Help Your Budget and Your Body with Brown Rice

Healhy stuff that it is, brown rice helps us turn the power of poverty back on itself.

That concept comes from the practice in martial arts of using an attacker’s own power against him. When it comes to both food and money, the same principle all too often applies: If we are well off, we often eat what we should not…and too much of it at that. This Hub will point out that a financial shortfall can actually have a plus side by motivating us to consider including brown rice in our diet.

It was in 1974 that I first read about the power of brown rice. The qualities of this particular foodstuff had been known for a long, long time…but had not been known to me. Then I read about it in a book titled Herbs, The Magic Healers, by Paul Twitchell. The author pointed out that brown rice is very close to a perfect, balanced food.

Not quite perfect, of course, but enough to be seriously considered as a staple of a powerful diet…and the stuff is cheap. From that time forward, I have always gone to brown rice when money was in short supply in my life. Which, quite frankly, has been more often than I’d like. So as not to bore the reader, I will stick to providing just one example of using brown rice in Desperate Budget Mode.

The year: 1985. Location: San Diego, California.The situation: Divorced, sharing a two bedroom, cockroach infested apartment with a male roommate, walking four miles to an office clerical job, paying off two ex-wives, and literally counting pennies from payday to payday. Four years later, I would wind up not only remarried but successful in business with a healthy savings account.

Not in 1985, though. Every payday, I would buy a ten pound bag of brown rice from the local grocery store, along with a number of cans of Campbell’s beefy mushroom soup. Simmer a batch of rice in a big pan for 45 minutes, mix in a can of soup, and I was good to go for a couple of days. No limit on intake, but not much else on the menu, either.

That rice-and-soup mix kept me going for a full five months, at the end of which time my situation improved. I could finally afford to ignore brown rice for a while, and none too soon, either. Variety was definitely more than welcome. Still, any time there is a money crunch, brown rice makes its way back to the table.

Additionally, there is much more to this humble cereal grain than its ability to help the family budget. Properly used, it can do even more for the human body than for the bank account.

All you need is brown rice, water, and a stovetop.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

All you need is brown rice, water, and a stovetop. Simmer for 45 minutes.

The health benefits are impressive.

In 1974, I hardly needed to lose weight, but it was going to happen. The information in the book on brown rice stated that it was a superb food to use for a ten day fast. It was made clear that long term fasting, such as ascetics have used for centuries in pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. was unwise and unhealthy.

A ten day brown rice fast was much different. Eating nothing but brown rice (no limit on quantity) would have definite health benefits, such as (but not limited to):

1. Cleansing the body of many toxins accumulated from such sources as processed foods, soda pop, and even the polluted air we breathe.

2. Losing weight. This was not necessarily a good thing. In fact, I wondered if I could AFFORD to lose: At five-eleven and 155 pounds, my rangy build did not exactly shout “obesity”.

But stepping on the scale showed a weight of 160, not 155. It seemed worth a try, more or less just to see what would happen. What did happen was a loss of seven pounds (down to 153) and nothing else noticeable, plus the discovery that making it the full ten days was a lot harder than it sounded. It got mighty boring after about Day Five, and failure popped up on Day Seven.

OK. That was 1974. Fast forward to 1983. That August, it seemed a good time to try the brown rice fast one more time. Certainly weight should not be an issue, since I’d be starting at 163 pounds rather than 160. Also, in the hope of staving off failure, a handful of mixed vegetables were added to each batch for a little taste variety. At least my limits as a cook did allow that much.

It worked. I made it the full ten days. Weight loss did occur, but again just seven pounds. More important, though, was the sometimes severe backache I’d been having for nearly two years. I attributed the problem to drinking Coke and Dr. Pepper like a Camel hitting the oasis after 30 days in the sand dunes. Soda pop had been my only way to stay awake while driving for Halliburton in the oilpatch of eastern Montana.

Or maybe it was the driving itself, jouncing around back roads behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. Or both.

Either way, I got a pleasant surprise on Day Seven: My back no longer hurt, not even a little bit. Apparently, the pain had been caused by an accumulation of toxins in my body! That gave me plenty of motivation to complete the full ten days without cheating or quitting.

Today, in February of 2008, I intend to use a ten day brown rice fast to meet a different challenge: Weight loss. With age (I’m 64), I seem to gain weight more easily than before and to lose it with difficulty. For the first time, the struggle against obesity that rages across our nation makes real sense to me. Even at 158 pounds, where I “bottomed out” in 2004 before relaxing my self discipline, I still had love handles. At 180 or more, the sight is ridiculous.

Yuch.

Sadly my weight is refusing to stay below 180 these days. Perhaps this next ten day fast will assist me in dropping toward 170. Then, after another month, a second fast might allow me to reach 160, or close to it.

Whether it does accomplish the weight loss or not, one thing is certain: At minimum, my body will receive some cleansing benefit…and our food budget will get a break.

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