What Up? First things first. Let’s talk about the above picture. Zoodles aren’t the most attractive food to photograph. I’m aware. And maybe I need to take more professional pics. But stay with me. It’s good.
Hope your weekend is going just spectacular. I’ve been so productive today already and it’s not even 9 am. Daniel got up before the sun came up to go to work, which means I got up shortly after that, which means I’ve already done laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, sent out some emails, and even wrote this blog. [You can always count on me to humble brag when given an opportunity]. But for real, I have a busy day ahead, and I’m trying to get better about managing my time, so gettin’ it done early.
Here’s a recipe we made I dunno, like 2 weeks ago, but I forgot to post it (see, I need all the help I can get with follow through).
Who all out there likes pasta? Well, not me. But good for you if you do. Actually, no good for you. I don’t know why I said that. Pasta most likely isn’t the best thing for you to eat. AT ALL. Not even the “whole grain kind” — whatever that is. But in America, we want ALL the carbs. And not the good kind of carbs.
Well, this recipe takes out a lot of that guilt you get when you eat too much pasta with your grandparents at Olive Garden on a random Tuesday night, and then you wake up the next morning feeling like hot air balloon.
But before we get into that, here is some info about carbs – and more specifically, glycemic index (haha, I know, so exciting right?) BUT I want you to experience a great life. I want you to feel great, look great, and take steps to get you closer to overall wellness, so I’m going to throw some info at you. And if you’re like me, you like for people to be straight forward with you and not sound super smart with big words that go over your sweet, little head. Haha, you never have to worry about that with me.
If you’re not interested, then cool. Just scroll down to the bottom for the recipe.
Basic Info about Carbohydrates:
Carbs aren’t necessarily bad for you. They’re essential for breaking down glucose in our bodies, which fuels everything from our brains to our muscles. Even veggies have carbs in them. However, not all carbs are created equal. Unfortunately most of the carbohydrates we ‘MERICANS eat tend to be highly processed. They have a high Glycemic Index, which means that when digested, they are broken down waaaaayyyyy quickly, causing blood glucose to rise pretty significantly but only for a short amount of time. Not good.
What is Glycemic Index (GI) anyway?
The Glycemic Index is basically a comparison, or ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. It does this by using a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is pure glucose. A food with a high GI will cause a large increase in blood sugar, while a food with a lower GI will hardly impact your blood sugar at all. Low GI carbohydrates are slowly digested and absorbed, which causes a much steadier rise in blood glucose and insulin levels, leading to sustained energy levels. That is what we want!
Here is why you should care about The Glycemic Index:
-Foods with a high GI will cause your blood sugar levels to spike, while foods with a low GI will not have much impact on your blood sugar levels at all. (You can find charts online that tell you GI levels for different kinds of foods). I also love the CrossFit Zone Diet Favorable Carbs vs. Unfavorable Carbs sheet.
-GI is a great tool for fat loss because it measures how quickly the foods you’re eating break down into straight up sugar in your bloodstream.
-Foods with high GI lead to inflammation: Foods with high GI raise our blood sugar really fast, which leads our bodies to secrete more insulin. If insulin levels remain excessively high for too long, our body eventually becomes insulin resistant. When there is too much insulin in the blood for a long period of time, fat cannot be broken down. No bueno.
-Type 2 Diabetes – Eating foods with a low GI improve blood glucose levels and reduce insulin levels, which are both important for managing Type 2 Diabetes, or better yet, preventing Type 2 Diabetes.
-That feeling you get when your body crashes: Not literally(well, maybe). But we’ve all been there. You eat a big bowl of pasta for lunch, or a plate of fries, and 30 minutes later, your attitude sucks and all you want is a nap. Your body is crashing. Your body hates you.
You can choose foods that have a lower GI to improve your overall health. Because we were born to love carbs – and lots of them, in large amounts – I wanted to give you an alternative to pasta or bread that tastes just as great, but won’t spike that blood sugar up really high. I promise, you’ll still feel full — (you’ll actually feel fuller longer,) and you’ll feel great and still have a productive day: One alternative is Spaghetti Squash
Here are some easy instructions on how to bake your spaghetti squash in the oven.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut Spaghetti Squash in half long ways.
- Scrape out seeds
- Brush the inside of each half with oil (coconut, olive, avocado, or another favorable oil).
- Place cut sides down on a baking sheet and place in oven.
- Pour 1/2 cup water onto pan (haha this is me admitting that I’m not entirely sure why people say to do this, but I just go with it).
- Bake for about 50 minutes, or until you can easily pull pieces out.. like pasta!
Now, from here, there are a lot of things you can do with your spaghetti squash. Try it out with different meats – chicken and lean ground meats are great choices. Don’t forget to add some spices. Basil, oregano, and garlic are good.
Here’s that recipe:
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Pasta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
1 medium spaghetti squash – baked with strands removed and set aside (reference instructions above, and set aside about an hour to do this).
3 regular medium tomatoes (2 for the sauce, 1 diced).
1 tsp olive oil for sauce. 2 tsp olive oil for pan. So, that is 3 tsp olive oil total, which = 1 tbsp total when converted.
1 tsp basil for sauce + 2 tsp basil for final concoction. So, that is again, 3 tsp total or 1 tbsp.
2 cups spinnach
2 medium zucchinis
3 medium chicken breasts (about 12- 15 oz) – chopped and cooked. This is important. Make sure your chicken is cooked on the front end.
1-2 tbsp basil (depending on how much you like)
garlic salt – to taste
pepper – to taste
Make sure your squash and your chicken are both cooked. Then, go ahead and make sauce. Blend 2 medium tomatoes + 1 tsp olive oil + 2 tsp basil in food processor. Set aside.
Spiral zucchini to make little, cute zucchini noodles. We have a cuisinart attachment to do this, thanks for Daniel’s mom, and I love it. If you aren’t as fortunate, you can use a hand spiraler (we have one you can borrow, thanks to my friend Kelly M). Or you can always be boring, and just chop up your zucchini.
Add 2 tsp olive oil to pan. Throw cooked spaghetti squash noodles on. Then add diced tomato, zucchini, and spinach.
Add chicken to pan, followed by basil, garlic salt, and pepper. Allow to simmer together for approx. 10 min.
Serve right away, or store in fridge for meal prep for the week.
Notes: Add other veggies to this too! Mushrooms, onion, or even peppers would be great additions. We also added goat cheese, if you were wondering what that white stuff was.