If you are on a weight loss program and struggling with the carb issue…and the cravings that come up, I have good news for you. There are some healthy alternatives, that are also compatible with the Glycemic Food Index. If you’ve read my ‘thinking thin’ weight loss series of articles, you know that this index (GFI) is key in weight loss, but also in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For this reason it’s imperative that you stay away from the ‘white foods’ such as pasta, rice, bread, cookies, muffins and cakes. These foods turn into sugar when digested and are the main culprits in weight gain. But you still need a quantity of good grains in your diet. Grains are necessary not only for their nutritive value but for their fiber which is important for good colon health, and in helping your body absorb and digest fat.
Just remember that when you are on a ‘weight loss program’, you should limit your consumption of these grains as they tend to be high in carbs and high on the GFI. Keep it to no more than one portion a day…if you have bread, don’t have rice. Also keep the portion small.
It’s a good idea to keep complex carbs such as grains, out of your diet altogether when you initially start your program…for the first two weeks, if you can manage it. Stick to simple carbs like veggies along with proteins. This will kick start your weight loss, putting it into high gear, and giving you the needed incentive to continue.
Weight Loss Tip: Your body can properly absorb and assimilate fat when it is consumed along with fiber…good fiber. When you consume empty carbs such as white bread, which quickly turns to sugar, this interferes with your bodys’ ability to properly metabolize fat, eventually resulting in weight gain.
Here are five super grains you should add to your diet, even if you’re not on a weight loss program. Not all may be to your taste. You’ll have to experiment. Google some recipes once you’ve reached your goal weight, but for now keep it simple. (Note: I’ve included the ratio of water to grains for cooking.)
One – Brown Rice, nutty in flavor, is superior to white rice as it has not been processed to the same extent. While it is only slightly lower on the GFI (glycemic food Index) it contains much more fiber, which is helpful in absorbing fat and assisting in weight loss. Cooking; 1:2 ratio of rice to water for 45 minutes. Here is a good website for brown rice recipes.
Two – Spelt is an ancient grain that has been around for centuries. It has not been modified and for this reason takes longer to prepare, about an hour in cooking time at 1:3 ratio. However it contains approximately 30% more protein that whole wheat. Spelt flower works well in baking too. Spelt has a mild nutty flavor.
Three – Millet is very high in protein and has a mild flavor that will absorb other flavors as does rice. It can be used with a stir fry’ for example. Cooking 1:3 ratio for about thirty minutes…less if you want it crunchy. Millet is very high on the GFI, so use it sparingly, and wait til you’ve reached your weight loss goal. Little birdies love it too, but don’t give them too much since millet is high in fat, though good fat. Obviously they like it raw.
Four – Kamut is also an ancient grain believed to have originated in Eygpt. It contains 40% more protein than wheat and provides good boost of energy. People with wheat allergies find this grain a good alternative even though it’s from the wheat family. Kamut has a sweet nutty flavor. If you love your pasta then try pasta made from kaumt. It’s not as high on the GI, so does not raise your blood sugar, and it’s the best alternative that I’ve found to regular wheat pasta. Cook it like rice at 1:3 ratio for forty-five minutes.
Five – Quinoa along with Amaranth are similar grains and both contain about 20% protein. Amaranth is nutty in flavor and stronger tasting than quinoa. It also contains twice the calcium of cow’s milk. Quinoa is a good source of iron, potassium and B vitamins. Cooking: amaranth; 1:3 ratio for twenty-five minutes and quinoa; 1:2 for twenty minutes. Be sure to rinse quinoa well to remove it’s powdery residue.
So there you have it. Some new ideas for adding healthy complex carbohydrates to your diet, while still losing weight. And you thought you were limited to wheat and rice!