I think there is still some confusion when it comes to carbohydrates, especially for those of you who are trying to lose some weight. So I want to remind you that carbs play a very important role in our overall health and will actually help you, especially if losing weight is one of your goals...
The bottom line here - It's important to know the difference between simple carbs (processed and refined) and complex carbohydrates which are packed with fiber and nutrients.
Here are 6 reasons why carbs are your friends:
1. Energy! Carbs are the number one fuel for your brain and your muscles. Suggestions for a quick snack or light meal - reach for an organic apple and grab a handful of raw almonds to go with it, or 1/2 cup of organic oatmeal and a hardboiled egg. Combining a little protein with a good complex carb will really keep you going throughout the day.
2. Fiber. Not only does fiber help fill you up with very few calories (helping you to feel full so you eat less too), but fiber will also help keep you regular and flush toxins out of your body.
3. Mood Boosters. Carbohydrates boost your body's feel-good hormone, serotonin. The phytonutrients in healthy, complex carbohydrates, are heart protective. They help fight disease as well as protect the heart against damaging free radicals. So, reach for those dark, leafy greens and make a big salad with some black beans, organic tomatoes and cauliflower. Add some avocado, organic celery and carrots and throw in some walnuts or almonds and have a feast!
4. Good For Your Heart. The phytonutrients in healthy carbs are heart protective. They can help fight heart disease as well as protect the heart against damaging free radicals.
5. Lose Those Inches From Your Waistline. Complex carbs help you to trim your waistline because they help you to feel full longer. It's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day though because you want to stay hydrated and also flush out the toxins and the fiber that will absorb the water.
6. Prevent Sugar Cravings. If you've been avoiding carbs, your brain and muscles will crave energy and seek quick-fixes from other sources like sugar!
Here's a recipe to try that is healthy and a good source of complex carbs and energy...
Swiss Chard, Mushroom and Quinoa Salad
2 cups water or organic chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup organic quinoa
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound organic Swiss chard, stems and leaves cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Rinse well
1 garlic clove, minced
1 box of organic mushrooms (your choice) washed and rinsed
1 ounce shaved parmesan cheese (1/2 cup) for topping (optional)
Herbs and seasonings of your choice - I like basil, thyme, and rosemary.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water or broth to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed all liquid (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, use more oil if needed. Cook chard (stems and leaves), stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Add seasonings of your choice. Toss to combine and transfer to a platter.
Add remaining oil and the garlic to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until garlic is lightly golden. Add mushrooms, stirring occassionally until they are tender. Stir in quinoa; cook to heat through. To serve, divide chard among plates and top with the quioa mixture. Sprinkle parmesan over each portion.
Until Next Time,
"Live Now - Live Well!"