Hey, You Have Brown Glop On Your Face… And look, we have matching mustard smears across our knees! From the looks of things we’ve been tossing sliders in the same food fight, so c’mon over here and let me introduce you to some friends okay?
While the U.S. and China secretly tests GM rice on children and stateside companies recklessly contaminate conventional long grain rice with unapproved GMO’s, there are a handful of folks who take great care to bring you the purest ingredients. People like Lundberg Family Farms, which despite the tendency of mega-corp operations to give their brands deceptive names like “Auntie B’s Backyard Nest Eggs,” happens to be run by the actual Lundberg family.
While many “organic” companies turn against their own customers and actually give money to kill Prop 37, Lundberg is digging deep. They’ve donated over $200,000 in support of our right to know, and today they’re here to do just a little bit more. If you don’t love them already, take a look at the gorgeous, sustainably managed rice fields that have been supplying my dinner table for years now.
But Is Rice Really Safe? I’ve Heard It Contains Arsenic!
Yep, it’s true. Arsenic is an abundant, naturally occurring element that is found in lots of foods: flour, corn, wheat, fruit, poultry, vegetables, beer, wine, fruit juices, water and more. (source) Should we be concerned? In most cases, I think the answer is no. Concentration levels in most foods – including rice – are very, very low, but as with mercury people tend to get spooked about this and avoid ‘risky’ foods altogether. Here’s why that might be a big mistake:
- As Chris Kresser points out, eating fish is a lot safer than not eating fish. This same principle applies to other “affected” food groups as well! Though eating rice is not essential for health, eliminating all possible arsenic containing foods from our diet can cause nutritional imbalances
- It’s unnecessary. Research indicates that diets rich in zinc, magnesium selenium and sulphur allow the body to easily chelate and flush arsenic from the body. (source)
Unfortunately, unsustainable farming practices have stripped our soil of much of it’s mineral content, so it’s important to be intentional about getting enough in our diet. Jenny at Nourished Kitchen has a great breakdown of the best real food sources here.
There is one caveat, though: As Lisa pointed out on my Facebook page, some individuals cannot not expel arsenic easily due to genetic mutations such as MTHFR, For those with this mutation many beneficial foods – even veggies, fish and chicken – could lead to the accumulation of naturally occurring heavy metals.
How To Reduce Naturally Occurring Arsenic
According to Consumer Reports, a traditional asian preparation method is recommended for reducing arsenic levels in rice:
You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice for cooking and draining the excess water afterward. That is a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia. The modern technique of cooking rice in water that is entirely absorbed by the grains has been promoted because it allows rice to retain more of its vitamins and other nutrients. But even though you may sacrifice some of rice’s nutritional value, research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice’s inorganic arsenic content.
You can find more detailed instructions here. Note: This should be done in addition to soaking or sprouting rice to reduce phytates. I sprout mine and then dry it in a dehydrator so it’s ready to go anytime.
Want To Win Some Sustainably-Grown, Lundberg Family Rice?
Great! They’ve donated 5 bundles of brown rice worth $25 each to help us raise money for the Right To Know Campaign. Here’s how to enter to win:
- Sign up for my weekly newsletter (or send in a postcard — see official rules for details) and
- Make a voluntary donation to Yes on Prop 37 (or comment below about why you support Prop 37).
You don’t have to donate to win — this is voluntary — but hopefully you’ll find a way to donate something! Even if you can only donate $10, every little bit helps!
PLEASE NOTE: This sweepstakes has expired.
Read My Comment Policy
Confused. I don’t see the part about how to cook it so it is safer.
Eek! I don’t know where that paragraph went, Anna Clark, but I’m adding it back in right now. Thanks for letting me know!
Just wondering about the recent arsenic issues- the inorganic arsenic left over in the soil from pesticide use in the past. I’m less concerned about naturally occurring (“organic”) arsenic, but I haven’t eaten rice since the news of the non-organic arsenic broke. I’ve heard California rice is best because they didn’t use the arsenic containing pesticides out there. Is Lundberg’s rice from California?
Those with the MTHFR mutation, especially small children, can not expel arsenic easily. Something to keep in mind.
Another interesting recent discovery about rice – http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=vitamins-minerals-and-microrna
Thank you for those insights, Lisa Ruiz! I’m very interested in the likely link between MTHFR and conditions like autism and heavy metal toxicity. For those with this mutation many beneficial foods – even veggies and chicken – could lead to the accumulation of naturally occurring heavy metals.
P.S. I am updating my post with this info. Love, love, LOVE how much I learn from y’all! Thanks again Lisa Ruiz!
I have accumulated a bit of research on the topic. When my little guy naps I’ll try to message you what I have. 🙂
Thanks, Lisa Ruiz!
gret giveaway! i want to see porp 37 passed becuse we should be allowed to know what’s in our food! heck, these corporations print GMO labels for the foreign countries they export to, so why not here in the states?!
why are FL residents ineligible?
We’d LOVE to make this prize available to Florida residents but unfortunately they have some law that makes this kind of sweepstakes illegal. Sorry, Lori!
A gentle way to help up urinary output. I prefer the Earthrise brand because of their quality control testing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16615668/
Ok – more later. Thank you for your blog and all of the great info you share!
How do you know if you have the MTHFR mutation? In regards to cooking rice with more water, doesn’t that make it mushy?
Hi Linda! Determining whether or not the MTHFR mutation is present would require genetic testing. As for the pasta-style cooking I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge difference 🙂
We should know what’s in our food!
I would love to see prop 37 enacted because we all deserve the right to know where our food comes from and what is in it, to the best of the producer’s ability. So many of us try so hard to source our food well and to provide the best food for our families, only to find out that producers are lying to us. Of course, it is very important to buy as locally as possible from people we know we can trust, but sometimes we need more than that!!!
I live in CA and hope I will soon have control over whether we’re consuming GMOs or not!
We have the right to know what we are putting into our bodies. If this goes through too then other states will follow.
Heather, thanks for your response. We’ve been eating white and brown rice for years and so far, haven’t really had any issues that would indicate high arsenic levels are causing a problem within us. My children are in great health. So I’m assuming that would be pretty telling on whether or not the MTHFR mutation is an issue. Would you agree?
I definitely think we have the right to know what’s in the food we’re eating!
I support prop 37 because everyone has a right to know what’s in the food they eat!
We have a right to know what we are buying so that we can use our purchases to tell suppliers what we want (and don’t want)
I was on the fence for a while about prop 37, since it DOES make a lot of extra work for grocers and such. BUT–the answer is clear: we deserve to know where our food comes from and if/how it is genetically modified! YES on prop 37.
Prop 37 is a no brainer. We have to know where our food comes from in order to make good choices for our family’s food sources. I hope California can open the door to ALL states knowing the truth!
Laura P. Craig
I strongly support GMO labeling as I think it is important to know what we are consuming. We need to become more informed consumers and demand that manufacturers clearly label what’s in our food!! Thanks for the chance!
I’m concerned now…are you saying that we need to also be searching out and purchasing non-GMO rice as well? I did not think of rice being GMO..
Conventional rice is contaminated due to an experimental crop that was planted too close to producers fields. The only way to reduce exposure now is to buy from companies like Lundberg that actively test for GMO’s.
Thank you, Heather!