Yes, baby, spinach and carrots and bananas and plums are all carbohydrates. Did you think they were proteins? They certainly aren’t fats!
I know it’s confusing at times. People say those leafy greens (you know, spinach and kale and collard) have a lot of protein. Well, compared to white cane sugar, they sure do! Sugar is pure carbohydrate, 100%. But nature’s foods aren’t so simple. Real foods come from plants and animals which are made up of cells. The building blocks of cells are proteins, so whole foods inevitably have some protein. Fats are present in the semi-permeable membrane surrounding the cell, allowing both water-soluble and fat-soluble nutrients to pass into the cell and wastes to be transferred out.
In reality, therefore, whole foods contain a tiny bit of all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When we assign a category to a food, it’s because that food has heaps more of one macronutrient than any other. Back to spinach. While it is primarily carb, 30% of its calories do come from protein. That’s a lot more than, say, a potato, which is only 7% protein, calorically.
But a whole cup of spinach is only about 7 calories – and only 2 of those calories come from protein. It would take literally mountains of spinach, baby, to make your hair and nails and muscles and skin and cartilage, and even your red blood cells and hormones. That’s why we can’t count it as a protein. It serves as carbohydrate because it is primarily a source of energy. When your tummy digests it, all those bright green leaves are converted into glucose to keep you crawling and cooing.
My point is that you can’t think of carbs as just pasta and potatoes. Yes, chips and crackers and croissants are carbohydrates, but so are all of the fruits and veggies and legumes and seeds. And remember Pooh Bear and his honey pot? Yeah, that’s how his belly got so round. Even milk is between 30 and 56% carbohydrate by calorie, depending on its fat content. That makes it taste sweet to you. (Only one-fifth of the calories in milk come from protein!)
So…I won’t EVER endorse a smoothie with skim milk and 3 or 4 fruits in it. It’s just too much of a sugar-rush for your precious body! I don’t care if you add spinach to make it healthy – it’s still an insulin tornado. I only want you to be vibrant and have vitality! And don’t tell me you use almond milk – it’s worse! For every 16 grams of carbohydrate (64 calories), there is only 1 gram of protein (4 calories).*
The bottom line is you can be a carb-loader if you eat lots of fresh produce and never even touch refined sugar, or grains either, for that matter. When I say you need to balance your plate, please understand that I’m serious about adding healthy fats and animal proteins to your diet. Believe me, I’m trying to save you from insulin resistance before it’s too late. Here’s my rule of thumb: For every “handful” of carbohydrate, eat a thumb-size portion of natural, unrefined fat and a palm-size serving of protein. You have too much of life ahead of you to feel fatigued and fat, or to experience fitful sleep and flat moods.
If you’re already there, suffering from that 2 p.m. coma every day, I can help! Contact me.
*May vary from brand to brand.