HEALTH CENTER

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The Importance of Fiber by Bree Ogden

Bree PNGI’ve been gluten-free for over ten years. I always learned how to pack my own gluten-free lunches, snacks and dinners.  It wasn’t until after college, when I got a full-time job, where I learned how important packing your lunch and snacks really were. Growing up I always had terrible digestive issues, but they got worse once I entered the workforce. I always felt tired and bloated. Every time I ate, I had digestive pains. I thought being gluten-free would help me drop my ‘sit-at-a-desk-all-day’ weight gain too, but I was gaining more weight and becoming groggier.

What I didn’t understand is that gluten-free baked goods, breads, pastas that were part of my normal daily diet were high in carbs, starches and sugar, so no wonder the scale numbers were going up. And even giving up gluten for ten years, my stomach was still a bloated mess. It wasn’t until I decided to ditch the processed junk and started incorporating more soups, beans, roasted veggies, fruits and salads into my workplace diet, that I noticed the enormous difference. I had more energy, slept better, felt lighter and more importantly, I had not as much belly bloat.

The cure? FIBER. On my gluten-free diet I wasn’t eating close to enough. I started focusing on getting at least 25 to 30 grams a day, which worked out to at least eight grams at each meal and three to four grams for each of my two snacks. To ensure I made my daily goal, I would add ground flaxseed and berries to my smoothies and baked goods, chia seeds to my yogurt and oatmeal, used avocado when I made my gluten-free pesto chicken and pasta and even added quinoa and sunflower seeds to my salads. It was almost too easy!

Typical American workplace lunches focus on fast “in-the-door-out-the-door” food, which is high in carbs, sugar and processed dairy. This leaves you not only with a hungrier appetite later, but you’ll feel bloated, gassy and low on energy (we all know that 2 PM crash feeling). But that can all be fixed! Adding high-fiber foods to your daily diet will help sustain your energy throughout your work day. Here are some quick snack inspirations that you can pack up and bring to work:

  1. 1 large apple (with skin): 120 calories,5 grams fiberfiber
  2. 1 cup fresh raspberries: 32 calories,8 grams fiber
  3. 3 large figs: 142 calories,6 grams fiber
  4. 1 cup blackberries: 62 calories,6 grams fiber
  5. 2 large kiwis: 46 calories,1 grams fiber
  6. 20 baby carrots: 70 calories,6 grams fiber
  7. 1 large orange: 86 calories,4 grams fiber
  8. 1 slice whole grain bread with one tablespoon hummus: 135 calories, 4.5 grams fiber
  9. 1 large pear (with skin): 133 calories,1 grams fiber
  10. 1/4 cup dried blueberries: 150 calories,five grams fiber

Women need between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day, whereas men generally need 30 to 40 and that bowl of instant-oatmeal you eat on the way to work probably isn’t enough. I’ve learned that for me, a smoothie is the easiest way to get my daily fiber intake. I bought a ‘Magic Bullet’ and its easy as 1…2…3 to whip up a smoothie in the morning.  A smoothie filled with fiber will aid in digestion and keep you full until your next meal. Here are some smoothies that taste good and all have at least seven grams of fiber or nearly 30 percent of your daily recommended intake:

Green Detox Smoothie: Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth

  1. 1 cup chopped organic spinach
  2. 1 frozen or fresh organic banana
  3. 1/4 cup mashed organic avocado
  4. 1 cup coconut water
  5. 1 tablespoon organic ground flaxseed
  6. 1 teaspoon organic chia seeds
  7. 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice (optional)
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  9. 2 to 3 dashes of cayenne pepper
  10. 1/4 cup coconut water ice cubes (make these ahead of time in an ice cube tray)

 

Berry Breakfast Smoothie: Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of your choice (I use a chocolate whey from Trader Joe’s)
  3. 1 frozen or fresh organic banana
  4. 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  5. 1 cup organic blackberries

 

Apple Cinnamon Smoothie: Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth

  1. 8 ounces coconut water
  2. 4 raw almonds
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 cup chopped apple (about 1 medium apple)
  6. 1/2 scoop unsweetened protein powder
  7. 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)

 

A fiber deficiency is a major cause of obesity in the U.S. It also increases the risk of heart attacks, diabetes and strokes. Getting enough fiber is vital for the human body and digestive tract. It aids in the prevention of many illnesses including cancer, constipation, promotes digestion and helps maintain a healthy heart. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get your diet and mind focused on fiber, fiber, fiber!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.