DAY 10 DIARY - A Bit of Common (Carb) Sense
I'm delighted to say that my subscriber numbers are steadily ticking up (many thanks if you have recommended this blog to your friends!), so I thought it might be useful to do a quick recap on the story so far...
StealthHealth, as well as being the name of this blog is also a 4 week programme designed to help people develop a better relationship with food. To mark the launch of StealthHealth I am doing a daily diary for the full 28 days and this is Day 10.
The programme consists of 8 Key Concepts which are essentially tools to help you make more positive food choices. Last week we focused on Breakfast is Best and Eating with Awareness, you can read back through last week's posts if you are interested to find out more. This week we are looking at two more Key Concepts, Nutri Foods, which are essentially whole foods, and Carb Sense which I am going to talk about today.
Carb Sense is the term I give to getting clever about the carbs you have in your diet. This is really important because as we are all too well aware, too many of the ‘wrong’ types of carbs (I know we aren't supposed to talk about foods as 'right' or 'wrong' but I just mean refined carbs with a low nutritional value) will sabotage your efforts to get healthy and lose weight. Conversely, eating a moderate amount of 'good' carbs will help in both those endeavours.
To kick off here are some questions to ask yourself at meal times, this ties in with Eating with Awareness in other words making more conscious food choices:
What types of carbs am I eating?
Are they complex carbs (the healthier kind - see below)?
Look at the proportions of the different foods (starchy carbs, protein, veg) on your plate, is it balanced - see the graphic below from the Singapore Ministry of Health showing the make-up of a healthy plate. It's very simplistic but a good reminder.
To help you answer these questions it's useful to know what's considered a healthy carb and what's not. Here’s the good stuff:
Vegetables - yes veggies contain carbs!
Whole grains - oats, quinoa, brown rice
Nuts and seeds
Beans and legumes
Tubers - sweet potatoes, potatoes – yes potatoes are fine but obviously a jacket potato is going to be healthier than fries!
And the less good:
Soft drinks, in fact it's best just to stick to water
Fruit juices - I do have the odd freshly squeezed juice but they are quite high in sugar and lower in fibre
White bread - of the bag kind, but a freshly baked sourdough should never be refused unless you are celiac!
Processed foods - shop-bought cakes, biscuits, cereals, in fact most processed foods have added sugar which = empty carbs
White pasta - it's fine from time to time but buy wholegrain pasta for everyday use and brown rice
As the weeks progress a strange thing will start to happen when you are using your Carb Sense, you will slowly lose your taste for those empty carbs that you once thought you couldn’t live without. I am deadly serious about this, I can take or leave fries these days. I know, amazing! Equally big bowls of pasta, not that fussed - unless it is top drawer spinach and ricotta ravioli for which I make an exception and most bread (except fresh from my local bakery which is irresistible). I can only put this down to having re-trained my taste buds, but the beauty of it is that because nothing is ever off-limits if I really fancy any of the above I’ll have them, I just don’t seem to want them as often as I used to.
So I hope that helps focus the mind on your carb intake this week, along with practising the other StealthHealth key concepts I'm sure you will already be eating better and it's all excellent prep for next week which is ... Weight Loss Week!!!