Are you on a diet that’s strict on refined carbohydrates?

Perhaps you’ve decided to declare war on refined carbohydrates for health reasons. Perhaps you’re tired of letting your carb-heavy lunches affect your energy levels for the rest of the afternoon. Or you may be undergoing Absolute Wellness’s CSH therapy®, where you would be recommended to limit your refined carbohydrate intake to wholemeal bread products.

How do you get your fill of pasta without actually breaking the rules?


Substituting carbs with plant foods

The answer lies in getting creative with plant foods. Here, we are going to share six healthier alternatives to refined carbohydrates that are free of soy dairy, wheat, and gluten.

In fact, all of the substitutes suggested here are low-glycemic, meaning you can eat them without having to deal with annoying fluctuations to your blood sugar levels (you know, the ones that are responsible for your afternoon food comas). Perfect for diabetics!

It sounds like you’d be depriving yourself of a lot, but when you find out how delicious these options are? You won’t even notice what’s missing.


1. Fried cauliflower “rice” paradise with shrimp, snap peas and red pepper

(adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

You’ll need:

½ head cauliflower, pulsed in food processor or grated until it resembles grains of rice
½ yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 slices of ginger, minced
4 stalks of spring onions, sliced diagonally into ½-inch pieces
2 teaspoons of soy sauce (use coconut aminos if you are soy-intolerant)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup snap peas, diagonally sliced
½ red bell pepper, chopped into ½-inch pieces
200 g peeled and deveined fresh shrimp, marinated with a touch of salt, sugar and olive oil
1 tablespoon high smoke point oil like avocado or safflower

Sauté the shrimp until almost cooked, then remove and set aside. Sauté the minced garlic and ginger in your choice of oil for 30 seconds, then add chopped onion and stir-fry until almost starting to brown. Add the snap peas and red pepper. Add the cauliflower rice and continue to stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the egg, soy sauce and sesame oil together, and add it in the mix. Toss in the spring onion and return the shrimp to the pan. Serve immediately once the shrimp is fully cooked.


2. Chicken and quinoa salad with zucchini ribbons

(adapted from Spiralize now! 80 Delicious, Healthy Recipes For Your Spiralizer by Denise Smart)

You’ll need:

200 g quinoa, rinsed
2 zucchini, spiralised or sliced into ribbons with a mandoline
1 tablespoon olive oil, for searing
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for dressing
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, coriander or Italian parsley
100 g pistachios, cashews or almonds, roughly chopped
A handful of pomegranate seeds

Cook the quinoa with 600ml of water and a pinch of salt in a rice cooker. Season the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, black pepper and cumin seeds. Sauté in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Add zucchini ribbons into the still-hot skillet and sauté very briefly, and remove to a large salad bowl. Assemble the rest: Add the cooked quinoa, the lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, herbs and nuts. Mix well and season to taste. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and top with thinly sliced chicken breasts.


3. Shaved asparagus salad with feta and peas

(Adapted from Food52)

You’ll need:

1 bunch asparagus, washed and well-dried
1 big handful arugula
½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
2 tablespoons deshelled pistachios, roughly chopped
2 ounces feta
Juice from half a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, flaky sea salt

Remove asparagus ends and shave the stalks with a cheese plane or a potato peeler. Toss the ribbons with argula, peas, pistachios and crumbled feta. Dress with lemon juice and generously drizzle with olive oil. Season with pepper and salt. Serve and eat immediately.


4. Beef and daikon kway teow soup

(Adapted from Chef Eric Teo’s recipe)

You’ll need:

2 cups of daikon ribbons, made with a spiraliser or a mandoline
1 litre chicken stock
150g  thinly-sliced beef
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked and chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
100g black fungus, soaked and sliced
1 carrot, julienned
150g bean sprouts
Fish sauce, sugar and white pepper to taste

In a stock pot, sauté the garlic and dried shrimp in oil until fragrant. Stir in the black fungus and cook for another minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Season with fish sauce and sugar. Throw in the carrots and daikon. Simmer for 30 seconds, remove from heat and add the beef slices. Put the raw bean sprouts into bowls and pour the hot soup over it. Serve.


5. Butternut squash with sage and pine nuts

(Adapted from Spiralize now! 80 Delicious, Healthy Recipes For Your Spiralizer by Denise Smart)

You’ll need:

½ butternut squash, spiralised with a 3mm blade or julienned
25g unsalted butter
8 sage leaves
25g pine nuts
25g shredded Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once it starts to foam, stir in the sage leaves and pine nuts. Stir-fry until sage leaves are crispy and pine nuts are lightly golden, 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and stir-fry until the squash is tender. Remove from heat and stir in half of the Parmesan. Transfer to bowls and top it up with the remaining Parmesan and season with freshly ground black pepper.


6. Shirataki rice and noodles

Prepare ready-to-eat shirataki rice and noodles as directed on their packaging and you can use them directly as substitutes for white rice and pasta.

Both products are basically made with the Japanese konjac yam and consist almost entirely of water and fibre. They are also low-calorie, keto-approved, vegan, and naturally gluten-free. Translucent and gelatinous in texture, they best resemble the real deal in terms of mouth feel and appearance.


About us

To make the most of your weight loss efforts, you may want to consider our signature CSH therapy® program. It uses a combination of scraping, cupping, and heat treatment to help supercharge your metabolism, with weight loss averaging 4-6kg in 1 month*.

CSH therapy® can help to contour your thighs, waist and hips – areas which prove to be the most difficult to tone with just exercise and dieting alone.

Since 2002, Absolute Wellness has helped thousands of clients achieve their ideal weight with a 99 per cent success rate. Check out their testimonials, or read more about what our CSH therapy® program is about.

*Results may vary between individuals.

Sources: Spiralize now! 80 Delicious, Healthy Recipes For Your Spiralizer by Denise Smart;