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.