Ahhhh, the nineties. The era of Jared and the Subway diet and fat-free everything. When ordering whole wheat made you feel like a saint. Because at least it wasn’t white! And Panera made fast casual a “thing.” Bread bowls. Bagels. And baguettes, oh my!
The nineties were a great time to be a carb lover.
But today, notsomuch.
I just started a new session of Lift to Get Lean last week and, as with every session in recent years, I have several members who have expressed their fear of carbs. They aren’t worried about eating too many carbs. They are afraid of eating ANY carbs. This, my friends, is an issue.
Carbs are NOT our enemy! But, with keto and paleo everything right now, I can’t say this surprises me. These types of restrictive diets prey on people’s fears. For a slight few of the population, eating low to no carbs is a medical necessity, but for those of us who are just looking to lead healthier lifestyles, avoiding carbs altogether is 1. Not realistic and therefore 2. Not effective. Just as fats were the outcasts of the nineties and we have since realized how absolutely vital fats are for proper functioning, so to do carbs have very important roles in maintaining our health.
One of the greatest things about carbs are they help you build muscle. Yes, that’s not just the job of protein. Athletes know that they need carbs, not just to build muscles, but also to have sufficient energy for their workouts. Carbs supply quick energy to the body! And restricting them, over time, can wreak havoc on your body including creating hormone imbalances, sluggishness, anxiety, etc. And, let’s be real, restriction of carbs usually ends up in downing a whole bag of twizzlers or drinking all the pepsi.
So, for those who get nervous just thinking about the bread bowls or footlong subs of yesteryear, I have a mantra for you. Better carbs NOT fewer carbs. I’ll say it again for the carb-phobes in the back...BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS! We need to be focusing on eating more nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates instead of those simple guys (think soda, white bread and sugary desserts) who give all carbs a bad wrap.
Now we all know veggies are good for us. Whether you’re a kale hater or not, chances are you know leafy greens are healthy carbs that should be a part of everyone’s diet. So veggies are a complex carb given, but other great carb sources include brown or wild rice, quinoa, beans, legumes, oats, potatoes or sprouted grain bread. I totally understand wanting a sweet treat so snack on fruit instead of candy, cookies or cake. Berries are always a great choice. Especially on some yogurt. Yum. I love to add some banana to my protein smoothies. A good rule of thumb for picking your carb sources is asking yourself how processed the carb is. If you’re reading a label and see a lot of words that end in “ose,” you might just want to grab a cutie instead. Because, again, it’s all about BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS!
Vive le carb!
Fear not the carb!
Steve Madden wedge sandals are best left in the nineties. But carbs...those bad boys are timeless.