Wheatless Wednesday seems like a great way to address the growing carb-free craze sweeping the country. Since my own husband falls in this category, I’m constantly looking for good substitutes for the traditional bread and pasta. All carbs are not bad. We need carbs to fuel our bodies, but all carbs are not created equal. The worst are processed and packaged foods with lots of calories and junk, like preservatives and artificial flavoring, with little nutrition. Most of these ‘empty carbs’ are made with white flour, which has had most of the nutrients stripped away, with lots of added sugar or salt.
Wheatless Wednesday provides a great opportunity to be creative and explore healthier alternatives and not just switching from regular pasta to whole grain pasta, although that is a good idea too. I prefer to “eat close to the earth”, i.e. foods with little or no processing. Apples provide a good example. You can have an apple flavored drink (bad), apple juice (better) or eat an apple and drink water (best). The apple drink is loaded with sugar and has little or no juice (read nutrition). Apple juice has some nutrition but much is lost in processing. When you eat the apple, you get All of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, plus fiber and a fuller belly.
Another way to eat close to the earth is to ‘know your food’ and buy locally whenever possible. Buying local usually means fewer pesticides and preservatives and guarantees a fresher and more nutritious product. Have you ever bought produce only to have it go bad in a day or two? “Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.” (www.localharvest.com )
Even though wheat and carbs are not very popular right now, I’m not really declaring war on wheat (although for some people with celiac disease or gluten allergies, wheat is to be avoided at all times) but I would like to make my food calories count. A good way to do this is by substituting vegetables and other more nutritious grains for wheat, most of the time. My goal is to come up with some great new recipes that get me out of my comfort zone and have some fun in the kitchen.