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How to eat fewer refined carbs???

From everything I've heard and read, I'd be doing myself a big favor eating fewer refined carbs. I'm thinking it will help control my weight and give me more energy. But I am having the hardest time doing it and I'm looking for tips and inspiration from those who have been there. Reasons this is hard for me:

1. I love love love carbs. Bread, pasta, rice, pizza. I really can't envision life with these items dramatically reduced or altogether missing.

2. Carbs have a much longer shelf life than produce or proteins. I can use them days, weeks, or months after purchase, and don't always need to be running to the store.

3. When carbs go on sale, I can really stock up w/o worrying about spoilage, which makes them relatively cheaper than other foods.

4. If I haven't been shopping and I need to throw dinner together, my vegetables might be half wilted and my proteins still frozen, but the spaghetti can be on the table in 15.

Honestly, I think 2-4 are solvable with some advance planning on my part, and I frequently do some prep work in the evening for the next day (including moving the meat/fish to the fridge). It's #1 that is really tripping me up.

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  1. I know just how you feel!
    Start by replacing your regular pasta with enriched and whole wheat pastas. Do the same with all of your breads. Whole wheat or nothing.
    Just these 2 things will bump the nutritional value and protein up.
    Next, stock your pantry with grains such as quinoa, brown rices and legumes such as lentils.
    Use jarred beans and chickpeas too.
    I know this sounds a bit drastic and not fiscally friendly, but you'd do yourself a great service if you rid yourself of the low-value carbs such as white rice and regular pasta, and start anew.
    You will teach yourself a great deal about what your bad habits are, and where you need to start fixing them.
    And, yes, of course, donate your unused, non-perishable items!

    1. Just look for brown versions of white carbs (brown sugar doesn't qualify). Multigrain and whole wheat for breads, crackers, pasta. Sweet potatoes instead of white. Plain brown rice is chewy and not to everyone's liking, but brown jasmine and brown basmati are closer in texture to long-grain white rice. Quinoa and buckwheat (e.g. soba noodles) are other pasta alternatives. If you bake, use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. It IS 100% whole wheat but a different variety than the stronger-tasting ordinary whole wheat. It can be subbed for half the AP flour in most recipes, according to KA, but I use WWW only when making bread, cookies, bars, and quickbreads.

      16 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        Sweet potatoes instead of white


        White potatoes are not "refined carbs" any more than sweet potatoes are ... they just have different nutrtitional profiles than sweet (or redish-orange) ones.

        The flesh of sweet and regular potatoes are nearly identical in terms of how "refined" they are, which is very. The real nutritional power punch of potatoes -- no matter the type or color -- comes from the skin.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          NSCPC rates the nutritional value of sweet potatoes as almost twice that of white potatoes.
          Furthermore, they contribute to level blood sugar levels, unlike white potatoes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_po...
          I mentioned them because people who want to reduce their refined carb intake are usually looking for the type of health benefits that subbing sweet for white potatoes can provide.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Oops, copied the wrong abbreviation - meant Center for Science in the Public Interest

              1. re: greygarious

                ah, okay, you really had me stumped there! :)

                my trust in and support of CSPI has dwindled with each passing year - i actually just chose not to renew my newsletter for the first time in a decade. FWIW, their claims about potato nutrition don't pass muster with me.
                ounce for ounce, sweet potatoes do provide more vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and fiber (only 1 more gram per 7 ounces) than white potatoes...but white potatoes are higher in protein, phosphorous, iron, potassium, niacin and thiamin.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Exactly. Differing nutritional values does not make one more or less refined than the other.

                  If you're looking nutritional value to determine whether something is refined, then a celery might be one of the most refined foods in the world, iceberg lettuce as well.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I destroyed my metabolism and health following CSPI's cockamamie and completely unscientific guidelines years ago. I unsubbed in the late 90s, when I realized what a bunch of ill informed, dishonest zealots they were by doing my own Medline research.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      CSPI aside, and "refined" aside, sweet potatoes are more nutritious than potatoes and have a lower glycemic index. There are good arguments for eating them instead of potatoes when given the option. Especially in the case of sweet potatoes home-fries.

                      1. re: andytee

                        "more nutritious" is an arbitrary statement. glycemic load per serving is far more important than GI, and the GL of sweet potatoes is only slightly lower than white (14 vs 17).

                        this isn't to say that i'm pushing people to eat potatoes in *any* form, because i'm not. i just hate to see misinformation flying around that leads people to demonize certain foods unfairly.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          How is "more nutritious" arbitrary? I use "nutrient dense" per calorie in estimating such things. I think it's very clear that starchy carbs comparied to colorful, leafy, fibrous low carb ones are nutrient impoverished by comparison. But I'm all about demonizing such free loading foods. :-)

                          1. re: mcf

                            he didn't say nutrient dense, he said nutritious - they're not interchangeable, and nutritious is a very broad term with the potential for very loose and/or varied interpretation.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              ok, i was careless. nutrient dense. sweet potatoes are more nutrient dense than potatoes.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Of the two, I think "nutritious" is subjective in the same way that "healthy" is, so I rely on caloric density vs. nutrient content to make objective comparisons.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Potatoes, in their natural state, are in no way "refined;" they are a completely natural product. They are, however, simple carbs, versus complex carbs.

                3. re: greygarious


                  you use only www. no ap flour? I will definitely have to buy that. How does it change the taste?

                  1. re: lilmomma

                    since it's been a while, I'll jump in - back when I was eating wheat, I used white whole wheat for cookies and most everything else. It's really MUCH less "gnarly" that some other whole wheats that I've had (none of that bitterness).

                    Also, have you considered mucking around with some of the other whole grain flours? I love baking with teff and Montina and the like. If you can blend them with wheat, so much the easier.

                4. Instead of thinking about what you can't eat, think about what you CAN eat. There's a whole world of food out there other than pasta, pizza and bread.

                  24 Replies
                    1. re: MandalayVA

                      Nothing wrong with pasta, pizza and bread.

                      All of them can, and probably should be, made with whole grains.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Whole-wheat pasta simply doesn't taste as good as regular.

                        1. re: Jay F

                          Right. It's disgusting and it's not any better for you, in terms of glycemic effects.

                          1. re: mcf

                            >>>it's not any better for you, in terms of glycemic effects.

                            It's not?

