Fuel up with smart carbs
We want better carbs, NOT fewer carbs
Many people avoid carbohydrates these days, thinking that carbs make them fat.
Carbs are your friends
And the more active you are, the better a friend they’ll be.
Our research and experience with thousands of people shows:
Even if you have hormonal or metabolic issues (such as hypothyroid, PCOS, or problems regulating blood sugar) — or even especially if you have these issues — smart carbs are still a valuable part of most people’s diets.
DON’T cut carbs too low
Very few people look, feel, and perform their best on very low-carb diets.
Cut carbs too low for too long and you’ll probably:
- have as much energy as a pile of wet newspaper.
- feel deprived, anxious, and angry about life.
- find yourself speed-eating a bag of Oreos after a week or so.
- end up with weird hormone stuff like missed periods or diminished fertility.
But when you get enough of the right kinds of carbs:
- you’re full of energy, zest, and vitality.
- you feel calm and relaxed, and you sleep well.
- you don’t have as many sugar cravings, or they aren’t as strong.
- your hormones are happy.
- you feel good in the gym, on the field, and at life.
So grab a handful of berries or a baked potato to munch on.
And learn about how to get started with your new habit.
Smart carb experiments: Switch or substitute
Remember, we want better carbs, not fewer carbs necessarily.
So here are two smart carb experiments to play with.
Experiment 1: Switch to smarter carbs
Step 1: Look at your daily routine and menu.
Step 2: See if you can figure out how to substitute some smarter carbs, and/or make your regular meals just a little bit better.
- For a side dish, try:
- some whole grains (such as brown or wild rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat groats, sprouted grains, etc.)
- sweet and/or regular potatoes.
- Snack on fruit instead of sugary treats when you want something sweet.
- Use fruit (or even cooked sweet potatoes) to sweeten a Super Shake.
- Look for whole-grain alternatives to processed white flour products, such as Ezekiel bread.
- Bring legumes into your life — whether it’s black bean chili, dal or lentil flour chapatis, or some chickpea hummus.
- Boil or bake potatoes instead of frying them. (Yes . . . potatoes are on the menu!)
- Have some steel-cut or old-fashioned oats (or something truly whole-grain) instead of regular sugary breakfast cereal.
- Bean pasta — it even gives you an extra serving of protein.
Experiment 2: Substitute smart carbs for sugar
Step 1: Notice what refined-sugar carbs you might still have in your diet.
Step 2: Look for alternatives.
For instance, can you find healthier, smarter-carb versions of:
1.cakes, pastries, or muffins? (Try higher-fiber flours such as quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, brown rice flour, or even whole-wheat flour. You can also bake with sweet potatoes.)
2. cookies and bars, including protein bars? (Try the Oatmeal Raisin Protein cookies, the Chocolate Fudge Muffins, or any of the other awesome recipes at Protein Pow.)
3. ice cream?
4. candies and sweets? (Try fruit or unsweetened dried fruit.)
5. fruit juices (Try fresh-squeezed OJ instead of prepackaged stuff. Or better yet, the whole orange.)
Sometimes this might mean trying a few new things in the kitchen.
By now, you should be feeling at least a little more capable, creative, and adventurous.
So just try stuff and see what happens.
Work with your nutritional level
As always, work with your nutritional level.
Play the Smart Carbs Game at the difficulty level that suits YOU today.
Level 1: Keep it simple and do-able.
Try just one small adjustment each day, whichever seems easiest.
Try having beans, whole grains, or fruit as a side dish.
Or find a smart carb substitute for something high in sugar.
Level 2: Challenge yourself with consistency and quality.
Level 2 is all about mastery and consistency.
Challenge yourself to improve the quality of your carb intake for the next two weeks.
What to do today
1.Make smart carb choices.
Review the list above and see which smart carbs you could try.
Play the smart carb game. See what works for you.
2.Help yourself remember.
Give yourself a reminder that works for you: A Post-it note, a smartphone or calendar alert . . . it’s your call.
Just find what works for you, and get ‘er done.
3.Go shopping if you need to.
Remember: Keep healthy stuff convenient and easy to get to.
If you need to hit the grocery store today to stock up, do so.
Try some new foods. Revisit old favorites. Expand your food repertoire.
Experiment and enjoy.
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