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Good Grains - By Calgary Avansino

I am a firm believer that life without carbs is impossible to sustain and not at all necessary! Don’t be seduced by protein-only diets, they force your body into a state of ketosis that is unhealthy and leaves you feeling just a tiny bit crazy. Our bodies and minds need carbohydrates for fuel and energy but choosing the right grains is essential. Make good grain decisions and you’ll maintain stable energy levels, have fewer cravings and support a lean physique; make bad grain decisions and you’ll be left feeling bloated, tired and even overweight. Let’s start with the negative so we can end on a positive note. The evil act of processing is what you want to avoid. When machines grind and crack whole grains what’s left behind are calorie dense foods that are nutritionally compromised and just plain inferior. In addition, grain processing creates a much higher insulin response when eaten, and those spikes in insulin are what trigger cravings, contribute to fat accumulation and leave you feeling hungry soon after you eat. A simple rule of thumb - avoid anything white (or off-white, cream and ivory for that matter) especially if it comes in packaging because you can be sure those heavily manufactured, comfort foods are packed with refined flours and empty calories! Start eliminating starchy, processed grain-based foods from your diet and replace them with delicious good grains that provide sustained energy. “Good” is defined by whole, unrefined grains that are less disruptive to your blood sugar levels and will digest more easily and slowly. Some options are wheat-free and others are gluten-free but all are more nutrient rich than your average wheat options. Start by stocking your kitchen cupboard with   Wild & red rice, Teff, Barley, Quinoa, Millet, buckwheat, Bulgur, Kamut, Amaranth. Get to know what they look like, buy them in bulk and start experimenting. Don’t be intimidated by their foreign sounding names – they’re all super easy to cook with water in the same way you would cook rice. Start adding them to soups, stews, stir-fries, salads and porridge. And when you’re baking, give alternative flours like buckwheat, rice, coconut or almond a try - I guaranteed you’ll be thrilled with the tasty (and healthy) results!

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