The notion of 'safe' starch may seem weird unless you have been steeped in low carb Paleo diet lore.
...which I don't want to get into.
Nor am I going to bring you up to speed. You can Google 'safe starches' yourself.
But I will give you my anecdotal 2 bob's worth:
- Much of this Paleo thing misrepresents the eating habits of 'ancestral' peoples -- ye olde hunter gatherers.To presume that 'their' diet was overwhelmingly low carb etcetera is not correct. Traditional diets certainly varied between environments but they were not exclusively as the Paleo-ists argue.
- That said there are some problem foods in the transition out of hunter gatherer-dom -- foods like milk and grains (and more recently -- sugar and vegetable oils). As Vanessa Haynes points out:"The idea behind it is that our DNA profile determines that we should live in that way because for 190,000 years we were hunter gatherers. .... The modern diet, especially in the United States, is not probably the healthiest and probably not in Australia either. So educating children about eating naturally, I have no problem with that. Whether it should be the paleo diet, I think we have to be careful of that because we have had 10,000 years of adaptation to agriculture. Have we adapted to grains? Because the true hunter gatherer can't eat grains either. They have not adapted to drinking milk. But yet most Europeans have adapted to drinking milk. So we've got to take these adaptations into consideration."
- While eating low carb (under 100 grams/day) I found that on those occasions I didn't (ie: ate more) my blood sugar spiked. You may think that's to be expected and while that may be presumed, the fact that the whole insulin response system wasn't being challenged meant that when it was it tended to over-react.So more carbs routinely rather than much less is probably a good thing -- for me anyway.
- Because I was routinely taking blood glucose readings after meals I discovered that I could tolerate some carbs more than others...and the ones I'm tolerating the most are -- that's right -- the ones often referred to as 'safe' starches. I'm a bit touchy with rice but potatoes, sweet potatoes and the like come in under blood sugar budget. That is, so long as I don't pig out.
- So I'm back eating these starches. Potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Yams. Oca (New Zealand Yam). Rice ...and any other, often exotic, starchy vegetable I can find and tolerate. But no bread. No sugar. No wheat. No pasta. No dried legumes. Since I can grow a lot of these veg, I'm on a great culinary and horticultural journey.
- But the trick is in the mix. Starches plus....vinegar or yogurt or fats or pickles or some other acid or oil. No vegetable oils. A few nuts. Any other veg. I don't eat much fruit -- more from habit rather than preference.
- And it's all good. I have more energy. I put on weight initially but now it is coming off. My gut is happier and my gastronomical universe has expanded.I'm eating about 400-500 grams of these starches each day.My menu planning is easier and I've learnt to respect the nutritional value of these starchy foods -- not so much white rice, but the tubers are nutritionally rich.
- I eat other veg of course -- especially colourful root vegetables, cucurbits, greens and herbs -- and meat (mainly lamb as it's my passion), fish and eggs. Steamed or boiled chicken. A little bit of pork.
- Blood sugars: doing fine. Occasionally pass my target threshold of 6.7 mmol one hour after meals but well within acceptable frequencies for a person with Type II Diabetes.
- So all good...and I love these starches! It's like I've broken a fast. When you move away from a dependence on wheat flours and corn ... and base your meals on these other starches the menu is very different.
- My regret is that I've drifted some way from my preferred Arab and Mediterranean culinary preferences as I'm now locating my menu hunting in the great tuber growing cultures of the world. But there are adaptions. The Koreans, for instance, make an awesome noodle out of sweet potato starch -- dangmyeon. And then there is the big wide world of rice noodles....
- You can do a lot with tubers....
- I don't drink much pure milk -- except a dash in tea -- but yogurt I indulge in.Yogurt is the primary solution to 'adapting' to milk...that and cheeses.