There is so much hype these days about going gluten-free or doing away with carbohydrates altogether. There are a multitude of claims stating that It's better for weight-loss, allergies and general health. Is is true? Should we all be going gluten-free? Or ditch the carbs? Let's find out if carbohydrates are indeed the work of the devil.
First off, I must say, carbohydrates taste awesome. Not the high in fiber, packed with nutritional density, good for you, carbs. I mean fettuccine pasta, ciabatta bread, and Lucky Charms. All packed with salt and sugar and deliciousness. They are so good and some might say incredibly addicting. But boy, do you pay for eating those suckers all the time. Increased weight gain, low energy and roller coaster moods are all symptoms that you should cut back on refined carbohydrates.
If you get rid of bagels and pasta in favor of packaged food, I think we can all agree you will increase your nutrient intake almost immediately. You'll find you are really left with very little to eat but fruits and veggies (which have carbs!), and animal or plant proteins. However if you decide to go the "gluten-free" route for weight-loss or health, you have to remember that just because a product is gluten-free does not mean it is good for you. All it means is that the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is absent from the product. But it can be loaded with other types of flour, and of course, sugar and fat.
Now for full disclosure. Eight months after giving birth, I was still larger than I wanted to be. I was exercising, eating right, and getting very annoyed that the weight wasn't budging. I didn't even have a specific number in mind for the scale, I just wanted to feel better about myself. Then my sister told me that for two weeks, I should detox my system and get a way from those refined carbohydrates.
It was terrible. I thought I was dying for the first 4 days. Well, really the first 8 days. The cravings were rough. But I pushed through and a month later (yes I went longer than I had to), I was back in fighting shape. It worked like a charm and now I'm able to eat those tasty carbs every once in a while and not expand like a puffer fish. Plus I have more energy and I'm not so moody. So while I wouldn't say that carbohydrates are evil, I would say that cutting out refined carbs AND processed food for a period of time WILL make a difference. You are simply forced to eat more healthfully, because there is nothing else to eat.
You CAN eat carbs and still lose weight! Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but certain types of them are. No more white stuff! Look to nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains like quinoa (which is technically a seed), oats or wild rice.
If you just can't make it through a morning without toast (like me), there are some alternatives. Every day at breakfast I eat Ezekiel Bread, made from sprouted, whole grains. I have to toast it because it tastes like cardboard if I don't. But the stuff is awesome with peanut butter, or just plain butter on it.
So eat your carbs. But just eat the good ones!