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How To Make Doing Without Starchy Carbs Easier

Carrie: Hey everyone, this is Carrie Brown, and I am in the studio in Seattle with Mr. Jonathan Bailor.

Jonathan: What’s up, Carrie? How are you?

Carrie: I am awesome.

Jonathan: Carrie, I am excited about today’s podcast.

Carrie: You’re always excited. You get excited about everything.

Jonathan: This is false.

Carrie: It’s true.

Jonathan: I do not.

Carrie: But… it’s a good thing.

Jonathan: It’s a good thing.

Carrie: We love a bit of excitement.

Jonathan: Excitement.

Carrie: You have a very, very exciting shirt on today, Jonathan.

Jonathan: I do. It is Elmo. My entire shirt is Elmo.

Carrie: Yes, his Elmo shirt, and there is a big ol’ grin on his face. It’s just a happy, jolly—

Jonathan: Hee hee.

Carrie: Yes, bring it on kind of shirt.

Jonathan: I love it. Well, that’s because our first topic today Carrie is a happy, Elmoesque – I can just see Elmo answering this question. I am not going to try and talk like Elmo, because I don’t know how to.

Carrie: My goodness.

Jonathan: Carrie…

Carrie: Jonathan.

Jonathan: Starchy carbs… they don’t just seem addictive; they are addictive.

Carrie: Boo, hiss.

Jonathan: They are addictive. Starchy carb addiction is a real, real thing, and it’s evidenced in many of our lives. It’s very, very hard to give up starchy carbs for a lot of people. However…

Carrie: Oh… carry on.

Jonathan: However, Carrie especially, you’re a great example of this, both in your lifestyle and in your recipes. There are myriad ways to stop eating starchy carbs without missing them nearly as much. You don’t have to go cold turkey, let’s say.

Carrie: Right. You don’t.

Jonathan: Let’s run through some examples of if you’re trying to go SANE, obviously a major component of that, first and foremost, is the elimination of processed sweeteners and poisonous addictive brain-breaking sweeteners. Next is starchy carbs, because when they leave your stomach, they are the same thing. What do we do if we want to go SANE but we don’t want to never have the mouth feel of a starchy carb again?

Carrie: Well, the biggest thing for me – I’m not sure I am answering your question at all – but the biggest thing for me was to stop the cravings, and to do that, I found the most effective way is to make sure I am eating enough protein. Because when I eat enough protein, the cravings go away, and that is phenomenally helpful. If your brain and your body is not just going, “Bread, bread, bread, bread – bread, bread, bread!” It’s much easier to not go get bread if so.

For me, the number one thing was to switch off the cravings. For me, again, that was protein. Protein killed it, in a good way. However, and anybody that reads my blog knows that my brain is a bit weird sometimes, and there are sometimes where I still get these insatiable cravings for bread and things that do not support my health or my body fat goals. My number two thing that I do to get past that is not have anything inSANE in the house, because when those cravings hit, if they are there, I am far, far more likely to eat them.

If they are not there, I will, for the most part, I will find something in the house that is SANE, because that’s all I have, and I find that that takes care of it.

Jonathan: As always, Carrie, your brain is beautiful, because you just unlocked a treasure chest of things for us to discuss.

Carrie: Yippee!

Jonathan: I am excited. So a couple things, let’s unpack this, Carrie, the cravings thing. So part of the reason we get – and I am not going to geek out here too much, folks – but you’re not getting cravings because you are crazy. There’s a reason that’s happening. A lot of that has to do with certain chemicals in our brain, like serotonin for example. A lot of these neurotransmitters and things like that, the precursors to them, the things your body needs to create them, are made from amino acids.

Amino acids are what your body breaks protein down into.

Carrie: The building blocks of protein.

Jonathan: In addition to fat being a key component to neurological function, and most sources of proteins also come with some healthy fats. When you do consume more protein, you are actually, let’s say filling, for lack of better terms, receptor sites in your brain that if not filled, will flip out and cause these crazy cravings. In fact, there has been some research done in terms of individuals supplementing their diet, like if they have really intense sweet cravings, supplementing their diet with certain isolated amino acids that will be precursors for the neurotransmitters that blah-blah-blah.

Point is, is that it’s not just like anecdotal “Carrie Brown eats more protein, and it makes her starch cravings go away.” There’s a heck of a lot of neurobiology supporting a higher intake of protein making it much easier to resist the siren song of starch.

