I admit it. I’m not much into brown rice. My excuse has always been that I don’t eat that much rice. I eat one or two servings a month. So why eat brown rice. It doesn’t contain that much fiber.
Well, I am getting older now and beginning to rethink some of my dietary choices. This decision was brought on by thinking about diseases related to diet, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. I don’t have them, yet. And I am trying to avoid them. So some changes were in order for me. Small, incremental and nonpainful changes are the ones I am concentrating on. After all, life and food are both supposed to be enjoyed.
Recently, I worked on a rice presentation for some associates of mine. I had to include brown rice, ‘cause it’s rice and you gotta include it. I made a brown rice, pear and cranberry salad. And I fell in love. (Okay, it wasn’t chocolate, but you know what I mean.) It had a wonderful flavor, nutty, sweet, crunchy, and colorful. I was hooked – on brown rice.
Brown rice contains more resistant starch than white rice. So exactly what is resistant starch? First of all starch is digested at a different rate. The starch in potatoes digest very rapidly, whereas, that in beans, barley or long grain brown rice digest more slowly, and cause a slower and lower rise in blood sugar levels. Resistant starch goes all the way through the small intestines without being digested at all. Behaving more like a fiber, and in some cases is classified and labeled as a fiber.
Benefits of Resistant Starches
1. Improved glucose regulation and better weight control
2. Reduced constipation
3. Reduced colon cancer risk
4. And reduced blood cholesterol and triglycerides
For those who would like to begin your journey to better eating, I am including my recipe for pear and walnut rice salad with cranberries. If you are going to get started, may as well start with something good!
Pear and Walnut Rice Salad with Cranberries
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 large firm pear, cored and diced
3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
⅔ cup dried cranberries
½ cup prepared vinaigrette, such as Italian or raspberry
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Lettuce leaves, optional
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. If salad is dry, add more dressing. Serve over lettuce leaves, if desired.
Cooking Brown Rice
The procedure for cooking brown rice is similar to that of white rice. However, brown rice requires more time to cook. Forty-five to 50 minutes as opposed to about 15 minutes for regular long grain white rice. Most types of rice will yield about 3 cups of cooked rice for every 1 cup of dry. Rice can also be cooked and frozen. For every cup of brown rice, use about 2 to 2 ½ cups of water. Instant brown rice can also be used. Although it is generally more expensive.