Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I am always so saddened by family members or individuals who woefully tell me, "Yes, I am a carb addict, so I have to be careful and stay away from them."
My very pregnant sister was one of these recently. I quickly assured her, "Of course you are a carb addict! I am, too! Your body is telling you to eat carbs because it wants and needs them so badly! Listen to your body, and eat some complex carbs."
I told her I would make her some whole grain, vegan baked goods, and that she needs to eat more rice, beans, oatmeal, and potatoes. She was so happy to hear that she could actually eat what she was craving, and feel good about it.
The confusion comes for most of us because refined and processed, sugary foods have been labeled as carbs. Yes, these foods are high in carbohydrates, but they are simple, not complex, and they are definitely not a whole food.
My recent studying has been from Julieanna Hever's book, "Plant-Based Nutrition."
I wanted to know more in-depth science behind the foods I am eating; and it has been an awesome read!
Above is her creation of a plant-based food guide pyramid. I love it! I especially like that exercise, activity, and drinking fluids are at the foundation of the pyramid, and then comes the veggies, which simply states, "Eat as much and as many as different colors as possible each day."
In this vegetable category is an endless array of complex carbohydrates. It should be the foundation of what we eat. After fruit, again comes more starches, or carbs, in the form of whole grains. The correct balance of macro-nutrients that we should be consuming is 80% complex carbohydrates, 10% protien, and 10% fat. These percentages come naturally in whole, plant foods.
Another one of my favorite discoveries from her book is about starch.
What comes to mind when you think of starch?
For many, it's a very negative connotation for foods that make you fat.
I have known, since going plant-based, that starches (complex carbohydrates) make me feel fabulous. I feel so good when I eat brown rice, beans, potatoes, oatmeal, etc. These foods also help me lose weight when accompanied with salads and green and yellow vegetables.
But here is something I learned as to WHY these foods are great for energy, comfort, satiety, and losing weight.
Julieanna states, "Resistant starch is a special type of starch that remains intact throughout the cooking process and during the enzyme breakdown of digestion. Therefore, it's ACTUALLY A FIBER."
Wow! Resistant starch is actually a fiber, which means, as we all know, that it just goes straight through you, not adding to your calorie count, or raising your blood sugar.
She goes on to say, "Resistant starch helps control blood sugar, lowers blood cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations, improves insulin sensitivity, increases satiety, and reduces fat storage. Food containing resistant starch include beans, potatoes, slightly green bananas, split peas, barley, and brown rice."
Which just adds to the mountain of reasons why I LOVE complex carbohydrates.
If there was one thing I could tell the world about food, it would be that they need to put down their steaks, and instead, eat their beans and potatoes.