Vegetables! What makes them SANE? What makes some more SANE than others?


Non-starchy vegetables, along with lean protein and healthy whole-food fats are a mainstay of the SANE eating lifestyle that makes us lean and healthy.   When we talk about foods in terms of their “SANEity”, it’s important to remember what SANE means.

  • S = high Satiety.  In vegetables, this is directly proportional to water and fiber content.
  • A = non- Aggression.  This means that the food does not cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin.  This has to do with the net carbohydrates contained in the vegetable.
  • N = Nutrition.  For vegetables, this has to do with vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that promote health and prevent disease.
  • E = inEfficiently converted to fat.  For vegetables this has to do with the net carbohydrates and also total protein and fiber content.

What is “net carbohydrate (carbs) level” anyway?  This is the total sugar and starch content of the vegetable minus the fiber content.   It’s important because it is a pretty good indicator of the Aggression of the food.   In many ways, it determines the Efficiency of the food as well; but foods may be a little more inEfficient and nonAggressive  if they have high fiber, because the fiber may prevent or delay some absorption of starches and fats in the gut.    So, “net carbs” is a pretty good but not absolute indication of whether a food may help or hinder fat loss.    Generally if fat loss is a goal, one wants  to eat mainly vegetables that have the lowest  “net carbs” – probably less than 3 or 4 grams of net carbs per serving.

Of course, the other important thing we want to consider is Nutrition.  That is, after all, why we eat vegetables in the first place.    Pretty much all of the non-starchy vegetables are highly nutritions; but there are some that are relatively high in net carbs that we might want to add to our diet just because they’re especially nutritious (and they taste good too!)   These might include:

Carrots

  • rich in beta carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant
  • prevents ulcers and other digestive disorders
  • rich in alkaline elements to help balance body’s pH
  • good source of potassium which lowers blood pressure and prevents stroke.
  • kill germs in the mouth and prevent tooth decay
  • may reduce the risk of colon cancer and  help promote colon health.
  • rich in carotenoids, which our bodies can use to help regulate blood sugar.
  • high in soluble fiber to help reduce blood clots and prevent heart disease.

 

Tomatoes

  • contain awesome amounts of lycopene, with high antioxidant activity
  • help reduce the risk of prostate and pancreatic cancers
  • contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene  vitamin E, and vitamin C.
  • rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure and stroke incidence
  • associated with cardiovascular health
  • healthy for breastfeeding babies

 

Winter Squash and Pumpkin

  • good source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids
  • prevents cancer cell growth
  • prevents cataracts
  • cuts risk of gallstones
  • high in potassium; good for blood pressure

 

Onions and Garlic

  • helps prevent heart attacks
  • improves bone density and prevents hip fractures
  • anti-inflammatory; prevents arthritis
  • prevents cancer
  • kills germs in the mouth
  • make other vegetables taste better

 

Mushrooms

  • rich in B vitamins thiamin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid and folate
  • good sources of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, copper, potassium and selenium.
  • rich source of “umami” taste which enhances flavors of vegetables, meats, fish.

When it comes to nutrition, health, and body composition goals and the way the body handles nutrients, everybody is different.  A naturally thin person may thrive on a diet made up significantly of yams, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin pudding and sweet onions. with a few tomatoes and carrots.   A person who is hormonally clogged with quite a few inches and pounds to lose may enjoy squash occasionally, and use a little sweet onion and some tomatoes and carrots in salads; but may wish to concentrate more on leafy green vegetables most of the time.

Here below is “Dr. Cathy’s Big List” of vegetables, taken from a number of sources, ranked on the bases of reported net carbs.  If your goal is not to lose pounds and inches, you should ignore this and just eat all the vegetables — and fruits — that you love most.   If your goal is to lose fat, you may want to consider concentrating on the foods on the top couple of pages of the chart, and going further down the list occasionally for taste, variety, and great nutrients.

Enjoy real food, have fun, and be healthy!

Cathy

 

Dr. Cathy’s Big Vegetable List (ranked by net carbs)

Vegetable

Serving Size Carbs (grams) Fiber(grams) Net Carbs (grams)
Chives, chopped, raw 1 Tbsp

