Brown rice VS white rice

Brown rice is the rice as it comes naturally from the plant. The grain is complete, composed of three parts: germ (the point where the grain sprouts), bran (the external envelop), endosperm (the white internal part, that the new plant initially uses as “fuel” to grow). White rice is the rice resulting from industrial processing. The grain is incomplete, because the germ and the bran are removed. Only the endosperm remains.
Brown rice is alive food. If you put a grain in water, it will sprout. White rice is dead food. If you put a grain in water, nothing will happen.
Brown rice requires longer time to cook, because the presence of the bran makes the grain harder. White rice has been created for “convenience” reasons: one of these is that it requires less time to cook, because without the bran the grain is softer.
The presence of the bran has an important effect in brown rice. Since it contains fiber, it slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, which is released more gradually and for longer time. Result: you feel full for longer, and have better control of your appetite. White rice was created also because it’s more palatable. Without fiber, as soon as you eat it the sugar is immediately released into your blood stream, giving you “pleasure”. But you pay a heavy price for this pleasure: the spike in your blood sugar level will be compensated by a very low level later. Result: you will have low energy, and soon you will be hungry again.
Brown rice is a nutrient dense food. Together with the carbohydrates contained in the endosperm, you also get  minerals, vitamins, good fats, fiber, all coming from the other two parts: germ and bran. White rice is an empty calorie food. Basically, it only gives you the pure carbohydrates contained in the endosperm. So white rice is caloric, but not nutrient.

This simple comparison brown rice vs white rice makes it evident:

brown rice is the healthiest form of rice. It is nutritious and it represents a long term strategy for having more energy.

white rice in an unhealthy food. It is non-nutritious and it represents a short term strategy: it’s a libido in the moment you eat it, but it’s also an insidious energy zapper.

Make your choice!

Notes: updated Nov 11, 2014 with better pictures.

Related: Density of nutrients, How your body uses the different nutrients

Montserrat and Santiago

In this past week, that I spent in Barcelona, I did a little trip out of town with my friend Cristina. We went to the monastery of Montserrat and I really loved it! There was a fresh air scented of resin up there, and a stupendous wiew on the mountain with these particular cylindric rocks. Inside the monastery was the statue of the Virgin, that everybody aimed to touch to express a prayer. It’s a really beautiful place, go if you have the chance. In the meanwhile, up here is the video-report of my trip.

old videos – da caricare

santiago-pilgrimage-mapThen yesterday, while I was in the plane returning to Italy, I started an interesting conversation with a couple sit beside me, approximately of the age of my parents. She casually mentioned that they were returning from the pilgrimage to Santiago, and it was curious that I read the pilgrimage by Coelho just the week before, otherwise I wouldn’t even have known what she was talking about.

I told them I was actually surprised: when I read the book I figured that the pilgrimage was an “ancient” thing, that in modern days almost nobody would cross by foot the north of Spain, from the Pyrenees to Santiago. I was wrong! Not only they just made it in 35 days (as they explained me, the duration varies according to each pilgrim’s strength), but they also told me that there are spefic stations for the pilgrims along the way, where they can sleep and eat at “pigrim prices”, like 5 euro. And they said those stations were crowded!

Tired but clearly happy for the experience, the woman explained me that these hostels for the pilgrims headed to Santiago are very spartan: when you’re lucky you have a room where you sleep with other 2, 4 pilgrims… but sometimes there are huge dorms with even 100 other pilgrims. In some cases there are common showers for men and women!

For the husband, it was the third time he completed the pilgrimage, while his wife did it for the first time. They walked for hours every day, and she even fell once and hit her head. This explained the scar in the forehead, but she showed it to me with a philosophical smile. I saw some of their pictures, heard few stories about the small towns they crossed, I guess they had a very fascinating experience. It’s definitely a big commitment and it requires stamina, but who knows, maybe I’ll do it too one day!

Pieris Rapae attacking our broccoli!

My father, who is getting very good at farming, planted a lot of broccoli this month. We know from my granpda Benedetto, who has been planting broccoli for decades, that sometimes the broccoli plants are infested by green caterpillars. Those caterpillars are a serious treat, because they devoure the leaves ferociously!



Today, while we were watching my father’s plants, that are growning nicely so far, we realized that those white butterflies who were flying gently in the garden could actually be the originators of those caterpillars. They were small and white, with a black spot of their wings. After searching on google images, we had our suspects confirmed: they were Pieris Rapae butterflies! We inspected the leaves of the broccoli and found the eggs they were lying! These are two groups of eggs that were attached to the back pages of two different leaves. Interestingly, and I don’t know why, a set of eggs was yellow, while the other set was white.

We also found a caterpillar that was already developed, ready to attack the plants! Here’s the video I made of it. Very cute, but unfortunately for him we had to separate him from his favorite food.

old videos – da caricare

Brown rice with yellow tomatoes

brown-rice-with-yellow-tomatoesThis was the main course of my lunch today: brown rice (which provides healthy carbohydrates, since it has the complete nutrient package from the whole grain) with raw yellow tomatoes. As condiment I just added a little extra-virgin olive oil, with little pieces of garlic and fresh peppermint leaves.








These tomatoes are grown by my dad’s aunt in the countryside. She calls them “bell pepper-tomatoes”, in fact they look like small yellow bell peppers, and they also have a thick skin, but they are actually tomatoes. I think their color is beautiful, like gold! I’ve never seen these anywhere else, I suspect they’re an ancient variety of tomatoes. This makes them very precious at my eyes: I am saving the seeds, I want to try to plant them next year!healty-brown-rice-with-yellow-tomatoes