nutrients’ in the outer layer, they claim, prevent us from getting the nutrients anyway. So why bother?

I guess I can see the logic in that. But if that were true, why did the rations of White rice given to Japanese sailors during WW2 nearly kill them?  They suffered Beri-Beri- A  thiamin deficiency caused by a sugar rich diet devoid of essential nutrients. Many of them were actually lured into service by the promise of as much white rice as they could eat! As good as it tastes, White rice just isn’t healthy. And if everyone was eating it, Why were young men Lured into the navy by the promise of it in the first place? If you think about it, The milling process is tedious and expensive before industrial milling. So It would be something limited to the very wealthy.

You can find the same story with any kind of refined product. Until very recently, anything “white”simply wasn’t something most people could afford.

And The Choice doesn’t stop with brown or white. Rice has thousands of different varieties, and the native Americans used to eat quite a bit of what we now call wild rice. And they weren’t the only ones. I was surprised to discover that the Australian aborigines also Used to harvest and Eat yet another Variety of wild rice local to the area. Growing these kinds of products commercially has its issues, but they appear to be quite nutritious. Sometimes Our assumptions are wrong. Maybe not all grains are bad. But I’ll freely admit plain old brown rice isn’t anything special, but it’s still a stellar source of carbohydrates. We can always get our nutrients elsewhere. As for the other more exotic varieties (like red or black), why not give them a go?

Be well.

Wild rice Native Americans

Australian Wild Rice

White Rice During WW2


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