Fearing Carbs

On this plan I never go to bed hungry. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to check whether I’m dreaming. Eating starches was hard for me to comprehend after years of starving myself and restricting carbohydrates with my never successful attempts to maintain my weight. Now that I understand nutritional science and how the body utilizes nutrients, I am able to see the good from the bad when it comes to food choices. I can eat potatoes, whole grain pasta, rice, and fresh corn tortillas until I’m full and satisfied every day for the rest of my slim and healthy life. I never count points, calories, or measure portion sizes. This is one of the most difficult concepts for my students to grasp.

We have been brainwashed into thinking that carbs are the enemy when it comes to weight loss. The media began grouping processed, packaged, and refined foods together with starch based plant foods. Yes, donuts, cookies, and sugar-covered treats are carbohydrates. For some unknown reason there is no longer a separation between health-promoting, whole grains and these nutrient-poor refined foods. Antioxidant rich fruit was even labeled as an unhealthy food because of its high carbohydrate value. Big thanks to the countless personal trainers and the Zone Diet. Carrots were off limits due to being high in sugar and carbohydrates. Then the potato was the problem. The Atkins Diet was all the rage and it gave people the approval to eat a diet rich in fat and protein. Carbs were off limits. I can remember my first introduction to a high protein low carb diet. My older sisters were at a party and they snacked on chunks of cheese, sausage and celery. No carrots or bread for them. I joined them a few years later and adopted the plan. I managed to increase my cholesterol, develop gallstones, and gain weight on a plan I couldn’t sustain. Even with all the ill health developing from this low-carb plan, America still feared the carb. This low carbohydrate trend is still going on with the new diet trends of The Paleolithic Diet and the books Wheat Belly and Grain Brain.

Why do so many people believe in these nutritional misconceptions? If you look at countries where the main supply of calories is corn, rice, potatoes or wheat you will find health. These communities are fit, trim and disease free. If we look at how a complex carbohydrate is used in the body, it will explain the fear away. Carbohydrates are used to regulate our body temperature, supply us with energy, and are not easily stored as fat. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber. Fiber is essential for optimum health. Whole plant based foods that are often categorized as carbohydrates also provide us with a perfect amount of protein and fat.

For example, let us review the potato. It has developed a poor reputation in modern diets, including diets designed for diabetes maintenance. Unfortunately it isn’t the potato that is the problem. It is all the junk people are putting on the potato or the oil they fry them in that is causing weight gain. The butter, cheese and bacon are the problem, not the potato.

Let’s look at a medium baked white potato with the skin on. It’s a satisfyingly delicious 130 calories, 3 grams of protein, double that of fiber and full of vitamins, including a great source of vitamin C. It has twice the amount of fiber found in broccoli. I can’t believe the potato has been put on a diet don’t list for so long. Potatoes can also promote serotonin production. This is one of the reasons we feel so satisfied after eating potatoes. The same goes for whole grain bread, pasta and rice.

When my students are given the go-ahead to eat complex carbohydrates, they are often hesitant. I have to insist they try it for 30 days. They are always amazed at the sustainable weight loss, increased energy and satisfaction from eating a diet rich in whole grains and starches. They never go to bed hungry and neither should you. Check out Protective Diet recipes featuring starches. Enter the word potato, rice or pasta in the search box and start eating. Learn to easily make deliciously satisfying recipes with the support of Protective Diet recipes and cooking videos.Adding starch based complex carbohydrates back into your diet is a life changer. I can’t wait to hear about your experience and success while eating high-energy starch based plant foods that promote fat loss and optimum health.

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  1. Hi Julie. I’m interested in doing your program. I’ve been through many vegan weightloss programs with very little success. The food was either too bland or triggered many of my cravings. I have three questions.
    1.How are you and your husband able to loose weight while eating large portions of flour products such as noodles, bread, and pasta? I thought these foods were too calorie dense for weight-loss. Most flours are 1400 calories per pound, and are very quickly absorbed through the intestine.
    2. How many calories do you eat per meal?
    3. Does erythritol cause cravings for sugar?

