This is Part III of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.
Let’s be honest.
When we think fiber, we think “old.”
We think silly kindergarten jokes, cardboard tasting brown cereals, and Metamucil. So, of course, we naturally think “sorry, that’s not for me.”
But fiber has a bigger role to play.
It doesn’t just…well…keep us regular (sorry.) It also keeps us feeling full, which is important in helping us with weight maintenance or weight loss.
I honestly can’t think of any better way to explain how soluble fiber (the kind that absorbs water like a sponge…unlike the insoluble fiber, which–as in bran–does not…our body needs both kinds!) works than to mention oatmeal.
That miraculous way in which such a small flake expands once water is added? That’s exactly what happens in our gut, when we drink fluids along with eating fiber rich foods. The fiber expands.
Which, as you might imagine, keeps us feeling full and content for hours.
So it makes sense to add it to our diets. Because who wants to feel starving an hour after eating?
(Add in some protein and some high quality fat and you’re golden!)
There you have it.
Fiber isn’t just about silly kindergarten jokes and prunes.
Fiber keeps us full.
It regulates our blood sugars (i.e., important for people with diabetes.)
It lowers our blood cholesterol levels.
And it may protect against colon cancer.
Best of all?
Fiber can taste delicious. Who knew?
- Drink plenty of water if you plan on increasing your fiber. And do so gradually to avoid stomach upsets!
- You can leave the peels on well-washed vegetables in most recipes, such as soups, stir fries and casseroles.
- Add 1/2 cup of canned black, kidney or garbanzo beans to your salad.
- Add some fiber-rich cereal to your regular choice in the morning.
- Replace your morning muffin with a whole wheat pumpkin raisin muffin.
Cauliflower Pie (click for recipe) I like to use reduced fat cabot cheddar and almost always use sweet potato in place of the regular white. Be sure to keep the peel on the potatoes, as you won’t even notice this fiber rich addition!
Sauteed Mushrooms: Heat 1 TBS. butter in pan over medium high heat. Add 1# mushrooms, 1/4-1/2 tsp thyme and plenty of dehydrated onion flakes. Cook until browned, carefully add a splash of water, and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender and most of water has evaporated. Enjoy!
Swiss Chard with Black Eyed Peas: Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in medium pan. Add 1 large bunch of cleaned swiss chard, trimmed of any tough stems and chopped. Cook until wilted and tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add 15-oz. canned, drained and rinsed black eyed peas, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, splash of rice vinegar and 1/2 carrot shredded. Cook another 2 minutes or so. Enjoy!
QUESTION: What is your favorite fiber-rich food? Oatmeal. Hands down. 😀