Monday, February 1, 2010

When it says ENRICHED & FANCY...

So, strolling through Walmart today, I examined the rice. I needed a new bag. And the word "ENRICHED" caught my eye. This word is a NO-NO when buying flour. What does it mean with rice? Exactly what, I asked myself, has this rice been enriched WITH? (Notice, it's also FANCY rice. Fancy? Is it adorned with lace and painted fingernails?)
Here are the "enriching" ingredients: iron phosphate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid. And what's wrong with that, you ask? Aren't those friendly-sounding names? Didn't we all spend many a groggy morning clumsily pronouncing those words from the sides of the engrossing cereal-box reading?
All these are laboratory-produced, artificial versions of real vitamins and minerals. Iron is, well, iron, and the other three are all B vitamins. But they are not naturally-occurring in rice. Thus, they must add the fake, chemical imposters to our food.

In other words, they're really not supposed to be there. So why are they? Because the rice producers of the world assume that you must be vitamin-deficient, and this is their way of getting you a little help, since the foods that iron and B vitamins naturally occur in, must be missing from your diet.

Ugh. If we all ate the way we should, with REAL food and not chemicals, we wouldn't NEED, well, more chemicals. We would get our iron and B vitamins the natural way.

I was saddened to find that every grain of white rice for sale on that aisle was "enriched." I didn't want brown rice. But then I turned the corner ....
Talk about a label I couldn't read! But I had the sneaking suspicion that the Asian rice would be more natural. Our Korean dorm students, many years ago, complained about how nasty American rice tasted. These folks care about rice. They sent their 12 year children across the ocean with a suitcase and a rice cooker. Oh yeah.

And the ingredient list? See for yourself:
Now, why is that so hard? And why, oh why, do Third World countries make food that is more healthy for you, than America does? I'll tell you why: because we Americans eat so much junk that we need our vitamins added to things like rice and bread and cereal. Because our food producers KNOW that we're eating nothing but carbs and sugar, so they stick the fakey chemicals in there. If we ate fresh veggies and fruit and meat, like are sold in markets all over the world (including Asia), we wouldn't need B vitamins in our RICE!


  1. Different varieties of rice taste surprisingly different from each other. If you want great-tasting rice, look for Basmati rice from India or Pakistan. I just found a 10 lb. sack for $5 at Sav-Mor in Brevard.

  2. Thanks, Carolyn - I'll look for that! I don't know that Wally World sells Basmati, but maybe I can find it elsewhere.


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