THE CARBO LOWDOWN: IT’S SIMPLE AND COMPLEX
No, carbs are not the enemy. But a diet made entirely of white pasta, white rice and white bread is problematic. The problem isn’t the carbs in general, it’s the type of carbs.
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple or refined (white pasta, white rice, white bread) and complex (whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables). Simple carbs are stripped of their fiber and nutrients, while complex carbohydrates are left intact, feeding our bodies with the vitamins and minerals we need. And the fiber causes the food to be digested more slowly, preventing a spike in blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index measures the effect a food has on one’s blood glucose levels, and clearly illuminates the difference between simple and complex carbs. White rice has a glycemic index upwards of 75, while brown rice has a lower glycemic index of 55. Quite a difference on your body!
There are some carbs that walk the line, and potatoes are a great example. National Nutrition Month, meet St. Patrick’s Day! Potatoes are a complex carb, but because potatoes are so starchy, they are rapidly digested and do significantly impact your blood sugar levels. However, potatoes are relatively high in antioxidants and are a good source of vitamins and minerals, so they do have some redeeming qualities. Plus, there are some tricks you can employ to turn potatoes into a “better” carb. After cooking, cool potatoes for 24 hours before eating. This lowers their glycemic load and prevents your blood sugar from spiking. And if you want them hot, simply reheat with no adverse effects. Or eat potatoes with olive oil or butter—fat will help prevent the spike in blood sugar as well. Want more tips like this? Join us on the Foodstand app!
Food and diet “hacks” are all the rage, but like with sugar and fat, choosing your source of carbs (complex over simple) and eating in moderation really is the best advice one can get. And it’s a lot more fun that eliminating carbs from your diet completely!
EAT & DRINK
SAVORY BLACK BEAN SWEET POTATO PANCAKES by palaknyc
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
¼ cup black beans
1 cup quinoa flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground allspice
Pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup almond or soymilk
2 scallions, chopped for garnish
Spiced Maple Syrup
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon chili powder or ancho powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
In small saucepan, add maple syrup, chili powder, and butter. Bring to low simmer and set aside.
Mix mashed sweet potatoes and black beans in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, and black pepper.
In a third large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, and mix until completely combined. Stir in the mashed sweet potato mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, use a measuring cup or spoon to pour batter into the skillet. Cook until the undersides are golden, the edges look to be set, and bubbles form and burst on the surface of the pancake (2 to 3 minutes). Flip and cook the other side until golden-brown, about another 2 minutes.
Repeat with the remaining pancakes. Garnish with scallions and spiced maple syrup, and serve.
BROWN RICE BOWL WITH TAMARI HONEY GLAZED MUSHROOM, CORIANDER TOFU AND GREEN BEANS
INGREDIENTS (base your ingredient quantities on how many you’re serving)
cooked brown rice
finely sliced garlic
sliced firm tofu
chopped fresh coriander leaves
First make the tamari honey glazed mushrooms: sauté oyster mushrooms with a clove of finely sliced garlic and a little vegetable oil until the mushrooms take on a golden brown colour. Stir in tamari (or regular soy sauce) and honey, coat evenly, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Next make the coriander marinated tofu: pat-dry slices of firm tofu and add them to a mixture of sesame oil, salt, garlic powder and chopped fresh coriander leaves. Marinate for about 15 minutes. Pan-fry tofu and drain on a kitchen towel.
Finally, blanch fine green beans in salted water until cooked. Drain, and add a knob of butter to coat.
Add a scoop of brown rice to a plate, followed by the mushrooms, tofu and green beans. Serve.