How is pasta made? And is it even good for you?
The low-carb craze demonized our love affair with pasta. Many of us are now convinced pasta is a “bad” food, and when your goal is to create a healthy inner ecosystem and build your immunity, most popular pasta dishes really are a poor choice. But, while some pastas are best avoided, some can actually be healthy.
Pasta may be a quick and satisfying meal, but it’s not always great for your health and digestion. Our exclusive Body Ecology Living Cookbook offers delicious alternatives to this classic meal that don’t feed bad bacteria.
Read on to find out which pastas to avoid and which ones may be good for you.
What’s so wrong with pasta?
If you’re wondering what pasta is made of, it mostly contains durum wheat flour, a special kind of wheat with a high protein content and strong gluten. Pasta may seem fairly nutritious, but it’s still a refined and processed food.
Italian studies have even linked an increased risk of cancer to pasta and rice consumption.1 And unbelievably, multiple studies on pasta’s purported benefits over the past decade have been funded by the world’s largest pasta manufacturer, Barilla.2
From the Body Ecology perspective, conventional pastas feed pathogenic yeast and bacteria in your intestines. They disturb the growth of good microbes and may lower your immunity. Candida, a systemic fungal infection, especially thrives on the natural complex sugars in pasta that can ferment in your gut and encourage candida overgrowth.
Pasta is not on the Body Ecology program because most pasta:
- Contains gluten.
- Is made from processed flour.
- May be difficult for many people to digest.
- Produces a sticky “sludge” in your digestive tract.
- Supports the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast in your gut.
Here’s a list of common pastas that may feed pathogenic bacteria and yeast:
- Couscous (a wheat pasta, not a grain)
- Durum wheat pasta (macaroni pasta)
- Semolina pasta
- Spelt and sprouted grain pasta
- Spinach and artichoke pasta (made with wheat flour)
- Wheat pasta
If you want to build your inner ecosystem with beneficial microbes, then most pastas are not for you.
Your body and your tastebuds will thank you: The Body Ecology Living Cookbook has 250+ gut-smart recipes.
Pass the healthy pasta, please: 2 tasty options
Pasta is a filling, cheap, and easy meal that also tastes great. But it’s not always the most nutritious way to nourish your body. So, what’s a pasta lover to do?
Fortunately, new choices for healthy pasta make it easy to enjoy the occasional plate of noodles without worrying about harming your digestive health.
Several new varieties of pasta are actually good for you:
1. Konjaku noodles.
- Healthy pasta is not too good to be true: Konjaku noodles taste great, fill you up, and are gluten-free, calorie-free, and carb-free. If you want pasta more often, then Konjaku (or shirataki) noodles are our top recommended alternative to pasta.
- Topped with vegetables and a tasty Body Ecology sauce, they make a complete, satisfying, and quick meal. You won’t even miss your old pasta with cream sauce.
- These healthy pasta noodles are made from the yam flour of the Japanese konnyaku imo tuber. This special flour is a powerful prebiotic because it’s full of fiber that does not feed bad bacteria.
2. Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles.”
- With how popular zucchini, butternut squash, and other veggie noodles have become, you probably know how to spiralize your own at home by now. You can also buy veggie noodles premade at most grocers.
- If you’re buying prepackaged, make sure to blanch your veggie noodles in boiling water as bacteria can build on them. This bacteria buildup may cause a histamine reaction for those who are sensitive. (Note that L. plantarum found in Body Ecology’s cultured veggies is great for helping to degrade histamine.)
- Top your zoodles with some extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, and a dash of Celtic sea salt, and you have a delicious, quick meal that complements a spring mix salad and your favorite ocean vegetable.
Also, consider subbing spaghetti squash noodles (using a fork to scrape out cooked and cooled spaghetti squash strands) or store-bought lentil noodles for your favorite type of pasta. (Lentil noodles are high in oxalates, however.)
Jovial makes a grain-free cassava spaghetti that is low in oxalate. We prefer this to lentil pasta. Jovial also makes the best-tasting organic brown rice gluten-free pasta out there. It’s artisan-crafted in Italy and has been given an award for the best taste and texture for a rice pasta.
These flour-based pastas aren’t really in the healing food category so should not be eaten often but certainly are your better choices when you have that craving for pasta. Serve them with cultured veggies on your plate to enhance digestion.
On top of being alkaline forming — since we need 80-percent alkaline-forming foods combined with 20-percent animal protein — nourishing veggie-based pasta alternatives add important fiber to your diet. This supplies essential fuel for the friendly bacteria in your gut that use this fiber to make the short-chain fatty acid butyrate.
After some time on the Body Ecology System for Health and Healing, you might find that your body will no longer want the wheat pastas of your past.
At Body Ecology, we’re always looking for delicious alternatives to unhealthy favorites. After all, we deserve to love what we eat, and yet, we want to eat what makes us feel good for the long-term. See how your body feels as you ditch your old pasta and try konjanku or zoodles instead.
- 1. Dalmartello M, Bravi F, Serraino D, et al. Dietary Patterns in Italy and the Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):134. Published 2020 Jan 2. doi:10.3390/nu12010134.
- 2. Victor L Fulgoni, III, Regan Bailey, Association of Pasta Consumption with Diet Quality and Nutrients of Public Health Concern in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2012, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 1, Issue 10, October 2017, e001271, https://doi.org/10.3945/cdn.117.001271.