    1. Hi Christina,
      I am asked all of these questions repeatly and always happy to answer. I do not resrict starch in the form of pasta, rice, potatoes and whole grain bread. Just like you said a pound of pasta is about 1400 calories. That is aproximatly my entire daily energy needs to maintain my slim body with high energy. I do not eat the full pound or entire loaf of bread but I share it and sometimes split it with Jerry. The key here is to eliminate the high calorie low density foods like sugar, dates, nuts, seeds and nut butters. High calorie sauces are not part of a PD. I love dips, dressings and sauces and they are all low calorie on a PD. Food satisfaction is improtant to make this sustainable and enjoyable long term. We do not eat anything that causes cravings such as coffee, food additives, high-calorie low volume foods such as sugar, dried fruit, juice, fats, nuts, oils, or avacado. Erythritol is used in recipes to cut bitter flavors of cacao, sour tang of lemon or vinegar. It is not used to make things sweet. It doesn’t cause cravings. I eat between 1100 and 1500 calories a day. I do not need to count them but do periotically to answer this question. The only way to exceed this caloric average is if I ate all day long and that would leave me feeling lathargic. Please check out the testimonials to see I am not a special human that can eat pasta. protectivediet.com/testimonals Join our support group Protective Diet Living on Facebook and start eating PD. The key is to do it full time and understand why it is protective and why it works when practiced. Cut out the high calorie dates, nuts, avacado and seeds butters. Eat the starch and make your veggies exciting with the awesome recipes that support optimal health, your ideal body weight and delicous plant-based dinner parties. Fun delicous protective food is what I require to sustain a protective diet. I’d love to help you acheive your goals and enjoy food again with a Protective Diet.

  2. I have been eating plantt-based now for about 70 days. I am Type 2 diabetic but seemed to manage really well with eating oatmeals, whole grains and potatoes. Untel the other day! All of a sudden my blood sugar spiked and I freaked out. I have lost about 15 lbs since starting this but now I have beene questioning the white potato. I did some research on Neal Barnard’s book Reversing Diabetes and he says that eating those foods that have a low glycemic index are best for diabetics. I think that might be my problem so I am going to stay away for the white potato for awhile. I log everything I eat each day and this seems to be the only thing that is spiking my blood sugars. I would be in heaven if I could reverse my diabetes and live a “normal” life once again. I am very active. Exerciase 4-5 days a week and am outdoors quite a bit, weather permitting. Thanks, Teri

    1. Dear Teri!

      You are on your way! I have a couple trouble shooting questions for you. Are you eating nuts, nut butters or seed butters? Are you eating any oils of any kind? Are you eating avocado or coconut?
      Fats can block insulin reception as I’m sure you know from Dr. Barnard. Sometimes these fat sources get overlooked when adopting a whole foods plant-based diet to reverse diabetes.

    1. Judy, If you are challenged with diabetes and struggling to regulate your blood sugar you may want to reach for sweet potatoes over regular. If you do not have diabetes it is never an issue. Many people have reversed type 2 Diabetes on a Protective Diet while including white, red and yellow potatoes. They are loaded with fiber. When fats such as nuts, oils, and animal products are included in the diet the regulation of blood sugar for diabetics is near impossible. Cut the fats and eat the potatoes to achieve optimal health.

  3. I lost 40 kg in about a year and a half on the Ornish heart-reversal program, which is basically vegan + no nuts + no oils. But it has been creeping back. I think too much whole grains were part of the problem. I started making my own brown rice, and I would find myself having great urges to eat it. And grains are enormously calorific.

    So my feeling right now (and I’d love to be proven wrong) is that while it might work for the first 700 days or so, after a while all those calories in grains become a limitation on losing more weight and can even cause rebounds.