                            1. re: Jay F

                              I think what they are saying is it is still a simple carbohydrate even though it is better for you in terms of nutrition. Kind of like eating short grain brown rice versus white rice. It has more protein than white rice but is still a simple carb and therefore the glycemic index is similar.

                              Personally, I do like whole wheat pasta more than white but it took some getting used to at first. Now, white pasta just tastes like wet dough to me. You can always to to the USDA website or stand in front of bulk bins and read the different nutritional facts about each of the grains. You'll see the difference in nutrition but they are still simple carbs.

                              1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                The *only* reason I'm eating whole wheat pasta is because I understood it to be more diabetic-suitable than white pasta. I also believed this essential betterness would be reflected in a lower glycemic index. Not true? If I have diabetes, should I cut back equally on *all* pasta?

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  YES. Use this as a guide to figuring out what you can eat, at what time of day, and how much. Only thing outdated is the fasting number, it's ten points too high:


                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    I have Type 2 diabetes and couldn't stand the thought of giving up pasta. I also didn't care for the whole what stuff so I tried Dreamfield pasta which claims to be 65% lower on the glycemic index. For me this has been a great option. It's still made with semolina flour but doesn't impact your sugars as much

                                    1. re: Pegmeister

                                      Some diabetics can tolerate it, but most cannot when they test 3, 4 or 5 hours post meal. It has a very late, and looooooooong glucose spike for many. That's why meters are so important; YMMV. The only low carb noodle I seem to tolerate is Carba Nada from Al Dente foods. But mostly, I just live without. I used to be a pasta addict, now I never miss it.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I test 2 - 3 hours after and generally come in around 125. I've cut way back on pasta but just am not ready to give it up. Do like spaghetti squash though.

                                        1. re: Pegmeister

                                          I like spaghetti squash, but it doesn't make much of a pasta sub, does it? I like it as itself. Your meter is your best friend when it comes to figuring stuff out. I'd just encourage you to test for a couple more hours once in a while to see if you're getting the very delayed spike. Also, undercooking it helps, and not eating leftovers or using it in baked dishes, from anecdotes.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            Thank you for the advice; it's actually has me kind of curious. So I will try testing 3-4 hours after the next time I have Dreamfinders. As for the spagetti squash, I love it topped with shrimp and garlic with some broccoli thrown in.

                                            1. re: Pegmeister

                                              If you detect it hasn't come back down to pre meal range, consider testing til 5 hours. Years ago, that's when I peaked, after the rise started at 4 hours.

                                              Your spag squash sounds delicious! I like it with shrim and strongly flavored toppings, too.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            Tell that to my digestive tract. And my blood sugar. PLENTY wrong with them, yes, even with the holy whole grains.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Which are all refined unless you're eating whole, unground kernels. Once it's been made into flour or meal, it's not a "whole grain." Once that happens *and* you cook it, it's a fast sugar, metabolically. Grains are calorically dense with little nutrition per calorie as compared to healthier, low sugar carbs, colorful, leafy and fibrous foods.

                              1. re: mcf

                                But then you're just talking about how we define "refined".

                            2. re: MandalayVA

                              I wholeheartedly second the advice that you think about what you can eat. What works best for me are normal, delicious, real foods that don't rely heavily on carbs. I'd feel awfully disappointed eating pizza with no crust, but Asian lettuce wraps feel like normal food. So do soup, chili, quiche, chicken satay, etc, etc, etc. I also do better when I focus on the whole grains I actually like. I like quinoa, whole wheat couscous, ak mak crackers, brown rice crackers, or the high fiber wasa flatbreads. I do not usually like whole wheat pasta or bread. I also do best when I save the refined carbs for things I really, really enjoy. Fresh chocolate chip cookies, not crappy vending machine candy. I think shopping frequently is a really good idea. It's really hard to feel deprived while eating beautiful, fresh produce.

                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                Having been forced into giving up most of my beloved carbs due to gluten, I have to enthusiastically cheer this point. It is SO much more joyful to think about what you can eat. Explore the wonderful world of grains. Pop amaranth. Figure out a favorite dry bean to soak. Learn what veggie you love holds 5 days in the fridge (kale comes to mind). Learn some funky new flatbreads, with new grains, so you reduce the proportion of carbs in your diet, and maybe up the protein. How about a dosa? Korea mung bean pancake? Socca/farinata? All of those can be whipped up super fast, as long as you plan ahead (to soak/absorb).

                                Heidi Swanson's 101 cookbooks blog comes to mind.

                                1. re: Vetter


                                  how do you pop amaranth? And then how do you eat it?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      :O POPPED AMARANTH. You have likely changed my life, thank you thank you!

                              2. I have to give a shout-out for white whole wheat flour. It makes super light baked goods, pancakes and waffles, bread, even pasta -- where regular whole wheat flour can make stuff dense or heavy, white whole wheat doesn't. I've also heard of people having good luck with a mix of white whole wheat flour and oat flour.

                                You can definitely approach this challenge just by replacing refined carb products with a whole-grain equivalent. You don't have to eliminate carbs, really. I'm a carb fiend too, so I understand the fear! Do look into some high-quality frozen and canned stuff. Canned tomatoes and beans are a lifesaver, and frozen peas and spinach (plus frozen berries) are great to have on hand to add some fiber to a quick pasta-based dinner.

                                As I've gone along, I've found that I like whole wheat pasta and brown rice in some applications and not in others. I haven't gotten rid of ordinary pasta or white rice altogether, but when I do use them, I make a conscious effort to make sure that whatever accompanies them is heavy on the legumes and veggies. Some sauces and preparations just don't go well with the flavor of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, IME, but others go *beautifully* with them. I use whichever works best for the recipe or technique -- which is another benefit of this whole process, namely that you're cooking outside the box. I just invented a really yummy pasta dish a couple weeks ago because I wanted something that would go well with the whole wheat shells I had in my cupboard.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                  >>Some sauces and preparations just don't go well with the flavor of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, IME, but others go *beautifully* with them.

                                  Please, please, please tell us about the beautiful combinations with whole wheat pasta.

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    Here's one I came up with recently. Do use whole wheat pasta even if you normally don't. This is a situation where its rustic texture really shines. If you don't have frozen spinach, feel free to omit it, or you could substitute with arugula or any other green, just saute a little longer. I used pre-shredded domestic parmesan for the cheese, but I could see goat cheese, aged white cheddar, or feta working well too. Would double easily.

