Does being vegan mean that you would need to stop eating white rice? Oh Heck No! Do not worry; I am here to help so that you do not have to muddle through and figure out the answers all on your own.
I know that you are uncertain as to the answer for the question “is white rice vegan?”. Today, I will clarify this issue by explaining that yes, white rice is vegan, while also going into a bit more detail about how white rice measures up to other types of rice.
I will also go over some of the benefits (and disadvantages) of eating white rice.
How White Rice Is Different Than Other Types Of Rice?
There are many types of rice in the world. In fact, according to The Rice Association there are at least forty thousand different types of cultivated rice alone, with even more varieties once you being counting different types of wild rice as well.
With this much variety, it can be hard to determine which types of rice are better (both in regards to flavor and texture as well as nutritional value). In order to better help you understand the world of rice, we are going to go over some of the different types (specifically we will briefly discuss white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, and wild rice).
1. White Rice
First, let’s discuss white rice. White rice begins life the same as all other types of rice, but then it is processed. According to this article from Global Healing Center, the processing that ordinary rice undergoes to transform it into white rice involves the removal of the outside husk as well as the bran and germ.
This process (which had the original purpose of making the rice last longer for storage purposes) leaves the rice a lighter color and helps to make it cook faster, too. Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of stripping away most of the valuable nutrients that regular rice contains.
That being said, white rice is still very popular due to how easy it is to cook and utilize; overall, it is one of the most versatile types of rice when it comes to the different recipes it can be used in.
2. Brown Rice
In comparison, is rice that has not been processed to become white rice; depending on the company growing and selling it, it may be processed to remove the husks but leave the germ and bran.
Generally speaking, these parts of the grain are where the nutrients are, so brown rice (which still retains these parts) is objectively more nutritional for you but some people also have a harder time both cooking it and digesting it.
3. Basmati Rice
This is another breed of rice entirely. Originally from India, this rice is known for its fragrant aroma when cooked. Like other rice, basmati is available in both white and brown varieties depending on how it is processed.
That being said, according to this article from World’s Heathiest Foods, brown basmati rice contains about twenty percent more fiber when compared to most other types of brown (unprocessed) rice. Ultimately, however, its most well-known characteristic is the distinct aroma it has when cooked.
4. Wild Rice
Finally, let’s discuss wild rice. Despite the name, this grain actually comes from a plant that has no relation whatsoever to other types of rice. Instead, according to various sources such as this article from One Green Planet, wild rice is the grain produced by an aquatic reed plant that grows primarily in small lakes and rivers in North America.
Because it is essentially a wild grass that cannot be effectively grown in a commercial environment, wild rice is typically a bit more expensive in comparison to more traditional rice products.
Wild rice is the easiest type of rice to digest, and also contains high amounts of magnesium, fiber, and protein. Ultimately, wild rice is very nutrient-rich because it is never processed and therefore retains all of its nutritional value.
Furthermore, wild rice is known for its comparatively chewy texture when cooked, and also has a distinct flavor that has been described by many people as “nutty” and “earthy”.
Ultimately, which rice you choose to eat is up to you (they are all vegan-friendly and have their own benefits) but if you are looking for most affordable option, white rice is definitely the best choice; it is also the easiest and fastest to cook and can be more easily utilized in many different recipes.
Health Benefits Of Eating White Rice
In addition to being easier and faster to cook compared to other rices, white rice also has plenty of health benefits to offer.
While not quite as easy to digest as wild rice, white rice is still much easier for many people to digest when compared to all varieties of brown rice.
This is because the bran and germ of the rice grains (which are removed during processing for white rice) can sometimes cause serious irritation for a person’s digestive tract when those grains are not prepared properly.
Furthermore, white rice is a good source for calories and can also offer good amounts of protein, fiber, and other helpful nutrients.
Disadvantages Of Eating White Rice
According to this Livestrong article (which discusses the pros and cons of both white and brown rice quite thoroughly), white rice has a significantly higher glycemic index when compared to other unprocessed rice products; basically, this means that when you eat white rice, it breaks down into glucose faster.
