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Raw Rice Breakfast

Recipe Summary

On an empty stomach chew
½ to 1 ounce raw brown rice kernels (1/8-1/4 cup)
in small portions until ground up and thoroughly mixed with saliva (typically takes 20 minutes)
Avoid taking food or beverages for two hours after you are done.

What it is all about

The raw rice breakfast comes to us from Asian medicine and is useful in regulating and supporting healing of the gut. It activates the cephalic phase of digestion which primes the digestive juices and results in more efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients. The effects of eating a raw rice breakfast make it a useful adjunct in the treatment of constipation, loose stools, flatulence (gas), bloating, “poor” or “weak” digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, diverticulitis, and possibly Crohn’s disease, lupus, leaky gut, or other conditions where digestive function is impaired.

What you do

Upon arising and before taking anything else by mouth, one consumes one half to one ounce of brown rice kernels. That is about one quarter cup raw rice. Rice is not as hard as you think and can be gently chewed until soft and granular. The process of eating an ounce of rice takes about twenty minutes. The idea is to get the kernels evenly ground up by your teeth and thoroughly mixed with the digestive enzymes released in your saliva. I usually chew on a small pinch of the grain at a time. That is about ten to twenty kernels. When it is all liquidy I swallow and start on the next pinch.

After you have completed the raw rice meal you wait one to two hours (ideally two) before taking anything else by mouth. This allows your digestive system to “wake” up and get flowing smoothly. The idea is that you are already well hydrated and that you are also eating a diet that is healthy for you. A healthy diet will be different for different people. I prefer a diet that is rich in vegetables, good quality proteins and fats and low in sugars.

The raw rice breakfast is also a great adjunct to use during a spring or fall “cleanse” or when coming off of a short fast. It will help regulate and smooth digestion.

Results to expect

The advantages of the raw rice breakfast are numerous. First of all, it activates the cephalic phase of digestion. In the cephalic phase the brain takes note that there is food entering the digestive system and sends nerve and hormonal messages to the gut to get it primed. A strong cephalic phase results in increased production and release of enzymes in the stomach and small intestines. This gives rise to better digestion earlier on in the digestive tract which will prevent gas, bloating, and constipation later. If you get positive results when taking supplemental digestive enzymes you may find that the raw rice breakfast gives a similar result, by stimulating your body to produce more essential digestive enzymes.

Due to the priming effect of the raw rice breakfast people notice that the stool flows out smoothly due to the increased coordination within the digestive system. If prior to having a raw rice breakfast you had the sense that defecation was incomplete this will disappear, typically by the next day. In this way constipation is relieved and also loose stools. The raw rice breakfast regulates and coordinates the digestive system thereby normalizing transit time so that waste matter is not moving too fast (diarrhea or loose stools) or too slow (constipation).

If you are plagued with an inflammatory condition of the gut, the raw rice breakfast will typically not irritate it. Often at the root of gut inflammation and irritation are hidden food allergies. If you are not “allergic” to any foods you may still find that with an active inflammatory condition certain foods tend to irritate your gut or trigger unpleasant reactions. Rice contains no gluten and is it typically non-allergenic. It is a safe or neutral food in inflammatory conditions.

Brown rice, even though carbohydrate rich, is also known for its ability to stabilize the blood sugar.

Adaptations for Special Circumstances

If your teeth are weak or worn down, using them to grind up the rice may not be a good idea. In these circumstances I would recommend grinding the rice up into flour. This can be done with a small coffee grinder. The key here is to still take about twenty minutes to eat the rice. Masticate the powdered rice, thoroughly mixing it will saliva before swallowing. Also it helps to pause between each bite.

If your diet requires you avoid whole grains, feel free to substitute white rice for the brown rice.