I’m coming off of a weekend where I really enjoyed some food. (okay, not really any different than any other day…I know.) We went to Eataly on Saturday for the second time. It really made me crave Italy, I have to say. Danny and I were plotting all different ways to return and came back to the same phrase every time…we must go back. It’s just not in the cards for us now.
Anyway, as I was standing in the middle of bustling Eataly eating a fresh, warm, crispy caprese panino I was thinking about carbs. Sure, those carbs are not the ones I usually eat.
I don’t even know the last time I ate white bread, I always go for whole wheat. But as I was there, living, taking advantage of the fresh amazing sandwich, I was thinking about how we are such extremists in this day and age. Either we’re on the enjoying, indulging and dare I say, over eating carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice) or we are on the “no carb” bandwagon and avoiding every “carb” in site.
(Clearly I don’t mean every single person in the world…if you have achieved “carb balance” then I applaud you!)
So where am I going with all of this?
As a huge carb lover, I *have* reduced the amount of refined carbs I eat in the past 5 years. I *DO* avoid all things WHITE (white flour, white pasta, white rice) 99.9% of the time (except for situations like Eataly…or Italy). I *DO* embrace whole grains like brown rice, spelt, buckwheat, millet, oats & quinoa. I personally feel, I have (mostly) achieved carb balance.
What do you do get there?
You too, do not have to run from carbs. First of all what the heck are carbs?
Carbohydrates, are sugars and starches, which provide energy for humans and animals, and cellulose which make up many plant structures. There are two types of carbohydrates, simple, or mono-saccharides and complex, or polysaccharides. (source)
We need to eat whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains & nuts. These foods all contain carbs, which have sugar, but they are whole foods, which are processed differently in the body.
Natural foods, like fruit, have naturally occurring simple sugars. They don’t give us that sugar rush because they have fiber in them to slow down digestion. It limits the amount of sugar that goes into our cells.
Carbs in whole foods like vegetables and whole grains are complex. Complex carbs are composed of long chains of sugars, which are bound within their fiber. Our body’s process sugar by breaking the chains and releasing fibers into our bloodstream. The process of digesting complex cards is slow and the sugars are absorbed into our bloodstream at a steady rate for many hours, which provides long lasting energy, over a spike and crash of simple carbs.
Now that you had a little science lesson on what carbs actually are, I hope you can make your own educated decisions on how you should be eating them.
- Crowd out the white, processed simple carbs with whole grain, complex carbs. Instead of choosing white rice, make short or long grain brown rice. Don’t like the taste? First try doing 50% brown rice, or 1 slice whole wheat, 1 slice white with sandwiches. Try new grains like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, spelt berries, etc.
- Google or search blogs for fun recipes using grains like quinoa casserole or millet.
- Replace your sugary cereal with adelicious oatmeal recipe.
- Choose fruit with some nut butter over a 100 calorie pack.
- If you’re trying to lose weight, I hope I’ve convinced you, you actually NEED good carbs/whole grains! Add in a serving of a whole grain and bring them back into your life!
Now go get cha’ whole grains!
What is your favorite whole grains? Did you ever run from carbs?