I hope you enjoyed reading my 'products I'm currently using' post :-) I always love reading other peoples' so let me know if you liked mine!
So you may or may not know that I gave up carbs this year over Lent! Last year I gave up caffeine (coffee, coke, chocolate, etc) and this year I decided to ditch the carbs instead. I was initially going to ditch all carbs but after much research I found that carbs have considerable health benefits (including releasing energy) and so I decided just to cut out the...
refined complex carbs!
Which meant, I quit:
* White pasta
* White bread - including rolls, pitta etc
* White rice
* White flour
So I continued to eat wholemeal bread/pasta, and the natural carbs in fruit and veg etc.
So how did I do it?
I didn't eat much white bread before Lent, but over this period I specifically ate wholemeal bread and pitta instead. One of the easiest substitutes I found for white pasta/rice was this microwavable wholemeal rice by Uncle Ben's. It was healthy and filling, but in hindsight I would rather have a bowl of 'real' pasta or rice!
Eating out I found to be more difficult, as there was a very limited choice of carb free dishes in restaurants!
I had one of the few wholemeal pasta dishes on the menu which was Rigatoni Pollo e Spanaci (Rigatoni with Chicken and Spinach).
(picture taken from eatingideas.com as I forgot to take a picture of the dish!)
It was a wholewheat rigatoni with sliced chicken breast, field mushrooms and baby spinach in a creamy gorgonzola sauce and it really was yummy! You couldn't taste that the pasta was wholewheat, which is one of the qualms I have with substituting pasta. The gorgonzola sauce was VERY strong, though! Otherwise the only other carb-free dishes on the menu were salads, which I didn't fancy.
You can visit the Bella Italia website here.
The thing I really liked about Wagamama is that you could substitute any of the noodle dishes for the wholewheat version instead! Luckily the dish I chose was made out of wholewheat noodles anyway so I didn't have to make any requests. I chose the vegetarian Yasai Chilli Men.
It contained stir-fried tofu, courgettes, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and mangetout in a spicy tomato chilli men sauce and was served on whole wheat noodles. This was absolutely delicious! Firstly you couldn't tell that the noodles were wholewheat, and secondly I didn't notice that it was vegetarian, either! It was so full of yummy ingredients that I couldn't stop eating it. I would definitely have this again!
You can view the Wagamama menu here.
The bf wanted to visit Nando's, and I tried not to kick up a fuss, but really there was little to eat on the menu that was carb-free! I mean, come on, it's Nando's! In the end I opted for a salad and, coming from an Italian family, I chose the Mediterranean Salad with Chicken.
It contained mixed leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery & olives, and was topped with feta cheese and chicken. It was then splashed with olive oil, garlic & lemon juice. I have to say this salad was actually MUCH tastier than I was expecting! I wasn't even tempted to nick some of the boy's chips! To be honest though, next time I go to Nando's, I will definitely having me a 'proper' chicken dish!
You can view the Nando's menu here.
As you can probably imagine, McDonald's is NOT the best place to eat carb free! After all, it's essentially a glorified burger bar!!! The trouble is, my fam eat there quite a lot (ashamedly) and so I often had to eat there, too. I would always choose a Grilled Chicken Salad.
This is actually really yummy! It's the only salad I like on the menu, as I don't like the bacon there and the crispy chicken doesn't take my fancy. I have to cover this grilled chicken salad in caesar dressing though as it's way too dry otherwise, but it's really filling and I will definitely get it again!
Btw, did you guys know that there's more calories in the deli wraps than a big mac?! (Aside from the veggie one!)
You can view the McDonald's salad menu here.
For me, the hardest part about cutting carbs wasn't the cravings (which were very infrequent) but more the inconvenience. As I mentioned, I've grown up on a fresh, Mediterranean diet all my life (plenty of pasta, pizza, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, etc) and so cutting out pasta is a massive inconvenience. When everyone else was having spaghetti bologanise, I was having bolagnaise and wholemeal rice. It just didn't make sense to me. I think more than anything I've learnt it's silly to try and cut full food groups out of your diet. Can you imagine the cavemen sitting there saying they don't eat carbs? No, they hunt, they gather, they eat! Food was primarily for survival. I agree that to maintain a healthy weight you should eat less of some foods over others (eg less sugar and fat, more fruit and veg) but overall a balanced diet is a healthy diet and there's no reason to cut out food groups unnecessarily!
Rant over :-)
Did you give anything up for Lent?
Let me know!