Carbo Load

What I’m about to say might truly shock you, so prepare accordingly. Have a seat, pour a scotch, and brace yourself.

Carbs are good.

Carbs are important.

You need to eat carbs.

SCANDALOUS! I know. If you’re around my age, you grew up during the height of the Atkins craze, and I can feel your judgy eyes from here. I too remember my mother bypassing the fresh fruit (strawberries have carbs!) and heading straight for the bacon, so I understand your hesitation on this one. I sat, open mouthed, watching my TV discuss the “hidden carbs” in the vitamins that we take every day, so I know that this river runs deep. Bear with me.

Carbs give you energy. And even crazier—some carbs even have good amounts protein. I know, I know, I’m blowin’ your mind.

Now, don’t go running to your nearest baguette just yet. By no means am I advocating stuffing your face full of Kraft Dinner, and you aren’t going on an all-carb diet a la Regina George. 

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You’re gonna want to get a hold of some sweet potatoes, some squash, some bulgur wheat, some quinoa. Get down with the long grain brown rice. Dig on some rolled oats. You want noodles? Get some rice vermicelli. Eat these in moderation—if you’re looking at your plate, you want no more than a quarter of it to be filled with these babies. The other quarter should be your lean protein, and half should be veggies.

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Bulgur Wheat

But, I digress. Stay clear of white flour, period. White bread, potatoes, white rice, pasta, etc—none of it is good. Now, these starchy, processed carbs won’t kill you (or make you 400 pounds) when they touch your lips, but they aren’t the best for you either. If you’re really jonesing for them, you want to have them in some serious moderation.

Now, there are good carbs, and there are bad carbs. Equally as important (but rarely talked about in the same breath): there are good ways to prepare good carbs, and there are bad ways to prepare good carbs. Example: if you deep fry your sweet potato, you’re eating a good thing in a bad way. Don’t be tricked! Fries are still fries even if they’re made with a healthier carb, and anything topped with cheese is still, in fact, topped with cheese, whether it’s gluten free or not.

I don't care that it is sweet potato, poutine is still poutine.

I don’t care that it is sweet potato, poutine is still poutine.

What are some of my favourite ways to do carbs the right way, you ask? Well…

My Quinoa Salad. This is my desert island food—I could eat it every day and never get sick of it. So many people that claim to not like quinoa have told me they love this salad. It’s that good. Trust me-click here!

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Sweet Potato “fries”. Ok, you aren’t going to mistake these for Mickey D fries any time soon, but neither will your waistband. Check out the recipe here- they’re great with a veggie burger!

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Boiled squash. I really, really love the taste of squash (especially butternut), so this one is a fall no-brainer for me. Squash is great because not only is it tasty, but it is quite inexpensive and will keep for a shockingly long time. If you don’t like it plain, you can sprinkle some some salt and a dash of olive oil, or some Splenda brown sugar if you’ve got a sweet tooth.

Rolled Oats. I know this sounds boring, but it really does make for a great winter breakfast. Have a looksee at my favourite way to cook it here, and remember to avoid “quick oats”. Rolled oats are also a crucial ingredient in veggie burgers (if you can’t get your hands on quinoa flakes), and if you’re feeling really kinky, are great for thickening smoothies.

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Carrot and Parsnip (rutabega) mash. I love this as a super satisfying alternative to mashed potatoes. Click here!

Protein Bowls. Check ‘em out here!

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So, toss out that Dr. Atkins book, and move on with your life! Follow these tips and not only will you feel great, but you’ll feel truly satisfied– and that means a lot fewer cravings, and thus, a lot fewer instances of you shoving croissants into your mouth. Happier, less hungry times ahead!