Cooking

Why I Eat Pasta

vegetable pasta healthy
Pasta!

I know, I know… in the universe of diets and healthy eating, I may as well declare I inject myself with radioactive waste.  Pasta!  Carbs!  Wheat!  Gluten!  Refined Grains!  The Horror….

Yet, here I am.  I eat pasta. I live! I thrive!

How can this be?

Let me first state that I am fully aware there are people who have different dietary needs than I do myself.  I know there are people with conditions that mean they cannot eat the things I eat.  That is 100% No Problem.  I am totally behind whatever makes you happy and healthiest.

However, I personally do not have any health reasons to avoid gluten. Side note: It is disturbing how many times I have made this statement only to have someone tell me I am mistaken.  Oh really?  You know my body better than I do?  My experience is invalid?  That does not sit well with me.  Remember that part about me supporting you in whatever makes you happy and healthy?  It should be a two-way street.  I feel great, I sleep great, I wake up with energy, I don’t have any digestive issues, all my test numbers are perfect,  and I’m happy.  I am gluten tolerant.  Enough said.

And yes.  I have read what you have read, so you don’t have to share “Wheat Belly” or “Good Calories, Bad Calories” with me.  Yes, I know that grains are what are killing us all since Paleolithic times.  Yes, I know today’s wheat is not the same as the wheat of yesteryear.  Yes I know about the GMOs.  Yes, I know about insulin resistance and the glycemic index.  Yes, I know.  Oh, do I ever know.  I have read far more than my fair share of health and nutrition articles and books.

If I stopped eating everything I have read people should not eat, I would just starve to death because there would be nothing left to eat.   I have taken what I learned when I was still reading that stuff, and used what makes sense to me and ignored the rest.  I don’t read it anymore because I got sick of the hyperbole.  You know what’s going to kill us all eventually?  Life.  But you have to eat to live, so just do the best you can and ignore the rest.

There are things I personally do not eat.  I do not eat meat.  I do not eat High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I do not eat Hydrogenated or Partially-Hydrogenated oils.  I do not drink soda.  I do not eat fast food.  I do not eat Cool Ranch Doritos or Lean Cuisine.  I do my very best to eat food.  I read ingredient lists and make sure they are short and comprehensible.  I cook almost everything I eat from scratch.

And that’s enough for me.  You could stop short of where I am or you could go further.  Or you could go in a totally different direction.  Just look at the wide world of international cuisine.  Different cultures have completely varied and distinct food traditions yet none of them have health issues we have in the US.  Pasta has been a part of some of those cultures’ diets for centuries.

Here are my top reasons for including pasta in my diet 1-2 times per week:

  1. It is delicious.  Pasta has always been one of my favorite foods.  It’s right up there with artichokes, ripe tomatoes, and dark chocolate.
  2. It is easy.  Boil water.  Throw in pasta.  Wait about 10 min.  Drain.  While it’s cooking, I can chop up some vegetables.  Simple, quick, hot dinner.
  3. It is filling.  I find pasta very satisfying.  Especially mixed with some tasty veggies, it’s a meal I always enjoy that keeps me satiated.
  4. It is easy to control the portion.  Many people have a difficult time not over-eating pasta.  I can relate.  It’s an easy thing to eat more of, going back to that “delicious” thing.  There’s a really simple solution for this though: only cook the amount you intend to eat.
  5. As a vegetarian, it gives me options when eating out.  Often the only non-meat dish on a menu is some sort of pasta.

Next, I’d like to talk about they type of pasta I choose to eat most often: plain old regular pasta.  The kind people ate before they started worrying about gluten or even whole grains.  The kind I grew up eating.  I have tried all the other types, and some of them are okay, but when it comes right down to it, I just like regular pasta better.  I figured out awhile ago that for me, it’s better to just have the real thing I want in a moderate portion than to have a substitute that doesn’t quite satisfy.

I’d also like to go back to my ingredient list reading.  This pasta is pretty ideal to me.  It’s organic. It has one ingredient.  I’ve noticed that most whole grain pastas have lots of ingredients.  Some of them are weird.  I don’t bother researching weird ingredients anymore, I just don’t buy it.  If I find a whole grain pasta with a short ingredient list, I try it.  It’s usually okay, but not as good as something like this.

pasta brands

Of course, fresh or homemade pasta would be even better!  But pasta is one of those staples I just like to have around for when I forget to shop or don’t know what to make.  It’s a staple in my cabinet.  I don’t let perfect be an enemy of good.

