After a recent speaking engagement where I confessed my prior carb addiction, I had a gentleman ask me, “Did you just eat lots of pasta, or something?”
I think noodles are universally equated with carb-loading – maybe a kickback from high school training days when the coach said you had to eat spaghetti the night before an event so you would have plenty of fuel for the race.
But what really constitutes carb loading?
Does it just mean lots of bread and pasta? I was carb-loading when I:
- added 3 fruits to the morning smoothie.
- fixed whole wheat waffles and pancakes to provide a “healthy” start to the day.
- poured a bowl of cereal and put skim milk on it.
- cooked a vegetarian dinner of beans and rice.
- ate my vegetables without butter to avoid “clogging my arteries.”
- baked cake with applesauce to stay on a low-fat diet.
- had a sandwich and a piece of fruit for lunch, with a cookie or chips as a treat.
- drank juice with my breakfast.
Carbohydrates include all fruits, all sweeteners, all legumes, and all grains.
Carbohydrates are not bad!
Honey is a whole food, as are lentils, oranges, and oats. I believe in real food.
The problem is two-fold:
First, we eat carbohydrates alone, without the moderating effect of fats and proteins to slow their rush into the bloodstream. Imagine trying to sit on a 3-legged stool like this:
We need balance!
Second, we eat carbohydrates refined – with many of the nutrients removed.
A beet is sweet. Of it’s 7.8 grams, 5.5 grams of that is sugar. That’s why beets are used to manufacture sugar. But the intact whole beet also contains the Vitamin A, folate, and magnesium needed to metabolize the sugar. It has fiber to slow the entry of glucose into the bloodstream. Strip those away, and you have an emergency to lower your blood sugar. Plus, your body goes into a deficit to process the sugar molecules.
So What’s a Body to Do?
- Substitute an avocado for some of the fruits in the smoothie, then add collagen powder. Use full-fat greek yogurt in place of milk or water.
- Try almond or coconut flour in place of half the whole grain flour in your pancake recipe. Add chia seeds and top with coconut cream.
- Skip the cold cereal. Cook steel cut oats in a crock-pot overnight and serve with butter and nuts.
- Add a heaping scoop of unrefined red palm oil to your bean dishes, along with a pinch or five of dried crayfish, like the Africans do.
- Dress your vegetables with butter, olive oil, or even homemade mayonnnaise.
- Use coconut oil in your baked goods, and sweeten with beets, dates or bananas. Mix in sour cream to make cake moist, and beaten egg whites for a fluffy product that adds protein.
- Bag the sandwich and enjoy soups simmered with bone broth, assorted vegetables, and the protein of your choice. Boil a batch on your day off and portion into smaller container for easy grab-and-go.
- Complement any meal with crudites, cottage cheese, and a dash of seasoning.
- Instead of cookies, blend avocado and fresh fruit for a quick pudding or avocado and frozen fruit for a flavorful ice cream.
- Drink water. Eat food. Fruit is food, not beverage.