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To eat, or not to eat, carbs: That is the question. May 13, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. If your news feeds are like mine, you’re constantly reading about the benefits of low- to no-carb, high-protein, high-fat diets versus high-carb, low- to no-fat, relatively low-protein diets. The low-carb, high-protein and high-fat diets typically offer weight loss as their goal, while the high-carb, low-fat and low-protein diets typically offer heart health as their goal. What’s the deal?!

Recently, I read an interesting study that claimed that both diets were right, because they both banned refined carbs. This study claimed that it wasn’t the fat or the protein that mattered, just the absence of refined carbs.

Well, hmmmm. We all know that potato chips and French fries aren’t exactly health food. Nor is movie popcorn drenched in toxic oils or microwave popcorn in its toxic bags. But how is it that the Japanese, Chinese, Indians and etc. with their white rice, the Japanese, Chinese and Thai with their white noodles, the French with their baguettes and croissants, and the Italians with their white (as opposed to whole-grain) pasta are so much healthier than we are?! Not to mention all the cheese and other dairy products consumed by so many of these long-lived cultures (Greek, Cretan, Italian, French, etc.). No “low fat/no fat” yogurt, cheese, milk and etc. there! And yay, they drink wine (or sake) and beer!

These world cuisines have little in common. What they don’t eat is refined, fried, unnatural products. Most eat moderate amounts of meat and seafood, so that’s not the defining issue. And yes, every once in a while they can’t resist the freshly made, delicious local street foods that would hardly be called healthy, fried as they almost always are. But they cook their meals at home, and make sure that diversity plays a part and that the ingredients are as fresh as they can get. Lots of veggies, lots of fresh fruit to go with those meals of rice or pasta and a little meat or seafood. Soup is also a big player in these cuisines, from the famed lemon-egg soup of Greece to the miso soup of Japan to the bouillon of France, adding hydration and preventing overeating.

I suggest that we try this well-rounded approach for ourselves, rather than jumping on some low- or no-carb, high-protein or low-protein, whole-grain, fat-free bandwagon. Or any bandwagon, for that matter. Eat a ton of seasonal mixed produce, seasoned with oil, butter, herbs, and spices to your taste. Eat lots of rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and etc., brown, whole-wheat, whole-grain, or refined, as you like, with all those gorgeous veggies served on top.

Eat tons of fruit, fresh or cooked, without added sugar. Eat whole-grain bread, toasted with butter and apple butter or with whole-fruit preserves, with your morning eggs and grapefruit. Eat a huge salad with everything on it, preferably topped with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. No meat, no croutons, but pepitas (roasted pumpkinseeds) for crunch and health.

Forget categories. Go for moderation, diversity, local produce and plenty of it, no “Frankenfoods” or super-manufactured junk food or deep-fried fast foods. You can have your carbs and eat them, too, if you make them at home and skip the deep-fried mac’n’cheese cubes, the bag of chips, and the cheese-stuffed pizza crusts.

‘Til next time,

Silence

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