Grains are forbidden on a paleo diet, which can be very hard for some people, including me. I had a hard time kissing rice goodbye. When in doubt about what to serve as a side dish, I am the kind of person who always cooks some rice. It is super easy, quick to prepare, tasty, and inexpensive, not to mention that almost everyone loves rice.
But as I said, rice, well grains in general, are forbidden on a paleo diet, so I needed to find an adequate substitute. Then I remembered that I had seen wild rice in the store so often but simply never gave it a shot. I don’t talk about that mixed blend of multiple rice types where wild rice is present in a small amount; I talk about pure wild rice.
Since I use only paleo-approved ingredients, I wanted to know can you eat wild rice on paleo. If you are eager to find out the answer, keep reading this post until the end.
What Is Wild Rice?
First thing first, I must state that wild rice is not rice at all.
Wild rice is an aquatic grain-producing grass, and it is native to North America. It is referred to as rice since it looks like rice, and it is cooked exactly the same way as rice.
This grass grows in the water, particularly shallow water in small lakes. There are two different types of wild rice, and they are both used as a veggie and not a grain. Wild rice is pretty expensive, but it offers impressive nutritional benefits, and it is gluten-free.
Wild rice has a slender, elongated shape, and the color varies from medium brown to black. It has a nutty taste with a chewy outer texture and tenders inner grain, and it also has an outer sheath.
Is Wild Rice Healthy?
Wild rice has a high content of fibers and proteins. It contains essential amino acids and nutrients like niacin, B vitamin, thiamine, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. It is as well low in fat. Compared to white and brown rice, it has higher protein content, and the glycemic index is lower.
Of course, wild rice, too, has its downside. Wild rice contains high concentrations of anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins. They are known to inhibit mineral absorption and can be very hard on the digestive system. Like most starchy foods, it can still affect insulin levels in your blood no matter the low glycemic index.
Anyhow, this should not worry you nor discourage you from trying to implement your diet with wild rice.
So Is It Okay To Eat Wild Rice When On Paleo Regime?
The only answer I can give you is that technically wild rice is not paleo. But since it has a much better nutritional profile than rice, and it is high in protein, it can be used in the paleo diet from time to time if you have a hard time giving up on rice.
I already said it has a higher concentration of anti-nutrients, so when you have the time, you can soak them and let them ferment to remove the toxic phytates. This way, wild rice becomes one of the healthiest starchy options. Most people on a “real food” diet consider wild rice as an “okay” starch, while the strict paleo eaters disapprove of wild rice in their diets.
This means it is all up to you. I recommend you first try the paleo diet without consuming rice at all. Then if you see that you can’t go without it, try adding wild rice occasionally and see how that goes.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Consuming Wild Rice?
Wild rice is a superfood we should all consider including in our regular diet when we are not on some specific food regime. There are plenty of advantages to eating wild rice, so I decided to list some of the fantastic health benefits of wild rice.
1. High In Antioxidants
Wild rice can contain at least 30 times the antioxidants as white and brown rice! We all know how beneficial antioxidants are for our overall health. Antioxidants are powerful substances that help in preventing cell damage caused by oxidants.
That is why food rich in antioxidants is the best choice for you since it will help you protect your body from disease and help you age healthfully.
2. Wild Rice Is Grain-free
Wild rice is actually a seed that comes from grass. This seed is not polished or refined, so you eat it in its maximum nutritional state. Wild rice is great for people that are allergic to gluten, or they must be on grain-free diets for some reason. It is also a great choice for diabetes patients.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Wild rice is alkaline-forming and not acid-forming like most grains. That is why it has special anti-inflammatory properties.
When you consume wild rice, it creates balance with acid-forming ingredients, which helps your body treat and prevent all sorts of inflammation. A healthy alkaline/acid balance will help in avoiding a lot of health issues linked with inflammation.
4. Enhance Digestion
Wild rice is rich in dietary fibers, so it will help you eliminate constipation, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and excess flatulence. It is as well high in magnesium, which helps regulate digestion and maintain bowel movement intact.
5. Boosts Heart Health
Wild rice has no sodium at all. But why is that beneficial? Well, sodium-free foods help to reduce blood pressure. It also boosts heart health, keeping in mind its high levels of fiber, it clears out “bad” cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
6. Strengthens The Immune System
Vitamins are crucial for boosting our immune system. Luckily, wild rice is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E. This mighty vitamin combo will enhance the normal functioning of your immune system.
They stimulate white blood cell production, which is the body’s first defense line against foreign pathogens and inflammations.
7. Help Speed Up Weight Loss, Boost Energy, And Build Muscle
Since it is low in fats and calories, as well as gluten-free food, wild rice will reduce or maintain weight. Because wild rice is high in dietary fiber, it will keep you from overeating. Wild rice contains significant amounts of protein, and we all know protein is necessary for building muscles.
Wild rice can prevent fatigue by giving your body the nutrients it needs to run efficiently, like magnesium. This mineral is very well known as a great booster of energy levels.
8. Strengthens Bones
Because it is high in minerals like phosphorus, wild rice significantly reduces the risk of stress fractures. Phosphorus also increases bone mass, making them stronger.
How To Prepare Wild Rice?
Preparation is the key to digestibility.
When this seed is not cooked properly, it will give your stomach a hard time considering it is rich in toxins like lectins and phytates. So to avoid leaky gut symptoms, make sure you learn how to prepare wild rice.
This is how I prepare wild rice at home every time, and I have never experienced any digestive problems after eating it. In my case, I use only 1 cup of wild rice. For the starters, rinse wild rice thoroughly in a strainer.
After that, I place it in a larger bowl and soak it for at least six hours on the kitchen counter, but I recommend leaving it overnight. Again you will need a strainer to rinse the wild rice once more.
To cook 1 cup of wild rice, you will need approximately 3 cups of filtered water. You can even use a broth. Add wild rice to the liquid of your choice and bring it to a slow boil. When it boils, reduce heat and cook covered on low for 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to stir it! Check from time to time to see if it needs more water or broth. Wild rice will need somewhere from 30 to 60 minutes to be cooked properly, so be patient.
When the wild rice is done cooking, it will burst open. The color should be light brown with black hues in color, and the texture should be slightly soft to the touch. Fluff it with a fork and let it cool for a bit. You can cook it in a rice cooker in larger batches since it is safe to freeze it in individual baggies.
Wild rice can be used for making porridge; you can add it in soups, stews, or serve it plain as a side dish.
End Of Story
So, unfortunately, if you are a strict paleo eater, you won’t be able to include wild rice in your diet. On the other hand, if you are on a paleo diet, but you are okay with consuming some healthy starch ingredients, make sure you give a chance to wild rice.
Now all you have to do is find the nearest store that has wild rice on offer. If you have some wild rice recipes that you like to share with all of us, please leave them in the comment section.