24 May 2010

This Week's Theme: Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, probably the most controversial of all the macronutrients. Eat them, don't eat them?... Avoid corn syrup, well, it's OK in moderation... Dr. Atkins, South Beach, is there any real merit?... Who can you trust?!

We'll explore all these ideas, and much more. But I have a bit of an ulterior motive for this week's theme...

The truth is, I have a secret. I. Love. Cake.

My name is Shea, and I am a cake addict... whoo, I feel so much better!

My Plan:

Ok, I know I've spent my first 2 weeks being all Preachy-McGee over here, but this is definitely where I have the hardest time when it comes to healthy eating. So I am actually going to spend at least 2 weeks on this topic. I have a few reasons:
  • The only way I have found to eat healthy on a regular basis is not just to know that I shouldn't eat something; I need to know why. (I asked the "why" question a lot as a kid). I think it's a lot easier to stay away from harmful food choices when you understand the reasons behind it. ...I haven't found enough scary reasons to stay away from carbs yet...
  • There are a lot of carb options out there, so I have a lot to cover. I could easily spend a month on pasta alone! And living in Germany, I have fallen head over heels in love with great bread. 
  • I love to bake. I have a lot of exploring to do in the no-bake dessert arena, as I currently don't have an oven. But sweets are just not something I can cut out of my life. As stated above, I am a closet cake-freak, and general sugar-junkie. Our wedding favors were homemade cookies (about 1000 of them... for a guest list of 110). We had a wedding cake (made by my very talented former college roomie, a great cake hobbyist). And a chocolate fountain. Yes in addition to the cake.
  • I want to show how we can enjoy our little indulgences responsibly. You may have noticed by now, loyal readers, that I have not been trying to show you why you shouldn't eat certain things, but instead, I'm attempting to find the tools (and thus share them with you!) to make better choices. I don't think we should remove cake completely from our diets, or even make a rule that cake can only be eaten once a year or something crazy like that! People just need to be willing to put the work into these little treats. And maybe start using ingredients that might be a little heavier on the wallet, but lighter on our conscience - things like raw sugar, whole wheat flour etc.
I know this site is called "Blissfully Unrefined," and for the most part it's true. Now, I'm not necessarily against refined flour or refined sugar (I have yet to find a reason to be, besides the fact that it's simple carbohydrates and our bodies burn through them at lightning speed). I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with them. Our bodies have the ability to process these things effectively, and incredibly efficiently. But as with anything else, it's about moderation and mostly just avoidance of preservatives, and mainstream chemical flavorings ("artificial" and "natural"). And if there's a better choice out there, we need to learn how to use it, even if it is a little pricier.

Have your cake, and eat your cake, as long as it's real!

What to Expect:

A few things I want to explore in the coming weeks, and posts you can look forward to:
  • Several pasta recipes: balanced, delicious, and healthy (two burners in my kitchen, a mini-fridge, and no oven to speak of, pasta ends up happening a lot, so I have to get creative to keep us healthy). I am also planning a post on pasta making (wish me luck).
  • The hubs' birthday! Apparently, in Germany, the tradition is that YOU bring the cake on your birthday! Yes, I married a nuclear physicist, and yes, the man can bake!! Really, I won the flipping jackpot with him! (Plus, he always cleans up after I make dinner, i.e. every night).
  • Some healthier alternatives to the simple carbs we're all so used to: whole wheat pasta (and if it's really better), raw unrefined sugar, whole wheat flour.
  • I'll be exploring German bread; they are bread gods here. I will probably miss that most when we get back to the States in October... :(
  • And a whole lot more! Feel free to e-mail me (link top right) with ideas or suggestions, or questions. Have a great recipe? Send it along, and maybe you'll be chosen to feature here as a guest blogger! 
It's going to be an exciting couple of weeks; I'm looking forward to it!


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