23 Women Reveal Their Favorite Carbs & Why They Love Them So Much
Pasta, potatoes, bread, cookies, cupcakes — you name it, I probably love it. I love carbs so much that I will happily eat noodles at every meal. Or give me potatoes in any form; cupcakes in any flavor; pasta with (almost) any sauce! Give me pizza! Give me cookies! Give me bread!
But a lot of conventional wisdom says that carbs are "bad," or even should be cut from our diets completely. Despite what disciples of keto or paleo might tell you, however, your body does need carbs to function. From getting enough fiber so your intestinal system works to helping you brain work efficiently to boosting workouts, carbs not only taste good, they also do a lot of work to keep us healthy. And while there are certainly more and less healthy carb options (obviously, complex carbs like carrots are better for your body than simple carbs like cake, even if cake tastes better), cutting out an entire food group can have drawbacks.
"Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is the body and brain's primary source of fuel, and because your body doesn't store glucose, you need a consistent amount of carbohydrates throughout the day," Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT, intuitive eating counselor and blogger at The Foodie Dietitian, tells Bustle.
So what happens to your body without carbs? "Without enough carbohydrates, you begin to feel tired, moody, have trouble recalling things, and difficulty paying attention," Lydon says. "Carbohydrates also help protect your muscle mass — they're essential for helping your muscles to recover post-workout. Without enough carbohydrates, your body will start to break down the protein in your body's muscle mass to use as energy. I have so many clients who come into my office avoiding carbohydrates out of fear that they are 'bad' for them. There's a misconception that if you eat too many carbohydrates that your body will store them as fat, but your body resists storing carbohydrates as fat because it is used preferentially to fuel your your brain, muscles, and nervous system."
Ultimately, it comes down to doing what's best for you and your body, your energy levels, and your emotional health. And I mean that especially for women, who have been told for years and years (maybe forever?) that we "can" and "can't" eat certain foods because of how they'll affect our appearances. In that context, eating carbs can feel almost revolutionary; a reclaiming of foods that nourish our bodies and our souls.
With that in mind, here are 23 women on the carb they love most. Grab some fries, and give them a read.
1. Sana, 25
"PASTA, BECAUSE IT IS LIFE. Seriously, I grew up being told that girls shouldn’t eat carbs, and so pasta was only for boys. So in my adulthood, I take great pride in eating large, heaping bowls of pasta. [My partner] and I have this pasta that we call 'Home Pasta.' It’s hella EVOO, tomatoes and tomato sauce, ground beef, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, kale, and a splash of red wine with lots of grated Parmesan on top, and we eat it at least two times per week, and it makes us feel extra happy and gay and content and carbie barbies.
I think eating pasta is related to being queer for me because restricting my diet was always a result of being forced to be more feminine, be skinnier, and match a very gendered idea of what I must eat and look like. So eating my pasta, not caring about it, and really, really, really loving the taste of it, while sitting next to my partner on the couch, always feels like I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m free of a lot of those expectations and pressures. It feels queer to be eating carbs for myself, with zero expectations of how it’ll inform or destroy my femininity."
2. Dzeneta, 30
"Bosnian spinach pie aka zeljanica."
3. Erika, 32
"French fries! You can literally put anything on them (or nothing at all!) and they’re still great. My faves are classic cheese fries and garlic/rosemary/Parmesan fries."
4. Libby, 27
"Pizzzzaa. You can have so many kinds of pizza, and they're all delicious!"
5. Kayla, 30
"Cake. Cake. Cake every day! No frosting needed. I don't drink coffee, and don't really have caffeine, so I love sugar!"
6. Sarah Kat, 33
"I want to eat bread forever, and became obsessed with sourdough while pregnant."
7. Lauren, 29
"Sweet potatoes are my go-to, but I’m a sucker for good sourdough bread! Perfect little vehicles for all things delicious."
8. Patrizia, 53
"I'm Italian. This should be enough as an explanation. Or do I really need to tell you about the great variety of types of pasta and pizza with so [many] different tastes and flavors that we can eat going around every region, or even single town, in my country? Today I'm in Lucca, Tuscany. Tortelli lucchesi or tagliolini al tartufo? OMG!!!"
