I’m just going to cut right to the chase this week and give you the good stuff.
Please eat fiber.
Okay, here’s a little bit more -
You know how important it is to get enough fiber in your diet, right? I mean, fiber is totally where it’s AT. It helps lower your cholesterol, controls your blood sugar, reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes, helps you feel full and satisfied from your meals and, perhaps best of all, it helps with your digestive system, which means…..healthy poops.
Yeah. I said it.
You may think that you are already eating enough fiber….but are you? The recommendations are that we eat around 25 gms per day for women, and 38gms per day for men. That’s more fiber than you may think.
Here are three simple things to consider about fiber. Some may seem obvious - but others might be brand new information. Give them all a whirl - and see if you notice in any changes in the way you feel and - yes - the way you poop.
Fabulous Fiber Fun-Time
1. Don’t eat things that contain zero fiber.
Well, this may seem insultingly obvious - but bear with me. A LOT of cereals, breads, pretzels, chips, cookies actually contain NO fiber. If you look on the label, it will say Fiber: 0. Or sometimes it will say “less than 1 gram”.
What are ya doin’?
Why knowingly, purposely ingest something that is so clearly lacking in something you need? You’re wasting an opportunity!
Fiber helps you feel FULL. Speaking for myself, I am looking for food that fills me up and satisfies me so that I don’t have to worry about feeling hungry all afternoon. That means it’s GOTTA have at least 2 grams of fiber per serving - ideally more than 4.
I beg of you - read the label, and if it has less than 2 grams of fiber per serving……just don’t do it.
2. The WHOLE grain and nothing but the WHOLE grain.
This is where labels and advertising get really, really confusing and, frankly, kind of unfair.
You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of eating whole grains, right? Because they’re great sources of fiber and super-nutritious.
Well, what’s a whole grain? It’s, literally, the WHOLE grain - unstripped, unprocessed, unrefined. It has all of its fiber and nutrients, just the way nature intended.
For example, white rice used to be brown rice. Brown rice is a whole grain product with lots of fiber. To turn it into white rice, it is milled and stripped of much of its fiber, which makes it more tender but nutritionally inferior.
A whole grain is the equivalent of a full symphony orchestra playing the music of George Gershwin and you’re in the front row. It’s rich, it’s satisfying, it stays with you for a long time, and it’s the way it was meant to be.
A processed grain is the equivalent of a bare-bones George Gershwin melody being played on a miniature electronic keyboard and the battery is dying. There’s a LOT missing, it leaves you wanting more, and it REALLY doesn’t satisfy you on any level.
Here’s the unfair part: Companies are allowed to plaster the words “Made with whole grains!!!!” all over their packaging……even if the product only contains a teensy fraction of whole grains. It’s so bogus.
But fear not!! I am here to arm you with knowledge.
All you need to do is look for one special word - and remember to pay attention to the fiber content on the label. This is a match made in heaven, I tell you.
Fiber content + 1 special word = Happy, Healthy Tummy.
The word is: WHOLE.
Look at the actual ingredient list on your food label (not just the label ‘claim’). You want to see the word ‘WHOLE’ as much as possible - preferably within the first few ingredients.
“Wheat flour” is not the same as WHOLE wheat flour. What’s the difference? The fiber and the nutrient content.
“100% wheat” is not the same as 100% WHOLE wheat.
“Multigrain” is not the same as WHOLE grain - and, honestly, sometimes multigrain is just as bad as regular old white-bread, if those ‘multi’ grains are refined and junky and fiber-free.
“Good source of whole grains” does not mean that it contains adequate fiber, because - remember - the company is allowed to tout their whole grains even if their product doesn’t contain that many.
The best way to know if your food is truly as healthy as it claims to be is…….say it with me:
1. Look for the word WHOLE in the ingredient list.
2. Check that it has AT LEAST 2 grams of fiber per serving - ideally more than 4.
If both of these conditions are met, you should be golden.
3. Eat more plants.
Whether you choose to eat animals or choose not to eat animals, there is no way around the fact that plants contain fiber and meat does not.
I’ll say that again: Meat does not contain any fiber.
Increasing your intake of plants - and, by plants, I mean whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits, legumes, nuts, sea vegetables - is a fool-proof way to bring more fiber into your diet.
If you are a meat-eater - and, by meat, I mean beef, chicken, turkey, duck, eggs, fish - you could do some wonderful things for your digestion, your blood sugar, your cholesterol and, yes, your poops, if you considered making plants the main ingredient on your plate and used meat as your ‘side’.
Consider this an invitation to experiment!