                                    1/2 pound of short whole wheat pasta
                                    2 T. olive oil (or more as needed)
                                    1/2 onion, sliced
                                    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or two cups cooked chickpeas)
                                    2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
                                    1 t. cumin seed
                                    1/2 cup almonds, chopped (or sliced/slivered almonds)
                                    1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
                                    salt and pepper to taste
                                    1/2 cup shredded cheese

                                    Cook pasta according to package directions. Dip out about a cup of the pasta water just before draining.

                                    Meanwhile, saute onion in oil over medium heat until light brown. Add chickpeas and saute well until thoroughly browned all around. Add garlic, cumin seed, and almonds and toast lightly. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Toss cooked pasta with chickpea mixture and stir in a little pasta water. Add cheese and more pasta water if needed to reach a slightly saucy consistency.

                                    The key, IMO, is to play up the texture as an ASSET rather than trying to cover it up or disguise it. So, what flavors do you like with, say, rustic whole-grain bread? Or with wheat berries? Or with quinoa?

                                    1. re: LauraGrace

                                      Ooh! Deborah Madison has something like that in her suppers cookbook, and I haven't made it in ages. Hers is chickpeas, parsley and basil, garlic and parm, I think - and so good!

                                      1. re: LauraGrace

                                        A local restaurant serves scallops with buckwheat noodles - the earthy chew of the noodles really heightens the sweetness of the scallops and makes the whole dish more layered in flavor than plain white noodles ever would.

                                        A really sharp pesto, like one made with lots of garlic including the germ or with arugula instead of or subbed for half of the basil, really tastes better with whole wheat pasta, as do bitter greens like turnip or dandelion - saute with a little chopped up bacon, toss in some hazelnuts or pine nuts, and toss with pasta and maybe goat cheese or parmesan if you like. Delicious!

                                        1. re: thursday

                                          What's the germ? Is that the little green sprout in the middle of the clove?

                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                            Yup. Some people think it's too sharp and get rid of it. I'm too lazy, so I just eat sharp garlic. =)

                                  2. Query the internet about a grain called Quinoa. It is very versatile as an ingredient in side dishes. Wikipedia has valuable information about this grain.

                                    1. Just don't, or just go half way.

                                      The big difference between whole and refined are what? Not much. Take your favorite bread and compare the white and 100% whole wheat varieties. The only big difference is the fiber, which is 3-4 times higher in the whole wheat. But, you're still only looking at like 3-4 grams at the high end. Compare it to cooked lentils and calorie for calorie the lentils have double the fiber.

                                      I refuse to eat whole wheat pasta or pizza. And, some situations just demand refined grains for bread and rice. That said, I often eat grainy breads because I like them. White bread is nice, but I also like pumpernickel and others. Depending on the type of bread, sometimes the whole grains makes it better. When it's better, then I eat the whole grain stuff.

                                      Refined grains are pure energy. So, changing it to whole grains isn't going to give you more energy. So, what to do? Do what works for you. The newest, superest, bestest, awesomest, fadest, craziest diet concept is worthless if it doesn't work for you. Since you love refined carbs, which is fine, look for other ways to improve the diet. Switch to whole grains when you think it makes the dish better. Add more vegetables for flavor and cut down on the protein and/or fat. Focus more on changing the things you aren't in love with. That will probably work out better in the end, no?

                                      1. Interesting post...I've been working on the 4 Hour body diet for a few weeks now. It allows you to have one "binge" day when you can absolutely eat whatever you want. for the other six days, you're supposed to eliminate "white" foods (flour, pasta, etc), fruits. It also discourages grains (whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice etc)...think about it -> we fees grains to livestock/animals to fatten them up.

                                        One thing that it asks you to do is eat more at breakfast, proteins should be 30 gms (this is not all protein Atkins diet).

                                        This diet and flexitarian diets emphasize beans which are considered very healthy filling alternative...it allows you to reduce meats, grains, etc. Beans freeze beautifully and are very versatile.

                                        Having said that, trying to cut out rice/pasta/noodles is not easy on a day to day basis. Try your best when you can but it you must, eat it and try to get back to your diet.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                          I've been doing Tim Ferriss' Slow Carb Diet for a couple of weeks myself. The high amounts of breakfast protein make a world of difference and I am no longer tempted to snack before lunch. Like the OP, I too love carbs, albeit the whole-grain variety, having essentially cut out most refined carbs out of my diet except for small amounts or special days. That a "cheat" day is programmed in the Slow Carb diet makes it easier to stick to. I have found that I need to consider my cheat "day" a cheat "24-hour period", starting with a mega carb meal on Friday night; I do a long run on Saturday mornings and I have found that my body really does require enough carbs for this. I can't do it on protein and fat alone (unlike weight training).

                                          To the OP--lentil/bean-based soups and stews are quite easy to make (and many don't require a lot of time), plus they freeze well.

                                        2. You can make whole grains like steel cut oats, buckwheat or amaranth the night before, so that all you have to do in the morning is reheat it and garnish as you like. I don't even bother to refrigerate them after I clap the lid on when the water comes to a boil. There are innumerable threads about steel cut oats here on Home Cooking. I use the rice cooker a few times throughout the week to have brown rice ready when I get home, especially when I have a busy work schedule. That way, I just have to cook a protein and some veggies, which can be done in less than thirty minutes, easily.

                                          Remember you don't have to give up refined carbs altogether. Just practice moderation, and gradually introduce more whole grains so you don't feel like you're compromising enjoying what you eat. If you don't like a food and feel great after eating it, you're not likely to keep eating it.

                                          1. Thanks for the support to all those who responded. I actually eat a lot of the good stuff. Unfortunately a lot of the bad stuff too. So, all the veggies and fruits are there. A moderate amount of lean meats supplemented by beans and tofu (I try to cook a veg dinner at least 3x per week). And I'm starting to get into the bulgurs, spelts, quinoas, and wheat berries, etc. Since my little ones don't enjoy sliced and bagged bread, all our bread comes from an artisanal bakery which I do believe uses the higher quality flour. And I've bought wheat pasta before - it's been fine. I just feel like I need to work on shifting the balance, or proportion, of starch in my diet from center stage to off on the side...

