Oh Carbs, you make us so confused. Whose great idea was it to name carbs the earthly personification of Satan, anyway?
Carbohydrates are wonderful and very much necessary in that they are the primary sources of energy for our body. They are what gives us that humpf to run that extra mile or lift that extra rep.
Carbs are your friends, but like with real friends it all depends on the crowd you’re hanging out with. You remember that back stabbing mean girl in high school who told your secrets and made up rumors about you? Well, simple carbs are rude like that. A simple carb is, like the name implies, simplistic: One dimensional and without a lot to offer. Superficial. Practically an air-head.
On the other side, you know your real-life sidekick and BFF, who always laughs at your jokes, is straight-up honest and loves you regardless of what an ass you can be sometimes? Complex carbs are that buddy. A complex carb is elaborate and multi-layered: It has depth and richness, with so much to give and just wanting what’s best for you. A real bro.
But let’s not get too far ahead. It is important to properly identify our saboteur, so let’s learn more about her, that simple carb. For research purposes we will give her the scientific name of Meaney McSugar.
Meaney McSugar lies, but has endless charm and good taste. How can something so good be so bad, many have asked after falling prey to her allure. She’s a threat because right away she makes you feel good and lets you forget about consequences– it’s all about instant gratification. Make no mistake, it doesn’t matter if you see her every once in a while or if it’s a lifelong friendship; Meaney McSugar is on a mission: To steal your energy and withdraw from your metabolism account. Like a gold digger, but of physical functions.
Like any professional swindler, Ms. McSugar has a vast array of costumes and disguises. These are a few of her more commonly known alternate personalities:
High fructose corn syrup (found in most, if not all, processed foods)
All simple carbs turn into sugar in our bodies. Technically complex carbs do so, too, the difference being that complex carbs give us a more gradual and steady release of energy without the sudden crashing and cravings for more.
Simple carbs are nasty because they provide calories without any nutrients. This is referred to as empty calories. Empty calories make you fat because they can’t be as easily metabolized by the body. It’s so much sugar that the body, in its infinite wisdom, says Ooooh I’ll store this shiz up for later… but with our current sedentary lifestyle ‘later’ never comes, and it all gets stored. Excessive sugars + sitting on our ass = a bigger ass. Quite simple, really.
But it’s not difficult to turn the cold shoulder on Meaney McSugar’s tricks once we know how to avoid her. You just gotta ditch the bad influences and go back to your real pals.
The good news is that complex carbs, like true friends, are always there when you need them. You’re surrounded by them in every trip to the store, you just have to learn to notice them and appreciate them.
Complex carbs that are kind to you and take care of you include whole wheat bread, brown rice pasta, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, romaine, tomatoes, bananas, strawberries, homemade oatmeal, beans, lentils, peas, brown rice, brown rice noodles… basically all vegetables, all fruits, all legumes and whole cereals. These dudes have got your back. They’ll never give you up. They’ll never let you down. They’ll never run around and desert you.
Think of complex carbs like the turtle bro in Finding Nemo, all Duuuuude, I’m just hanging out and cleansing your insides with this wackload of fiber. Rockin’.
And to celebrate the wonderful world of complex carbs, I give you:
Your BFF Balsamic Pasta
1 1/2 C Whole wheat noodles
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow onion
stuffed green olives, to taste
Balsamic vinegar vinaigrette (recipe below)
Olive oil for sauteing
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Cook the pasta according to instructions, and drain. Saute the thinly sliced onion, peppers and zucchini in a little bit of olive oil making sure temperature remains low (otherwise the oil goes rancid with the heat). Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Make your balsamic vinaigrette in the meantime.
Balsamic Vinegar Vinaigrette
I like to keep the oil-vinegar ratio 2:1, meaning that whatever amount of oil you use, use half of that of vinegar.
4 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
Process all ingredients in the blender. Once your vinaigrette is ready, combine the whole wheat noodles with the vegetables, toss in the stuffed olives and dress with vinaigrette.
Now go call your real life BFF and tell them they’re your complex carb, the whole wheat to your bread, the brown to your rice, the quinoa of your life. Then laugh when they don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.