Pet Nutrition

How to Cook Grains for Pets

Short Grain Brown Rice for Dogs and Cats

Uncooked Brown Rice

Organically grown, Non-GMO verified, gluten-free, whole grain brown rice contains the husk, the bran and the very center which is known as the starch. In processed and quick cooking rice the husk and bran have been removed so all you are left with is the starch — "white rice". This is why white rice is void of nutritional value — about all that is left after processing is starch!

Brown rice has the husk removed, but not the bran layer. This bran layer is what makes the rice rich in FIBER and adds to its healthy, nutritional profile. However, the fiber is also what requires a longer cooking time in order for it to become tender and digestible.

Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. In a healthy homemade diet for dogs, whole grains can make up about 25% of the feed. Example: 50% meat (protein), 25% soaked/cooked whole grains (complex carbohydrates) and 25% fresh vegetables (complex carbohydrates).

Complex carbohydrates are healthier than simple carbohydrates because it takes the body longer to break them down. This slow digestion releases sugar into the blood system slowly, creating a consistent level of energy.

Complex carbohydrates differ from simple carbohydrates in that simple carbohydrates (processed foods; white rice, bleached flour, honey, fruit, etc.) digest or break down into sugar quickly. Sugar that flows into the blood stream quickly causes blood sugar levels to rise and drop rapidly.

Organically grown, Non-GMO verified, gluten-free, whole grain brown rice contains the husk, the bran and the very center which is known as the starch. In processed and quick cooking rice the husk and bran have been removed so all you are left with is the starch — "white rice". This is why white rice is void of nutritional value — about all that is left after processing is starch!

Brown rice has the husk removed, but not the bran layer. This bran layer is what makes the rice rich in FIBER and adds to its healthy, nutritional profile. However, the fiber is also what requires a longer cooking time in order for it to become tender and digestible.

Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. In a healthy homemade diet for dogs, whole grains can make up about 25% of the feed. Example: 50% meat (protein), 25% soaked/cooked whole grains (complex carbohydrates) and 25% fresh vegetables (complex carbohydrates).

Complex carbohydrates are healthier than simple carbohydrates because it takes the body longer to break them down. This slow digestion releases sugar into the blood system slowly, creating a consistent level of energy.

Complex carbohydrates differ from simple carbohydrates in that simple carbohydrates (processed foods; white rice, bleached flour, honey, fruit, etc.) digest or break down into sugar quickly. Sugar that flows into the blood stream quickly causes blood sugar levels to rise and drop rapidly.

SOAKING THE RICE

Before cooking, SOAK the rice or grain first. It is well worth the extra step it takes when it comes time to eat it yourself or feed it to your pets. This extra process make for the most tender, flavorful and nutritious rice. Soaking brown rice before cooking makes the rice far easier to digest, it also releases the needed enzymes that allow the rice to be more nutritionally available.

NOTE: The following soaking and cooking instructions can be used for other whole grains as well. You can also mix different rices together — combining red rice, short grain brown rice and Japonica (black) rice.

Soaking Brown Rice

Step 1:

Measure out 1 cup of short grain, brown rice.
Soaking Brown Rice

Step 2:

Pour rice into a jar or other container, with a lid.
Soaking Brown Rice

Step 3:

Add 4 cups of water.
Soaking Brown Rice

Step 4:

Let the rice soak for 8-12 hours, or overnight (brown basmati for 2 hours). Rice will soak up quite a bit of the water. It is not necessary to refrigerate the rice while it is soaking.
Soaking Brown Rice

Step 5:

Drain the rice in a large sieve or a small holed colander.
Soaking Brown Rice

Step 6:

Rinse under cool running water. Drain. The rice is now ready to be cooked.

Note: If for some reason you can't cook the rice or other grain after it's done soaking, drain and rinse it and store it in a covered container in the refrigerator, until the next day.

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Begin by mixing the drained pre-soaked brown rice and fresh water or broth together in a pot that has a lid. (The ratio of rice to water or broth is 1 3/4 cups water/broth for every 1 cup of uncooked rice.)

Step 2: Over high heat, bring the rice and water or broth, uncovered, to a boil. When the water starts boiling, cover with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to low. Allow the rice to simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.

Step 3: When all of the water has cooked into the rice and it is soft, it is done. Now, turn off the heat — and allow the rice to rest, covered in the pot for another 10 minutes. You might want to set a timer because if you let it sit for much longer, it can develop a slightly bitter taste. When it has finished resting, fluff the rice with a fork to separate.

Store any leftover rice or grain, in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen.

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