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: sasha1

                                              The vegetarian dinners, while a great idea, probably contribute somewhat to your intake of refined carbs - it's SO difficult to make a truly low-carb vegetarian meal. I know people are always saying that we should try to have meat as a "condiment" for better health, but if you start making meat your focus, you'll find that your consumption of all carbs plummets drastically!

                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                It's not really within my means to eat that way, because I'm making a concerted effort to switch to animals that are raised more humanely and naturally. Additionally, decreasing my meat consumption makes me feel like a more responsible person, a better steward of the planet if you will. So that's not a viable solution for me personally.

                                                1. re: sasha1

                                                  eggs and legumes are more budget- AND eco-friendly than meat, and will give you tons of options for satisfying high-protein meals.
                                                  plus, they have long shelf lives so you can stock up when you find good deals and keep them on hand...eggs will keep in the fridge for *weeks* past the date on the carton, properly stored dried beans and legumes will last as long as those grains you love so much, and the canned ones will keep for several years. AND, you can whip up an egg dish or something with canned (or pre-cooked dried) beans in minutes.

                                                  so much for reasons #2, #3 and #4! ;)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Black soybeans, in particular, are high in protein and almost every gram of carb in them is fiber, so it's not all digested. Very economical source of protein. OTOH, animal protein is better used by the body and the one truly good source of bio available iron.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      You stumped me. I've never heard of black soybeans. How are they sold? Canned? Fresh? Dried?

                                                      1. re: sasha1

                                                        Eden Foods canned black soybeans are in most groceries and health food stores, or online. They also sell them dried, in bulk. Here's the nutrition label:


                                                      2. re: mcf

                                                        good call on the black soybeans. of course i can't eat them (grr), but the OP can!

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Sorry! Folks with thyroid issues usually should avoid soy, I know.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            hey, no need to apologize to me - it's not my thread! i just have to whine every so often about all the delicious things i can't eat ;)

                                                  2. re: biondanonima

                                                    One easy way to achieve a better protein/vegetable/starch ratio is to use a round plate, mentally dividing the diameter into thirds. The center third, which is the largest area of the plate, should be the vegetables.

                                                2. One thing I believe in for a general diet, not a low-carb diet, is to cut back on fat intake.
                                                  1 gram of fat/oil is 9 cals while protein and carbs are 4 cal per gram.

                                                  Cutting back 1 gram of fat give you a 2x calorie saving.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                    But not a body fat saving; people who eat higher fat lower carb can lose twice the weight on 50% more calories because fat does not stimulate fat storage hormone at all. Carbs do it the most, protein about half as much, fat not at all.

                                                  2. For years I ate whole grains and stayed away from white processed flour, rice, etc. Then I reconsidered. I tracked my food, fiber, etc. and with white flour and white rice, I still ate about 35 grams of fiber. Since that's more than recommended, it seemed pointless to try to get more fiber into my diet. When I have pasta, bread, rice, I eat less and make it the way I love it and eat less. Divide the plate into 4, 1/2 should be veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains white or not. If I want more pasta after that, I eat a whole serving of vegetables first and then eat a little more pasta because I don't have room for much more.

                                                    Other than planning ahead, I will use frozen vegetables if I'm in a hurry. They last forever, like pasta and other grains, for those times you don't have time to shop. You can also stock up when they're on sale. You really can't beat them for a quick meal.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Whole grains are preferable to refined ones not only because they provide more fiber, but because they are digested more slowly and therefore provide a steadier stream of sugar to the blood, rather than sharp spikes and dips. That's not a concern for everyone, obviously, but if it is, brown's the way to go.

                                                      That said, the proportions chowser indicates & the focus on portion control rather than exclusion are excellent tips to live by.

                                                      1. re: benbenberi

                                                        I've been using a meter to test my blood glucose after eating for many years. I can tell you that any starch, with wheat the worst, is rapidly absorbed and causes a higher spike than protein or fat, which cause basically none. Only whole kernels, which mostly pass through you undigested are okay.

                                                        1. re: benbenberi

                                                          Minimally for pasta, a little more so for rice but not substantially. If you look at the glycemic load, whole grain pasta has a glycemic load of 16 vs white pasta which is 18.


                                                          Besides which, I never eat pasta plain or any starch for that matter. I usually have fats, fiber from other sources along with it, protein (love my peanut butter on toast). Someone who is concerned about blood sugar spike would avoid all starches, as mcf said, whole or processed. Generally, though, whole grains aren't a bad thing, especially since most of America is deficient in fiber. Personally, I don't like them as much and if I'm not enjoying it, and it's not that good for me. I'd rather not eat it. I think of them as splurges like sugar.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            GI and GL just don't stand up in the individual, though, as predictive of metabolic results.
                                                            My meals are mostly protein and fat by % of calories, but even a few grams of grain, will raise my blood sugar beyond any predictive measure. Quick as table sugar. Once you grind it and cook it, it's a fast sugar.

                                                            The best way to reduce the deleterious effects of carbs is to eat less starch, and replace it with nutrient dense, colorful and high fiber veggies, not darker starches. Ground and cooked whole grains have minimally less harm than refined, really, really, minimally.

                                                            I'm a reformed Pasta Prom Queen, btw. Never thought I could learn to eat the way I do now, much less prefer it. But the benefits have been huge, and that's very positive reinforcement.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              But they taste so good... If a person doesn't have blood sugar problems, eating a small amount of white pasta, or sugar, isn't going to hurt, especially in combination with other food. If you have blood sugar issues, then it pays to do your own testing and be careful.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                Here's the thing about not having "blood sugar problems." That's almost no one, due to the grain based food pyramid implementation. That's how long it's taken for most of us to have diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The years leading up to frank diabetes, folks have normal blood glucose or hypoglycemia due to all the excess insulin they're secreting after eating, until the pancreas is permanently damaged. That's due to high carbs. By the time you have "blood sugar problems" you've lost an average of 50% of your insulin producing pancreatic cells. Testing blood glucose won't help until that horse is out of the barn.

                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                              If you look at glycemic index (and carbs as well), the OP would be better off giving up all bread and all rice (white and brown) than giving up regular white pasta made with durum semolina flour ... just don't overcook it. The Mediterranean diet is shown to be really healthy, so why cut out one of its main components?

                                                              As my Italian great grandmother always said "Everything in moderation" (and she lived to 102).

                                                              Besides, I would rather have a bowl of sauce and veggies minus the pasta than most of the whole wheat pasta dishes I have tried.
                                                              So I still eat lots of pasta, but I add a lot of vegetables and occasionally chickpeas. I also mix it up with some barely and farro which are my 2 favorite healthy grains (I can't believe no one has mentioned them yet). Often I make lentil or legume based meals as well ...

                                                              1. re: lrealml

                                                                All those grains are great options last for a long time. It's so easy to get stuck on the basics: pasta, rice, bread (at least for me).

                                                        2. Think addition instead of subtraction when it comes to this. Incorporate more veggies into your carby meals. Ex: thin crust pizza with shaved parmesan, roast asparagus, truffle oil and an arugula salad on top. With all of the stuff on top, you can easily eat just two slices and feel full. Or doing meatballs in sauce but with a sauce that has grated carrots, zuchinni and tons of chopped onions, on top of a slice of grilled ciabatta.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Dcfoodblog

                                                            Nice suggestions. And, all that makes it taste better, too. I add finely chopped cabbage and mushrooms in my meatballs--extra nutrients and moisture, too.

                                                          2. Oh, you can DO this!

                                                            Regarding #1 on your list:

                                                            Simple carbs are addicting because they do things I am not nutritionally or scientifically smart or knowledgeable enough to repeat accurately but I'll try.

                                                            They spike your insulin and give you a high but then quickly drop you back down again and therefore leave you wanting more or feeling hungry again. Almost like sugar but probably not as much of a high and drop.

                                                            We cut out grains for six of the seven days of the week and it was really only the first week that was painful. We replaced the carbs and fibers with legumes and more vegetables which provide both but they are more complex and don't do the spike/drop thing.

                                                            Either way, we did what an earlier poster said, we switched things out, white rice to brown, white pasta to 'whole grain' (51% whole wheat) and then to whole wheat pasta. The next step, cutting it completely, was not that easy but once our bodies and minds got used to it, we really didn't miss it.

                                                            Saturdays are our off days so we will start with steel cut oats for breakfast...hooray!

                                                            Seriously, you can do it and you will loose weight or at least feel better.


                                                            1. After a long dietary evolution from where you are to where I am now, eating pretty much no starches and no sugar after more than a decade with occasional exceptions, I can tell you that it took a lot of mental and physical adjustments to get here.

                                                              I began by recognizing that I had health issues caused by my carby diet, and when I reduced carbs by half, so many conditions just disappeared almost immediately, that I knew I was on the right track. I didn't think I could possibly learn to love protein and fat meals, so I did it gradually, by increasing proteins, adding foods with fat (cheese, nuts avocados...) and cutting starches down radically, cutting out sugars. I added grilled and roasted veggies to meals, salads with nuts, avocado and cheese.

                                                              That left me better, but while keeping whole grains and some fruits, I was still bloating and getting hypoglycemic after meals (sleepy, shaky, low energy, brain fog) so I cut the carbs some more. The problem for years was I kept looking for ersatz low carb substitutes for my old carby favorites like bagels, etc. Over time, I just stopped that, and have focused on reducing grains and sugars while improving the quality of meat and dairy I buy (grass fed, organic, a luxury I am fortunate to afford), wild fish, organic non starchy veggies.

                                                              If I'd tried to eat the way I do now at the beginning, I don't know if I would have made it to this point.
                                                              So if you have a sandwich or wrap, cut the bread part in half and use twice the meat and cheese in the filling. If you eat pasta, try making it a serving of a cup as a side portion and make a protein with fat the main thing that forms your meal, with plenty of colorful salad and veggies. Snack on nuts and cheese sticks, not pretzels or chips, or crudite and dip, or nut butter on a Wasa cracker with high fiber... Keep adjusting until your weight, health and energy tell you you've hit the sweet spot. I think it varies from person to person, with age, heredity, health status and activity level.

                                                              That's what worked for me, and it's been working for over a decade. I no longer care if I ever eat a bagel, pasta or pizza again, but I never would have predicted that years ago. I don't miss them, and I really don't miss how they made me feel. I didn't realize how bad they made me feel until it stopped when I cut them out.

                                                              26 Replies
                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                So very well said, mcf!!

                                                                ""The problem for years was I kept looking for ersatz low carb substitutes for my old carby favorites like bagels, etc. Over time, I just stopped that,""

                                                                Totally how it started for us. You think you miss it at first only to realize you don't.

                                                                We missed bagels and pizza at first and on a couple of our first days off we made ourselves sleepy and icky-feeling with that stuff. We just don't miss it anymore.


                                                                1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                  Ditto. I've stayed away from starchy carbs and sugar for over a year now and have found that it gets easier every day. I don't care if I never eat that stuff again.

                                                                  1. re: Lixer

                                                                    I think the longer you go, the hormonal cravings that high insulin levels trigger go away, and then all the things that feel better reinforce the carb lowering with improved energy, health and mood. And you have to do your due diligence finding creative ways to use the new menu items. For me, anything I used to serve over or alongside a starch, gets spinach saute, spaghetti squash, turnip puree, or some other low carb veggie substitute. It takes time and reading low carb cooking and diet groups to get a well built full time diet.

                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                  "If I'd tried to eat the way I do now at the beginning, I don't know if I would have made it to this point."

                                                                  That's very interesting, mcf. Like you, I've been LC for about 10 years now, but I went cold-turkey - from bread or pasta at every meal to Atkins. I found it easier just to say NO than to cut back gradually - I think that's probably a personal thing though, and has as much to do with personality as it does with the addictive properties of simple carbs.

                                                                  Now that I've maintained my weight loss (more or less) for a decade, I am actually starting to allow myself a little more leeway with carbs (mainly in the form of additional vegetables, berries and a few grains). I've been doing an intense workout program (P90X) on and off for the past year and I feel better and have better performance with a few extra carbs. However, I still eat less than 100g carbs a day, somewhere around 15-20% of my caloric intake usually. The trial and error phase can be frustrating, though, and I think that was another benefit of the Atkins approach - there were strict rules, but all you had to do was follow them and all would be well!

                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                    It always worked me and I've always kept my weight down. I practice induction once or twice a year (at least once after the holidays) because I can slack and not fit into my clothing where a few pounds makes a big difference at my size and weight. You're right, it does get easier, but the first few days are always a killer. After that you feel so much better. I'm interested in the 4 hour body diet posted above, I'd like to research that one (luv to eat posted above).

