Reducing sugar intake can be a revelatory experience for many of us. When we think of sugar, refined sugars and sweet treats often come to mind. But sugar isn’t only dressed in white and parcelled up in branded paper bags. Much of the food we eat breaks down into simple sugar – glucose, lactose, galactose… simpler forms of sugar to satiate the brain and replenish muscle energy.
For 21 days my partner and I have been following a reduced-sugar diet as a means to address some post-travel digestive issues. This means not only eliminating alcohol and processed, sweet foods, but also reducing some whole foods that quickly break down into simple sugar. All foods are not created equal; all carbohydrates are not created equal. Sweet potatoes, for example, have a higher fibre content than white potatoes and therefore are less starchy. This means sugar is released into the bloodstream at a slower rate compared to the sugar break-down of white potatoes. Rather than regular pasta, we’ve had high fibre and protein, black bean noodles; rather than eggs on toast we’ve had lentil flour crepes with eggs and green veg. Essentially, we’ve been eating significantly more non-starchy vegetables, paired with multiple forms of protein like legumes, eggs and animal protein.
We currently have 6 days left of this diet and we’re both feeling much better. A diet higher in minimally-processed foods and non-starchy vegetables means we’re consuming carbohydrates higher in fibre and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. A diet that minimizes consumption of processed foods is excellent for health regardless of one’s unique goals, whereas whole foods tend to be more nutrient dense, compared to minimally nutritive, and calorie dense, processed foods. Starchy grains, and delicious baked breads are certainly not evil; there’s no need to avoid these tasty foods. But they shouldn’t take up most of your plate, unless it’s a special occasion or the night before your morning half-marathon. Quality vegetables and whole grains have everything going on to healthfully feed gut microflora, the benefits of which nutrition scientists continue to unravel in their research. In 6 days we’ll be back to brown rice and veggie stir frys, and barbecued dinners paired with chilled wine and fresh vegetables, but until then we’re eating crepes!
Here’s the recipe we’ve been using for Lentil Flour Crepes, and a TEDed video on gut-health that I have to state, is fascinating to watch.
Lentil Flour Crepes (makes 4 medium crepes)
1/2 cup organic lentil flour
1/2 cup liquid (water, or any milk/ milk alternative of your choosing)
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of olive oil for pan
- In a bowl add all ingredients, whisk together and then let sit while pan heats. The batter shouldn’t be thick. It should have the same thickness as raw egg whites.
- Heat large pan at medium heat; add 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the pan.
- With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Tilt pan on all sides until batter is thinly spread around the pan into the shape of a circle.
- Let batter cook until the top is nearly dry, then flip crepe.
Here’s “How the food you eat affects your gut.”