What is a Carb-up, why and how to do it?
WARNING: This is a carbohydrate containing recipe!! And YES intentionally so! And YES it fits in your Keto Paleo lifestyle, very much so!
If you have never heard of a Carb-up or a carb night, you might be in for a nice surprise. Yes it is ok to have carbs on a Keto Paleo plan, if done the right way, with the right foods. It is actually a very beneficial practice.
So what is a Carb-up in the first place?
It is a meal containing a very small percentage of fat (about 1% to 5%) a moderate amount of protein(20% to 25%) and a certain quantity of carbs, calculated in base of your weight and how often you carb-up.
Basically you are switching the quantity of fat for carbs in your plate when you carb-up.
Why are carb-ups good and who are they for?
Carb-ups are mostly beneficial for people who are very sick or have any kind of endocrine issues. A moderate amount of carbohydrates supports adrenal and thyroid function, specifically the conversion of thyroid hormone to the active form, it also stimulates Leptin production, helping you curb hunger and feel more satisfied after a meal. In healthy individuals carb-up stimulate muscle growth, when combined with resistance training.
If you are having any sleep issues, hormonal issues, are very stressed or are a woman over 40, you might want to consider introducing some carb-ups to your Keto Paleo lifestyle. It will also make you less likely to cheat or binge, when you can indulge and expand your food range, without losing control of what you are doing.
How do we do this carb-up thing?
If you are a healthy individual you will want to use the carb-ups in conjunction with some sort of resistance training, to help you stay very lean and build muscle. In that case you would have your carb ups on workout days, in the evening, after keeping very low carb for the first part of the day.
In the case of a person with endocrine issues you can do carb-ups 5 to 7 days a week, depending on how you feel. You should decrease the amount of carbs in the carb-up meal when the carb-ups are done daily and increase when they are done less often.
How do carbs help my gut?
So what is the connection with the carb-ups and gut health? isn’t sugar bad for my gut?
Yes sugar is bad for the friendly bacteria in your gut, but not all carbs are sugars! In this case we are talking about a specific group of carbohydrates, the ones the feed the beneficial bacteria: Fiber and resistant starches.
One of the biggest problems of ketogenic diets is the lack of fiber, when the diet is not done correctly. of course you can add insoluble fiber to your keto diet without raising your blood sugar or insulin, but there are more carbs than just fiber needed to feed the diverse flora of your gut.
Resistant starch, for example is an important pre-biotic (meaning the houses and food the probiotics actually need to survive in there) and it’s importance is becoming more evident in the latest research.
But taking the starch alone can cause digestive distress (and large amounts of gas, ugh!). To get the most benefits out of RS we do need to combine it with other gut feeding carbs like soluble and insoluble fibers and oligosaccharides.
The use of all the above creates a more balanced environment in the gut, helping to resolve many of the issues derived from an impaired microbiota.
I will clarify more on this topic on the next post (with another gut friendly recipe!)
For now I hope you enjoy this Summerish salad, just make sure you eat it for dinner, with a small piece of animal protein!
- Serves: 4 servings
- Serving size: 1 serving
- Calories: 232
- Fat: 2.6 gr
- Carbohydrates: 49.75gr
- Fiber: 3.75gr
- Protein: 4gr
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup zucchini cut in ½ inch cubes
- 2 cups of Japanese sweet potato cut in ½ inch cubes
- 1 cup potato cut in ½ inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1 tablespoon tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon green banana flour (I use Nunana)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- Pre -heat oven to 400F.
- Grease a large baking dish with the coconut oil.
- Place the zucchinis, sweet potatoes and potatoes in the baking dish, and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 30 minutes, mixing once to brown evenly on all sides. Depending on your oven, the vegetables should be well done and browned, but not burned. If additional time is needed check often for doneness.
- Remove from the oven, place in a plate and cool in the refrigerator for about 30minutes.
- In the meantime prepare the dressing by placing all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and mixing until a smooth cream is formed.
- Once the zucchini and potato mix is cold, mix with the dressing and serve.
- If you prefer you can bring the vegetables to room temperature before eating.
Is it better to do a carb up or MAYBE A protein-up instead, Vivica? Since they both spike blood sugar so you’d get the same benefits? And should they be done in the evening pre, or post workout?
even though both carbs and protein can be converted in to glucose, they do act differently and have very different proprieties. The reason we use carbs for a carb up is that they convert quickly to glucose and when done properly in the context of a ketogenic diet, they support both muscle growth and the production of certain hormones, which supports the endocrine system.
They should be done in the evening, so that blood sugars stay stable during the day, and post resistance workout.