Fiber helps you lose weight, and here’s why. “It fills your belly, it acts like a sponge, it’s slower to digest and absorb, so it makes you feel full,” says WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Dietitian Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. “It also provides bulk, which aids elimination, and it helps lower blood cholesterol.”
So, where do we get fiber? (Click on the blue links to learn more.)
1. Beans. Think three-bean salad, bean burritos, chili, soup. Lentils are also excellent sources of fiber.
2. Whole grains. That means whole-wheat bread, pasta, etc. I rarely eat bread or pasta, but my breakfast here is full of whole grains.
3. Brown rice. White rice doesn’t offer much fiber. Sorghum is prepared the same way but has many more health benefits.
4. Popcorn. It’s a great source of fiber. (Please! Never microwave popcorn.) Make it the way your grandmother did. On the stove! In truth, I never eat popcorn, but this was included in the article I referenced above.
5. Nuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts.
6. Baked potato with skin. It’s the skin that’s important here. Baked sweet potatoes are even more nutritious.
7. Berries. All those seeds, plus the skin, give great fiber to any berry.
8. Bran cereal. Any cereal that has 5 grams of fiber or more in a serving counts as high fiber. (I do not eat processed, boxed cereal. See Oatmeal below.)
9. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a good fiber. Here’s my recipe for “oatmeal,” which is my morning meal almost daily.
10. Vegetables. The crunchier, the better. I try to eat at least one salad daily. They always include a variety of raw vegetables with no cheese, dressing, oil, bread, or croutons.
Why do we need fiber? Since the 1970’s the typical American diet has included fewer and fewer whole natural foods which contain fiber. Convenience foods have very little fiber in them because it has been processed out. Fat, sugar, and salt have been added to give the products the flavors we crave. Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity have skyrocketed during this time. The typical American woman wore a size 12 when I worked in retail twenty years ago. Today the typical size is a 16. I can tell you that all of my health issues disappeared after changing my choice of foods. Another blogger wrote about my health journey recently. You can read that post here.
Aesthetically, it is a pleasure to weigh 145 pounds instead of 190, but let’s talk about the more important issue. I was a very sick woman who could not walk without pain, even in tennis shoes. Six years after changing my diet, I am still wearing high heels (occasionally), lab results are in perfect order, and I have not even had a cold during that time. I wish everyone could have the same quality of life at almost 61, which is why I share my personal experience so publically.