Carbs have had a bad rap for too long! We’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater, just like we did with fruit and fat!
Remember back a couple of decades ago when we discovered that sugar wasn’t just a benign calorie that caused tooth decay?
And we threw out whole fruit in the name of going sugar-free!
Then we found out that not all fat was bad, and now we’ve gone overboard and many women have ended up not being able to lose weight because their ‘healthy’ diet is actually a high-fat diet.
And in the process, we’ve ditched all carbs rather than just the unhealthy ones.
Spoiler alert – yes you can eat carbs and still lose weight in mid-life.
The trick is to get smart and only eat the carbs that are going to benefit your health, not the ones that are so highly processed you may as well be eating sugar.
These are carbs in their whole food form which are jam-packed with nutrients and fiber.
Yes, fiber… that wonderful ingredient only found in plants that your good gut bacteria love and in turn reward you with a healthy immune system.
So let me tell you the ‘carbs’ that are ‘allowed’ on a whole foods plant-based lifestyle…the fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes you can eat and still lose weight.
Before we talk about whole grains & legumes we need to address phytates & lectins which have also been given a bad wrap.
Phytic acid is found in all plant foods because it’s where phosphorous is stored. Most of it is released with soaking & cooking (sprouting & fermenting also break it down) and good gut bacteria break down the rest.
Populations that eat phytic-containing whole foods are associated with long life, and it’s linked with reduced risk of cancer, increased bone density, and better heart health to name a few.
Similarly, lectins bind to minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, however soaking and cooking, disable their anti-nutrient blocking effect.
Lectin-containing foods are also associated with many health benefits.
Eating grains as close to their original source as possible will ensure you are maximing nutrients and fiber. The easiest ones to start with are rolled oats, quinoa, and brown rice. When you process a grain until it becomes flour, your grain is now devoid of anything nutritious, especially flour on the supermarket shelves. Making your own flour from whole grains is ideal, but please note that it’s much easier to overeat flour products than the whole grain, which is important if weight loss is a goal.
Beans & lentils come from the legume family and are half protein and half complex carbohydrates. In fact, the carbohydrate is called resistant starch, which means very few ‘carbs’ get absorbed in the small intestine, but instead makes their way down to your large intestine where it feeds your good gut bacteria. Hence why populations that eat at least a cup of legumes a day are some of the healthiest, happiest, and longest living people on the planet.
You can read about why I don’t advocate restricting any vegetables, but just make sure you’re eating all the different types which I talk about in the blog, ‘Are ALL vegetables ‘allowed’ on a plant-based diet?’
As with vegetables, I don’t encourage the restriction of any type of fruit. Variety is important from a health perspective and moderation is key if you are on a weight loss journey.
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