Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Left To Eat?

Every few months a new item is added to the list of Foods That Can Kill.  Here are some of the ones that come to mind:

--Salt, because it gives you high blood pressure.
--Sugar, because it is as lethal and addictive as heroin, and, unlike heroin, makes you fat.
--Fat.
--Dairy, because it causes phlegm and inflammation and makes you fat.  Plus, you're consuming all the hormones and antibiotics the cows were given to keep them at maximum production.
--Soy, because it is estrogenic, and estrogen is linked to cancer.
--Eggs, because they have cholesterol, and are allergenic.  (And you don't even want to think about the conditions of the poor hens in egg factories.)
--Wheat, because it is allergenic, causes inflammation, and makes you fat.
--Fish, because it contains mercury.
--Meat, because it clogs your arteries and makes you fat.  (And you don't even want to think about the conditions of chickens, pigs and cattle in factory farms.)
--Apples, because they are sprayed with some of the worst pesticides in existence.  (BTW, have you ever checked the price of organic apples?)

And on and on.  (Notice that I have only included non-processed foods on this list.)

But until last week, in the ever-expanding desert of dietary choices there was one food that you could always count on.  It was cheap, easily available, nutritious, non-fattening, bland, harmless, and user-friendly.  It was accepted without complaint by little children, snarky adolescents, and adult foodies alike, not to mention dogs.  It was rice. 

Now it turns out that under those glistening grains rice harbors arsenic, a well-known poison that is linked to various cancers.  Even organic brown rice, which I used to serve several times a week because it was so much better for us than potatoes, pasta or couscous, carries the stuff.

Rice is, of course, a long way from being taken off the grocery shelves.  We're supposed to eat it, like everything else, in moderation--whatever that means.  Pediatricians are recommending that parents serve babies rice cereal a maximum of once a week.  But who wants to give a baby even a tiny bit of arsenic every week?

Rinsing rice prior to cooking, I'm told, will wash away some of the arsenic.  Words cannot express how much better that makes me feel....

14 comments :

  1. ;-) I have noticed that all the rice I buy sourced in India has washing, soaking in the cooking process. Wisdom of the ages!

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  2. That's why I'm down to eating very basic foods and I hope I very healthily grow old on them. But that doesn't mean that I don't cheat on occasion. I don't want to be a saint. I figure my body can take a little bit of a beating now and then.

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    1. I thought I couldn't get much more basic than rice, but I guess I'm down to chard and kale now.

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  3. I eat all those things. It's amazing I'm still alive.

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    1. It's probably the stress induced by all those warnings, not the foods themselves, that causes the most harm.

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  4. Nooooooo. Not rice! (Though I'm rationalising it already - all those Japanese villagers live extraordinarily long lives then, so it can't be that bad).

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  5. Mali, I've wondered the same thing. Is supermarket rice the only culprit, or does all rice contain arsenic? I could look it up, but my hopes of really getting to the bottom of anything these days are all but nonexistent.

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  6. I have watched and read about this and it seems to be leached into rice from the soil. Rotation of foods and less animal sources seem to be the best choices we have. Plus local sourced food if you can or have the resources!

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  7. potatoes. go back to potatoes.

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  8. My rice is local. I'm hopeful. And my apples are too, tiny beautiful pock marked organic things. Actually, the man-made poisons we've pretty much cut out. But not the foods on the list that makes you fat/raises your cholesterol/did I mention makes you fat...

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  9. My apples were so local (from our backyard) and so pockmarked from a summer hailstorm that I had to cut up every single one and dehydrate the lot. And we love them that way--concentrated sweet flavor, and entertainingly chewy. I don't think anybody grows rice in Vermont--mine comes from California, alas.

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  10. All good to know -- however I will continue to eat rice. One of my favorite staples. (also was just wondering if the US grew rice)

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  11. I've continued to eat rice as well, and so far am still alive! And yes, rice is grown in the US--in California, for one.

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