When it comes to grains there really is no powerhouse out there like brown rice. Making up for a fifth of the planet’s consumed calories; rice has become a dietary staple. There are many different kinds of rice and that can make it difficult to know exactly what kind of nutritional benefit you will receive. Ultimately, the less processing the grain goes through the better. Brown rice, also called hulled rice, was domesticated in China; legends claim that the Chinese Emperor Shennong began cultivating it while inventing Chinese agriculture. Flooded fields of rice have become an iconic image, although through hybridization rice can be grown in a multitude of ways and thus is widely available - just keep an eye out for the healthier brown version.

The major difference between brown and white rice is the bran layer that is stripped away in order to process white rice. It's not only the layer that is being taken off - with it goes much of the health benefits. Brown rice retains important magnesium; phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B6 (just to name a few). In addition, brown rice also contains a healthy dose of fiber which is necessary in any diet; as a result brown rice can help to reduce cholesterol. Simply keeping the bran layer makes brown rice a much healthier alternative.

Adding brown rice to your diet can take some unexpected turns. Traditionally, it can be enjoyed under vegetables and protein in a stir-fry or as a side dish to almost any meal. However, you can change it up by adding it to a breakfast skillet to get a boost of complex carbohydrates first thing in the morning, which will stabilize blood sugar and give you energy. Brown rice has a mild nutty flavor and can be enjoyed sweet as well as savory. Try adding some applesauce, mixed berries, and cinnamon or mint to make a morning rice pudding. If you have some extra rice laying around, try crushing up some uncooked brown rice and adding it to olive oil for a gentle face scrub, which is amazing for sensitive skin. Making the switch to brown rice certainly takes the pain out of the grain. A lot of our lunch options come with a quinoa and brown rice pilaf. It pairs nicely with a variety of different proteins, and contains a ton of complex carbs to keep you going throughout the day.