Carrie: Wow. I do something normal. That’s the second time this week someone said I did something normal.

Jonathan: Wahoo! The other thing you said, Carrie, was get the crap out of your house.

Carrie: Right.

Jonathan: That is absolutely true, and I will take it even one step further. There has been studies done that show – quick disclaimer, Carrie. A lot of these things with starches and sweets – and we all know this, I’ll admit it for myself personally – starches and sweets are where we turn to when we are eating for reasons other than just to not be hungry anymore. There is something else going on. We are using food as a form of therapy.

Carrie: Medication.

Jonathan: A form of medication. That’s because starchy carbs and sugar trigger an opiate response similar to things like painkillers and opiates like morphine and heroin. That’s not me just saying – they stimulate opiate receptors in the brain. They do. You go through withdrawal when you go off them. It’s been demonstrated repeatedly in clinical trials. We turn to them just like individuals who turn to painkillers or alcohol or anything else.

The reason I say that is because it’s an emotional problem. If we’re trying to figure out the solution, there are some things we can do to help. When we are in an emotional state, it’s kind of like a hot state. You’re hot. It’s hard to make rational decisions when the emotional side of your brain is on. One of the great ways to avoid having to make decisions when you’re in an emotional state is to make the decision before you’re in the emotional state.

Carrie: Absolutely. Yep.

Jonathan: Which is exactly what you’ve done by taking the food out of your house. That’s a very obvious example. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. Let’s say you’re not in a burning hot state – I don’t mean you, Carrie, but I mean globally, a person’s like, ” I had a freaking hard day at work.” It was a hard day. You come home, and you open the refrigerator, and staring you directly in the face is something inSANE.

The food you have at eye level, behavioral studies show, is dramatically more likely to be consumed than food that’s not at eye level, or even within sight.

Carrie: I didn’t know that.

Jonathan: Think about supermarket shelves.

Carrie: Yeah, I understand the power of purchasing. That makes sense to me, but I never thought about it in terms of my own refrigerator. I only have SANE stuff in my refrigerator, but even so, I may have to rearrange my fridge now.

Jonathan: Well, especially when we think about how we store vegetables. Often vegetables are put in these little drawers and not in plain sight. What is in plain sight is often these giant bottles of soda and other things.

Carrie: Or yogurts filled with sugar or… yeah.

Jonathan: Even better, imagine having – Carrie talks about this all the time, and she’s exactly spot on – is having SANE options already cooked right there at eye level. So even if you have other people in your house that maybe are not committed to living a SANE lifestyle so these substances have to be in your house, you can do things like put them in places you don’t look as often or just try to have them not be staring you square in the face.

There is much help there. There is also another technique, because again, we’re not here to eat less food, but we do openly want to eat less starches and sweets. We want to eat so many good things that we are too full for bad things. But if you are going to go eat these inSANE foods, there’s been other behavioral studies done where the size of the plate. If you took, arbitrarily 100 grams of bread – and I don’t know how big that is, it doesn’t matter for the point of this – and you put 100 grams of bread on a plate that has an eight-inch diameter, and you put 100 grams of bread that has a four-inch diameter, there will be a different reaction in your brain after you finish eating the 100 grams of bread served off of a four-inch diameter plate than off of an eight-inch diameter plate. We’ve all seen those…

Carrie: Because with the four-inch, you ate a plateful. With the eight-inch, you didn’t.

Jonathan: We’ve all seen those mind games or the things you read in magazines like “Which line is longer, this one or that one?” Oh, they are actually the same length!, but your brain’s playing a game. Same thing happens here where a lot of times these techniques are talked about in terms of portion control, and you know we’re not really about portion control, because if you’re eating the right kinds of food, your body will automatically take care of portion control for you.

But if you’re in that time of transition, making sure, for example, that you don’t eat potato chips directly out of the bag, is a really good idea. If you were to eat potato chips…

Carrie: So put them in a little bowl.

Jonathan: Put them in a bowl and be like “I am going to have a bowl”. Again, Carrie, this isn’t anecdotal. There’s plenty of science and studies showing that if you – I have a funny study, but they gave individuals bowls of soup. So this wasn’t even a food that is difficult to stop eating. The soup bowls had holes drilled in the bottom, and they had little pipes coming into them, and they would just pump more soup into the bowl but slow enough that no one ever detected. Almost…

Carrie: They just kept going?

