Peaches

The C Word. Admit it, bread scares you. What if I told you there were healthy—actually really kind of important—carbohydrates you should be eating regularly? I know, we hardly know each other, but trust me on this.

If you’ve read Michael Pollan’s seminal book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, you likely retained this very important slice of information pie: the human diet is totally whacked. Why we weren’t built as simple as kittens is anyone’s guess. It’s no wonder we’re so intelligent (instead of cute and furry)… we need brainpower to think about eating the ‘right’ foods, and even still, we get it wrong most of the time.

It’s nothing personal, Dr. Atkins, surely you were just trying to reverse an extreme obesity epidemic, but everything in moderation, ok?

Here’s the deal: aside from animal flesh and pure fats, most every other food has carbs. The good news, though, is good, really. Carbs are not only important for brain and muscle function, energy and strength, but they help keep your cells healthy so you can fight off diseases. Here is our top 5 carbohydrate list:

  1. Fruits: Nature’s candy is so good for you; it’s kind of unbelievable. A great source of healthy carbohydrates, fruit fiber slows sugar absorption so you burn it off more efficiently. And fruit is loaded with lots of super vitamins like my favorite, vitamin C.

  2. Vegetables: There’s a reason Mom insisted you eat all those Brussel sprouts. Many veggies are carbo rich and also an energy and fiber powerhouse meant to be consumed daily.
  3. Beans and Legumes: Beans gets such a bad rap, but here’s a secret: rinse off the water beans were cooked in to reduce gas. Beans and legumes are a super source of carbs as well as protein for your Meatless Monday. Plus, they’re so versatile and tasty; you’re missing out if they’re not a regular staple in your diet.
  4. Nuts and Seeds: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….are actually so good for you it’s kind of like another Christmas present. All nuts and seeds are a source of good carbohydrates. My favorites are walnuts and pumpkin seeds, which are both also loaded with healthy omega fats.
  5. Whole Grains: Brown rice is full of good carbs, fiber and minerals and vitamins found in the hull. The same goes for other whole grains like wheat berries, quinoa, millet and oats. Be careful with grains, though. Allergies to wheat and gluten are sprouting up.

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photo: Jill Ettinger