The Carb Question

Hello, hello! Happy Hump Day!

Let’s get right to the food, so I can answer the carb question that I’ve received a bunch from readers lately.

Dinner

Last night’s dinner was a winner””definitely a keeper. We had Grilled Honey-Mustard Chicken with Arugula and Plum Salad. The dressing, in particular, was awesome, especially with a bite of both chicken and plum together. Delish.

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After dinner, I enjoyed some strawberries and a little bit of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter straight from the jar.

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Breakfast

This morning, I made a wrap with cashew butter and banana slices inside. I also drank a glass of iced coffee with coconut-almond milk.

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The Carb Question

So, a lot of you guys have asked me why I’m not eating as many carbs and whether I’m trying to lose weight by reducing them in my diet. I’m not trying to lose weight. If anything, I wouldn’t mind gaining some muscle and looking like Julie Foucher.

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[image source]

As far as cutting carbs, I’ve definitely reduced the type of carbs in my diet. You’ve probably seen more starchy veggies and dairy, but less bread and oatmeal on CNC, right? Ok, let me explain why.

After Mal went to his Level 1 Certification for CrossFit, he came back with his mind totally blown. One of the first things he said to me was that we (him and me + Americans in general) eat too many carbs. I mean, think about what the USDA recommends we eat.

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As you can see, MyPlate is divided into sections of approximately 30% grains (carbs), 30% vegetables (carbs), 20% fruits (carbs) and 20% protein with a small servings of dairy (carbs) on the side. Do you see what I’m seeing? In theory, there’s nothing wrong with this recommendation, especially when you make half of your plate super nutritious fruits and veggies, but there’s no denying that our diets are carb-heavy.

Plus, growing up and living in the US, we’ve become accustomed to supersize everything, including food. Think about the size of a bagel. Most are the equivalent of six or seven slices of white bread [source: Fitness magazine, June 2012]. How crazy is that? Eating a “standard” size bagel means you’ve consumed nearly all of your recommend daily grains.

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[image source: Fitness magazine, June 2012]

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not specifically removing carbs from my diet (hello, I still drink beer and eat Pretzel Crisps),  but instead I’m aiming for a more balanced diet””one with more equal portions of protein, fat, and carbs. I know it might look like I’m eating a Paleo diet, but, as you probably know, I don’t do diets. I love food way too much to ever eliminate an entire food group, but I love how the Paleo diet emphasizes whole foods and a more balanced way of eating, which, of course, is what I’m all about””you know, carrots and cake.

Additionally, eating a more balanced diet makes me feel really good””both inside and out. I’ve noticed that I have more energy throughout the day, especially in the afternoon. I always used to “crash” after eating a carb-heavy lunch, but now I don’t experience that feeling as much. Additionally, eating this way (and reducing my sugar intake overall) has drastically improved my skin. I hardly have breakouts anymore, which is amazing since I’ve struggle with them my entire life.

Switching up the kinds of carbs that I consume hasn’t been difficult at all. Here are some simple carb-swaps that I’ve made recently:

Question of the Day

What do you think? Do our diets include too many carbs?

161 Comments

  1. Hi Tina, appreciate this post. Agree that there are a lot of carbs in our daily diet, personally don’t think carbs per se are the problem but the portion size and food combination are ( the fat plus carb combo that’s easily seen in various food including the bagel w/ cream cheese, cheesecake, and burger where both are the biggest sources of calories).

    I come from China, our diet is 90 % carbs, the country’s obesity rate is under 5% and the average life expectancy is 78 or 80 as I remembered. My best friend is from Okinawa Japan which has the world’s slimmest and longest living population, and their diet is 91-94% carbs. Being in US, something we talk about a lot is the carb horror in America , and we both agree that it’s really not carbs, but how carbs is eaten that’s the real source of the horror – for instance, deep-frying potatoes and making them into fries and chips; eating high carb food with high fat food is another observation — In Asia, people don’t eat a mouthful of fat then pair that with rice, but here a sandwich can have multiple fat ingredients.

    I don’t know if cutting back on carbs is absolutely necessary to be healthy – if you eat 2500 calories of carbs a day and have a 5’5” and 160g body, you probably need to cut back on carbs (and your food intake as a whole) anyways. But treating carbs with such big panic and horror is something I find could be unnecessary.

  2. Once i went on a low carb diet, and ate carbs only at breakfast &/or after an intense workout, i began to see tremendous results. I was reaching my fitness goals faster and looking a lot healthier too. Maybe its not for everyone, but i think carbs should be earned! Since I decided to only eat carbs after a workout, i began workout out daily because i wanted to eat my carbs 🙂

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