9. Kalia, 29
"Bread! Especially Tartine."
10. Ella, 33
"Bread, just because you can do so many things with it, and there is such a variety of kinds of bread, but let's be real: pie has my heart forever."
11. Joey, 32
"I want to put all the pasta in my face."
12. Dani, 36
"I'm Jamaican — rice defined my childhood. ... Rice and peas or rice and beans. It's a West Indian/Caribbean staple. It defined my childhood, teens, and most of my adulthood so far. I've been conditioned!"
13. Anita, 62
"[Cornbread] was the last thing I smelled before Sunday dinner was ready. Hot cornbread out of the oven meant, 'dinner's ready!' All in all, cornbread could become banana bread, was great with buttermilk (or so my grandfather thought!), and was *and still is* a necessity for one's collard greens!"
14. Marissa, 24
"I'm from a large Italian family and every Sunday we'd all get together. All I ate was spaghetti, and I had to dip my bread in the leftover sauce, of course! Homemade Italian food was too good to waste."
15. Aubrey, 29
"I would spend summers with my dad (divorced parents) watching Captain Planet and eating tuna noodle casserole. I think I'm the only person I know that actually likes it!"
16. Cat, 47
"Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes! I can't live without them. ... When I was a toddler, having trouble going to sleep, my grandpa would take me for a drive to get French fries and I would fall asleep on the car ride back. I still to this day love fries, but now I get them a little fancier like truffle fries or sweet potato with aioli!"
17. Rebecca, 35
"Bagels are such an easy, grab-and-go type of food ... the type of carb that is fulfilling and not all that messy, assuming you are eating a plain one. ... My parents would always get a dozen bagels on the weekends. I remember the yummy smell, which would always get me out of bed. Plus, we would always have bagels during holidays (Yom Kippur) and family gatherings."
18. Olivia, 28
"The carb that defined my life without a doubt is spaghetti! My family is incredibly Italian and I remember my adorable little mother — all throughout my childhood and still into my adult life — making enough spaghetti sauce to feed the entire neighborhood. It would always be an all-day affair, complete with her standing on a chair to reach the top of a pot that was larger than her body, and stirring with an actual wooden paddle. The smell would completely fill the house, and a spaghetti dinner at home with my mama's homemade sauce brings back some of my fondest childhood memories. Now, every time I go home — especially on a crisp fall night — she always makes sure I don't leave without at least one spaghetti dinner!"
19. Nancy, 83
"For a while when I was in junior high school, my mother made crispy old-fashioned doughnuts. I have an impossibly high standard for doughnuts now."
20. Kayla, 23
"I am a self-proclaimed foodie and the carb that defines me (and makes me just like Oprah) is bread! I love bread and growing up bread was a side to all of my favorite dishes. Growing up in the South we're known for our soul food cooking, and there is nothing like a slice of cornbread to go with your meal. My dad was in the military and we moved to Hawaii where I was introduced to Hawaiian sweet rolls! Bread is such a staple carb, and it has turned me into a loaf-a-week adult."
21. Ryn, 48
"Wonder white bread! Soft, gushy, chewy, and fun to roll into little, doughy balls you could chomp on with glee or throw at your brother. I remember crying at a sleepover when we were served WHEAT BREAD toast in the morning."
22. Addy, 24
"Love me a good sweet bun! I was an incredibly picky eater as a kid, so I pretty much lived off of processed carbs. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday solely for the wide selection of sweets buns and dinner rolls — which I piled high onto my plate, turning my nose up at anything that wasn’t beige. My palate has matured a lot since then, but I’ll still take six sweet buns over dry turkey any day."
23. Jena, 36
"My favorite carb growing up (basically the only thing I would eat as a child) was plain pasta with butter and Parmesan. Mmmm... It’s still my go-to comfort food today!"
So whether your favorite carbs are fries or carrot sticks, there's no reason in 2018 to be cutting carbs completely. Find the balance that works best for your body and mental health, and stick to it.