Good Carbs you say…?

Ok so my previous post discussed what is needed for proper nutrition and it basically comes down to having protein, carbohydrates and fats with every meal..

There has been a large shift away from carbs recently and they have been tarred with a similar brush as fats.. But if you look at the physiological role of carbohydrates in the body you’ll soon see why they are so essential.. This quote from my most recent assignment on macronutrients helps to sum it up:

“Carbohydrates are necessary for optimal cognitive performance, to perform best during exercise & to maintain a healthy bowel. Our brain and cells run almost exclusively on glucose, the carbohydrate that circulates in our blood” (McMillan Price & Davie. 2008, p53).

A low carb diet can lead to fatigue, memory loss and headaches, and if accompanied by a high protein diet symptoms of ketosis are not uncommon – In this instance the body burns more fat than carbohydrate for energy and results in the following: nausea, fatigue, bad breath, constipation, muscle cramps and headache.. fun? not really.. Yes burning fat is often the goal of those diets, however it puts stress on the body and hasn’t been shown to be effective long term..

Still with me?

Ok, so don’t freak out – when I said before you need to eat Carbohydrates I meant ‘good carbs’. I didn’t mean white bread, or chips, or cakes – I meant vegetables, lentils, brown rice, wholegrains and seeds, barley and freekeh. I will be posting recipes as I try them using these ingredients, and have pinned plenty of them to my ‘Favourite Recipes’ board on Pinterest..

This also hasn’t been hard to incorporate into my diet – although I have had to overhaul my pantry slightly to include more lentils and grains.. For those living in Melbourne I urge you to check out ‘Spelt Quinoa’ – a gorgeous little shop on Johnson Street, Fitzroy (between Nicholson & Brunswick). They sell all sorts of lentils/grains/quinoa etc by the gram – you just scoop as much as you want and they weigh it for you..

I have really enjoyed playing around with lentils in soups, curries, and salads.. as well as trying freekeh and becoming more addicted to quinoa.

Do you have a favourite recipe or ‘good’ carb treat?


McMillan Price, J., Davie, J. (2008) Star Foods. ABC Books: Sydney.


9 thoughts on “Good Carbs you say…?

  1. Pheasant Plucker says:

    The amount of carbs you need will be proportional to your lifestyle though won’t it? Being a desk jockey I probably need less fuel to burn than someone who digs trenches. What would be a reasonable level of carbs in the diet for someone with a modern-day fairly lax lifestyle? I’m not sure the traditional food pyramid would cut it anymore.

    More importantly, how do you pronounce quinoa? I know it’s not how I think it is.

    • Peppermint tea thyme says:

      No – I have a better food pyramid that I’ll post soon, it’s much more detailed and health based. And you’re right – since carbs are burnt for fuel and stored if not burnt then it is proportional. I’ll update with figures on how much is recommend ASAP.

      And it’s pronounced keenwah :)

      • FlyingDrunkenMonkey says:

        My biggest problem is carbs. God I love a good pasta. Oh and sugar. Love chocolate. Oh and fatty foods. Hmm maybe I just have problems in general.
        I agree about the problem with carbs and lifestyle. I don’t really do a lot of running around and I eat way too much carbs. I try to incorporate other grains but sometimes you just feel like pasta.

        I’ve always pronounced it more kinwah. I know it’s supposed to be keenwah but I feel more like a wanker saying it that way.

      • Peppermint tea thyme says:

        Oh i hear you.. Pasta is my main vice.. and chocolate. I can do without sweets and pastries, and don’t care much for fatty food other than the occasional hot chips, but it really just comes down to moderation :)

      • Lollerskater says:

        I’m with Plucker, with the “fairly lax” lifestyle. I know I also eat too many carbs. I usually have 2 slices of toast for breakfast, and then a sandwich for lunch (I eat rye bread which is around 30%-40% rye and the rest is wheat). Dinner is mostly meat and vege or meat and salad, but we do have a lot of potato as it is cheap and filling.

        It is, at least, nice to know that cutting carbs out altogether is not a great idea. A few people I know have trialled paleo diets and I just don’t think I could do that!

      • Peppermint tea thyme says:

        Carbs to me are comfort food, and with this cold weather setting in they will become the daily staple – but thats ok.. Carbs are not the enemy (white bread, refined sugars and cakes etc aside). As long as we try and incorporate some of the really good carbs we’ll be happy and healthy :)

      • Peppermint tea thyme says:

        Oh and i’ve found a brilliant rye bread – they sell it at Coles in Melbourne, its called Edwards Yeast Free Rye.. Seems to have all natural ingredients (and only the ones bread should have)

  2. Amy says:

    Great blog M!!! :)

    Anything with potatoes is my weekness… Must be the Brit in me. Also a huge pasta eater, cant go past bread either!!! All good for Mental Health, right?

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