    1. Hi Doug,
      Congratulations on your weight loss. I’m sorry to hear it is creeping back. I have had a great deal of personal experience with this. It wasn’t until I found a sustainable way to eat and stop restricting complex carbohydrates such as whole grains that my weight loss became permanent. I restricted grains for years and this would cause me to go off plan and eat high fat and sugar foods such as cookies and frosting. I would go all week counting calories and measuring out a cup of brown rice per meal, feeling deprived and hungry. Then boom! I was eating totally off plan sweets and fats.
      It wasn’t until I studied plant based nutrition and science taught me carbohydrates are not readily stored as fat. This is not what our body is designed to do. We can eat and eat whole grains without counting of calories and reach and maintain our ideal body weight with out struggle. This is a sustainable way of eating. I have designed recipes to celebrate this way of eating. It is effective long term because going off plan to eat sugar and fat filled cookies doesn’t call us after eliminating sugar addiction. We are satisfied every meal by eating until we are full of nutrient dense health promoting foods free of addictive sugar, fat, food additives and animal products. The fat we eat is readily and easily stored as fat. This is proven in science. Unfortunately we point the finger at the wrong food source, in your case rice as the problem. My guess from many years experience coaching others, you might be slipping in treats of fat or sugar because your low-carb and calorie counting plan isn’t satisfying and sustainable. I haven’t yet met a person who follows a Protective Diet 100% long term and doesn’t reach their ideal body weight and maintain it with ease. The key is sustainable practice. No plan works that isn’t followed. The key is finding a plan that promotes optimal health, is deliciously satisfying, produces results, is affordable and is scientifically proven. A protective Diet is all of these wonderful things. Please watch the sample PD-Ed video. This program is designed to give you support and guidance along with the latest findings in nutrition science. Oh and the recipes and food are what keeps people on track and coming back for more!
      I think I remember communicating with you last year. Are you in Japan? I’m glad to hear from you again and I hope I can help you eliminate the struggle.
      Best of Health,
      Julie Marie

  4. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the response. Yes, eating rice and potatoes definitely goes against all that we’ve been taught over the last 15-20 years and it’s difficult to get your mind wrapped around a new way of eating to lose weight. I will read the fearing carbs section again to make sure I understand everything. It will be interesting (and exciting!) if I can get the numbers to go down on the scale.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Hi Kristie,
    Thanks for the response and encouragement, and congratulations on the amazing weight loss and eating healthy for the last five months! I wish I had found Julie’s site earlier as I just returned from working in Chicago for three months and it would have been great to attend one of her classes. I’ll keep plugging along and see if I can gather the courage to increase complex carbs in my diet…I am so freaked about seeing even a pound increase on the scale. On the positive side, adding more grains and potatoes might convince my husband to try this way of eating. He just had 3 stents placed in one artery that was blocked 100% and he still has another one blocked 90%.

    Have a great week Kristie!

    1. Hi Karen,
      I’m sorry we missed meeting when you were in Chicago! Please read over the fearing carbs section again. They will not be stored as fat. You as well as everyone else has been brain washed that carbs make us fat. This is the farthest from the truth. Fat is easily converted into fat. Increase your consumption of potatoes and brown rice to start off. The potato is loaded with fiber, vitamins and carbohydrates used for energy. The key here is absolutely no fats, oils, nuts, sugars, animal products or processed foods. Trust in it and give it a try. I am available for phone consultations to get you on track and give you a better understanding of a Protective Diet.
      Best of Health,
      Julie Marie

    2. Wow this way of eating would definitely be life changing for your husband! I can understand I was scared at first about carbs! I remember talking to Julie and she said it was the to good to be true mind set! It took me a while to believe! And when I believed for a while I doubted again..lol It is just the way our minds work! We have to teach ourselves to think differently:) Keep in touch and let me know how its going! Have a great day:)

      Kristie Clark

  6. The idea of not restricting complex carbs is fantastic but I’m skeptical that it would work for me. I’ve watched Forks over Knives, I’ve read the Engine 2 Diet, I’ve read Eat to Live and, in fact, I have been plant based for the last 12 days, no oil, no animal products, small amounts of whole grains daily (Eziekel Bread, 1/2 cup of farro in my kale salad, oatmeal, etc.) no pasta, no sugar and I haven’t lost a single pound so it doesn’t make sense that adding more grains would cause me to lose weight.

    Kristie – I’m so glad that you’re feeling great. How much weight have you lost in a month?


    1. Karen, I have been doing protective diet for 5 months. I have been averaging 10 lbs a month. Now I would go 3 weeks and loose nothing and out of nowhere I would loose a bunch. Give it a try for at least 30 days it’s life changing;)

  7. When I first decided to do this I was a little worried! I didn’t want to put my time into something to just get disappointed again! I just have tried a lot of diets and they ended up failing! Or should I say I could not stick with them long term! After finding the site and trying the recipes for a few months (and liking them) I decided to jump into it and trust what Julie was writing on the site! I was ready to do it to:) I won’t lie about two weeks later I did question it because I couldn’t believe it was actually happen. I even asked Julie should I cut back on the potatoes or the pasta? She said NO of course not:) She brought me back to reality:) If you are thinking about trying it do it!! I am almost a month in and feeling better than ever! It is like a dream come true!

    Kristie Clark

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