From my experience, one of the most difficult things that people struggle with in making dietary changes here in the Caribbean is switching from white rice to brown rice.
Understand that just because a culture has adhered to a certain type of diet over the decades does not mean that it is a valuable way of eating.
In my native island home of Newfoundland, the use of salt beef has had a big impact on the health of many, with increased cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Thankfully, with education, folks are practicing moderation and using wisdom with those traditional ways of cooking – delicious as they are.
The challenge of getting accustomed to new foods, tastes and textures probably begins when we are children. Most of us likely never dreamed we would enjoy fresh salads, vegetables and fish as adults, just as children today prefer chicken fingers, sodas and fries.
A change of attitude and willingness to try may be all that you require to develop a preference for healthier foods.
Brown rice is the “unrefined” or “unprocessed” version of white rice. With brown rice, only the husk is removed. White rice is polished and pre-cooked or parboiled. The bran is also removed.
If you are considering making this simple dietary change from white rice to brown rice, there are several benefits of doing so.
White rice has been stripped of iron, vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients during the refining process, and manufacturers must add unnatural fortifications in the form of synthetic vitamins and iron so it can be marketed to the public as a “nutritious food.”
Although white rice is fortified, it does not provide the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
If one suffers from diabetes, brown rice is a great food, given its low-glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes. Diabetics are often warned about the link between eating white rice and bringing on a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
For those trying to lose weight, the fiber content of brown rice keeps the bowel regular, is a cancer preventative measure, and aids in giving people feelings of fullness, so that we eat less.
Brown rice is rich in selenium, which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis, as well as manganese, which helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
There are more benefits to brown rice, but hopefully I have listed enough to help you make the switch.
To make brown rice a part of your diet is not difficult, and seasoning with Bragg’s Amino Acids will add flavor and essential amino acids to the dish. Ask for brown rice when eating out, and suggest it to your deli manager.
This small simple step will make a good impact on your health.
Donna Mitchell is a lifestyle consultant specializing in weight management and self-help. She can be contacted on [email protected]