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Complex Carbs and Why They're King in a Paleo Lifestyle

The Paleo lifestyle is not a low-carb diet but a healthy-carb plan. You begin to live the Paleo way when you drop unhealthy refined carbohydrates and replace them with vegetables and fruits.

To understand carbohydrates' role in your body function, you need to know a little about glucose and insulin. Carbs are your body's go-to source for quick energy. Your body transforms all carbohydrates — from whole-grain bread to broccoli florets — into glucose, and your brain and cells use glucose as a primary fuel source. Activities like reading this book, running a mile, or hugging your kids are all made possible by glucose.

Insulin is a hormone that helps your body store fat for later energy use. If you want to control the accumulation and reduction of body fat, you need to control insulin — and to do that, you need to eat the right kinds of carbohydrates.

Knowing which carbs to eat is critical because the sources you choose directly dictate your insulin level. When insulin production is under control, weight loss and optimal health are the result.

The best carbohydrate sources are local, organically grown fruit and vegetables. Choose fruits and non-starchy vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow to cover the full spectrum of nutrients. Dark-colored fruits, such as blackberries and blueberries, are packed with antioxidants, and deeply colored veggies, like carrots and kale, are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Here are some delicious examples of non-starchy vegetables:

  • Asparagus

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Eggplant

  • Onions

  • Peppers

  • Spaghetti squash

  • Summer squash

  • Tomatoes

  • Vegetable greens: kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach, and so on

  • Zucchini

Steer clear of starch- and sugar-laden carbohydrates sources like white potatoes, rice, corn, breads (including whole grain), cereals, pasta, fruit juices, and sodas. These sugars are instantly absorbed and will affect your blood sugar insulin levels in a flash.

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