This might seem like a small matter to some people, but it can actually end up being quite serious; eating large amounts of foods with a high glycemic index can result in an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, when it comes to lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, brown rice is often the safer option (alternatively, you could cut back on how much white rice you are consuming).
Additionally, depending upon where your rice is grown, it may contain arsenic. According to Healthline, rice is easily contaminated by arsenic on account of how arsenic (which is naturally occurring) sometimes leeches into wells and irrigation systems which are used for watering rice crops.
While the infrequent consumption foods containing low amounts of arsenic do not pose a high risk, the frequent consumption of foods containing higher levels of arsenic can result in an increased risk for high blood pressure and vascular disease (and various other health issues as well, including damage to your nervous system).
That being said, white rice generally has less arsenic (or none at all) because when rice grains absorb arsenic it is mostly contained in the germ, bran, and husk portions of the grain (which are removed during the refinement process for white rice).
You can also limit your risk for arsenic exposure by paying attention to where your rice comes from; certain areas of the world have a higher risk for arsenic contamination than others.
Non-Health Reasons For Why Vegans Should Eat White Rice
In addition to the various health benefits that white rice can offer, it also has some practical benefits as well.
In particular, white rice is more convenient than brown rice in quite a few ways; it is not only cheaper to purchase white rice but it also has a longer shelf-life thanks to the way it is processed and refined (meaning you can store it for longer periods of time) and it also cooks faster, saving you valuable time when preparing your meals.
And as mentioned earlier, it is also easier for many people to digest white rice compared to other varieties of rice. Ultimately, these various qualities make white rice a preferable choice for many people.
How To Make White Rice?
Cooking white rice is incredibly simple, which is part of what makes it such a popular staple for many people all around the world.
Essentially, all you need to do is boil some water and add the rice, stirring once or twice to ensure that it does not clump together.
One particularly good method for cooking white rice can be found in this article from Real Simple, which shares a helpful set of instructions for creating perfectly fluffy rice.
- The recipe for cooking white rice involves using one cup of rice for every one and three-quarters cup of rice (with a teaspoon of salt added into the water).
- Once the water is boiling, pour in the rice, stir once to separate it and keep it from clumping together, and then cover your saucepan and leave your rice to simmer (on a low heat setting) for about eighteen minutes.
- Once that time has passed, remove your saucepan from the heat, but do not uncover it yet; instead, leave your rice to continue steaming for another five or six minutes. Finally, once your rice is done steaming, simply fluff it with a fork and serve it.
Ways To Enjoy White Rice: How Rice Is Used Around The World
Just as there are thousands of different varieties of rice in the world, so too are there virtually limitless ways to use rice for cooking.
Every country in the world has their own unique ways of utilizing rice in their native cuisines; for many countries, rice is a crucial part of the meal. In Asia, for example, rice is used in many different recipes, both as a side dish and as part of many main courses.
It is not uncommon for many Asian families to have stir fry dishes with rice as a main ingredient, and dinners consisting primarily of fish and rice are also very common.
Furthermore, fried rice is a very popular food for the way you can throw in all sorts of vegetables, and is even considered a celebratory dish by many people.
Rice is also used frequently in Indian dishes; in particular, it goes well with many curry recipes as well as other savory dishes.
Rice dishes are also very popular in Afghan culture; Kabuli Pulao in particular is one of the most popular dishes; this great dish features white rice cooked with meat and then topped with things like pistachios, carrots, and raisins.
And that’s not all; from Iran to Belgium to Japan to Ghana, there are delicious and popular rice dishes all around the world, each one with its own unique flavors, history, and benefits.
Bonus: Here’s a simple but healthy Vegetable Rice Recipe (both Vegan & Gluten-free). Please watch the video below.
Ultimately, if you want a vegan-friendly (and healthy) food item that is truly versatile and can be used in thousands of different recipes, white rice is absolutely a must-have.
I hope that this article has proven helpful for answering the question of “is white rice vegan” as well as for understanding the benefits white rice can offer to someone leading a vegan lifestyle.
Do you love to eat white rice? What is your favorite white rice recipe? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform!