Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carbohydrates: a friend to you and me

I find carbohydrates frustrating.

First, carbs made us healthy. ("Eat your whole grains all day every day, and avoid fat!").Then 1 in 3 Americans became obese.

Simple carbs made us diabetic ("Too much sugar will raise your blood sugar levels!") In three years, the number of Americans with diabetes tripled.

Finally, all carbs made us fat ("Eat frittatas and you will live long and prosper!") Then people realized that their breath SMELLED and their energy levels were awful. Recent studies have even found increased risk of Type II Diabetes in people following a low carb diet, possibly due to increased red meat intake.

I'm going to set the record straight in a way that may not be shocking or newsworthy, but is the honest-to-goodness, final word truth:

Non-refined carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet. Non-refined means: has not been altered. Exists in its natural, as-grown state.

The best carbohydrate sources include:
  • Fruits- they are packed full of fiber and antioxidants, as well as natural sugar to help give you an energy boost
  • Whole Grains- In addition to being full o'fiber, whole grains like brown rice, barley, oats, and quinoa provide minerals we need to stay healthy
  • Sweet Potatoes- These guys are basically amazeballs. They pack fiber, antioxidants, and enough carbohydrate energy to get your through it (whatever "it" may be)
  • Corn- corn gets a bad rap from some nutritionists, but I feel that if it comes out of the ground, it's allowed in. (As to my mouth)
  • Unprocessed sugars- in place of refined sugar, try using natural sugars such as honey, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar.

How much should you eat?

Dietitians use the Plate Method to counsel patients on how to "eyeball plan" their portions.

To achieve a healthy balance in your meals:
Mentally divide your plate into fourths. Dedicate one fourth to a lean protein source, and another fourth to a healthy carb! Leave the remaining half to fill with veggies.

There you have it...the great, carby truth!

(Honestly...did you ever think a fresh, glowing honeycrisp apple the size of your head could really be evil?)

Me either :)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

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