Low carbohydrate diets are now the craze in the U.S.A. Fast
food stores even offer hamburgers in lettuce rather than in
buns (still with the fats of meat and sauces). Breads and
pastries modified for lower carbohydrates are now making
fortunes for suppliers. “Low carb salads”, still drenched
with high fat dressings, are offered for “dieting.”
This is a costly, stupid, perhaps health threatening fad.
When I was growing up, I did not understand that biblical
quotation of “Man does not live by bread alone”, attributed
to Moses (old testament, torah) and Jesus (new testament).
Well, I understood that the message was meant to be “People
have spiritual as well as physical needs.” But I had no
idea how people could live very long on bread. At that time,
I was used to spongy white bread with no character.
Somewhere along the way, I learned about whole grain breads,
and how peasants through the centuries had lived mostly on
dark breads that Marie Antoinnette would have rejected, with
occasional fortifications of cheese, eggs, sometimes meat.
Peasants tended to eat vegetables, but knights and nobles
often dismissed such as “farmers’ fare”, preferring lots of
meat, alcoholic beverages, pastries. Few people lived long
in those days, so statistical studies of life span versus
diet were not performed. (Statistics were not well known.)
So I read up on bread recipes, found a few health gurus who
argued for blends of whole grain wheat, cornmeal, rye, and
soy flour. A fairly recent development is triticale, a long
sought hybrid of wheat and rye. Why these blends? It turns
out that grains and legumes can provide all the balanced
protein that we need, without meat. Verrrry interesting!
Also, such blends contain valuable dietary fiber.
The prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”, is now
explained. Properly made, bread really can be “the staff of
I have learned to love Asian foods that make heavy use of
soy beans, such as tempeh and tofu with noodles and stir fry
vegetables. I usually am turned off by soy based foods that
pretend to be something else, such as soy burgers, soy
cutlets, soy cheeses. In fact, the fake foods not only can
taste far from real, but those which contain Hydrolyzed
Plant Protein (HP) inflame my tongue and cause me anxiety,
just as foods with a lot of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
Side observation: a chunk of land producing balanced protein
from grains and legumes can support about 20 times as many
people as the same land producing four legged meats. Oh, and
the people getting most of their proteins and calories from
plant sources are far less likely to have heart attacks,
strokes, cancers, et cetera, than the big meat eaters.
I have written elsewhere that selecting sensible foods means
one never has to count calories. I’ll go further and say
that most carbohydrate restrictions are dumb.
Here are the only carbohydrate restrictions I recommend.
• all refined sugars
(cane, beet, high fructose corn syrup,
sorghum molasses, maple syrup, etc.)
• beer in large quantities
• anything made from white flour, even if “enriched”
If you have a craving for sweets that you just can’t break
(which I don’t belive), learn how fruits and nuts together
can taste very sweet. Also, the unsaturated fat in the nuts
(or edible seeds, such as sunflower) will satisfy hunger
with no risk to the arteries. My favorite is raisins and
almonds, perhaps with some fresh red delicious apple slices.
Pasta, preferably made from whole grains, is healthful, if
not served with lots of cheese, oil, sauces which contain
oil, sugar, cheese. Noodles with little meat is a main menu
item in the Orient.
Oh, about carbohydrates in potatoes: they are harmless if
you don’t add butter, margarine, fat from frying, sour
cream for topping, and other insults to a great food.
People in parts of Central and South America eat little
more than potatoes of traditional breeds.
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Dr. Donald A. Miller is author of “Easy Health Diet” http://easyhealthdiet.com/diet.htm, “Easy Exercise All Ages” http://easyhealthdiet.com/eeaa.htm, and numerous free articles on health http://easyhealthdiet.com/articles/.
Seven of ten deaths are caused by preventable diseases.