Habit 2: Eat More Fiber Warning: this is a long blog - fiber is a big topic, so grab an apple (3 grams fiber) and make yourself comfortable...
So you've been making your body and your bowel and little happier for the last week. That is assuming you've actually been drinking your water, instead of just using it to wash dishes. But before I get into the all encompassing deep talk on fiber, and how it really is going to be your new best friend, I wanted to talk a little bit more about why a slow moving bowel, and poor digestion are great markers of how healthy you are and how you're feeling.
Some pooh basics: When you feel like utter crap and your body has been over taken by a crazy virus, often you will have diarrhea. Your body knows that it is being invaded by bad guys and says, "Well i say we just dump everything, so they get the heck out." So that's what happens. What this means is going pooh gets the stuff you don't want and don't need out....
I have had a number of clients who normally go pooh once a week. Yep I'm serious. In fact there are many people who just go several times a week. Some people think going once a week is normal. It's not.
Okay, granted I'm no math whiz, I'm struggling with my daughter's grade 6 textbook, but if you look at the quantity of food on people's plates during 2-3 meals a day, for an entire week, that's a heck of a large volume to have inside you for over 5 days. If you only go a few times a week, then please get your notebook, it's time to take some notes...
Excuse me I have to grab a fiber bar.... Okay back with my big glass of water.
So here's the deal: if you're having fewer than one good bowel movement a day, then you need to have more. What do i mean by good?
I will get more specific at a later date with pooh identifying characteristic chart (no i'm not kidding) (ie. color, size, etc) and tell you what they mean, but for now...
A good bowel movement is: brown (unless you're eating lots of beets or greens), a good diameter ( say 1/2 inch or larger) and well formed and may curve to show the shape of your bowel. It will also be fairly long in length. That is what we all want to see in the bowl every day.
You too can become your own Bowel Whisperer...read the toilet bowl and improve your health...
How To Pooh Like You Mean It:
I'm going to assume that not everyone is having perfect poops everyday, because I know that to be the case with clients. So why aren't you?
We'll be getting into a variety of possible reasons: dehydration ( ie. too much coffee and not enough water) is the top reason, the second is lack of fiber.
Do you know how much fiber you're supposed to be eating each day? 30 grams minimum. When I say minimum I mean if you want to have a fantastic pooh, you can brag about - aim higher.
S o if you're like most of my clients when i look at their food diaries for a week I often see about 11 grams of fiber eaten per day. Hamsters can't take a poop with that amount of fiber, so how are you going to do it?
You know in Titanic how Jack loves Rose so much he freezes and dies? That's how much your bum loves fiber. I'm serious, it loves it to the moon and back. If your ass could buy fiber a ring, it would.
Fiber is key to making you and your bum happy because of something really great, called peristalsis. If you've ever watched the nature channel you've seen a boa constrictor almost explode when it tries to eat one of the village goats. You see the muscles contract and move the goat, rat or pig down it's long body. That is peristalsis in action. The trick is it can't work if it has nothing to contract against. A burger on a white bun may have enough energy to run a small wind farm, or grow a really nice set of man boobs, but it has almost no fiber at all. So after it digests, or partially digests ( depending on how that's working) it leaves your small intestine and then basically parks itself in your large intestines in whatever nook and crannie it finds, until something containing fiber gives the muscles something to contract against.
In areas in Africa where people don't eat refined Western foods the average fiber intake of an adult is 100 grams. Their poohs are massive, they could have built islands with their pooh. Amazingly enough I know this because somebody studied it -yes there have been Africa vs. Western pooh studies. Riveting work really.
Okay so hopefully I've convinced you that fiber is your friend, or at the very least deserves an invitation to your bowel bash.
How do you get that much fiber on a daily basis? There are great ways to get fiber, and most of them are super healthy. The up side is that the more fiber you eat the less likely you feel hungry, so you're apt to lose weight too. Big poohs and weight loss - almost like winning the lottery!
Why you want fiber to be your bowel buddy! Fiber also lowers cholesterol, balances blood sugar, helps get toxins out that can lead to serious diseases It also helps anyone with irritable bowel issues, in fact fiber is important to most bowel problems.
