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Before you jump into a new eating plan because you read an article about “The 10 Best Foods For…”
Or, you want to lose weight.
Or, you have read the virtues of one particular food and you see articles, Facebook, and Instagram posts with all sorts of conflicting advice.
Low carb… low fat… high fat…
Let me help break some of this down for you.
In order for our bodies to function properly, we need Micronutrients and Macronutrients.
The Macros are: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.
The Micros are: Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, and Hormones (I am not just talking sex here).
We need these nutrients to keep our bodies functioning properly.
That means every cell, tissue, and organ needs these nutrients.
In this blog, I am going to focus on Carbohydrates.
Carbs are broken down into sugars.
Now, I know I dis sugar a lot, but keep reading.
Why do we need Carbs?
Carbs are the best and quickest source of energy.
I am not just talking about the energy we need to get out of bed, to move, and to exercise.
I am talking about the energy our body needs – along with red blood cells and our nervous systems – in order for all your internal organs to work properly.
Take my word for it, because I can’t give you a lesson in body metabolism in one short blog post.
Also, did you know that the only energy source used by our brains is glucose?
And, we get glucose from carbs.
(But, don’t you go crazy on sugar now! Read the whole blog!!)
Carbs regulate protein and fat metabolism. Now, if you are on a low carb and high protein or fat diet, how is your body going to use the fat and protein properly?
Carbs regulate appetite, so we feel satiated and don’t over-eat.
Carbs are a source of fiber.
We need fiber so – you know – our bowels can move better.
Plant fiber attracts water, making the stool larger and softer.
Otherwise, the stool will be hard and small – pellet-like.
But, enough about poop.
Fiber also feeds all the good bacteria in the intestines.
You have been hearing and reading a lot about gut microbes and their connection to the brain, and health in general, (okay, this is a topic for a whole other blog).
It is Complex Carbs that we need, not Refined Carbs.
These are the whole grains, seeds, stalks, leaves, and fruit, to name a few.
I know you have heard this over and over again.
Every time we go for a treat – a cakel, a cookie, or a cracker, etc. – we are eating Refined Carbs.
So, it is fine to cut back or give up on breads and regular pastas, but make sure you do not give up on fruits and vegetables.
For example, did you know that potatoes are high in Potassium?
Potassium is a vasodilator, it widens blood vessels, and consuming them is a natural way to reduce blood pressure.
Potatoes are packed with other vitamins and minerals, as well.
Potatoes are also rich in fiber – remember what I said about fiber?
Now, obviously fries and chips are not the healthiest way to consume potatoes – so, lay off those!
If you want to read all about potatoes, click here.
Here are a couple of other facts about Carbs:
We start to digest Carbs in the mouth – chew, chew, chew.
We digest Carbs before proteins and fats – that is why some people with digestive issue may need to eat the carbs first in a meal, followed by the proteins and fats.
Carbs help the body absorb and retain calcium – you know, the mineral you need for your bones!
What should our ideal intake be? Out of our entire diet, it should be between 60 to 70% – yes, that high.
Want to know more?
Contact me! I can help you sort through the quagmire of diet articles and beliefs based on your individual needs.
This is my favourite time of the year as we start to see all sorts of fresh and local produce at the farmers’ markets.
Wild leeks, asparagus and, soon, fresh berries – to name a few.
Buying local has become a religion, I cannot bring myself to buying any of these items,if they come from lands far and beyond, at any other time of year. They just don’t have the same taste, texture or nutritive value.
As a mid-20th century child, born in Baghdad, fresh and local was the only way to eat. For example, I did not taste celery or mushrooms until we moved to Canada.
When we moved to Canada in 1966 most of the fresh food my mother bought, from various markets, was local.
But as farmlands were turned into suburban subdivisions (my parents bought a house in one of those subdivisions), and transportation networks increased, more and more of our foods came from further and further away.
When I went to live in Paris I was reintroduced to the concept of buying local. There were regular farmers’ markets held in specific locations on any day of the week. I loved the idea of buying vegetables that had just been picked the day before or that morning, directly from the farmer that grew them. Going to the farmer’s markets was also a social outing, as I got several marriage proposals from farmers … but I digress.
Now in 2018 I still strive to buy local produce – as you will see if you take a look at my previous posts.
We in Southern Ontario are lucky to live near the some of Canada’s best farmlands and many small farms have cropped up (excuse the pun), producing great organic produce. These endeavours, like those located in other provinces and even the territories, are working very hard to produce good quality vegetables, meats and dairy and we need to support them.
How about you?
Are you as passionate as I am about where your food comes from?
Asparagus is a good source of:
Beta carotene (pro vitamin. A), Folic acid, Fibre and Potassium and has a low glycemic index.
Wild leeks are a good source of:
Pro- Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Selenium and Chromium
Improve your community and your nutrition with local produce!