Where’s The Fiber?

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 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 various 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 142 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.

Here’s to your health!

  1. Thank you so much for this list. Great blog! We all know what NOT to eat, but rarely hear what we should be eating. When I fill up on the good stuff, I don’t crave the junk.

  2. Thanks for the post, Susan. I started changing my eating habits when I was 68…now 70. I eat similarly to you and I, too, can attest to better health. I have to say the thing I like the best about eating real food, is that the brain fog is gone…and I didn’t even realize I had it! I feel like a new person and, for me, 70 is the new 30! I so enjoy your posts and have been a faithful follower for the last 4 years. You are an inspiration. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Timely post, Susan. This summer, I stopped dieting. I realized that years of “dieting” led to nothing but a feeling of deprivation and resentment. I also stopped weighing myself obsessively. Promised myself that I would watch portions, limit alcohol and slow down when eating. And most importantly, to enjoy exercising and accept myself. Several weeks ago while I was at my swimming venue, I did weigh myself and had lost weight. Imagine! With fall approaching. I should be cooking more and intend to include more fiber. Thank you for the reminder and for the list which I can refer to. Happy Weekend!

  4. Loved this piece about the all importance of fibre in our diet.
    Concerning fashion, I’m thinking of purchasing an open style poncho for the autumn. Do you have any thoughts on this – or maybe some flattering models you can show us? I’m in my early seventies, very active, take a lot of photography and I’m a big walker. I mostly (just about always) wear pants. Thank you!

  5. Solid advice. When grocery shopping best to hang out in the fresh vegetables and fruit
    Age 80.

  6. Excellent article, as always. I have a completely unrelated question. Your hair seems to be very similar to mine, and mine is driving me crazy in the humidity. Your short hair picture when heavier is similar to my hair now, and I’m debating growing it to be similar to how your s is now. What do you ask for at the stylist to deal with the waves and frizz? Thanks for any help you can give, Ellie

    1. It all starts in the shower. Wash your hair with a little shampoo and a lot of conditioner. Do not pile it up on top of your head and lather it all up like on TV. Massage your scalp and work the mixture from your scalp to the ends of your hair, combing it out with your fingers. When you get out of the shower don’t rub or wrap your hair in a towel, just blot it until it stops dripping. Arrange your hair with your fingers and just let your hair air dry. When your hair is dry, you may want to use a round brush to shape the front a little with a blow dryer. The more you move it or lift it or fluff it while it is drying, the more frizzy it will become.

  7. Thanks for sharing all this good info Susan. I have a question for you. You’ve never mentioned yogurt in your daily food intake. Do you eat it? I’m curious because for me all I’ve read about yogurt is that is helps with your gut health.

    1. Eating lots of raw vegetables and a variety of grains will give you a very healthy gut. I do have yogurt occasionally, but I prefer plain Greek. All those others are loaded with sugar and other things we should avoid.

  8. I’ve been looking for a similar bag all Summer. I hope J McLaughlin or someone else produces it again next year.

  9. Thanks, Susan, for that information I make an effort to eat healthier foods, but I’m not nearly as dedicated as you are. Your tips were an inspiration.

  10. Thank you so much Susan. I have been hoping you would post some more about the way you eat. I just read the book EAT TO LIVE and have started on Dr. Furhman’s plan. I wish I had read it years ago. I love it and so far it’s working for me!I’m in my seventies. Guess it’s not to late for healthy eating.

  11. I really believe everything you’ve said and I hope I can follow those rules more often. Problem # 1 is that every morning Mon to Fri I wake up, get ready and head for the gym. I can not eat a good proper breakfast before gym. After gym I usually grab something unhealthy (yes, starchy) and coffee. Most evenings I do not have a good healthy supper. Too much running around, eating out and not eating proper healthy foods. I don’t feel like I have a weight issue but after working out 2 to 3 hours a day I can’t seem to lose like I used to. But your site has inspired me to be food conscious.

  12. Susan, your blog is such an inspiration! I’ll add one more benefit – my grocery bill is so much less. Processed foods are so expensive. Oatmeal, veggies, dried beans, and bulk grains cost waaay less than boxed cereals and frozen dinners. And I know exactly what I’m eating.

    1. Don’t forget to add in the cost of all those medications. I was taking more than $500 worth of prescriptions monthly before I changed my diet. I don’t need to take any now.

