Couple of years ago, while getting to know macrobiotic cooking, I was introduced to brown rice and its health benefits. Since then, I have brown rice on my menu regularly and I forgot about white rice completely. Here is why I did that.
The main difference between brown rice and white rice is wholeness. I say wholeness because white rice goes through a process that removes the side hull and the bran. With that the fiber and essential fatty acids, nutrients and enzymes that have great health benefits for us are being lost. This process destroys half of the iron, manganese and phosphorous, 80% of Vitamin B1, 67% of vitamin B3 and 90% of the vitamin B6. As you see at the end we are left with almost no nutritional value. So there goes the wholeness.
After this process, white rice gets to the stores with label ‘‘enriched’’, because manufacturers add synthetic vitamins and iron. But even ‘‘enriched’’, white rice cannot reach the nutritional value of brown rice.
Being rich in manganese, magnesium, selenium, fiber, fatty acids and vitamins, brown rice benefits our nervous and reproductive system, helps reduce risk of heart disease and cancer, maintains a healthy body weight, lowers cholesterol and maintains stable blood sugar through the day. It has great antioxidant activity and improves your digestive system.
Still not convinced to choose brown rice? Well the last thing I will say about it is that is delicious! If you are used to white rice’s taste then you will probably need some time to get used to these new taste. But ones you do, you will love it! There are countless ways to include brown rice in your diet. You can use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and even for snacks or desserts.
To give you an example for that, try this
Fried rice with tofu, pumpkin, pistachio and kale
1 3/4 cups cooked brown rice, short grain preferred (leftovers work perfectly)
3 Tbsp raw pistachios
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups organic kale, chopped (thick stems removed)
1 medium juicy orange (squeeze one half, slice off a strip of rind – and peel and dice the second half)
4 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp fine black pepper
pinch of cayenne or turmeric (optional)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cup tofu cubes, firm
1. Start off by heating 1-2 tsp of oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the pistachio nuts and saute for another minutes until they toast a bit in the hot oil.
2. Add in another 1/2-1 tsp of oil and add your rice, pumpkin, salt, pepper, orange rind, optional garlic and any additional spices you’d like to add. Toss and saute so that the pumpkin distributes through the rice as it sizzles and softens.
3. Add in the fresh orange juice from the orange to hydrate the pan and ingredients. Saute until the liquid absorbs. The scoop all the rice to one side of the pan in a thick mound. In the empty space in the pan add a 1/2 tsp of oil (if the pan is bone dry) and the tofu cubes. Drizzle the maple syrup over the tofu cubes and add a pinch of salt and pepper to the cubes too. Saute, still on high heat until the edges blacken. Add the diced orange and toss all the tofu cubes with the rice in one final minute of saute.
4. Remove the orange rind, and serve your hot rice and tofu dish. Garnish with additional fresh orange slices if you’d like.