They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere, the sky is falling!
That’s what it feels like everyone is saying these days, freaking out about damn carbs!
There’s the low carb diets, like the Keto Diet.. everything is plastered with NO CARB, or LOW CARB.
Now, I’m not 100% knocking it, that’s all well and good if you want to try out those diets, but they aren’t sustainable in the long term, and carbohydrates are one of the main sources of energy your body needs.
You’re gonna crash hard, and you’re really going about it the wrong way.
It’s all about moderation, knowing your portion sizes and nutrition requirements.
Healthy eating is different for everyone but one of the main things you really do need to cut out is PROCESSED FOODS, especially processed carbs!
Somewhere along the line (probably due to a diet craze), people started confusing complex carbs – which are found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and pulses (aka beans) – with simple carbs, like those found in refined grain products and sugary junk foods. Complex carbs support your energetic, healthy life, while simple carbs are a source of empty calories.
– Extracted from The Body Book – Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body, written by Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bark (pg 41), 2014.
That’s why this month, I’m doing my No Takeaway April challenge, slowly transitioning to clean eating!
Now you’re probably thinking, what the hell Emily? You seriously just said we should eat carbohydates?
YEP. Yep I did, because the simple fact is that carbohydrates are one of the macro-nutrient groups that our body needs. NEEDS.
If you start to take away carbohydrates, without adequately increasing your intake of other macro-nutrients – fat and protein, you’re not feeding your body.
Fun Fact: Carbohydrates actually contain fewer calories than fat and protein, and they help you poop from the fibre within them!
So instead of focusing on cutting out food groups altogether, the focus should be on good health, and healthy eating; clean eating. Substituting those processed foods for healthier versions, nourishing your body with fantastic vitamins, minerals and all the goodies! Not limiting what you eat (sometimes even how much you eat!), and finding it hard to enjoy the food in front of you.
One of the reasons so many people go back to past behaviour habits with food, is because they are eating foods without flavour, without taste. Boring foods!!
How to Eat Carbohydrates for Good Health
Even though it (refined wheat flour) began it’s life as a plant in a field, even though it started as a seed with an endosperm, bran and germ, by the time it ends up in a biscuit, it’s been processed to remove the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. . . The fibre and the nutrition has been stripped out, leaving only the starchy endosperm. And even that is typically bleached so that it’s pretty and uniformly snow-white.
– Extracted from The Body Book – Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body, written by Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bark (pg 42), 2014.
When we look at processed carbohydrates, or refined carbohydrates, we are thinking of foods which aren’t in their natural form, and which have gone through a process or many processes to end up on our plates. Most foods that we consume are processed, as we have to change the way they come to be able to supply them, but the ones that are the worry are the highly processed carbs, like the ones in junk food.
These include the following –
White Sugar and lollies/candy.
Most Breads – especially white.
Cereals and Snack Foods – highly processed grains and sugars.
Pasta – made from white flours.
Soft Drinks (Sodas) – made from processed and artificial sugars and chemicals.
Generally anything that comes in a box has processed ingredients.
These foods wreak havoc on your body with the high sugar levels, low to no nutrient value, high caloric intake, and have been linked to so many different diseases.
Asthma. Decreased fitness. Shortness of breath. Depression and Anxiety. Skin problems. Changes in bone density and muscle mass (Ref). Heart disease (Ref). Infertility. Type 2 Diabetes. Bowel issues (Ref) (candida infections, leaky gut, hormone imbalances). Extreme fatigue.
Less Processed Carbs
These are classed as clean carbs – minimally processed carbohydrates. These include the following –
Healthy Grains –
Rolled Oats and Steel Cut Oats
Flours and products made from flours are still classed as highly processed, but these are the healthier options that are “allowed” in a clean eating lifestyle, but should still be eaten in moderation.
Healthy Flours –
Whole Wheat Flour
Arrowroot Flour (Tapioca Starch)
Brown Rice Flour
Healthy Breads and Pastas, depending on the brand –
Whole Wheat Bread – made from whole wheat flour.
Whole Grain Pasta
I’ve found that a lot of clean breads can be quite mushy, or very dense in texture and taste. I choose to eat rye bread for taste and texture although it’s not “so clean”, but it is definitely better than white bread, wholemeal and multigrain varieties you get from the grocery store.
Real Good Carbs, The 100% Natural Kind
Yep, these are definitely the good ones. The way nature intended them (mostly), but always be aware of the Clean Fifteen, and Dirty Dozen of fruits and vegetables, to ensure you aren’t increasing your toxic load when you’re trying to eat clean.
Higher Carbohydrate Fruits and Vegetables (Ref)–
Sweet Potato Oranges
Beans and Lentils Apricots
Very Low Carbohydrate Fruits and Vegetables (Ref) –
Spinach/Bok Choy Carrots
Peas/Broad Beans Eggplant
Celery Brussel Sprouts
Stock up on these babies in each of your meals when you can, especially the low carbohydrate fruits and vegetables (if you are watching your blood sugar levels, these are the happy fruits and veggies you will love!).
Healthy Carb Servings
Now, sometimes you’re gonna want to eat that piece of bread or pasta, or go out for lunch and not care! That’s perfectly fine – everything in moderation, but if you are really watching your carbohydrate intake, it is beneficial to know what counts as a serve of carbs!
And even though I’ve listed the carbohydrates above, these aren’t the only ones lingering. Some dairy food can also be classed as a carbohydrate, with the highest carbohydrates being milk, yoghurt, and custard.
Sugar is also classed as a carbohydrate (3 tsp sugar = 15g carbs – 1 serve carbs).
Through my gestational diabetes, I had attend an info session about diet along with taking my blood sugar levels, and I was given a great sheet on the serving suggestions for carbohydrates – you can find the pdf version to print out here.
Definitely print it out – it will help to guide you when serving up your meals.
Now, in relation to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, it is recommended to consume 6 serves of carbohydrates a day (grain related only), if you are male/female between 19-50 years of age. It goes up to 8.5 serves of carbs for pregnant ladies.
I hope that these carbohydrate alternatives will help you along the road to your own clean eating lifestyle – like I say, healthy eating is different for everyone, it all depends on finding what works best for YOU and YOUR BODY. You need to think about eating as a long term health commitment, because it is the first and easiest way to reduce disease in your body.
That’s why this month (of April), I’m doing the No Takeaway April challenge, whilst transitioning to clean eating for myself and my family’s health! If you’d like to know more, and grab some free meal plans along the road, you can read the first post here, or subscribe on the right hand panel to grab next week’s meal plan posted up later today!
Let me know what you think of today’s post, and if you are a clean eater, what your favourite substituted carbs are for your own health and well-being balance! I love to hear what your views are, and your experiences!
Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy foods and what they can do for the body, but each body and it’s nutritional requirements are different.