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Adding fiber to our diet

November 7, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
We’ve been hearing for a long time now…we all need more fiber. We should be getting between 30 and 35 grams of fiber each day according to many reports from many difference sources, but the majority of us barely get half of that.

There is no fiber in meat, sugars, most desserts and definitely very little if any in fast food.

Just like the low-carb, low-fat and sugar-free explosions we’ve seen in nearly all of our food products in the past several years, we are now seeing fiber inserted in everything. It’s even been added to yogurt (you’ve seen the commercials). But is that really the way we should be getting this important component to our diets? Shouldn’t we be trying instead to get it where it naturally occurs, in our fruits and vegetables?

According to information from the Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber does lots of good things for us. Besides combating constipation, it helps discourage heart disease and adult onset diabetes. It is filling so we are not likely to overeat when we have enough fiber.

There are basically two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can be found in oats, peas, beans, apples, carrots and other stuff. It helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is soluble because it can dissolve in liquid. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat bran, nuts and many vegetables. It helps move things along in our digestive system. People, who have been diagnosed with diverticulosis, a disorder of the large intestine where small pouches occur, are recommended to eat high fiber diets.

It all adds up when you think of it. The best way to get the nutrients we need, including fiber, is to eat more “real” food. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and avoid “fake” food that is processed and filled with refined sugar and flour. These foods are naturally low in calories as well.

This morning I began the day with a high fiber breakfast of Fiber One cereal and half of a large banana. I don’t add sugar to my cold cereal, instead preferring to let the fruit be the sweetener.

I was a little wiser today than yesterday and chose a healthier lunch. This six-inch Subway sandwich held all the vegetables I could get on there along with what I estimated to be a three-ounce piece of chicken breast. I opted for no cheese and about a tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I also had a container of yogurt.

The husband is making beef stew for dinner, and I talked him into adding extra vegetables. I can’t wait to get home. The beef stew was chock full of potatoes, green beans, corn and mushrooms, as well as tender chunks of beef. Since there are only two of us in the house, not counting our menagerie of dogs and cats and pond fish, we often buy large beef roasts and the husband cuts them into smaller roasts and beef chunks for dishes just like this. Talk about comfort food!


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Breakfast: 2 ounces grains; 1/2 cup fruit; 30 discretionary calories.