good bad carbs

If you’re thinking about adopting a macrobiotic diet, or you’ve already done so, one of the questions you might currently have regards carbohydrates. Many people new to this lifestyle, and even people who’ve been following it for a while, wonder how they should correctly manage their intake of carbohydrates. Is it possible to eat too many carbs on the macrobiotic diet? We’re going to try and answer that question and more in the guide below, so read on now to find out more about this important topic.

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Can You Eat Too Many Carbs?

Healthy or complex carbohydrates (brown rice, barley, oatmeal, polenta, couscous etc.) are an essential part of a healthy way of eating as they offer a vital source of energy and balanced nutrition. Afterall, our body runs on glucose, which comes from unrefined carbohydrates. These healthy carbs  break down to glucose slowly through the digestive process to nourish our body and mind. In addition, healthy carbs help you feel fuller, regulate mood, promote heart health, improve digestive health, boost metabolism and sharpen mental function. However, it is important to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy carbs. Of course, refined flour products and fried carbs such as donuts, pastries, cookies and chips, etc. are unhealthy. Unrefined or naturally processed carbohydrates are the healthy carbohydrates that are an integral part of the macrobiotic way of eating. 

Snacking Can Present Problems

One of the major ways in which people tend to go a little too far when it comes to consuming carbs, is through snacking. If you think of popular snack foods, you’ll see that they tend to be quite heavy in unhealthy carbohydrates. Many people over consume carbs by snacking throughout the day. When you’re snacking in a way that’s not present and mindful, it’s easy to just graze and not pay enough attention to how much you’re actually eating. The best remedy for snacking is to make your meals more satisfying through a wider variety of dishes and combinations. If your meals are too simple or repetitive you tend to snack more. 

Mindfulness is Key on the Macrobiotic Diet

The macrobiotic way of eating emphasizes mindfulness. Eating slowly without doing other things helps to regulate your appetite and reduces the need for unhealthy snacks. When you focus on how you eat your food and eat at regular times, you’ll feel more satisfied. Snacking throughout the day disturbs your digestion and interferes with the satisfaction of our meals. You will notice the benefits of these changes in a short period of time.

Your Digestion System Doesn’t Work 24/7

Eating at regular times harmonizes your digestion and all aspects of physical, emotional and mental health. Our digestive system isn’t able to constantly work 24/7. It has the greatest ability to receive and process nourishment two or three times a day. The ideal meal times are breakfast by 8:30, lunch between 11-1, and dinner between 5-7:30. These are starting times generally specific throughout the world. Although, in hot climates people tend to eat later to deal with the excessive heat.

Complex Carbohydrates Are the Centerpiece of Healthy Meals

So here are some tips:

  • Plan your meals around grains, grain products and beans. This includes brown rice, barley, millet, bulgur, couscous, oatmeal, polenta, udon and Italian semolina pasta, and unyeasted sourdough bread. 
  • Include a variety of starchy vegetables in your meals such as onions, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage and parsnips for greater satisfaction.
  • Use a variety of macrobiotic cooking preparations and always try new foods in order to keep meals exciting and adventurous. One of the reasons we don’t continue to follow a healthy diet or snack is boredom and feeling limited or restricted in what we can eat. 
  • Create meals based on cuisines you enjoy. 
  • Don’t skip meals, especially lunch. Lunch is the most important meal to eat consistently. Lunch literally resets our biological clock,
  • If you do snack, keep it small enough to not let it interfere with your regular meals. Great snacks include leftovers, nuts, seeds, steamed sweet potatoes, soy milk or vegetable juices.

Incorporating Carbs Into Your Diet in a Healthy Way

Include a variety of healthy carbs in your meals to alleviate cravings for unhealthy carbs. If you’re often snacking on chips and baked goods, try adding more lightly cooked, crunchy vegetables such as quickly steamed greens and blanched vegetables. These bright and crispy vegetables help satisfy our need for crunch and make us feel more satisfied in general. The variety of grains, beans and vegetables ensures that you will have the most complete and balanced nutrition and satisfaction. Experiment and add new dishes and combinations for the type of cise you enjoy the most.

For more information and recipes that utilize good quality carbs, check out the “Good & Bad Carbs: Carbs are Your Friends” Webinar For more details, click here.

If you need further guidance, schedule a macrobiotic counseling session. With over 45 years of experience, Denny Waxman is ready to help you feel better through diet and lifestyle. Contact Denny Waxman today.

For more interesting articles about nutrition, macrobiotics, and living a healthy lifestyle, please visit Denny’s macrobiotic blog.