Ten Awesome Carbs

Here are ten delicious, natural, smart carbohydrates we enjoy at the Sisson household. For comparison, I’ve included unhealthy but popular items that I think these smarter choices can replace. The flavor and texture components aren’t a perfect match by any stretch, but I think there’s enough similarity that you’ll find it painless to switch to the healthier selections.

10. Baked, buttered, and salted acorn squash instead of french fries

9. Butternut squash instead of spaghetti

This is Mindgraph’s Flickr Photo CC

8. Sweet potatoes instead of potatoes (amazingly, a much lower impact on blood sugar)

7. Grilled eggplant instead of breaded chicken

This is Moria’s Flickr Photo CC

6. Portabello mushrooms with soy sauce instead of hamburgers

5. Raw heart of palm instead of fried mozzarella sticks

This is Lana Stewart’s Flickr Photo CC

4. Tempeh with chili sauce instead of white rice with jug “teriyaki sauce”

3. Green peas with shredded parmesan and olive oil instead of macaroni ‘n cheese

This is Himachal’s Flickr Photo

2. Artichoke hearts baked with a bit of cheddar instead of fried chicken nuggets

1. Caprese salad instead of pizza

This is Avlxyz’s Flickr Photo CC

Further Reading:

My Carb Pyramid

More Top Ten Health Posts

Carbs Are Not the Devil

What are your favorite healthy alternatives to refined carbohydrates?

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[tags] low-carb, healthy carbs, healthy recipes [/tags]

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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20 thoughts on “Ten Awesome Carbs”

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    1. I’m curious about that myself. Peas are a separate genus from beans, but they are both legumes.

  1. Hi Mark,

    Should that be “butternut squash instead of spaghetti squash?”

    I mean, spaghetti, I knew. Avoiding spaghetti squash would be a bit of a bummer for me, though. 😉

  2. I see the mention of using soy sauce. I have recently read that soy is very bad. What do you think of soy?

  3. Fermented soy–soy sauce, miso, natto, tempeh–is generally considered much better than straight soy like tofu. Fermenting is the natural way people traditionally prepared soy foods. You can get a product called “Coconut Aminos” which is like soy sauce made from coconut if you are sensitive to soy.

  4. I have the same question. Just got the book and in reading noted one place peas listed as a legume in another place they are listed as a vegetable?
    What gives?

  5. as far as carb & cheese bakes is concerned, cream & spinach is an AWESOME substitute for me. Just cook spinach with cheese & cream (can just use coconut cream if you don’t do dairy), pinch of salt, until it turns into a rich, gloopy, saucy mush…OM NOM NOM. If you fancy more of a lasagna mojo you can make a bechamel layer (cream, eggs, full-fat yoghurt, bit of almond/coconut flour?) and bake it till its all golden. OM NOM NOM NOM!!!

  6. Posted this here (https://www.marksdailyapple.com/peas-are-smart/) too:

    Peas are “technically” seeds although classed botanically a fruit, it is still a legume. Their position on the Primal stage definitely needs clarification, although the primary difference (!) I see here is that they are eaten fresh, not reconstituded after drying.
    Definitely needs clarification.



  7. butternut squash is sky high on the GI index I’m afraid

    1. It’s actually medium and has a very low glycemic load.

      GI (vs Glucose) 51
      Standard Serve Size (g) 80
      Carbohydrate per Serve (g) 6
      Glycemic Load (GL) 3

      University of Sydney Glycemic Index

  8. Is rice rich in carbohydrates? should i avoid rice as i have high cholestrol?

  9. I bought both books Sisson one and “Primal Body and Primal Mind” by Gedgaudas. To start i think Sisson could be good because he is slowly guiding you out of the bad carbs and grains without being to harsh. Ex; soy, and some legumes. In another hand Gedgaudas is not wishy washy. She tells you what you are allowed and you go for it. I went cold turkey and I enjoy my life with no grains, no wine, no maybe & co… Lost my extra 10 pounds in 3 months and feel 100% better.

  10. And by the way its very easy to cook for non primal if you are primal. Veggies, salad and meat for you and add rice or baked potato for them and once in a while “forget” about their starch and they wont even realised it. My husband lost 8 pounds without even realising that he was on my diet. I make some great veggies add tons of herbs and spices to flavour them and sometimes a touch of cream. He is not asking for his potatoes that night. What you need is imagination.

  11. Still quite new at this. I am eating too many carbs and a bit too much fruit. However, I am getting there and losing weight slowly but consistently. Looking on the bright side, I have completely cut out bread, cakes, biscuits and other grain products.

  12. I am extremely allergic to nuts, coconut, avacados ,fresh pineapple most melons== what am I to do? My HDL is high (80s) but cholestrol, LDL and Triglycerides are high. My weight is 180 at 5′ 1″