Very, very edible. The folks at Fiber Gourmet recently plied me with a selection of their one-of-a-kind “light” pastas. Hey, I’m not one to turn away free food, so I gave their spinach, tomato and standard pasta noodles a taste try. The Fiber Gourmet folks say “since fiber has 0 calories, as the fiber goes up the calories go down” – hence the “light” labeling. As you all know, I’m cautious about the types of carbohydrates I consume. I rely on vegetables for the majority of my carbohydrate intake. I do eat some starchy carbohydrates such as brown rice, legumes, yams, quinoa and sprouted grain bread. But typically I don’t eat more than one starchy serving per day. Pasta, in particular, is hardly one of my favorites because it is refined wheat, making it high in empty carbohydrates that have a rapid, deleterious impact upon blood sugar. This is stressful to the body for a number of reasons, and the scientific evidence is compelling: excessive intake of refined carbohydrates is linked to our skyrocketing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And while I understand that “low-carb” pastas like Shirataki can be helpful for jump-starting weight loss, I don’t personally recommend carb substitutes. (Although I am all for the jump start – start somewhere!) My preference against substitutes is not only because I favor whole, unprocessed, fresh foods for both weight loss and health maintenance. I also refuse to eat anything that tastes like cardboard, which seems to be a prevailing problem with light, low-carb and other assorted diet food products. Food will always taste better than a food product. If you can sustain a food product weight loss plan for more than a few months, you’re made of some tough stuff! But seriously, in my opinion, substitutes don’t successfully address the underlying problem with eating unhealthy foods: rather than shifting your cravings to healthier foods, they merely serve as a temporary fix to sate existing unhealthy preferences. All right, Mark, we get it. What about this pasta? Fiber Gourmet pasta is made just like regular pasta, but contains 40% fewer calories (roughly 130 per 2-ounce serving). Of course, I don’t know anyone who can stop after just 2 ounces of pasta – and that’s the problem with carbs. Refined carbohydrates – sugars – are incredibly addictive. The total carbohydrates of this product are not low by any stretch – about 43 grams (18 from fiber and 25 from starch). I recommend ruthlessly aiming for fewer than 20 grams of refined carbohydrates in a given day. In fact, I think we’d all be better off if we avoided refined carbohydrates entirely. Now to the taste factor: The Fiber Gourmet pastas tasted good – exactly like “real” pasta. Texture was not gritty, gummy or weak. The exception was the spinach pasta, which didn’t hold up well with the olive oil and sea salt I doused it with. The flavor was pleasant enough, but an actual spinach salad would have had better … Continue reading “Low-Cal, High-Fiber Pasta: It Exists! And It Is Edible!”
Carbs, Diet & Nutrition
All right, I’ve had my ranting fun. Fortunately, there are lots of positive things going on in the world of convenience food, and I want to highlight a few of them now. Here are three convenience foods you can order when you’re busy and starving that are (in a pinch) healthy for you! Keep in mind, these aren’t winning any big health awards, but they are signs of progress. I wouldn’t make fast food a habit, but there are reasonable choices available if you are willing to look. And please share with us what healthy to-go items you’ve found.
Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken
A tad high in sodium, but on the plus side, a good amount of protein, fiber and only 300 calories. Leave off the sugary dressing! Jack’s Asian salad has more sodium, 100 more calories and several more grams of sugar, so…
2. Jack in the Box:
Chicken Fajita Pita
Only 200 calories, this light veggie-filled pita isn’t as full of whole-grain fiber as I’d like, but it’s a pretty decent choice. Con: this is very high in sodium, so don’t make it a frequent habit. (High sodium is the major problem with even the lighter, greener fast food fare.) Tip: Ask for extra veggies and hot sauce.
3. Taco Bell:
Taco Salad Express
Yes, I pick on these guys for having a “Fourth Meal” campaign, but their salads are all right if you leave off the fried stuff. Not winning any health awards, mind you, but a darn sight better than most fast food. Upgrade this salad to grilled chicken and don’t eat the chips.
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[tags]Fast food, McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, asian salad, chicken fajita pita, taco salad express, fourth meal[/tags]
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