0.1

0.1

0
Fava beans, steamed 1/2 cup

0.8

0.8

0
Sauerkraut 1 oz.

0

0 0
Broccoli, rabe, raw 1/2 cup

0.6

0.5

0.1
Spinach, raw 1/2 cup

0.5

0.4

0.1
Cabbage, Chinese, shredded, boiled 1/2 cup

1.5

1.4

0.1
Greens, mustard, boiled, chopped 1/2 cup

1.5

1.4

0.1
Grape Leaves 1 leaf

0.52

0.33

0.19
Mustard greens, steamed 1/2 cup

2.3

2.1

0.2
Arugula 1/2 cup

0.4

0.2

0.2
Onions, spring, chopped 1 Tbsp

0.4

0.2

0.2
Artichoke hearts 1 oz.

0.7

0.4

0.3
Lettuce, Boston, Bibb 1/2 cup

0.6

0.3

0.3
Endive, chopped, raw 1/2 cup

0.8

0.5

0.3
Lettuce, romaine, raw 1 cup, shredded

1.3

1.0

0.3
Bamboo shoots, canned, drained 1 cup slices

4.2

3.9

0.3
Cabbage, celery, shredded, boiled 1/2 cup

1.4

1.0

0.4
Cabbage, green, shredded, raw 1/2 cup

0.8

0.4

0.4
Mushroom, crimini 1 mushroom

0.58

0

0.58
Alfalfa sprouts, raw 1/2 cup

0.6

0

0.6
Celery, raw 1 stalk

1.2

0.6

0.6
Lettuce, butterhead, raw 1 cup, shredded

1.0

0.4

0.6
Chicory, chopped, raw 1/2 cup

4.2

3.6

0.6
Mushroom, Large stuffing 1 large 0.8 oz.

0.8

0.2

0.6
Peppers, jalapeno 1 oz.

1.3

0.7

0.6
Truffle 1 oz.

0.9

0.3

0.6
Radicchio 1/2 cup

0.9

0.2

0.7
Radishes, raw 1/2 cup slices

2.0

1.3

0.7
Turnip greens, raw 1/2 cup

3.6

2.9

0.7
Ginger root, raw 1 Tbsp

0.9

0.1

0.8
Parsley, chopped, raw 1/2 cup

2.1

1.3

0.8
Peppers, chili, raw 1 Tbsp

0.9

0.1

0.8
Greens, turnip, boiled, chopped 1/2 cup

3.1

2.2

0.9
Turnip greens, frozen chopped 1/2 cup

3

2.1

0.9
Cabbage, napa 1 cup

2

1

1
Eggplant, cubed 1/2 cup

2.4

1.4

1
Garlic, raw 1 clove

1.0

0

1
Lettuce, looseleaf, raw 1 cup, shredded

2.0

1.0

1
Peppers, hot cherry 1

2

1

1
Pimentos 1 Tbsp.

1

0

1
Zucchini – raw 1/2 cup

1.9

0.8

1.1
Celery, diced, raw 1/2 cup

2.2

1.0

1.2
Mushroom, button 1 oz.

1.4

0.1

1.3
Broccoflower, steamed 1/2 cup

2.6

1.3

1.3
Cauliflower, steamed 1/2 cup

3.6

2.2

1.4
Lettuce, iceberg, raw 1 cup, shredded

2.8

1.4

1.4
Spinach, boiled 1/2 cup

3.4

2.0

1.4
Squash, yellow 1/2 cut

1.8

0.4

1.4
Asparagus, steamed 4 spears

2.6

1.2

1.4
Cauliflower, raw 3 florets (2 oz.)

2.8

1.3

1.5
Fennel, braised 1/2 cup

2.8

1.3

1.5
Broccoli, florets, raw 1/2 cup

2.4

0.9

1.5
Shallots, chopped, raw 1 Tbsp

1.7

0.2

1.5
Spinach, frozen, steamed 1/2 cup

5.3

3.8

1.5
Cabbage, green, steamed 1/2 cup

3.3

1.7

1.6
Collards, steamed 1/2 cup

4.1

2.4

1.7
Cabbage, red, boiled, shredded 1/2 cup

3.5

1.8

1.7
Cabbage, savoy, boiled, shredded 1/2 cup

4.0

2.3

1.7
Artichoke hearts, frozen 1/2 cup

7.8

6

1.8
Greens, beet, boiled 1/2 cup

3.9

2.1

1.8
Greens, dandelion, boiled, chopped 1/2 cup

3.3

1.5

1.8
Cabbage, common white, boiled 1/2 cup

3.6

1.8

1.8
Celery, steamed 1/2 cup

3

1.2

1.8
Swiss chard, chopped, boiled 1/2 cup

3.6

1.8

1.8
Dandelion greens 1/2 cup

3.4

1.5

1.9
Broccoli, boiled 1/2 cup, chopped

4.0

2.0

2
Onions, purple or red 1/4 cup

3

1

2
Broccoli, chopped, steamed 1/3 cup

4.9

2.8

2.1
Turnips, boiled, cubes 1/2 cup

