Zucchini noodles

Here is a delicious low-carb “pasta” recipe making noodles out of zucchini which are often referred to as “zoodles”. This is great for those of you who decided to make losing weight your new year’s resolution or for those of you who are trying to reduce carbohydrates in your diet. This dish packs plenty of fibre and has protein as well. For a non-vegetarian option, replace the tofu with your preferred source of meat.

Carbohydrates are good and bad. They provide a quicker source of glucose than protein in those situations when we have low blood sugar (hypoglycemic) and feel like we are going to faint. Carbohydrates are found in many foods including fruits and vegetables but we commonly associate ‘carbs’ with grain products.

Total carbohydrates on food labels will include the amount of dietary fibre but fibre is a carb that isn’t digested. Fibre is important because it helps slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood and can increase satiety after a meal. Non-soluble fibre, that is found in veggies “roughage”, also helps keep your bowels regular. Starches, sugars, and sugar alcohols also make up the total carbohydrates and sugar alcohols are also not digested efficiently which is why xylitol and erythritol are often used for sugar substitutes. A lot of the carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables is present as fibre but some will contain more sugar too, especially the veggies that are starchy like potatoes, squashes, carrots or fruits like bananas, apples, or oranges. As a general rule of thumb, fruits contain more sugars than vegetables do and the sugar is in the form of fructose. The fibre, vitamins and mineral content of fruits makes it a better choice than chocolates, pastries, and other sugary treats.

When choosing grain products, the sugar and starch content will be greater. Choosing whole-grain products will contain more fibre than refined “white” flour items which will have a greater sugar content over fibre

The bad rep of carbohydrates is mainly due to the sugar content. This is why people who are avoiding ‘carbs’ will avoid grains. Sugar is inflammatory and absorbable forms of sugar will break down to glucose which the body uses for fuel. Sugar can raise insulin levels and may result in fluctuating blood glucose levels. Increased insulin can predispose you to a state known as insulin resistance which may lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, and other inflammatory conditions.

Glucose is also responsible for raising your triglycerides (fat molecule) and contrary to what you may think, sugary carbohydrates are the biggest culprit for fatty liver disease. This is because when your cells are not burning glucose for energy, the glucose turns into fat in the form of triglycerides. If you consume a lot of sugar, the key is to be VERY physically active so you can burn that sugar and implement measures to regulate your insulin levels.

Without a constant supply of dietary glucose, our bodies can use protein to produce glucose for energy and fats can also be used to produce energy as well. The basis of the ketogenic diet is to get your body to burn fat as fuel by limiting your carbohydrate intake and restricting your net sugar intake to 2g/day. The paleo diet is a low carbohydrate diet focusing more on protein, fat, and fibrous carbs. Regardless of the diet you are following or just want to eat healthier and feel better when you avoid gluten or grains, this is a hunger-satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Red pepper, sliced long
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into sticks
  • 3/4 cup Broccoli florets
  • 1 large Zucchini, spiralized
  • Approx. 3 tbsp Water
  • 1/2 cup Prego onion and garlic pasta sauce
  • 1/2 Non-GMO Silk (soft) Tofu block, sliced into strips

Method:

  1. Cut the broccoli so you have about 3/4 cup or as much as you would like and steam broccoli until tender.
  2. Add a small amount of water to a frying pan and heat on medium until warm.
  3. Add the carrots and red peppers to the pan and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  4. Add steamed broccoli.
  5. Add spiralized zucchini noodles and cook on low-medium heat, uncovered until they are half-cooked (tender / translucent).
  6. Add the pasta sauce and mix.
  7. Add the tofu and let cook until tofu is cooked and warm throughout about 5 minutes. Feel free to add more pasta sauce if you want a saucier pasta.

Serving size for 2 cups: Energy: 231kcal / Protein 14.6g / Fat 7.5g / Total carbs 29.5g / Fibre 7g (nutrition info from cronometer)

If you are one of those individuals that avoid grains, carbohydrates, fibre, or veggies like onions and garlic, beans or anything else because you notice it bothers your stomach, there may be something deeper going on. Let’s set up an appointment and dig deeper and resolve the problem!

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