I love carbs. Ooohhh, do I ever.
I know I preach moderation of all types of foods, which I really truly do believe in, but I have been taking a step back and seeing myself becoming more and more reliant on carbs. I have gotten into a habit of having them at every meal, every snack, because they make me feel good and give me energy. I keep thinking; nothing wrong with whole grains; isn’t that what we’re taught and what I encourage other people to follow? But the question is, do I really need to eat THAT MANY carbs in a day? What would happen if I kept my overall healthy diet, but greatly reduced the amount of carbs?
You may have heard of a diet called the Paleo diet, especially if you are an athlete, specifically Crossfit. It’s not so much a “fad” diet as it as a concept… and one that does make sense for the human body. It’s a diet that mimics the way our ancestors used to eat, when they were hunter/gatherers.
The idea is this: Base your diet around meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, oils, fruits, nuts, seeds, and tubers, and avoid grain products (bread, pasta, rice, and beans/legumes, too) and dairy. There are many reported benefits, including improved athletic performance, having more energy, sleeping better, getting sick less, losing weight, and overall feeling better. I’ll leave the scientific side to someone else, but basically you’re eating replacing your usual heavy carbs (grains/dairy) with a different, lighter form of carbs (fruits and veggies). Less carbs, the more your body burns fat as a fuel source. And fat is the preferred fuel source for the body!
Whoa, that’s intense. I won’t go into the hairy details here, because there is A LOT to say about it. Intrigued? If you would like, you can read a really nice article that explains the concept here: http://nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/
Interesting…. Wait. That means I can’t eat pasta for dinner anymore? Uh oh, I’m in trouble!
I really still do support the idea of 80/20 – eat great 80% of the time, and enjoy foods that aren’t necessarily “healthy” on the weekends, perhaps. Have a cheat day or two, just get back on track the next day. Being realistic, I don’t expect myself to go fully Paleo. I like cheese, non-fat yogurt, milk, rice every now and then, and I still don’t think a half cup of pasta 2 nights a week for dinner is going to make a world of difference…. But I think we all could stand to have fewer insulin spikes from carbs, and focus a little more on lean meats, other sources of protein, fruits, and veggies.
Even dietitians can improve their diets!
Paleo isn’t cutting out all carbs in your life, it’s choosing less and more efficient carbs for your body to work with. But you’ll still see pasta/rice/potatoes in my recipes, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change, because this diet isn’t for everybody. But perhaps this will be a positive change that will reflect itself in my career, my philosophy, and my way of thinking and teaching others about food… it’s worth a try!