  13. Made your breakfast porridge yesterday – fantastic! And I wasn’t hungry for hours & hours. This will be my new staple, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing. You look amazing!

  14. I’m so grateful I happened ion your blog a few years ago for style tips. I have learned so many important things! I’ve bought so many copies of Eat to Live by Dr. Furhman to give as gifts. I feel so much better and also haven’t been sick since changing to a plant-centric diet. Thank you, Susan- you make the world a better, kinder, more elegant place.

  15. Love the post that Nancy wrote.

    I went to the store today and purchased everything for your oatmeal. I couldn’t find the hemp. I’ll make it tomorrow. Thanks for all you do and I love the sandals in the last photo. What the brand?

    Thanks again,

  16. Dear Susan,

    You look absolutely awesome, and not just for sixty-one but simply awesome. In a previous note I mentioned that I am a Trans woman who strongly advocates to my ‘sisters’ about dressing situation and age appropriate. Imagine how delighted I was
    to find your site! One day soon I will send you a picture.

    You are my inspiration!
    love, Katie

  17. As always, thank you for sharing your journey in hopes it will help all of us.
    You blog is something I eagerly look forward to!!

  18. Hi, Susan. Thank you for sharing. I’m intrigued by your “oatmeal” recipe. Is the mix of grains personal preference or is there a nutritional basis for the particular mix of ingredients?

  19. Hi Susan,
    I tried the oatmeal recipe but I can’t seem to get past the raw flavor of the grains. I’ve added savory and made some with baking spices and it still tastes raw to me. Is this something you’ve gotten use to? I couldn’t find the yeast so it’s not in there. Any ideas?

    1. I look forward to what you call a “raw” taste of grains. To me, it is wholesome goodness that nourishes my body. Maybe more cinnamon or apple pie spices would help you to get used to the whole grains.

  20. Great post, Susan! You’ve found what works for you and are committed to caring for yourself. That is the secret to finding and nurturing a healthy body and mind.

    Starting nearly 4 years ago, at age 68, I lost 100 pounds in 18 months and have maintained my entire weight loss for the last 2+ years.

    I’m not a vegetarian like you, but I am a big consumer and fan of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Every day I have 25-35 grams of fiber (women over 50 should consumer at least 21 grams daily). I also eat small amounts of chicken, fish, meat and dairy products. I also have small amounts of treat foods, but at least 80% of my daily calories come from extremely nutritious foods. I now exercise 5 days a week and work hard on our property.

    Like you, I haven’t been sick a single day since I began to eat / exercise / live like this. My days start with deep gratitude for waking up without pain and enthusiasm for what the day might bring.

    If I have a theme these days it’s that we are NEVER, EVER too old to learn to care better for ourselves! For many women, putting our needs first is counterintuitive because we were rewarded for caring for others. Although it seems counterintuitive, I’ve observed that since I started meeting my own needs first, I can support much better those people I love deeply. Wonderful how that works, isn’t it? 🙂

  21. Susan, I found your blog 3 weeks ago while I was in bed sick. In March I had the flu & respiratory infection together…I was “sick” of it all! I did research on the immune system & learned a lot. I have been eating healthier for 6 months & have lost 34lbs. I feel great…..I want you to know your blog is the “icing” on the “cake!”. I’ve overhauled my closet too! God bless you for making such a difference in so many ladies lives….. especially mine! Rita

  22. Fiber is so important; even more so as we age. It keeps things moving comfortably & with less straining on our bodies. I can certainly tell if I’ve run lower than normal reminder on all the benefits…great reminder post. Thank you! Always enjoy seeing your outfits. Love the bamboo handled bag..saw one on sale at Chicos; great handles, but the bag was lacking. With you in mind, I decided to pass until I see one I really like in my price range. Also, off the topic totally..watched a movie with Helen Mirren called The Queen (Elizabeth) and in one scene she was wearing the navy scarf you sell..circular carriage parade!

  23. Hi Dear Susan. Excellent as always. Talking about fiber have you tried nopal?. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It´s highly recommended for people with high cholesterol levels and diabetes because it has a very special type of fiber. It is very versatile and can be combined in many ways in different meals. Nice to see you!!

  24. You look fantastic and healthy. I found your site while looking at fall fashion on pinterest. I saw your photo and realized I never see older women that look good and stylish. Usually, over 40 means unhealthy, frumpy, and sad. Thank you for showing us that we can still be healthy and vibrant and stylish!!!!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.