WELLNESS--It seems that carbs have been getting a very bad rap especially for those looking to lose weight and get fit. The ketogenic diet, which has gained immense popularity over the past few years, has emphasized the lowering of carbohydrates and the increasing of good fats and protein.
While I am in total agreement that reducing your overall carbohydrate consumption is important for long-term health, especially processed ones, we must remember that non-processed carbs work to produce energy within our body helping us to get through our day. It’s vital to choose the right carbs that won’t spike our insulin and blood sugar but instead, those which support extended energy levels.
One simple step to remember is that it’s best to avoid all things white, mainly known as processed carbs. Things like white rice, white bread and flour, white pasta, pretzels, and white sugar in excess can cause long term health issues and may lead to Diabetes, heart disease, Arthritis, and even cancer. By following this rule 80% of the time, it will positively affect your overall health along with your waistline.
If you’re craving carbs, do your best to combine them with proteins and fats such as coconut oil, avocado, lean meat and poultry, wild-caught fish, grass fed butter, olive oil, nuts and seeds. This will help to slow the inevitable spikes in blood sugar and insulin.
When deciding to cut or lower your carbohydrate intake and to increase fats, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables such as the ketogenic suggests, consider keeping some of the following carbs in your weekly diet but in lower amounts than you would have consumed in the past:
Whole Grain, Sprouted Bread
There are so many delicious organic, sprouted, multi-grain breads available. Choose ones that are topped with nuts and seeds and make sure that there are few ingredients on the list. The closer to nature, the less added color, flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. Ezekiel bread is a popular brand which in moderation, is good for your health.
Quinoa, Black Bean, Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta
Pasta is now created in all sorts of exciting formats. Unlike traditional pasta, these new versions contain higher levels of protein and increased fiber which in turn, can support steady energy especially for those who work out regularly. Look for pasta made from beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, sprouted grain, and spelt. Or, create your own using spaghetti squash or zucchini.
Possibly the best rice alternative, quinoa comes in many different colors and has a rich and nutty flavor which is much higher in protein than other starchy sides. Cook the same as rice using 2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. Use chicken or vegetable stock along with coconut oil for extra richness. Throw in your favorite chopped vegetables such as tri-colored peppers a few minutes before removing from the stove.
More and more you’ll notice whole grain and multi-grain chips and crackers everywhere. Choose these over the typical ones that are made from enriched flour or processed corn. Enjoy them with guacamole, raw, organic cheese, humus, or nut butter.
Most breakfast cereals spike our blood sugar and leave us exhausted by noon. Choose ones that contain flax and chia seeds, whole grains like spelt, kamut, or amaranth for example, and add nuts and seeds along with whole, raw, organic milk or your favorite unsweetened nut milk.
Life isn’t meant to be one deprivation after the other and creating eating habits that are easy to follow and become a lifestyle, not a diet, is key. We can have fun and enjoy our eating experience.
One thing is for sure, we crave what we eat the most. This being said, once you make the switch from refined, sugar-laden carbohydrate foods to more healthy ones, you will eventually wonder how you even considered the overly processed, unhealthy choices you once craved.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLIfestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)