There are other noodles I am fond of.  Buckwheat noodles are quite good and I like to have them with Asian type dishes.  I tried some quinoa pasta I liked quite a bit.  Rice noodles are good.

But nothing is ever going to replace pasta in my kitchen.  It’s just one of my favorite foods.

Including your favorite foods in your diet is important.  I believe in eating a healthy variety and not stressing about it too much.  For healthy, active adults, it doesn’t need to be much more complicated that.

16 thoughts on “Why I Eat Pasta

  1. Grew up eating pasta and was never overweight. Neither was my grandmother or great grandmother. Though I am still working on my goals for weight loss, I am if the mind that I MUST learn how to eat for the long haul as well. As a mom I know that healthy better match up with quick sometimes. To this end, I am thankful for pasta.

  2. All I can say is that I am jealous and it is a treat food for me. I LOVE the stuff. I try to go with things that taste good (like low carb pasta) mixed with the other so I can really savor the moment. 😀

    Again … I am so jealous you can eat it so often. ENJOY it for me. 😀

    1. I totally will, Shonnie. I feel very lucky that I am neither gluten nor dairy intolerant. I can eat most foods without any issue at all. Makes it easy to eat too much, that’s the main downside. But I feel a lot of gratitude to be so fortunate. I should enjoy it, as should others in my situation rather than imposing unnecessary restrictions that on foods that other truly cannot but would dearly like to eat. 🙂

  3. Hi, I found you via Ivonne’s Missy Award today. Great blog and I totally agree about the pasta. Hey, if it’s good enough for Sophia Loren, it’s good enough for me. I experiment with many different pastas: whole wheat, spinach, quinoa pasta and my new favorite Dreamfield’s which is the “right carb” pasta (because I’m concerned since diabetes runs in my family.)

    I’m so tired of people poo-pooing grains! I’ve had them all my life. I’m 49 now and my blood work is excellent! 🙂

  4. I ❤ Pasta!

    There is nothing so wonderful as angel hair with a (diced) fresh, juicy heirloom tomato and basil/pesto from the garden.

    I wait tables for a living in a busy breakfast restaurant and grains are what get me through the day!

    Thanks for making it cool to eat pasta. Go noodles! 🙂

  5. Great post! Pasta is awesome. I’m not afraid of most types of foods and let myself have a little bit of everything. As much as I’d love to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, sometimes it happens and is hard for me to avoid. Good for you for not consuming pop or fast food, among the other things you mentioned.

  6. One cup of pasta or brown rice has about 40 grams of coarbohydrates, which I consider apporpriate. I try to stay away from fried foods and sweets. You can cook many dishes with pasta or rice.

  7. YES! I’m a newcomer to your blog and really appreciate this post. I eat lots of white rice, since I grew up eating that, and do get remarks about how it isn’t the best grain (which I definitely understand, and yes, my forefathers and mothers’ white jasmine rice probably WAS different, but whatever!)….I like your message that everyone’s body is different, especially down to our genetics and there’s no set “diet” for everyone. Love it.

  8. A friend referred me to your blog and I already LOVE it just by reading this post. I agree 100% with everything you said, as I am a healthy carb-lover myself :). I recently started a blog and am still getting the hang of things but would love for you to check it out! I am more trying to make my diet healthy instead of trying to lose weight, but all goes towards the same goal!

  9. We all have our own things that we choose to eat more of or less of, depending on what works for us, and that’s the way it should be. To each his/her own! I do eat pasta regularly and it hasn’t been a problem for me so far in my journey, although I’ve been watching portion sizes more closely and have it a little less often than I used to. And I switched back to real butter years ago from margarine. Nobody’s gonna take away my butter! (Although I do admit to more conservative usage these days, and I usually choose olive oil when cooking.) Great post!

  10. I just discovered your site, and even as a severely gluten-intolerant individual, I quite enjoyed this post! Especially this line: “I feel great, I sleep great, I wake up with energy, I don’t have any digestive issues, all my test numbers are perfect, and I’m happy. I am gluten tolerant.”

    For me, it’s really easy to get so caught up in my own food-circles that I forget how vastly different other people’s experiences with food can be. It’s good to be reminded that there are people who can eat gluten all day and still be perfectly healthy (: And I concur with Shonnie- enjoy your pasta for me!

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