Pasta: a childhood favorite to many has a pretty bad reputation for being high in carbohydrates, fats, and calories. Eating lasagna becomes a guilt-full experience, and ordering noodles while dining out leads to one thinking of all the ways to burn the calories working out the next morning.
Should consuming food be of such experience? Bursting with guilt, remorse, or even deprivation? Or should it be an experience of nourishment, gratitude, and bodily sustenance?
More than 80 percent of the food found on shelves of supermarkets did not exist 100 years ago. Processed food has turned to the rise of restrictive diets, some with an excessively limited calorie intake, and meal replacements such as highly-processed bars or shakes.
Transforming to a diet full of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats, can optimize your health, remarkably. The more you obsess with eating natural foods, or packaged items with just a few ingredients that you could actually pronounce, the less you need to obsess about calories and portions.
While it may be challenging to stop at a few pieces of deep-fried potato chips, how much broccoli can you really munch before you feel you can eat no more?
Pasta unfortunately, can be extremely unhealthy, as the readily popularly-eaten ones contain enriched bleached flour, preservatives, and genetically-modified ingredients. Additionally, non-whole grain pastas are excessively processed, have no dietary fiber, and are merely empty calories.
Due to the high carbohydrate count, pasta could cause your blood sugar to spike, and cause undesirable cravings thereafter. Many sought-out restaurants add a load of processed cheese, inflammatory oils, and low-quality protein, which results in a pasta dish detrimental to your physical and mental well-being.
Although restaurants may serve gluten-free pasta, it does not make it automatically a healthy food. I discuss this further in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Evidently, there is no better option than preparing your favorite pasta yourself, using brands you trust, and ingredients you can recognize as food.
When it comes to gluten, indeed many do find relief in removing gluten from their diet, as more and more are being diagnosed with intolerance to gluten and dairy. With the rise of readily available gluten-free foods, I’ve had many clients ask if they should opt in on gluten-free, too.
First and foremost, it becomes a concern when eating a gluten-free diets becomes an obsession with anything labeled gluten-free; suddenly gluten-free cookies, crackers, chips, baked goods, and drinks. True, the item may be free of gluten, but can be excessively high in added sugar, fats, and chemicals to make-up for the texture change due to omitting the gluten. Moreover, a gluten-free cookie or cracker is still processed, and it’s crucial that you don’t make the “gluten-free” label a green light to just place an item in your cart. While many companies offer such items with clean ingredients, do be cautious and read your labels.
After coming across the certified organic and non-genetically modified pasta line of Explore Cuisine, clients have been exclaiming their excitement and relief at a product they love and trust. It’s not relatively easy to find a gluten-free pasta that’s delicious, or doesn’t lose shape with cooking. However, Explore Cuisine proved it’s simply possibly; with pasta made of chickpeas, spaghetti made of lentils, or fun-shaped macaroni made of rice or beans.
Their pastas are extremely high in plant-based protein, iron, dietary fiber, and a myriad of other nutrients. Clearly, eating pasta does not have to come with guilt, bleached flour, or empty calories, but can come with satisfaction, a burst of vitamins and nutrients, and perhaps even a smile. You can purchase Explore Cuisine pastas at your local health food store, or via online retailers.
Next week, I will share a mouth-watering pasta recipe you can make even on a tight schedule, that’ll satisfy your kids and spouse alike.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.