Style Points

Aesthetics is another vampire-like quality that applies to our “feeding style”.  I’m so sick of the word “diet”, that I’m trading it in for “feeding style”. That has a pleasantly predatory, vampire-ish quality to it, don’t you think? If you can’t have fun with the vampire schtick during October, right before Halloween, when can you? Since before Bram Stoker, vampires have been associated with an appreciation of quality… they are some sharp-dressed monsters. And they are drawn to “the finer things in life”, like art, music, fast cars – you get the idea. The same applies to the “Vampire Diet”. Eat good. Feed well…meaning healthy and tasty enough to eat  all of the time.

Aesthetics speaks to one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Sustainability. Just like vitamins and medicines can’t help you if you leave them on the shelf and you don’t take them, healthy food can’t help you if you don’t eat it. The d-word isn’t totally about the stuff you avoid.

If something is good, you’ll eat it regularly, even if (GASP!) it is healthy at the same time.

One thing that comes to mind in this respect is pasta. I know, “pasta” is a dirty word in the low-carb world, but it is a good friend to anyone in “low fat” land. Even for low glycemic index seekers, some pasta isn’t that bad of a choice. Like most things, you have to pay attention to labels and give it a little thought.

The obvious solution for both kinds of feeding is whole wheat. Sure it is full of fiber, a wonderful thing for both keeping fats in the gut instead of the arteries, and for slowing down the carbohydrate burn, in turn modifying the resulting insulin response.

On the other hand, the obvious problem is whole wheat pasta. Until fairly recently, it was hard, if not impossible, to find except in rare, expensive health food stores. Now they are commonly available, but no matter where you buy it, whole wheat pasta often has a grainy, gritty, awful texture. What good is it if it is too unpleasant to make a regular part of your usual feeding style?

Texture is half of the ballgame with pasta as I see it. Lesser quality pastas and some ‘egg noodle’ kind of products (sorry Grandma) are just too pasty, bland and mushy (even when lightly cooked). Whole wheat is just plain too grainy, gritty, and has a harsher taste. So to my fangs, the real answer is traditional durum wheat / semolina flour pasta.

While people on low gluten diets should avoid pasta of ANY wheat variety, for the rest of us, semolina flour (course ground durum wheat) is the middle ground. It has a higher gluten / protein content that gives it that smooth, chewy mouth-feel that defines the glory that is “al dente”.  It has the aesthetics. It has the good taste and texture to please the vampire-palate while the protein tugs the glycemic index down just a bit. Like all non-egg pasta, it is fat and cholesterol-free tells about an even better alternative. I’m not brand loyal about very many things, but I am a big big fan of Barilla pastas. In the WebMd article they talk about their “plus” product giving it rave reviews on aesthetics, but points out the obvious advantages of the added soluble fiber and plant sourced omega-3 fatty acids from flax seed. I tried it for the first time myself recently, and agree that the texture is probably as close to a “real” pasta as you can get for fiber-added product, reinforcing my brand loyalty for these folks. I don’t use it all the time, because it does cost a bit more per box, and the youngling isn’t entirely sold on it yet, but personally, I’m all for it.

So there is a little free fan-girl raving for the Barilla folks, and an even bigger thumbs up for GOOD meaning healthy and tasty and pleasant all at the same time.



2 thoughts on “Style Points

  1. I love Barilla plus! I also use the Ronzoni Smart Taste a lot, too. I buy whichever is on sale 😉

    Both Barilla and Ronzoni make vegetable pastas, too (Barilla Piccolini and Ronzoni Garden Delight). I’ll pick them up, too, because I like the colors 😉

    • Isn’t the Piccolini great! I like the taste, my daughter likes the color, and you can’t argue with that cool chewy al dente texture, which half the fun. Haven’t tried the Ronzoni – not common in Giant Eagle or Walmart either one around our neighborhood. I’ll keep an eye out for it as an alternative, especially for when we are on the road visiting mom and all that. They could use some sneaky veggies too 😀

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