I realized as I sat down to write this post about zucchini noodles that outside a recipe for a Thai noodle stir-fry, I have never done anything with pasta on this blog, which is kind of weird, as I love pasta. In fact, if it contains carbohydrates, I can pretty much guarantee that it’s on my list of favorite foods and it’s been this way as long as I can remember. But let me add this, my relationship with carbs is not really on the up-and-up, it’s kind of seedy. (And at this point, I get rambly and personal, just an FYI.)
I read and keep up with the latest, so I’m aware, as are you, that refined food is not that good for you, that anything made with white flour is a poorer choice than, say, whole wheat flour. So over the years, I have cut back on white, processed carbs (baguettes, pasta, doughnuts and the like), but I have still missed them and felt deprived. Which has led to either (1) indulging and feeling guilty the whole time or (2) over-indulging and feeling disgusting, literally (because my body would rather pass on the junk) and figuratively (because I know better). I have switched to whole wheat pastry flour for all my baking needs and but this doesn’t really lessen the guilt and makes me feel more disgusting (because there is more fiber in whole grain, so the lump stays in your stomach longer). This is a problem.
I am going to interject here about my oldest boy, he is sweet and thoughtful and funny and for a week while I carried him, a little bun in my oven, I was furious at him. I didn’t pass my three-hour blood glucose test and was faced with being forced off sugars of any kind for five whole months. I knew that he would never appreciate the sacrifice I was making for him and I resented him. A lot. (Crazy hormones!) But it was quit sugar or birth a seventeen pound baby, so I quit cold turkey and unbelievably, after just a week, I felt amazing and didn’t even miss the sweets. I had no back pain or swelling or heartburn and weighed less when I delivered than before I got pregnant. Amazing, right? So then what did I do? I jumped right back on the sugar wagon. And felt sluggish and gross. Repeat that cycle once again, add a few more years and this is where I’m at a couple months ago.
The carb/sugar deprivation-indulgence cycle is just not enjoyable and if you’re there, too, you know this. Combined with a desire for more energy and alertness (as I mom and frequent exerciser, an extra boost is always welcome) and an overall interest in being really healthy and setting a healthy example for the boys, the Mister and I embarked on something totally new.
We are now eating paleo.
Not familiar? Here’s a quick run down: no grains, processed foods, vegetable oils, dairy, or legumes. Yes, it’s extreme. No, it’s really not that hard. A friend of mine says, to paraphrase, “if the food is in the form that God created it, then that’s what you should eat” and that’s really the whole idea: eating foods that help your body function best and still have their nutrients, and don’t have a bunch of other stuff added to them. After about 6 weeks of eating this way, we both feel fantastic. I’m not starving between meals, or dragging in the afternoon, and I can focus better. I’m going to stop here because I’ve made this a little long, but will pick it back up later. If you want more information about paleo, check out the resources section of this fabulous and funny blog, Nom Nom Paleo.
Let’s circle all the way back to the beginning and what we were talking about: zucchini noodles. In the new way I’m eating, traditional noodles are out, and I’m cool with that. But sometimes I just want the feeling of sitting with a too-full bowl of twirl-able pasta. Enter: zucchini. With a julienne blade on your mandoline (or a julienne peeler) you can slice and cook a bland squash into faux-pasta faster than boiling water for real pasta. I’ll be honest: zucchini noodles are not going to taste like pasta, no matter how fancy you cut it. However, it tastes better than just zucchini and feels like you’re eating a bowl of noodles.
Here’s the recipe and you can click to print, but I don’t think you need to, it’s pretty easy. If you Google “zucchini noodles” you can find tons of recipes, but this is inspired by the first recipe I read on The Clothes Make the Girl.
Have you ever tried something new that everyone else might think is totally crazy? What was the reaction from the people around you? Did you succeed?