Carbs. What’s that saying? Can’t live with ‘em can’t live without ‘em? That about sums it up for me. Let me back it up and explain.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know I’m all about 3 food groups-fat, protein and carbs. Of the 3 (if you’re like most people) carbs make up the biggest portion of your diet and include grains (bread & pasta), beans, fruits & veggies. In this post I’m specifically talking about grains and why you probably need to eat less of them (don’t hate me).
Let me give you a bit of background. Grains have a few things going against them (and these aren’t little things-they are pretty major).
Grains (especially processed grains like in white rice, white flour etc) are a blood sugar spiking fast digesting carb. That means when you eat them, they flood your body with too much energy (sugar). It’s quickly stored as fat leaving you craving more of the same thing. It’s a vicious cycle and depending on your individual make up is worse for some people than it is for others. I am one of these people. I like to call it carb sensitive and it basically means, unless i am working out a LOT and expending a ton of energy, eating carbs in the form of grains makes me gain belly fat. If you have belly fat that won’t go away no matter what you try and you crave things like chips, chocolate, wine, etc you are probably carb sensitive too. Step away from the grains!
Grains contain things called lectins. Lectins are literally the defense mechanism grains have so they aren’t eaten and to put it bluntly lectins do nasty things to our bodies. The bigger problem? They don’t do nasty things right away...they slowly cause damage over time so we continue to eat them, not realizing that these lectins are at the base of a TON of our issues. See grains were only added to our diets recently on the evolutionary scale and we haven’t adapted to be able to eat them harmlessly yet. Before we cultivated land and farmed, we were hunters & gatherers and survived off of mainly fat, protein and carbs from fruit and veggies. We developed enzymes to break these things down when we eat them. Enter wheat (and other grains) and their lectins. We don’t yet have the enzymes to break them down so they travel through the entire system wreaking havoc as they go. This actually causes inflammation within our digestive tract and reduces its’ ability to repair itself. Some people are more sensitive than others, but we are all affected in some way shape or form and that damage just continues as we get older. Lectins can be a base source for everything from bloating, pain, diarrhea, constipation and increased intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut which is indeed a real thing, and suspected to be at the root of many autoimmune disorders). If you tend to get bloated easily, unexplained stomach aches/cramps and even random pain within your body try giving up grains for a bit. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
Eat more fat. Fat is really filling, and if you replace those grains with fat you’ll feel fuller longer, and you really won’t miss all that starch! Try adding avocado to your eggs in the morning instead of toast and see how you feel. Substitute nuts and seeds for crackers.
Make veggies and meat (or fish) the center of your meals. Add olive oil and/or butter for flavour. Always serve a salad alongside. You’ll be full, satisfied and you won’t miss the grains at all.
Get creative with your veggies. Buy a spiralizer. If you’re really in the mood for pasta make a delicious sauce, then use zucchini noodles (let’s be serious it’s all about the sauce anyway!). Slice up cabbage really thin and sautee with Tamari (wheat free soya sauce) until they’re really soft (they taste just like greasy take out noodles which are my weakness). Try sweet potato toast (just slice it really thin and toast it in your toaster until done-usually about 3 times through for me) and top it with an egg or even nut butter. Use greens instead of rice as a base for a stir fry. Make wraps out of collard greens (sturdier than lettuce). Go play on Pinterest for 10 minutes searching things like Paleo Recipes and see what you find. Once you start thinking this way it’s actually really easy to avoid grains.
What are your thoughts? Think you might be carb sensitive? Are lectins behind your digestive distress?
If you want to learn a little more about it, download my free Starter Guide For Women Who Just Want To Lose Weight below