R: Rice…brown rice

20150512_165717I know, I know.

You’re thinking: How could she choose rice in her healthy alphabet when she TOTALLY dissed it last week? Well, quinoa IS more nutritious than rice but that doesn’t mean rice is BAD.

Ok, lately it has been getting a bad rap. I’m sure you’ve heard about all this arsenic business. It’s in the soil, rice grows in the ground…it’s going to get in there.

P.S. If you buy organic rice, it probably still has some levels of arsenic in it.

If you want to avoid this completely…then you have to avoid rice. But if you’ve seen the movie “The Princess Bride”, than you’ll remember this scene, when after drinking a cup that has been tainted with poison (his own doing) the man in black claims “I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder”.

Now, I’m not saying building up an immunity to arsenic is a healthy choice or can even be done. I’m just saying the human body is an incredible machine that has the capacity to flush out toxins. And I’ve really, REALLY wanted to work that movie into my blog somehow. But “My name is Iago Montoya” just never fits in with food.

If you’re concerned, like I said, avoid rice. OR you could eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of probiotics and drink plenty of water. Your body will take care of itself.

Now on to the BENEFITS of rice…

And of course when I’m speaking of rice, I’m talking about brown rice. White rice has it’s place but when you remove the hull and bran, what is left is white rice-it cooks faster and is digested a little easier BUT it is lacking in fibre, proteins, calcium, magnesium, potassium and thiamine.

Always choose brown rice. Your body will thank you. And after cooking with it for a while, you won’t notice the difference, trust me.

Here are a couple of reasons brown rice is an excellent choice:

  • FIBRE! Fibre is key in maintaining a healthy weight. not only do you feel full, but keeping your digestive system happily moving along is key to weight management and simply a happy belly.
  • Selenium. Speaking of fibre, selenium has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and even arthritis.
  • Antioxidants. Yup-this powerhouse grain has em. It’s full of vitamin E with compounds that can reduce levels of bad cholesterol and may fight heart disease!
  • First food. You can make your baby’s first food at home with whole grain brown rice. Forget the packaged box of “cereal” that has added sugars or grains. Grind up dry brown rice to a powder and cook it with water on the stove. Stir until it gets all nice and gooey. Add milk or formula (or not) and ta-da! You just made the purest baby food of all. Plus you can freeze this (before adding dairy) in ice cube trays and take out just what you need.

I use brown rice for everything. We make homemade sushi, rice balls for the kids, stir-fry, casseroles, curries, veggie burgers…and this: Mexican rice.

This stuff is SO good. Forget the meat, this is a perfect meal for Meatless Mondays OR a great packed lunch for work. You can also use this recipe as a filling for burritos or baked enchiladas…the possibilities are endless. This recipe makes a ton so you’ll definitely have leftovers to experiment!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes (mine were from Mexico…appropriate I thought)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth20150512_165738
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sweet peppers, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 cup leftover veggies (I had broccoli, spinach and roasted carrots and squash)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from one lime
  • salt and pepper

Blend the tomatoes and onion in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add broth to make 4 cups of liquid total.

Sauté garlic, zucchini and peppers in oil until soft and fragrant. Add rice and stir until coated. Add tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and leave for 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Add more broth if necessary.

Once rice is cooked, add beans, corn, peas and veggies. Cook for until veggies are crisp tender (if they are already cooked, just until they are heated through). Add lime, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

The tomato flavor of this rice is awesome and it keeps for at least a week in the fridge. Have a party and serve or keep it all for yourself! I like to serve mine in a roasted acorn squash. YUM.20150512_165849