The Baha'i Scriptures explain “…the incursion of disease is due
to the disturbance of the relative amounts of the body's component substances.
And the treatment consistith in adjusting these relative amounts. And this can
be... made possible by means of foods." "...The
starch component must be present to a given amount, and the sugar to a given
amount. So long as each remainith in its natural proportion to the whole, there
will be no cause for the onset of disease. When, however, these constituents vary as to their natural and
due amounts... it is certain that this will provide for the inroads of disease."
(Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 152-165; Throne of the Inner
Temple, pp. 90, 91)
Over the past few decades,
carbohydrates and starches have been given a bad reputation. About half of what we hear and
read about carbohydrates contradicts the other half. Some say to eliminate
carbs from our diet, while others tell us that our diet should consist mainly of
carbs. We hear – "To loose weight, cut
out carbs". "Tooth decay is caused by too many carbohydrates". "Carbs cause cancer and
diabetes". "Carbs give you energy". "Starch is fattening". Sugar is bad for
us, and starch turns into sugar after we eat it". Actually it's all partly true
and partly false, because many people don't distinguish between complex
carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. So I'll share my conclusions from my
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are compounds of
carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (as starches,
sugars, and celluloses) that are formed by
Starch... is a complex carbohydrate...the chief storage form of
carbohydrate in plants, is an important food-stuff"
(Merriam Webster's Medical Dictionary).
are not all bad, only the processed ones. Sugars in the form of fresh raw
organic fruits, carrots, beets are health promoting, but when these good
natural sugars are separated from their fiber when juiced or processed, they
are not properly digested; they are absorbed into the blood stream too
quickly and can cause blood sugar fluctuations. When these sugars are cooked
they become too acidic. The natural sugars in raw unfiltered honey are
almost a perfect food and are health promoting when eaten in moderation with
fiber foods such as whole grains or fresh raw fruit. The Baha'i Scriptures
recommend eating a spoonful of honey a day.
"is a polysaccharide of glucose units that constitutes the chief part of the
cell walls of plants"
(Merriam Webster's Medical Dictionary).
are two classes of carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates (anything
made from refined sugars, syrups, refined flour, as well as instant mashed
potatoes, canned fruits and fruit juices, sodas) are the ones that are damaging
to our health and are fattening. When carbs are processed much of the fiber and
nutrients are lost, and what is left is quickly absorbed into the blood stream
causing the blood sugar to rise too quickly. This may give us temporary energy,
but then the pancreas and adrenal glands have to work to produce their hormones
to bring the blood sugar back down. This overworks and weakens these glands,
causing blood sugar to drop too low too fast, which can result in fatigue, mood
swings, headaches, light-headedness, or other symptoms. As these glands become
weaker, hypoglycemia, diabetes, immune system malfunction, allergies, and/or
cancer could develop. Obesity is also caused by simple refined carbs. Not only
do they provide excess empty calories that turn into fat, but they cause the
body to produce insulin, and make even more fat from its own insulin.
High insulin levels suppress growth hormones and glucagons that are
responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development. Dr.
Robert Atkins explains that many
other serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides,
and heart disease originate from the excess secretion of insulin. And insulin
overproduction is triggered by diets high in sugars and simple carbohydrates.
Sugar also depletes the body of essential nutrients such as calcium, and
destroys the essential nutrient, folic acid, a deficiency of which can lead to
birth defects, heart disease, Crohn's disease, cancer, mental illness,
psoriasis, fatigue, and vertigo. Therefore, simple carbs should be
Complex carbohydrates are formed
from multiple units of simple sugars. Complex carbs are derived from whole
grains, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables that contain fiber, vitamins,
minerals, and other nutrients. They are slowly broken down by the digestive
system, so that glucose (the type of sugar needed by every cell, especially the
brain) is released into the blood stream gradually over a longer period of
time. So, complex carbs do not require insulin production, and excess fat
storage. They contain only a third the calories of simple carbs. They provide a
steady flow of energy, a sense of well being, help regulate blood sugar and
cholesterol levels, regulate weight and bowel movements, and aid the healing
process. Raw fruits leave the stomach and go into the intestines in about 20
minutes, so they don't regulate the blood sugar and energy levels for as long as
whole grains, beans and vegetables (2-8 hours). Studies show that people who
eat a lot of fiber from grains, vegetables and fruit have a lower risk of cancer
and heart disease
Now don't think you have to "give
up" all your favorite foods to be healthy. You can just make healthier
substitutes. For example, you could substitute fresh raw fruits for simple carb
sweets, and substitute natural brown rice for white rice, raw honey for sugar,
whole grain pastas for white flour pastas, or try a spaghetti squash.
Just wash squash and bake about an hour, cut in
half, scoop out seeds, then remove the strands of
spaghetti with a fork. It looks just like the
spaghetti you're used to, but lower in calories,
higher in nutrients and fiber.
You can make breads and pancakes
by substituting whole grain flours for white flour, but the following is a
tastier and healthier pancake recipe.
YAMS ½ cup whole OAT
or MILLET flour
Optional- 1 tsp finely grated
GINGER, dash BRAGG'S AMINOS, or ¼ tsp. CINNAMON.
Bake yam 45 minutes or so.
I grind whole grains in a little coffee grinder when I want flour. Grinding
it fresh every time prevents the oils in the grain from becoming too rancid. It
takes about 5 seconds. Mash yam and mix in flour, add optional ingredient if
desired. Batter will be very stiff. Cook on griddle or bake on cookie sheet,
lightly oiled with a drop of lecithin. Top sparingly with a mixture of OLIVE
OIL and raw HONEY. Yam cakes are high in anti-oxidants, protein, complex carbs,
B vitamins, and is easily digested. Raw honey is high in nutrients and
enzymes that aid digestion of grains and yams.
To satisfy that sweet or
1 cup raw ALMOND BUTTER or
TAHINI ½ cup raw HONEY
¼ cup CAROB
POWDER ¼ cup OAT GROATS
1/3 cup raw NUTS
Grind ¼ cup nuts and oats in
coffee grinder (or rinse and soak nuts and oats in purified water 24 hours,
drain a few hours until dry, and then grind. This greatly increases the
digestibility and nutrient value). Mix oats, nuts, honey, almond butter or
tahini, and carob powder. Press into 8" by 4" pan, chill, and cut into 1"
squares. Toast and chop remaining nuts and sprinkle on top and press into
fudge. Keep refrigerated. Preparation time under 5 minutes.
Laurie Lynch is a Wellness Consultant, Naturopathic Doctor,
Master Herbalist, Nutrition expert at the Living Well Health & Education Center,