Jonathan: They just kept eating. “Well, the bowl’s not empty, the bowl’s not empty.” Remember, the body is a brilliant thing, and it does take cues from your eyes in addition to your mouth as to when you’re full. That’s just important things to keep in mind when we’re dealing with food, we understand that there is emotional aspects and there are things we can do to avoid those emotional aspects from compromising our health. Make sense?

Carrie: I read a study or a something recently that said that the addictive areas of the brain light up like a Christmas tree when we eat starches and sweets. Which I thought then once you’ve taken that first mouthful, then it’s a slippery, slippery slope. So the key is not taking that first mouthful. It’s very, very hard to control the intake once you’ve started. If you cannot start, you’re way ahead of the game.

Jonathan: Absolutely. If you have to eat, if you’re just like, “You know what, something starchy has got to be there” – and to be clear, for those certain athletes, starch can be okay. Paleo community has covered this ad nauseam. There’s a lot of great things going on there in general. There are starchy carbs that are better and worse. One of the worst starchy carbs you could ever eat is modern wheat. It’s just horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible. One way to wrap your head around this is one, you can’t eat wheat unless it’s processed. You can’t.

If there is a substance in nature that you have to grind up, cook, de-this, blah-blah-blah for it to even be processed by your body, it may be a good sign that your body was never intended to process it in the first place, right? So things like wheat, you can’t eat wheat as it is found in nature. You can’t. There is a reason human beings don’t eat grass. We cannot break down the cellulose found in grass. Cows can. Cows have four separate stomachs, they have different digestive enzymes, they can do it.

We can’t eat grains. Now some people say okay, I buy that, there’s grains. Now what about potatoes?

Carrie: Love potatoes.

Jonathan: Because potatoes – all you need to do is cook them and you can eat them. Sweet potatoes have quite a bit of vitamins in them. Quite a bit. Regular potatoes have a respectable number of vitamins. Certainly if you were to compare a white potato to white rice, white potato is going to be way more nutrient-dense. If you must eat starchy carbs, starchy carbs that you could eat as found directly in nature, albeit you need to heat them, are a better choice.

Not only because they’re more nutrient-dense, but just intuitively, things that we couldn’t possibly eat for the vast majority of human existence can’t possibly be the things that we were either designed to or evolved to thrive on, depending on your beliefs.

Carrie: So if it’s got to be starch, start with the starchy vegetables.

Jonathan: Starchy tubers.

Carrie: Starchy tubers.

Jonathan: If you have to choose between white potato and sweet potato, pick sweet potato. Now here’s the cautionary tale: As we all know, if you were to eat a baked white potato by itself, it is very difficult to go bananas eating that. However, if you take that same potato, and you cut it up into little strips, and you deep dry it, and you salt it…

Carrie: Boy, you are out of town on that.

Jonathan: Literally, you can take the same amount – and this is crazy. When people are like, “Oh, there’s calories, it’s just about calories.” You could take the same amount of potato and eat it plain, and you would have one level of satiety, one level of everything. Take the exact same amount of potato, deep fry it in trans fats, and salt it, and see what happens when you eat that same amount of potato. You even consume more calories, because you are going to get calories from fats, too.

You will eat way more calories, you will be less satisfied, and you will be in this spiral. When you combine starch with processed fats – even putting a lot of butter on a baked potato changes things completely. In terms of how satisfying that substance is, yadda yadda yadda. Starches are just tricky. It’s a bit like dancing with the devil, because –

Carrie: Sneaky starches.

Jonathan: It is, it’s sneaky, because butter we know, regular butter from healthy…

Carrie: Happy cows.

Jonathan: Happy cows. Good stuff. We are all about that. Smarter Science of Slim butter, good stuff. I just tapped my chest, I don’t know why I did that. Potatoes aren’t going to kill anyone. They’re not SANE, I wouldn’t recommend eating them, but if you put butter on potatoes, stuff blows up.

Carrie: In a bad way?

Jonathan: In a bad way. In a bad way. Just think about it, right? When was the last time you ate a plain, plain… obviously you’re SANE now, so you don’t, but…

Carrie: I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate potato.

