Craving Carbs? Eat them!
“I don’t eat carbs.
Stop it! Yes, you do. All day. Every day.
That broccoli you roasted for this week’s meal prep, that’s a carbohydrate. The apple you ate as a quick snack on your way out the door, that’s a carbohydrate. The spinach you added to your green smoothie, that’s a carbohydrate.
Let’s flip this around. Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients your body needs, sometimes called macronutrients (There are three macros: carbs, protein, and fat). Carbs are the most important source of energy for your body. Your body will break down carbs into glucose (the sugar found in your blood), and your blood helps transport this fuel all over your body to provide the energy you need to do ev-errr-yyyy thing. From sitting at your desk, to powering through that 60-minute workout, carbs are a main source of what is giving you energy throughout your day.
Maybe what you should be saying is that that you try to avoid refined carbs: white flour, white bread, white rice, sodas, pasta, pastries and sweets. That’s a little bit different, sis. Refined carbs include mostly sugars and are highly processed. It is those refined carbs that make you feel slow, sluggish and sleepy.
Carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily caloric intake. But not all carbs are created equal. We should be filling our diets with fiber-rich carbs like whole fruits, whole grains and beans. This is what will keep our tummies (and heart) healthy.
“But I’ve had a lot of success on low-carb…”
It’s true, there are some benefits to lower-carb meal plans. It can help you lose weight, particularly water weight, in a short-time, it can also lower your blood sugar which allows the body to burn stored fat for energy instead of the glucose from carbs, and high-fat, low carb, can help prevent cravings by satiating your hunger. For most people, a low-carb meal plan, may be a good way to kickstart a a weight loss journey, but it is not sustainable for long-term success
Honesty moment: We’ve tried low-carb eating, and even had some short-term success with it. But it’s all about how you do it. Carbs are not bad and we recommend eating carbs according to your activity level, body type, and time of day. For example, for Shawnie eating a high-carb meal before a heavy-lifting session makes for a better performance, ultimately leading to better results long term. A lower-carb meal before the same session, has led to dizziness and general fatigue shortly into the workout. However, eating a high-carb meal right before bed, leads to an awful night of restlessness, due to higher body temps from processing heavy carbs in the middle of the night and increased likelihood of carbs turning into stored fat, due to inactivity. While a lower-carb meal right before bed, along with a little Calm app action, leads to a better night of sleep, and a generally flatter stomach in the morning.
If you are a lover of pasta and bread, here is a little bit of good news for you. You don’t have to give those things up. Instead, focus on healthy swaps. Below is a recipe that we are loving for summer. It is great because it can be quick, served hot or cold, and you can load it with whatever healthy veggies or protein-rich foods you would like.
Dairy-Free Pesto Pasta Salad
#FinesseTip: If you have not already, give fusilli pasta a try. It is typically made with corn and rice, is certified gluten free and has a great texture. We personally love Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta.
2 cups Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta
1 ½ tablespoons of Clarified Butter (Ghee)
0.5 fl.ounces extra virgin olive oil
1.4 ounces basil leaves
0.5 ounces pine nuts
0.7 ounces cashews
1 garlic clove, crushed
Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt, if desired. Add 2 cups of pasta and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 7-10 minutes or until al dente. Do not overcook. Remove pasta and drain thoroughly. Add in clarified butter Set aside.
In a food processor, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, cashews and garlic and process for 20-30 seconds or until the basil is finely chopped
Keeping the food processor on, add in the olive oil and continue processing until a smooth texture forms. If you are having difficulties blending the ingredients, use a mortar and pestle
Season with Himalayan salt
Well, that is up to you. This week, we prepped a version with cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, black olives and sweet peas. You can also make this even more protein-packed by adding tuna, salmon, baked chicken or lentils. Avocado would be a great addition to give this combination a boost of healthy fats.