We are regularly faced with many toxins coming from all directions—both in food and in other external environmental factors. Our bodies need a break from this onslaught, an onslaught that can make us tired, cranky, and likely sick. One of the more popular—and balanced—diet regimens to assist with detoxing our bodies is the brown rice diet.
RULES AND LENGTH OF THE DIET
Based on the macrobiotic principles of simplicity and abstention, the brown rice diet centers around the healthful properties of brown rice, assisted by other whole grains such as quinoa and millet, and supported with whole, unprocessed foods. Many detoxing diets last about 7 days and the brown rice diet is no different.
Because this is more balanced than other detox diets, you’re less likely to be deprived of certain nutrients while eliminating unhealthful foods such as refined sugars and flours, as well as additives, excess sodium (often found in MSG) and other chemicals likely considered to be toxic. Plus, by engaging in this kind of diet, you get a chance to “reboot” your body and rid it of foods that might have been causing you problems before but you weren’t aware of it.
WHAT’S ALLOWED AND WHAT’S NOT?
It’s best if you go organic and non-GMO with this diet, simply because the whole point is to eliminate toxins and keep them out as much as possible. Naturally, chemical pesticides and herbicides would fall under the banner of “toxins.” GMOs are a dicey matter in themselves, simply because many GMOs, such as soy and corn, are created to be “Roundup-Ready.” That alone should be cause to exclude such things from your overall diet, let alone exclude them from the brown rice diet.
If it is not possible to go organic all the time, at the very least, buy local produce, and buy what’s seasonally available, washing them very thoroughly prior to eating. If you purchase dried fruit, make sure it’s unsulphured.
1) Brown rice—this is the basis for the diet, after all.
Choosing the Rice: Since you’ll want to go organic, eating brands such as “Minute Rice” are out, since it’s overly processed. You’ll likely want to go with Lundberg’s, just for example.
Cooking the Rice: Rinse the rice several times with water, preferably warm. The proportions are: 2 to 2.5 cups of water per 1 cup rice. Bring the water to boiling, add rice. Stir, cover and reduce to simmering for 45 minutes until all water is absorbed. If you’re new to cooking rice at all, here’s a tip: Be sure not to lift the lid while rice is cooking, as you want the rice to absorb all the water, and lifting the lid will make the water evaporate out.
Alternate Cooking Method: Rinse rice as directed above. Bring water to a boil as you would with pasta, then add your desired amount of rice. Allow the rice and water to boil with the lid off the pan until rice becomes soft. Then, drain the water, cover with lid and let steam for five minutes.
2) Fresh veggies—any veggies are usually fine, with the minor exception of corn and mushrooms. It’s not clear why these are excluded, except that much of the corn out there, even sweet corn on the cob, is GMO, and certain mushrooms could be inflammatory. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor or naturopathic practitioner.
Cooking Veggies: When preparing your favorite veggies, you can eat them raw (if they’re good raw), steamed or baked. Raw or steamed is best, though, since baking can overcook the veggies and destroy the vitamins and minerals.
3) Fresh fruit—just about any kind is okay, with the exception of oranges and orange juice, as they are higher in fructose. Bananas are also particularly high in sugars, so these are best avoided for the duration of the diet.
4) Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne pepper and/or no-salt herbal seasonings. Fresh is best, by the way, when it comes to the garlic, ginger and cayenne.
5) Veggie/Fruit Juices—try to drink these fresh from a juicer, but if this is not possible, go for the pure juices found in most health food stores. R.W. Knudsen’s is an excellent brand to put in your cart.
6) Other Foods: lentils, rice cakes (organic, non-GMO), sesame seeds, wild-caught fish (salmon is excellent), free-range chicken, hummus, tofu and tempeh.
1) Shellfish (shrimp, oysters, clams, lobster, etc) or catfish. They’re bottom-feeders and scavengers, and oysters and clams are considered the ultimate filtration systems for the ocean, so they have all manner of stuff going through their systems that’s not really good for us.
2) Canned, frozen, jarred or other processed foods (again, no “Minute Rice.” If you end up being super busy the week of the detox and don’t have a lot of time to cook regular rice, you can always prepare rice ahead of time, or organize with a housemate or significant other to do the cooking.)
3) Refined sugars, flours, etc.
Fruit: It’s best to eat fruit raw, and not dried. If you do eat dried fruit, make sure it’s unsulphured. When you do eat your fruit selections, eat them by themselves, preferably ½ hr before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.
Condiments: Olive oil and lemon are best as are herbs and spices that contain no salt or MSG. Flaxseed oil is also okay but it must be chilled, never heated and used within 3 weeks of opening.
Beverages: With this diet it’s best not to drink with your meals, as this tends to dilute the enzymes needed to digest your food properly. Drink your liquids of choice either ½ hour before eating or 1 hour afterwards.
Water, naturally, is good, preferably filtered, either distilled or spring water is best. Herbal teas (aka “tisanes”) are excellent. When drinking fruit juices, they’re best when fresh, but if you choose to purchase them, get 100% juice, and dilute them with water.
When engaging in this detox diet, there’s no better time than this to learn to eat until you feel full, but not totally engorged—about 80% full is the rule of thumb. Also, when coming off the diet, do so gradually, slowly reintroducing foods. Don’t overeat or go back to splurging on junk food.
Here’s a sample of how this diet might go on one day or another:
Breakfast: Fresh fruit—as much as you like, with the exception of oranges or bananas, till lunch.
Lunch: Steamed veggies (again, no corn or mushrooms) and brown rice.
Snack: Raw veggie sticks or fresh fruit
Dinner: Steamed veggies and brown rice
Snack: Raw veggies or fruit; unlimited allowed beverages.
This diet is not the easiest to follow, but if you persevere with it, you’ll find you feel a lot better. Again, it is one of the more balanced detox diets out there and because it eliminates a lot of the bad stuff-refined sugars, processed foods, etc-it will help you know what it feels like to eat without all that stuff clogging up your body and making you tired, cranky and ill.
As with all diet and exercise endeavors, do consult your doctor or naturopathic practitioner of choice to determine if the brown rice diet is something you can undertake safely without any untoward complications. If they give you the go-ahead, give the brown rice diet a try and enjoy the benefits of a healthier body.