Fiber is an essential part of a healthy eating plan. There are many foods that contain fiber. Despite this, many people don’t get enough fiber on a daily basis and can suffer health problems related to the lack of fiber. Our bodies need about 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day and most people in the U.S. do not even get half that amount.
What exactly is fiber anyway?
Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body does not break down. It passes through your system virtually unchanged. But while it is in your digestive system it performs many beneficial functions.
So then…why do I need it?
Fiber helps you to feel full, helps you to lower cholesterol, keeps your digestive system regular, and can help keep your insulin levels from spiking since food enters your bloodstream more slowly. Keeping insulin levels normalized is important since insulin tells your body to store fat.
How do I get more fiber?
There are two types of fiber. Your body needs both types. Soluble fiber is like a sponge and soaks up water, it helps to lower your cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It slows digestion helping you feel more satisfied after meals. Insoluble fiber doesn’t disolve in water and helps clean your digestive tract, adding bulk to bowel movements and feeds the good intestinal bacteria. Vegtables and some high fiber fruits are great sources of fiber. You can also get fiber from whole grains, but you can end up with more carbohydrates than you need by trying to get you fiber from grains. Some high fiber/low sugar fruits are apples, berries, cherries, pears. You can also get fiber from non-starchy veggies. High fiber starch foods are beans, sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin, and winter squash.
What if I am still not getting enough fiber?
Sometimes people need a supplement to boost fiber intake. My preference is a Team Beachbody product called The Fiber. I put it in my daily Shakeology smoothie. If you are taking a fiber supplement it can be helpful to start with a small dose and then increase over time as your body gets used to it. Taking it slowly helps your body to adjust. Too much fiber at once can cause digestive upset and bloating.
What makes The Fiber better than other fiber products?
- Contains no additives, colors, or preservatives.
- The unique formula is derived from 5 different sources of fiber. Together they not only promote better digestion but have other health benefits, such as prebiotic properties, aiding in weight management, and lowering cholesterol levels.
- It also contains L-glutamine, an amino acid important for preventing muscle loss and boosting immunity from overtraining. Those who work out regularly can actually use an extra dose of it every day.
Parmesan Vegetable Bake – Recipe of the Week
This is one of my favorite cooked vegetable dishes. My whole family enjoys it. The photo is one I took before I baked it and added the cheese. One of the reasons I like this dish is that I love potatoes and this tastes like it is loaded with potatoes even though there is only one in it. I make this for dinner and then I package up the leftovers to take to work for part of a healthy lunch. Note: on the day I made this I skipped the first step where you saute the onions and garlic. It’s good either way, but I prefer the saute version better.
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 medium potato, sliced very thin
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Saute garlic and onion in the olive oil until onion is translucent. Enjoy the marvelous smells. Set aside. Layer zucchini, squash, potato and tomato in a casserole dish. Top the vegetables with the onion and garlic mixture and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove foil and top with Parmesan cheese and bake for a few more minutes until cheese melts. Serve and enjoy!
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Many people are not aware that you can have diabetes and not even know it. Type 2 diabetes can come on slowly and the symptoms may be blamed on other causes such as aging, heat, etc. Unfortunately, during this time damage can be occurring in the body putting the person at risk for diabetes related complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. An even more alarming statistic is that 79 million people have prediabetes. Prediabetes means that your fasting glucose level (your blood sugar) is above normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If you have prediabetes it is important to take steps NOW to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. In a study by the Diabetes Prevention Program, participants with prediabetes who got 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise and made dietary changes reduced their risk of diabetes by 58%. Request a free diabetes risk worksheet below to see if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes.
What is the danger in ignoring diabetes?
High blood sugar levels are toxic to the body. It damages blood vessels and nerves leading to such complications as:
- heart disease (2-4 times higher than in non-diabetics)
- stroke (2-4 times higher than in non-diabetics)
- kidney disease
- neuropathy (nerve damage causing numbness and pain)
Take steps now to lower your diabetes risk. Free coaching available!
Why home workouts?
Working out in my own home has become my preferred fitness activity. For me it has made all the difference since it eliminates many of the excuses I could come up with for not working out. I have been able to stay on track to get at least 30 minutes of activity 6 days a week. Recently I have been able to set up a dedicated workout room, but it has not always been that convenient. Up until this week I have been working out in my dining room in the midst of all my family’s activities. My son enjoys watching me do P90X “wacky jacks” and having a little giggle at Mommy’s expense. He knows not to tease me too much or I will make him do it with me. Eventually it will double as a crafting space as well but for now I’m spoiled rotten! Working out at home is convenient, low cost, more private than a gym and provides a great example for my family.
- No driving to the gym
- I can workout any time of day – even before I’ve had my shower and I still have “bed head”
- No waiting for equipment
- My kids see me working out and even join in at times
- Encourages my husband to get his workout in for the day
- No membership or class fee
- Once I buy a workout DVD or equipment it can be used for years and for multiple family members
- No one in the gym is watching me
- I can attempt difficult exercises (like pullups, which are my nemesis) in the privacy of my own home
- No one in the gym is rushing me…If I am needing to take more time with an exercise, I am not feeling pressured to hurry by someone waiting for the equipment that I am using
So, do you workout at home or in a gym? What are your favorite workouts at home?
Recipe of the Week – Black Bean Soup
We tried this recipe last night and it was delicious. It is a definite keeper for our family. It was very simple to prepare but full of flavor. I modified it from a Cooking Light recipe. Prep time was about 10 minutes and cooking time was about 20 minutes. Easy to make after a hard day at work. You can make it even healthier by using fresh ingredients instead of the canned ingredients listed.
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes)
14 ounces of chicken broth (I used a lower sodium version)
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Cut bacon strips into chunks and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease. Cook onion, celery and garlic until tender. Add bacon and remaining ingredients (except sour cream and cilantro) and simmer for 10 minutes. Put soup in blender (you may have to do this in two batches) and blend until smooth. Be cautious when blending hot liquids. Vent blender lid slightly and cover with a dishcloth to avoid hot liquid splatter. Replace blended soup in the saucepan and add sour cream and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy your low fat, high fiber, delicious soup.
“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin
So what are your favorite excuses? It’s easy to come up with excuses and rationalizations for why we don’t take care of ourselves. I had excuses for why I didn’t work out, why I ate too much, and why I ate junk. Here’s a few I’ve used:
I’m too tired…My (fill in the blank) hurts…I don’t have time…I don’t know how…I’m good enough just the way I am…I’ll never be good enough…I don’t want anyone to see me…I’m embarrassed…I’m uncoordinated…and last, but not least-I just don’t want to!
Where did those excuses get me? At one point it got me to 226 pounds and frequently short of breath. It got me into a mindset where I didn’t look at myself in the mirror, I didn’t want my husband to see me undressed, and I didn’t like to have my picture taken. I remember getting mad at my husband once because he took a picture of me from behind. Wow! I didn’t like the person I’d become.
I’ve realized that all my excuses have done for me is to hold me back. I have found that I have MORE energy on days when I work out and I have less pain. I may have some muscle soreness from my workout, but I don’t