Happy Autumn everyone!

OK folks, this will be a short one.  As you may have heard, rice (and by extension rice products) have come under fire from Consumer Reports after careful testing revealed that rice and rice products have been found to contain unusually high levels of inorganic arsenic.  In many cases, the levels of arsenic found in rice products are much higher than what is considered to be safe for human consumption. 

What's the problem with arsenic you ask?  Good question!  While arsenic IS a naturally occurring metal, and although we typically ingest between 10-50 micrograms each and every day, excessive levels can be hazardous to your health as it is associated with elevated risks of lung, skin and bladder cancers and can impair reproduction and fetal development.  Arsenic also contributes to oxidative stress in the body and really serves no beneficial purpose in humans. 

A combination of factors are thought to be responsible for this shocking discovery and as you might expect, a good number of them are a result of irresponsible agricultural practices.  It appears that contaminated soil and groundwater from arsenic-heavy pesticides and arsenic-laced animal products form a bad mix when combined with the natural propensity for rice to soak up minerals, metals and nutrients from the flooded soil.  It's essentially a case of humans concentrating arsenic into one spot and then attempting to grow a field of rice where they've been concentrating their arsenic - not good. 

Until further developments emerge, the best you can do is hunt for organically grown rice, rinse your rice extremely well, or limit your exposure.  Fortunately, a plethora of delicious and healthful grains are waiting on the sidelines for your enjoyment.  Our family has been making great use of quinoa, millet, couscous and barley for years, but now we have an incentive to try a few other varieties of grains.  Quinoa in particular is flavourful, light in texture and exceptionally high in protein and iron which makes it a standout amongst grains.  We've provided a handy-dandy cooking chart to help you get started and most of these grains should be available at your local grocery store or bulk food store. 

As always, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions and please feel free to share our blog or give us your comments.  We'd love to hear from you!