Jonathan: That’s the other thing is…

Carrie: And I am not at all sad about that, people. If you’re new, and you’re going “I can’t live without potatoes,” – I think mashed potato is one of the finest things on Earth, but I don’t eat it, and I don’t miss it.

Jonathan: We didn’t even get into these substitutions, but let’s quickly summarize. Grain is very bad. Starchy tubers… especially when we start to get into things like carrots, and radishes, then it gets even more grey area. Generally speaking, if you got to eat something that tastes starchy, look for the things that give you the most micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and the least glucose. A white potato is basically pure glucose that can spike your blood sugar like boom! Your blood sugar is going to explode!

But a carrot, not nearly as bad. The good news, too, Carrie, as you do know, is we can do things like mashed cauliflower, which is glorious, and you can eat that till your stomach explodes if you want, and it’s not going to do anything but make you healthier.

Carrie: I actually did that the other weekend. It wasn’t mashed cauliflower. I made cauliflower cheese, and I tell you, I ate and ate and ate a whole freaking cauliflower, and I thought my stomach was going to explode. It was lovely.

Jonathan: You can make a game of it if you want. Like maybe you go from white potatoes to sweet potatoes, and then maybe try something like a turnip or a parsnip. Then you work your way towards maybe just doing more carrot or radishes or beets, and you start to work your way to more vegetables that grow above ground, generally speaking.

Carrie: I just want to say that there is no one right way. Some people will do better going cold turkey…

Jonathan: Absolutely.

Carrie: On the starches, and other people will do better doing what Jonathan just described, which is moving from potatoes, swapping them out for sweet potatoes, moving on to the carrots and the beets and the turnips. For some people, that’s just the way you are wired or the way your brain’s wired or the way that is more helpful for you is to do it more gradually. Other people can’t do that. It just drives them nuts, so other people respond better if they go cold turkey. We can’t tell you which you are, but do what’s right for you. Do what makes it easiest for you to be more successful faster.

Jonathan: While you are doing that, if you haven’t already, be sure to pop over to Carrie’s website, carriebrown.com, because in some ways, this conversation is moot now that I think about it, because Carrie has SANE cheese biscuits, and all this SANE starchy stuff which is made just using…

Carrie: No starch.

Jonathan: No starch, so you can really have your cake and eat it, too. It’s just that the cake is made out of coconut flour, so…

Carrie: I don’t mean to brag, but I have to say when my brain is trying to have a starch fest, if I go home and I make my cheesy biscuits – scones for you Brits and Australians out there – I go home and I make them, they take ten minutes literally. My brain thinks that it’s made from wheat. I get the exact same amount of pleasure and… what’s the word?

Jonathan: Satisfaction?

Carrie: Satisfaction out of eating one of those, which has no starch in it at all, as I do from the real thing. Maybe even more, because they are – I got to say, I know this sounds big-headed – but they taste awesome. You’ve eaten some, John, so you know…

Jonathan: They are, they are fabulous. Of course there’s a bunch of muffins up there and cookies and all kinds of baked stuff. There’s no shortage of this. Dr. Davis who wrote Wheat Belly, the Paleo community, there’s diabetics… If you need to give up smoking, it’s not as if there is “oh, just smoke seblacco, and it’s fine, but tobacco will kill you.”

This isn’t one of those cases which is like “actually, if you like starch, just eat this, which is going to give you the same kind of thing, and it won’t give you diabetes. Yay!”

Carrie: Yay!

Jonathan: I love that.

Carrie: Carriebrown.com. Recipes galore! Yay!

Jonathan: I love it. Well, Carrie, there’s a whole other aspect here to dealing with starches, but we are out of time. So listeners, if you enjoyed learning about how to stay SANE and give up starchy carbs, be sure to tune in next week, because we will have at least part of part two and probably cover some other stuff as well.

Carrie: Awesome.

Jonathan: I love it. Until then, eat more, exercise less, just do it smarter. Chat with you soon.

Carrie: See ya!

[Audio Ends 22:36]

Jonathan: Wait, wait don’t stop listening yet.

Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at carriebrown.com.

Jonathan: Don’t forget your 100 percent free eating and exercise quick start program as well as free fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at bailorgroup.com.

This week you will learn all sort of super tips that will make to way easier to do without these diabetes demons!