3.8

1.6

2.2
Cabbage, savoy, steamed 1/2 cup

4.4

2.2

2.2
Zucchini – boiled/sliced 1/2 cup

3.5

1.3

2.2
Mushrooms, boiled 1/2 cup pieces

4.0

1.7

2.3
Cabbage, red, raw, shredded 1/2 cup

3.3

0.9

2.4
Fennel Greens 1/2 cup

2.4

0

2.4
Tomato 1/2 cup

3.5

1.1

2.4
Kale 1/2 cup, chopped

3.7

1.3

2.4
Peppers, green bell, chopped, raw 1/2 cup

3.2

0.8

2.4
Peppers, red bell, chopped, raw 1/2 cup

3.2

0.8

2.4
Asparagus, boiled 1/2 cup

4.0

1.5

2.5
Jicama, raw 1.2 cup

5.7

3.2

2.5
Greens, collard, boiled, chopped 1/2 cup

3.9

1.3

2.6
Squash, crook or straightneck 1/2 cup slices

3.9

1.3

2.6
Kelp, raw 1 oz.

2.7

0.1

2.6
Zucchini – steamed 1/2 cup

4

1.4

2.6
Amaranth leaves, boiled 1/2 cup

2.7

0

2.7
Leeks, boiled 1/2 cup, chopped

4.0

1.3

2.7
Onions, spring 1/2 cup

4.2

1.5

2.7
Peppers, hot red 1

3.7

1

2.7
Mushroom, shitake 1 mushroom

2.71

0

2.71
Cucumber, raw 1/2 (about 5 oz.)

4.4

1.5

2.9
Mushroom, Portobello 3 oz, 1 cup

4.3

1.3

3
Asparagus, frozen, steamed 1/2 cup

4.4

1.4

3
Okra, boiled 1/2 cup slices

5.8

2.6

3.2
Brussels sprouts, steamed 1/2 cup

6.4

3.2

3.2
Rhubarb, raw 1 cup, diced

5.5

2.2

3.3
Carrots, steamed 1/2 cup slices

5.7

2.4

3.3
Brussels sprouts, boiled 1/2 cup

6.8

3.4

3.4
Turnips, boiled, mashed 1/2 cup

5.8

2.3

3.5
Squash, spaghetti, cooked 1/2 cup

5

1.1

3.9
Beets, boiled 1/2 cup slices

5.7

1.4

4.3
Kohlrabi, boiled 1/2 cup slices

5.5

0.9

4.6
Pumpkin, boiled 1/2 cup

6

1.4

4.6
Rutabagas, boiled 1/2 cup cubes

6.6

2.0

4.6
Tomato, cherry 10

6.7

2

4.7
Artichoke hearts, boiled 1/2 cup

9.4

4.4

5
Carrot, raw 1 (about 2 1/2 oz.)

7.3

2.3

5
Pepper, yellow, chopped 1/4 cup

7

2

5
Artichoke, marinated 4 pieces

7

1

6
Artichoke, whole 1 medium

13.4

6.9

6.5
Pumpkin, canned 1/2 cup

9.9

3.4

6.5
Broccolini, steamed 1/2 cup

8

1.3

6.7
Water chestnuts, canned 1/2 cup slices

8.7

1.5

7.2
Onion, sweet 1/4 cup

7.6

0

7.6
Squash, acorn, boiled 1/2 cup, boiled

10.8

3.2

7.6
Squash, butternut, baked 1/2 cup cubes

10.7

2.9

7.8
Squash, hubbard, baked 1/2 cup cubes

11.0

2.9

8.1
Onion medium

11.6

1.6

10
Onion, sweet 1 medium

14

3

11
Parsnips, boiled 1/2 cup

15.2

3.8

11.4
Peas – (green) 1/2 cup slices

15.2

3.8

11.4
Jerusalem artichokes, raw 1/2 cup slices

13.1

1.2

11.9
Squash, acorn, baked 1/2 cup cubes

14.9

2.9

12
Squash, butternut, boiled, mashed 1/2 cup

12.1

0

12.1
Corn, cob 1 ear

14

1.8

12.2
Corn, kernels 1/2 cup

14.7

2.3

12.4
Potato, baked 1/2 potato

14.7

1.5

13.2
Potato, boiled 1/2 cup

15.7

1.4

14.3
Potato, french fried 10 fries

15.8

1.5

14.3
Sweet potato – boiled 1/2 cup

17.6

2.5

15.1
Grits 5 oz.

16

0

16
Yams, boiled/baked 1/2 cup cubes.

18.7

2.7

16
Corn, sweet yellow, boiled Kernels from 1 ear

19.3

2.9

16.4
Potato, hash brown, frozen 1/2 cup

21.9

1.6

20.3
Sweet potato – baked 1 (about 4 oz.)

27.7

3.4

24.3
Sweet potato – mashed 1/2 cup

29.6

2.2

27.4
Yucca (raw) 1/2 cup

39.2

1.9

37.3