The daily consumption of complex carbohydrates is an essential part of most balanced diets – even the paleo diet. There are those in the paleo world that are strict believers that if our ancestors couldn’t eat it or prepare it – neither should you. The reality is that the way you consume paleo-strong carbs is really not as important as eating the right amounts of these foods, and eating ones that are better for your diet. Listed below are five of the what many dietary experts agree are the best complex carbs that people who are on a paleo diet should eat, as well as a few good recipes you can use to make them taste great.
Why White Potatoes Are a Good Source of Paleo Complex Carbs
A major argument in the paleo diet world is that white potatoes were not eaten in the Paleolithic time period. However, the basic concept of this diet is that balance your intake of complex carbs with protein. And without a doubt, white potatoes are an amazing source of carbs, but also an excellent source of completed protein, which is commonly not found outside of eating animal-based foods. They provide energy, sustenance and help you feel ‘full’, so you don’t overeat.
White potato has 27 grams of carbs per one cup serving once they’ve been peeled. It also contains vitamin C, which is a great way to combat illness and fight off virus in the body. Most people believe that the best way to prepare them is good old mashed potatoes. But, there is a trick – stay away from adding butter or milk; as the consumption of dairy is NOT paleo friendly.
Here is a great recipe for making paleo white potatoes that makes them delicious and paleo friendly:
· First, wash off the potatoes
· Cut the potato in quarters and place in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic and small amount of olive oil. Toss them in the bowl until they are well covered
· Place them on a roasting pan or cookie sheet evenly into one layer
· Turn on your oven and set at 350 degrees
· Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or so until they are golden brown and crispy
When it comes to the king of the paleo-friendly carbohydrates; sweet potato is commonly on top of that list. They are filled with a variety of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals; which makes them a great complex carbohydrate to consume. Some of the leading vitamins they contain include Vitamin A or beta carotene, Vitamin C, Potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese and Vitamin E. The trick about sweet potatoes however is the high amount of carbs they have per cup, 58 grams when mashed, so they should be consumed by those who infuse daily exercise with their paleo diets to help burn those carbs.
There are several different types of sweet potatoes including:
· Orange and red skinned (which are typically mislabeled in a grocery store as yams believe it or not)
· Gray or tan skinned (also known as Okinawan sweet potato)
· Purple skinned (Japanese sweet potatoes)
· Pale yellow or butter-colored skin
When it comes to taste, the orange skinned ones tend to be sweeter and less starchy. Here is an excellent and creative recipe you might want to consider.
Braised Chicken with fennel and sweet potatoes
· 4 whole chicken legs
· 2 large sweet potatoes
· 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb
· 4 green onions thinly sliced
· 4 cloves of minced garlic
· 2 cups of chicken stock
· 2 lemons (juiced and zest)
· 2 tbsp. Paleo cooking fat
· Sea salt and fresh black pepper (to taste)
· Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
· Place a skillet over medium high-heat on the stove top, add the cooking fat and sear the chicken legs until they’ve browned (about 5 minutes of cooking time)
· Transfer the chicken legs into an oven ready pot
· Using the same skillet, cook the fennel for 5 minutes until golden brown and add green onions, garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes
· Transfer those ingredients into the oven pan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice half of the lemon zest and season.
· Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes
· While the chicken cooks, peal the sweet potatoes and slice into cubes
· Once the 20 minutes are up, add the sweet potatoes into the mix and cook for additional 45 degrees
· Once completed, serve and add additional lemon zest for garnish.
Taro root is another great source of complex carbs for a paleo diet. They contain 46 carbs per 1 cup serving, are high in Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, potassium and manganese. The trick is learning the difference between taro root and some other common roots like Yuca and Malanga. Taro root is the bulb or barrel shaped root, has a smooth skin that is not “hairy”. The flesh inside is white with tiny sprinkles of pink/purple dots.
When it comes to cooking them, the best and easiest way is to make them the same way as the white potatoes listed above. Here is an easy recipe:
· 2 lbs. of fresh taro root (which is about 8 to 10 small tubers)
· 3 Tbsp. of tallow (cooking fat)
· 2 tsp. dried whole leaf savory (rosemary / thyme)
· 2 cloves of crushed garlic
· 1 tsp. Salt and ¼ tsp. Pepper
· Place the entire, unpeeled taro root into a steam basket or steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes.
· Remove from heat and let them cool before handling
· Peel off the bark skin with a paring knife and cut into quarters
· Turn oven broiler to high with the cooking rack about 7 inches from the heating element
· Melt the cooking fat and pour over the taro root inside a bowl and toss with spices
· Spread taro root on a baking sheet
· Broil for 10 minutes, and flip them every 3 to 5 minutes until they are golden brown
· Plate and serve
Surprisingly, winter squash is another great paleo friendly source of carbohydrates. It contains 30 grams of carbs per cup, and is high in Vitamin C, B6 and Thiamin. One of the best and most simple ways to cook winter squash is to roast. Here is a basic recipe to consider.
· 1 winter or butternut squash that is peeled, seed and cut into one inch cubes
· 2 tablespoons of olive oil
· 2 cloves of minced garlic
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Preheat oven to 400 degrees
· Toss the squash with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season to taste and arrange the squash on a baking sheet evenly.
· Roast in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until its tender and lightly browned
Although the allure of green bananas might seem odd, plantain is actually rather tasty inside. This member of the banana family is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B6, potassium and magnesium. When mashed it contains 62 grams of carbs per cup. One of the best ways to eat them is to fry them up and make plantain chips. Here is the recipe that is paleo friendly.
– 2 green plantains that are peeled
– half a cup of melted coconut oil
– Sea Salt or paprika
– Peel the plantains by cutting off the ends, score the skin lengthwise and peel
– Cut diagonally into thin slices
– Heat a skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil
– Carefully place slices in the hot oil
– Fry the slices for about 2 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown
– Remove the chips and place on paper towel to drain
– Salt and add additional spices immediately
– Let cool and enjoy
One Final Thought
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at these Paleo/Primal carbohydrates. They aren’t the enemy, in fact they will help you become healthier and leaner in a big way.
Here at the Natural Body Blueprint we teach people how to adapt to what we call the “primal lifestyle” and this is a small part of the puzzle.
If you are ready to take the first step to a more natural, LEAN lifestyle, then secure your spot on our Natural Body Blueprint Programme and we will give you access to the recipes, education, tools and workouts that you need to set you on a completely different path.