Thursday, March 21, 2013

Energy Anyone??

Okay people, let me put it out there: human beings NEED carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are probably the most important of the three main classes of foods (carbohydrates, protein, fats) since they are our main source of energy. Carbohydrates should ideally be about 50-60 percent of our daily diet.  I know - there is SO much hype out there about bads carbs, good carbs that people get so confused about the whole thing.  I don't like to classify foods into "good" and "bad" but, just to help clarify things, the "bad" carbs are carbs you should avoid and are considered as simple carbs (sugars, refined flours, white flours, processed foods) and "good" carbs can be found in whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and legumes.

So, we not only need carbohydrates for energy but we also need them to regulate protein and fat metabolism.  With protein and fats, carbohydrates help to promote growth of bones and skin, lubricate the joints and help to fight infections.  On top this, most carbohydrate foods contain a good amount of fiber and you know what that means, yes, smoother flowing bowels folks.

I love using and incorporating ancient grains into my daily diet.  The wheat of today is so processed and refined and even whole wheat flour has been changed from how it originally produced.  As a society I do have to say that too much wheat is consumed.  But there are other wonderful grains you can use: spelt, kamut, oats, barley, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, rye and quinoa are some great examples.  Quinoa, kamut, spelt, barley and millet are considered ancient grains as they have been around for thousands of years.  I'm glad to see more and  more of these grains on the supermarket shelves.  Of course, if you're truly gluten-intolerant you will need to consume whole grains that you are able to digest more readily: brown rice, corn, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth are some examples).

One of my very favorite wheat-substitutes that I use is spelt flour.  Although this versatile flour is a relative of wheat, it has a hard, protective husk that shields it from pollutants and insects, so farmers can avoid using pesticides.  It is a hearty, tasty grain, loaded with fiber, protein and B vitamins and is a potential option for those suffering from gluten insensitivity.  I use it in a lot of my baking and, as I sit here writing this blog, the delicious smell of banana bread is wafting from the oven.

Here's the recipe! (Sorry, I don't have any pretty pictures to post!)

Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 bananas, finely crushed
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Feel free to add some wheat germ or grind up some flax seeds if you like
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and crushed bananas and combine well.
  3. Sift together flour and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture.  Add vanilla.
  4. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!!