Humans have been eating whole grains for thousands of years. Lately, it has become trendy to avoid carbs with marketed promises of weight loss. However, eliminating all grains from your diet isn't necessarily the healthiest choice.
1. Your Brain
Your brain uses carbs to function and as a source of energy. If you don't give your brain enough carbs it goes into a bit of a panic creating a hormone imbalance. Carbs are also a source of energy for the body - completely eliminating grains can lead to feeling tired and hungry.
So now you are torn...you want to maintain a healthy weight but you also want energy and a healthy brain. What should you eat?
There are two kinds of grains...
HIGH & FAST
AKA - white/refined/processed...The Bad & The Ugly
High and fast grains are 'white' carbs - those that have been processed and are far from the original whole grain they once were. These include white pasta, bread, bagels, pastries, cereal, white flour, many crackers - you get the idea.
I call them 'High & Fast' because they cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and are digested quickly without much fiber to slow them down, therefore, leaving you hungry, lethargic and insulin spiked!
These are the carbs that are associated with weight gain - they quickly turn to sugar in your body causing excesses insulin production and an inflammatory response. Avoiding or greatly reducing these carbs and crowding them out with 'low and slow' whole grains (see below) is a healthy choice.
LOW AND SLOW
AKA - whole, unprocessed, fiber-rich...The Good
Low and slow grains are whole grains - those that are as close to their natural state as possible. They include quinoa, steel cut or rolled oats, brown rice, millet, and buckwheat.
These carbs are labeled 'Low & Slow' because they are high in fibre and are digested slowly - keeping your blood sugar levels even and giving you sustainable and high-quality energy. They are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins.
These carbs are associated with less hunger, more energy, balanced hormones and a healthy digestive system (fibre is essential in detoxing waste from your body) - you want to include them in your diet.
Along with vegetables and fruits, protein and healthy fats - whole grains are part of a healthy diet. Choose the ones that are closest to their natural state - for example, make a bowl of steel cut oats instead of processed instant oatmeal.
As for pasta (which I certainly love) there are many new options on the market that taste great and are made with beans, lentils, and peas - giving you clean, healthy protein and fibre - a way better choice than white pasta. Learn more about them here: New Healthy Pasta Alternatives
Kim is passionate about teaching others how to eat mindfully and live vibrantly. A series of chronic health issues gave her the motivation to learn about the relationship between her health and her diet. After embracing a plant-based diet and figuring out how to maintain a social life, enjoy travelling and ensuring she was getting all the correct nutrients and minerals - Kim realized how great she felt and how happy she was in her lifestyle.
She founded Picky Diet to share this with the world so that they might realize that they too can live happy and healthy with only a few small changes. A graduate of the Health and Nutrition Coaching program from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she is a Board Certified Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach and works with both individuals and corporations on nutrition and whole-body wellness.