                                                                    1. re: lilgi

                                                                      That is the one that we are on, the 4-hour by Tim Ferris. My guy is a formerly obese person and he needs to have a regular diet plan to remain at his healthy weight. I participate because if I eat something, he wants to eat it too. I'm probably similar to you in size, very tiny and a few pounds make a big difference. I like my size and shape and his old plan of calorie counting left me HUNGRY!

                                                                      This new low-simple-carb plan is actually enjoyable to me. I feel better, have more energy, am not hungry, don't miss the carbs or sugars, lost nine pounds to put me back at my old pre-40 weight and when I look in the mirror, I look different. Not sure how to explain it, leaner, more muscle without being muscle-y? More tone?

                                                                      Surprisingly, to us at least, we crave.....not carbs but the food we eat everyday, protein, legumes and veggies. On our first day-offs (the plan calls for one day off the diet per week), we craved grains, cheese and sugar. Now, we just eat like normal and add the extra calories to keep in tune with the plan. Oh, and we have some grains like steel cut oats.

                                                                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                        Thanks Minkey I just ordered the book. I like what it allows you to do, so looking forward to reading more about it.

                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                          I've tried to keep pretty much to this 4 hour diet plan. Like that I pretty much can eat as much as I want as long I stay away from the whites refined foods, fruits, grains. I have to admit though the weight loss hasn't been as dramatic as some of the people who have blogs. Lost around 4-5 pounds but that's OK, I'm headed in the right direction and probably around half off my loss target of around ten pounds.
                                                                          Presently considering pressure cooking my own beans though as some of this BPA stuff (canned) has me thinking. By the way, PC blue label beans are pretty good, pretty low salt compared to some of the other brands out there if you don't want to cook your own beans.

                                                                          1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                                            Is PC blue label the same as Safeway low sodium? I used to buy those since they have such low sodium, then Eden but mostly we just cook our own beans now.

                                                                            We don't have a pressure cooker so we soak everything for either a few hours or overnight. Lentils and black eyed peas don't need soaking, everything cooks pretty quickly but fava beans take all day.

                                                                            Try cooking your own and you'll be pleasantly surprised how much money you save.

                                                                            Don't let the slow weight loss deter you, you might be building muscle while losing fat and muscle does weigh more than fat. Plus, the book says lots of stuff about what to consider if the weight isn't going fast enough such as sticking to it regularly, drinking the huge amounts of water, keeping each meal big enough so you don't snack, small enough so you aren't stuffed and making sure you have your breakfast 30 minutes to max 1 hour after waking up.

                                                                            By the way, I DID have a bagel today, my off day. It was pretty darn good but I wasn't craving it, it just sort of happened that we all stopped for bagels.

                                                                            1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                                              Minkey and LUV--I'm doing this Ferriss Slow Carb thing too. I've certainly lost weight, because today I took off my jeans without unzipping them (though I did have to do a fair amount of wiggling to make it happen!) And I'd pretty much weaned myself from snacking well before this, but now I am satisfied and don't think about food for about 6 hours or so; then I start getting a little hungry. BUT (and a big but(t)), WHERE ARE YOU GETTING ALL OF YOUR EXTRA ENERGY! On this (and every low or lower carb plan I've tried) I feel much LESS energetic. I do cardo 4 times a week (row twice, run twice), with an endurance (for me!) run once a week. Today I ran 12 miles (I've got a half-marathon in a few weeks) and I felt awful for most of it--very tired legs from the get-go, which is unusual. How large are your servings of beans (i'm wondering if I'm not eating enough of them).

                                                                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                WRT energy issues and tiredness, you usually need to replace some electrolytes in the beginning and for workouts; potassium (Morton Lite Salt), sodium and magnesium.

                                                                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                    Some folks, if they go very low carb (or very low calorie) will have their T3 thyroid drop, too, if they were borderline before. That can also make you feel less energetic. Could be worth checking out, if it doesn't get better. How long have you been at this? I felt like total crud for the first few weeks of very low carb.

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      I don't feel like "total crud"--I just have less energy than I used to when doing cardio (no issue with weight training, which has been going quite well). I also don't feel as energetic as before (though probably still more energetic than the average bear). Have always had normal T3 and doubt that's the issue. Possibly work stress (I'm a college professor and have some research deadlines looming--I should probably be working on some analysis for my conference paper instead of reading chowhound!) I am also less prepared in terms of training, as the winter was very cold and very long--as such, I didn't run during the winter, doing my endurance work on a rowing machine instead.

                                                                                      I'll keep at this for a couple of weeks longer before I switch over into my pre-race carb-loading diet (although I am a sample size of one, I find that conscientious carbo-loading improves my endurance and my pace). Maybe I'll get an extra boost and set a personal best (I'm just coming off a personal best in the last one I ran, in November). Wish me luck!

                                                                                      ETA--I would like to point out that I was formerly morbidly obese, but now I weigh 100 pounds less than I did when I graduated high school (decades ago :) I've maintained that loss (within about 15 or so pounds) for many years, largely by being more active. I've also felt my most energetic when I was eating low fat (which is how I lost the weight in the first place). I switched to a lower carb regime about 6 months ago.

                                                                                      1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                        Good luck AND congrats! And yes, you should be working on your conference paper. :-) Have you heard of cyclic or targeted, ketogenic dieting? You get the benefits of fat burning and reduced carb, and you just do targeted carb ups for specific workouts. Alternatively, you could just stay low carb and keep some dextrose drink or energy gel for running. I know that endurance athletes make an adaptation in metabolism after three weeks on ketogenic diets, and are less likely to bonk due to being less dependent upon glycogen during endurance events. In any case, great achievements.

                                                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                          since your T3 is normal you might want to get your testosterone & progesterone levels checked. dietary changes can affect *all* your hormones, and if your test or pro is low it would definitely explain your reduced energy level.

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            I'dd add DHEA S to that list of suggestions; sex steroids are converted from it. Or pregnenolone, since all adrenal steroids are derived from it. It's made from LDL cholesterol, a good reason not to lower it.

                                                                                  2. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                    I was born with limitless energy! I drink tons of water, make sure I'm getting tons of complex carbs like veggies and don't over cook my veggies. We take vitamin D3 every morning.

                                                                                    Other than that, I'm not sure! I think part of it could be that we changed our sleep habits. We are in bed and winding down by nine and we turn out the lights and head for sleep by ten.

