Monday, May 10, 2010

Vegetable or starch?

Many people think they are eating super healthy and adhering to a great diet and are making some major mistakes daily!

It is a little thing called "starches" or what most people refer to as "carbs". Don't take this the wrong way, starches are very good for you and should be included in almost every meal, but some people don't realize that there are several vegetables that are considered starches and therefore should not be eaten in large quantities, or they should replace your starch.

A meal should include protein, starch and vegetable, the exact amount differs for each person, but we will use myself as an example.

By the way, vegetables are actually "carbs" too, but they have so little carbohydrates in them that when a nutritionist or bodybuilder talks about "carbs" they are referring to "starches".

My nutritionist said I am to eat 4 ounces lean protein (boneless, skinless chicken breast; turkey; fish); 4 ounces starch (brown rice, potatoes, beans) and as much vegetables as I like...this is where you can get into trouble if you don't know what vegetables are considered starches.

I am sitting in my yard Saturday on a beautiful sunny day shelling fava beans that we grew in the picture above. Fava beans look similar to long fat green beans, but you pull the beans out of the pods and throw the pods away. If you are eating fava beans, they would be your starch, not your vegetable.

When I am trying to lose or gain weight, I manipulate my starches. I never reduce protein, and vegetables have very little calories and fat and provide lot's of nutrients so I never reduce those, so the only thing left to manipulate is the starches.

So if my diet calls for 4 ounces of starches and unlimited vegetables, and I eat 4 ounces of rice and two cups of fava beans, thinking I am on target, I just totally messed up my diet! I might as well have had an additional two cups of rice instead of the beans.

What else is in this family? Corn, black-eyed peas and peas.

So next time you load up your plate with steamed corn, a cup of peas and some fava beans along with potatoes and grilled chicken, you have just set yourself up to gain some hefty weight...You should change the meal to be grilled chicken and only ONE of the four items listed, then add a big salad or a different vegetable.