Fiber basics: There are several types of fiber including cellulose, lignin, pectins, and the list goes on, to simplify here's the two basic catergories :
Insoluble gets things moving in your digestive system and makes it bulky and powerful, it really helps with becoming regualr: good sources are wheat ( if you can tolerate it) bran, vegetables and flax seeds ( flax is awesome and has both insoluble and soluble fiber)
Soluble Fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel, it is magical and cleans your insides like broom, can lower cholesterol levels and glucose levels. It is found in oats, peas, beans, fruits and psyllium.
Easy Fiber Sources: Apple 3-5 grams Pear 3-5 grams 1 cup chickpeas 13 grams bowl unrefined oatmeal 5 grams Gnu Bar 12 grams 1 cup Raspberries 8.5 grams 1 cup cauliflower 3.3 grams 1 cup broccoli 4.6 grams 1 cup spinach 4 grams 1 cup winter squash 5.7 grams 2 tablespoons flaxseeds 5.4 grams 1 cup avocado 7 grams 1 tablespoon psyllium 8 grams
These are all great pooh bulking, weight reducing, toxin absorbing, blood sugar leveling options.
But hey you're busy right? You don't have time to be eating fiber 18 hours a day. You barely have time to pee, or go to the gym or call your mother, or clean the baseboards (that's the worst chore ever), how can you possibly have time to eat fiber... I hear you and I have a few easy solution to tackle the fiber intake dilemma.
Fiber Tip #1: With Breakfast Go Big or You Simply Won't Go....
Make breakfast your big fiber meal of the day.
Option 1 Breakfast in a Bowl: Have a bowl of oatmeal (not quick oats) or steel cut oats (5 grams fiber) then add a sliced banana ( 3-4 grams) then instead of milk use, apple sauce (1/2 cup has about 3 grams fiber) we'll have the whole dairy talk another time...Finally add two tablespoons of ground flax seeds (5 grams). Then your breakfast has around 15 grams of fiber and you're half way done for the day.
Option 2 Smoothie Breakfast: Start with 2 tablespoons flax seed (5 grams fiber), then 1 apple or pear (3-4 grams fiber), 1/2 cup berries (4 grams fiber), then a handful of your favorite greens like spinach or romaine lettuce (2-4 grams fiber), you can add in yoghurt if your okay with dairy, or simply add water and blend....This breakfast has about 15 grams of fiber!
Sound like too much work for you?
Quick options: Some people swear by psyllium. It's a husk you can buy at your local health food store. It's great if your body likes it, however word of warning. Not all bodies like it and start small and then increase as your bowel gets used to it, unlike just eating fiber in an apple, this stuff is very gel like and if you take too much and aren't drinking enough water, you'll just create a giant fiber plug. I would recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon in the morning after breakfast, and another 1/2 teaspoon at night.
Buy Gnu Bars - I bar has 12 grams of fiber - unfortunately they don't deliver to Canada, and they do contain wheat so if you are wheat intolerant they are a no go. But if wheat is okay for you the flavors are fab and they make fiber easy on the go.
The Bowel Tamer Drink: If you want to make you bowel happier and feed it healing nutrients you can try this great soothing drink. You take 1 tablespoon flax seeds and grind them fresh in a blender or coffee grinder. Than add a cup of boiling water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and drink. It has fiber and fatty acids that will help heal the intestines and soothe them.
You can also grind flax seeds and put it in apple sauce ( great for kids too!)
Fiber is super, amazing, and very important to super sizing your poops - but remember without it's best mate; water, fiber can be a stuck up trouble maker.
Rules of thumb for fiber consumption:
A good fiber mix is great, ie pectin, cellulose etc, so vary it up, have an apple, have a pear, add some ground flax seeds. Make sure you are continuing to drink your 1.5 liters a day or more. Think about fiber when planning a meal, make sure you're getting some in each meal. A great way to add fiber to anything is blended up chick peas made into a paste. It can be added to soups, lasagna, pasta sauce, even pancakes. Start with a high fiber breakfast and you'll be more than half way done.... Habits for the week:Habit 1: Drink your warm water with lemon in the morning and your 8 cups per day. Habit 2: Start working fiber into your daily meals. Aim for 30 grams per day. Have some fun with the fiber, try a new recipe, try one new form of fiber for you. Add some new fruits and vegetables to your meals; they always have great fiber counts. Next week we talk exercise. Yep, eat your fiber, because in one week you're going to have to commit getting off the couch or desk chair, and possibly even breaking a sweat. But like big poohs, sweat is sexy... have a good one. Amanda