Saturday, November 19, 2011
Bye, bye carbohydrates (for now)
Freedom is nice -- don't get me wrong. But can you douse it in tomato sauce and twirl it around your fork? I didn't think so.
Imagine a world without carbohydrates. Without pizza and cold beer, friendships would wither. No lollipops in the doc's office? A whole generation would go un-vaccinated. And forget going to the movies; honestly, what's the point without the snacks? Birthdays, holidays, Happy Hour -- these are mere excuses to eat cupcakes, Bundt cakes, champagne cakes. Pot stickers. French fries. In the culinary world, "fun" is spelled C-A-R-B.
Can you tell I'm hungry?
For the past week, I've been curbing my carb intake. A combination of health, strength and weight-loss goals have led me to conclude that my healthy obsession with pasta, toast, and corn chips at every meal may not be so "healthy" after all. No, I haven't eliminated them entirely (what do you think I am, masochistic?); the only rule is, if I'm going to eat carbs, I have to eat them in the hour after I work out.
(My layperson understanding of why: your body needs carbohydrates after you exert yourself, and whatever "bad effects" carbs usually have, in terms of turning to fat, are negated because after a workout your body is still in fat-burning mode. This especially applies if you've really exerted yourself with high-intensity intervals or something similar -- which I've been doing, miserable and red-faced.)
It hasn't been an easy transition. There are no support groups for Carboholics, no twelve-step program, no sympathy cards for the loss of a loved bread.
But on my uphill journey I've learned that, with every loss, comes a victory: I have, for example, mastered the art of preparing eggs, salads, and protein shakes -- which, given my level of culinary skill (which, on a scale of 1 to 10, is "Can Boil Pasta") are praise-worthy accomplishments. I've learned that "kale" can be steamed, baked, or eaten raw; that carrots taste better when you buy them with the green stuff still attached; that you can basically put anything in an omelet.
And, truth is, working out has actually gotten to be way more fun: after the jump-squats, pull-ups, and kettlebell swings, my final exercise is usually to conquer a heaping plate of spaghetti.
Bring it on!