There is so much hype around grains out there on the internet. Do I eat grains? do I not eat grains? What’s a person to do? I’ve lived the past two years basically on a Paleo diet “modified” and have felt great. I say “modified” because I am not a hard core Paleo. In fact, the Paleo community would’ve probably kicked me out long ago anyways because of one thing…grains! I stick to a fairly low carb diet (maybe 100g or less a day) It’s just what works for me. And as we know, everything is bioindividual. I’ve also been trying a Vegan diet for the past month and I feel great. But I can see how Vegans could overdo it on the grains if they weren’t paying attention to that. BUT for thousands of years human beings have been eating grains!! In Japan they mostly live on a diet of grains and guess what??? They aren’t fat! In fact, they are thriving (or at least were thriving until we westernized them with our big mac’s and french fries which I believe is our official plan for every single country in existence). The Inca’s ate mostly what?…Grains! They weren’t fat! So what happened?? Why are American’s obese? Is it grains? Grains are carbs after all. You already know the answer, but let’s just chat about it for one second. And I’m coming at you from what I understand to be true. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here. If you’ve watched any food documentary on Netflix, you are well aware that our grain fields are being sprayed with roundup to produce more crop quicker. A lot of our grains are now highly processed to be shelf stable. They are stripped of their outer shell which provides all the fiber and nutrients but also can go rancid if shelved for long periods of time. This is why they strip it. So we are basically left with the grain (like white rice) without the nutrients but just the carb of the grain. This certainly isn’t true for all grains however. We’ve always been taught that brown rice is better for us. This is because it still has it’s shell. The “brown” part around the rice is fiber and nutrients. So it sounds like common sense that it would be the healthier of the two…white rice vs. brown. But because of that shell, it has it has something called “Phytic Acid” which is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds and grains. Anciently, our ancestors who ate grains knew about this phytic acid and therefore became accustom to soaking and sprouting their grains. So while cooking the grains, nuts and seeds will reduce the phytic acid to some degree, it still remains.
If you ever have blood work done and find out your really low in Zinc (which is a bad thing), it might be because you’re eating a lot of brown rice or possibly nuts and seeds with phytic acid. Phytic acid absorbs the zinc in your blood stream. Don’t stress though! Just start soaking your grains and nuts. It’s super easy and you can do it in big batches….it’s like the old saying…cook once, eat twice! Some people soak for 3 hours, other for 3 days. I like to do 12-24 hrs if I can remember. So in order to remember, guess what you should be doing? Meal Planning!! That’s right! Just plan around the day you’re going to cook rice and start soaking the day before. Discard that soaked water once you’re done.
So white rice vs. Brown? Well I personally love Jasmine rice and it’s definitely NOT brown. But rotating between the two is definitely not a bad thing. If you don’t plan on soaking your grains and you eat a lot of brown rice, it seems to me like the answer would be to go for white rice. If you do plan on soaking your rice then brown rice seems like the obvious choice because of the fiber and nutrients. So that’s my two cents on the subject! Now go out there and decide for yourself.
It might be interesting to note that in the 1930’s, Duke university did a study called “The Rice diet” claiming that it prevents and treats hypertension, diabetes, and obesity and facilitates weight loss. I know this was a long time ago, but it might be worth looking into.
Dietary goals for the United States led by Senator McGovern recommends a 55-60% carbohydrate diet. That was in the 70’s. Personally I say no more than 40% is sufficient. And I only say this because of the type of carbohydrates we are eating. Lots of white bread, refined sugars and processsed fast food. It’s making us sicker than ever. If truly we focused on the quality of the grain, soaked them properly and cooked our own food, I bet we too could thrive on a high carb diet. But this certainly isn’t’ the case here in America. But this is also assuming you don’t have a gluten sensitivity. And you won’t always know if you do until you eliminate grains completely for a month and little by little start adding one at a time back in. Listen to your body and see if you have any side effects…gas, bloating, stomach pains, headache, muscle spasm…really anything goes here. Stuffy nose, allergies etc… It’s all about becoming present and in tune with our bodies.
Just know this..with all the diets out there, a diet that includes quality Whole Foods offering a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) will never go out of style. Just limit…really limit your intake of white flours and white pastas. They are more likely to lead to obesity.