                                                                                    Hmmm, we are distance hikers too, last summer we met so many goals that our final summer goal was 26 miles and we even met that at 28 miles in ...August I think. During the winter, we snowshoe a ton so we can stay ready for summer. We also do the Ferris kattle ball (kettle bell?) exercises and mystatic crunches three times a week.

                                                                                    You could also do one of those vitamin tests to make sure your not low on anything. I don't bother with those because I hate taking vitamins. I do like vitamin c but that is because i consider it to be candy!

                                                                                    I have two jobs, go to school to hopefully one day finish my degree and garden when the snow melts. Honestly, I'm not sure where the energy comes from.

                                                                                    Electrolytes are a good point. I can't have sodium or any salts that are not thoroughly monitored but I do work them in carefully. I sweat a ton so I have to monitor that too as low levels of salts can affect my syndrome. I take an electrolyte water that comes from my doctor, not a prescription but not the kind of stuff from the market either. It has exacting measurements so I can add what I need when I need it without going overboard. My body does really well if the potassium or sodium comes IN food such as fresh celery (for sodium) and fresh crimini mushrooms (for potassium). Supplements or power bars are things I stay away from as they seem to affect my syndrome differently.

                                                                                    Hmm, I meditate and have been doing so since I was little so maybe that helps too?

                                                                                    I eat about a full cup of cooked legumes four times a day. First off, when we started the diet, we ate way too much and were kind of tired and full. Four meals are a lot and I was used to eating two meals a day, sometimes one.

                                                                                    I eat about 1/2 cup of meat four times a day and at least a cup of veggies four times a day.

                                                                                    We try to get a mix of both raw and cooked veggies, spinach is almost always cooked unless we have salads, chard, kale, cabbage all get eaten both cooked and raw, depending on how we feel.

                                                                                    I hope that gives some ideas. But, really, I have no idea where my energy comes from!!

                                                                                    1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                      Hmmm--I eat three times a day. I do take a couple of supplements (Vit D, fish oil, magnesium).

                                                                                      BTW, watch out with the chewable C--that will wear down the enamel on your teeth pretty quickly! I know they taste like Sweet-Tarts, but chewable C isn't necessarily ery good for you.

                                                                                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                        4 cups of cooked legumes per day? is that right? that's 100 net carbs per day, just from beans. wow. sorry, but i don't consider that low-carb. i gain at anything over about 30ish.

                                                                                        i realize we all are different and i was a starch/pasta/beans/crackers fiend. i went cold-turkey via atkins 19 months ago and have never looked back because i feel so great and lost 30 pounds. i've had bites of bread and slices of pizza, but always with the mindset of "just this one piece." (and could count on one hand how many occasions this has occurred.) before it would be 3-4 slices easy.

                                                                                        my better health, sleep and appearance, plus research, have convinced me grains are evil. i don't believe subbing brown rice for white makes much difference in the insulin dept. my grains were almost all "healthy" and "whole", as per the food pyramid. bollocks. it broke my insulin response.

                                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                          Right, the threshold for low carb/fat burning is about 100 grams of carb per day. 4 cups of legumes would not be a low carb diet. It may be much lower carb than the other poster used to eat, though.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                            Oh, sorry, I should be more clear. I am not on a low-carb diet, I just don't eat simple carbs. I do, however, eat complex carbs and enjoy them quite a bit.

                                                                                            1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                                                                              White potatoes and white flour are complex carbs. That's kind of a moot distinction in health or metabolic terms.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                "... I am not nutritionally or scientifically smart or knowledgeable enough to repeat accurately but I'll try."

                                                                                                Sorry, looks like my disclaimer isn't helping. I only do what my partner does because if it works for him, then that is great. Here is what he does, which not only works for him but is also working for me:

                                                                                                Sunday through Friday: No sugar (which includes grains, fruit, sugar, sweeteners, sugar alcohols), no processed foods (which we define in our own way, you may ask me how I define this but do not expect an answer anyone else can understand or agree on), no grains, no dairy except a little butter and a little cream.

                                                                                                I'd prefer not to try to justify my methods or understandings. I just thought it might help the OP to know that I, the rice queen, could give up "refined carbs" (define as you please, not worth my trying to understand or explain to others who know more).

                                                                                                As per our understanding of the book that I have not read, only my partner has read it, we are also avoiding certain "white" foods including potatoes and tofu. If the book recommends the food, we go for it even if it does not fall into a certain category.

                                                                                                I've never taken a nutrition course, I know nothing of the finer details of nutrition or nutritional values or the way in which foods are accurately defined.

                                                                                      2. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                                                        The coffee situation concerns me, I think there's less allowances on this one than Atkins but I'm still waiting for the book. Already stocked up on lentils ;)

                                                                                        1. re: lilgi

                                                                                          Started this on Friday, first binge will be next Saturday (8 days) and every Saturday thereafter ;D Posting my Lentil soup recipe and I'll be making Momofuku's kim chi (will have to wait a couple of weeks for that one). Will post if anyone wants that one.

                                                                                          Lentil Soup
                                                                                          (about 4 quarts)

                                                                                          1 medium yellow onion, diced
                                                                                          6 garlic cloves, slivered
                                                                                          2 celery stalks, diced
                                                                                          2 large carrots, diced
                                                                                          1 teaspoon smoked paprika
                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
                                                                                          1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, rinsed and stemmed
                                                                                          4 small bay leaves
                                                                                          3 cups homemade chicken stock or broth (or 2 (12-oz.) cans broth)
                                                                                          2 (18-oz.) cans San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
                                                                                          8 cups water
                                                                                          2 pounds green lentils
                                                                                          1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
                                                                                          salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                          (I add sorrel when I have it.)

                                                                                          Saute the garlic and diced vegetables in a large stock pot, just long enough to sweat the onions for a few minutes without browning the garlic. Stir in s & p to taste, smoked paprika, oregano, bay leaves, and basil. Add the chicken broth; let it come to a boil. Add tomato puree and water; stir and allow mixture to come to a low boil. Decrease flame, add lentils and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, and s & p to taste; mixture will be thick. Pour into container(s) and allow to cool before refrigerating. Add a bit of water to loosen the the mixture while reheating to serve.

                                                                            2. Honestly, I think you need to decide whether you want to do this or not.

                                                                              My experience is it has helped my health, weight, and energy levels a great deal, but that's just me.

