As bad as we know they are for us, there’s still something so satisfying about chowing down on some white carbohydrates, be it a bagel, rice, bread or pizza. But anyone who knows anything about health and diet will tell you that white carbs are usually processed and full of empty calories.
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Every now and then, most of us need to get a carb fix. But, there’s a new and healthy substitute that’s gaining mainstream attention: cauliflower.
Yes, it’s a vegetable. And yes, it’s nothing like a grain-based product. But, truth be told, when cauliflower is chopped up so that it’s so fine you can use it to make everything from rice and rolls to pizza dough, bagels and whatever else you can dream up. It’s becoming so popular that you don’t even have to make it yourself. Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower, which flies off the shelves, is a pre-made, healthy option that saves you time on the chopping end.
According to Kristi Acuna, owner of Holistic Nutrition Center in Newport Beach, CA, cauliflower makes for the perfect stand-in for carbs because it’s carb friendly. “A cup of rice has about 45 grams of carbohydrates and a cup of traditional mashed potatoes has about 35 grams of carbohydrates. One cup of mashed cauliflower, to substitute potatoes and rice, is about 9 grams of carbohydrates,” she says. “Choosing cauliflower will help you to lose weight and give you more energy throughout the day.”
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Cauliflower, unlike white carbohydrates, is gluten-free, high in vitamin C and low in sugar so your body is able to put the nutrients in it to good use. “The body will store stress as fat when you overeat carbs. Cauliflower is a much better choice to help reduce the stress and feed the body the vitamins and minerals it has to offer,” says Acuna. And, it’s not steamed for that long so you’re not depleting the food of the vitamins inside it either.
But, the key really lies in the vegetable’s ability to be baked and give it that nice crispiness that white carbs are famous for. “When you use cauliflower to make bread or pizza crust, you have to chop it super fine and then drain out the moisture. Adding an egg to the mix encourages it to really crisp up,” says Acuna. “And, if you want to kick up the flavor content, add European butter, like Kerry Gold, garlic, chives and Himalayn pink salt. That way you have some good fats from the butter that will give you vitamin A to repair connective tissue and skin, the garlic will help with your digestion and the salt will supply your body with minerals.” Delicious!
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