                                                                              You post, however, reads as a bit indecisive - if you love pizza and pasta and don't want to eat less, it's going to be really hard to reduce your carb intake.

                                                                              I'd suggest some sort of "budget" for the high carb items you love - anything that's a reduction from your current level of consumption will be an improvement. Maybe allow yourself 3 carb-heavy meals a week, or less or more as works for you.

                                                                              Reducing portions of carbs on those days can also help - less starch, and more veggies.

                                                                              Generally, I eat at my best when I'm actively planning my meals. Sometimes I'll keep a pad on the fridge or a page on my computer desktop to jot notes - a list or meals for the next few days to come and a sidebar to jot down recipies I'd like to try out and ingredients I'll need to buy. Planning means you can thaw a protein in advance or shop for the right ingredients ahead of time - those last minute meals are rarely healthy one.

                                                                              Good luck!

                                                                              1. My favorite trick:

                                                                                Replace half the pasta in kraft dinner mac and cheese with veggies, still tastes just as good :)

                                                                                1. A normal American plate ratio is something like 50% starch and 25% vegetables - switch it around. When you plate up your meal, make half the plate vegetables (fresh or frozen or salad if you prefer.) and that'll help fill you up and painlessly cut down on how much of the carby stuff you eat at the same meal. Frozen vegetables are your best friend - three minutes in the microwave and your individual serve is ready for consumption. Nobody can say that's too slow!

                                                                                  Also, the whole-wheat pasta is great. It tastes pretty much the same as regular pasta (DH never even noticed the switch), it costs the same nowadays, and it has fiber in it. The only 'regular' pasta we ever buy is lasagna because the wheat version costs a fortune.

                                                                                  1. Here's a terrifying statistic for those worried about refined carbs and metabolic disorders: a study of newly-diagnosed diabetic women in Australia found that when asked the question "what is your favorite food?", 80% of them answered "potatoes".

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                      As in french fries, perhaps? Just wondering...a baked potato or half of a baked potato WITH skin I thought was not so bad on the glycemic numbers...just saying...can you elaborate, Q?

                                                                                      1. re: Val

                                                                                        Any white potato is a spike food. Higher than table sugar and white bread, IIRC.

                                                                                    2. One whole grain that is truly luscious is farro - especially when made into farro risotto.

                                                                                      Also, be aware that the label "wheat" is meaningless. "Whole Wheat" is the only phrase that means whole wheat. When the waiter says, "white or wheat" you are being toyed with.

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                        Yabbut, it's not as if whole wheat ground into flour is any less bad for you... whole grains are unground kernels.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Can you site any peer-reviewed studies that prove that consumption of whole grains is detrimental to one's health?

                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                            Yes, I can, and in the past I have, often. But the mods here don't want these boards to become clinical science discussions and delete those. If you are seriously interested in the science, check out Gary Taubes book, a thorough evaluation of the related research, "Good Calories, Bad Calories."

                                                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                                                            mcf, I think that "whole" means all parts present rather than "not chopped up".

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              That's how it's mistakenly used, but once a grain is ground, it's rapidly oxidized and becomes rapidly digested. Whole kernels don't, so they don't cause harm. The best part of a grain is the part you can't digest. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                Oxidization is another issue. Once whole grains are ground, they need to be properly cared for and used on a timely basis. We have a flour mill, so we grind our own whole wheat flour and then freeze it. It's still a carb, but it isn't as bad as the ultra-refined or rancid ones.

                                                                                                As far as using/cooking only whole kernals, we chop them up with our teeth, don't we?

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  I don't because I don't eat them in any form on any regular basis. Normal chewing leaves much more of them in indigestible particles than grinding mechanically does.

                                                                                          3. re: sandylc

                                                                                            I don't think pealed (pearled) farro (the common Italian form) qualifies as 'whole grain' (no more so than white rice or pearl barley).

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              Ah...paulj, you prompted a google....whole farro is available....I will search for it and compare it. You're keeping me honest here.....

                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                I've bought whole emmer at the WF that just opened in my neighborhood. There are a couple of boutique farmers in Washington that grow this.

                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                              Not so much toyed with, as the waiter is using a verbal shorthand which most of us understand.

                                                                                              The problem is, as I see it, that a lot of "wheat" bread is not truly whole wheat (partially whole wheat or really "multi grain" which isn't necessarily whole grain) and there is no way to know for sure when you order it. In the bad old days "wheat" bread was often colored with caramel to make it appear more like what we think whole wheat bread is. It is easier to get true whole wheat bread now, which is better for us, because of the fiber which slows sugar absorption, but which is not a good food for those of us who have probs with processing carbs.

                                                                                              I've moved to sprouted grain bread, myself. And the bread I eat at home is the size that bread slices used to be, not the super slices that are commonly found in many whole grain breads.

                                                                                            3. there's PLENTY of advice here, but things i suggest and some of which are already mentioned...

                                                                                              -spaghetti squash -- so versatile. no it doesn't taste like pasta, but it's a great vehicle.

                                                                                              -egg white crepes -- literally "crepes" made from a thin layer of egg whites. i fill with skim or ff or low fat ricotta sweetened with truvia, vanilla, and the like

                                                                                              -meat based chili with TVP as well (textured vegetable protein from soy)

                                                                                              -quinoa flakes - i use these in cookies, muffins, etc. they're also great for a coating for eggplant or chicken or whatever

                                                                                              -roast, steam, bake veggies, then portion and freeze, so they don't go bad. or dehydrate them then rehydrate to cook.

                                                                                              -make soups, portion and freeze -- made a big pot of tomato soup last night... so yummy. or puree of roasted garlic cauliflower soup... or cream of mushroom soup... sub pureed cauliflower for flour to thicken soups...

                                                                                              -vegetable "souffles" or "flatbreads" - both flourless

                                                                                              -use your grains for garnish

                                                                                              -make frittatas -- portion and freeze them

                                                                                              -shirataki noodles, zucchini noodles

                                                                                              -replace pasta noodles with roasted veggies - serve sauce and/or meat on top

                                                                                              -make friends with your crockpot or slow cooker if you have one

                                                                                              -almond meal is an awesome binding agent - i use it in meatloaf, salmon croquettes, meatballs, kugels, etc.

                                                                                              1. We removed a number of posts from this thread. The original poster was asking for tips on how to eat a less carb-heavy diet, not a debate on whether he should even try to make that change.