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High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

High Fiber Diet: Health Benefits And Whole-Day Recipes

Fiber is probably the least exciting word in the field of health and nutrition. Wouldn’t you agree? It reminds us all of those chalky powders we see advertised on television, and it seems like such a boring way to add nutrition to our plates. We all know we need fiber, but what in the world does that look like on a day-to-day plate, and what are the benefits of eating a high-fiber diet?

The average woman needs anywhere from 30–35 grams a day of fiber each day and men need anywhere from 30–45 grams per day for optimal digestive, weight, and heart health. The dietary requirements for fiber set by the national government have changed over the years but have tended to range between 20 and 35 grams per day. Normally, fiber intake is usually best anywhere between 30 and 35 grams at a minimum. What does fiber actually do, though, and why is it really that important?

Fiber is one of the most crucial parts of an optimal nutrition plan because it does much more than regulate our digestive tracts. A high-fiber diet can keep you from getting sick, overweight, regulate your blood sugar, and even help you drop unwanted pounds without cutting calories!

Here’s why fiber is a nutrient you should be excited about.

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    1. It eliminates harmful cholesterol from your body via bowels and arteries so you can feel energized and healthy!
    2. It keeps you feeling squeaky clean inside so you don’t get sluggish from poor digestion. Hey, we all love that, right?
    3. It balances your blood sugar levels so you don’t get the “hangry” (hungry-angry) feeling after a meal when your blood sugar shoots up and down and then goes all over the place due to you consuming too much sugar and refined carbs.
    4. It feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract so bad bacteria doesn’t take over. Fiber is your good gut flora’s favorite food!
    5. When it comes from whole foods (versus pills), you also take in more nutrients with the fiber that help your body absorb more nutrients from your food because fiber slows down the release of food through your system so you get the most benefits.

    What about fiber and weight loss?

    You may have heard that fiber can help you lose weight, and yes, that’s very true. Here’s why: fiber is only found in plants, and therefore, in carbs. When you consume fiber-rich carbs, you benefit your blood sugar levels, stay fuller longer, and you also optimize gut flora. Low-fiber foods like processed carbs, sugar, meat, and excessive animal products can lead to digestive sluggishness and weight gain because of the lack of fiber. So, fill your plate up with plants and go for at least 2 cups at each meal if you can.

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    If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

    Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

    What types of fiber exist?

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      There are two main types of fiber: insoluble and soluble fiber. You need both insoluble and soluble fiber to function optimally. But before we talk about why, let’s see what soluble and insoluble fiber actually are and what they do.

      Soluble fiber is like a gel: it soaks up with water in your digestive tract and moves food slowly out of the body in a gentle way. It’s very important to consume enough water when you consume soluble fiber to optimize the way this fiber works. Soluble fiber is excellent for the heart and is very gentle on the body. Common sources of soluble fiber include puréed pumpkin, applesauce, berries, banana, avocado, artichoke hearts, winter squash, potatoes, apples, pears, chia seeds, oatmeal, and other similar foods.

      Insoluble fiber is like a broom; it sweeps food quickly through the digestive tract more quickly and comes from foods like broccoli, leafy greens, corn, flax, wheat bran, coconut, most nuts, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, and other similar fibrous foods. Insoluble fiber is the most well-known for fighting constipation and can be helpful if you are suffering from sluggishness. However, soluble fiber can do the same depending on how your body works and digests fiber. Insoluble fiber can cause a bit of discomfort for people sensitive to it, but there’s no need to fear it. Start consuming insoluble sources of fiber slowly and be sure to pair them with soluble foods every time you consume them.

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      What does a day of enough fiber look like?

      Here’s an idea of what a day full of fiber looks like that won’t leave you in pain from fiber overload or leave you chugging fiber powders.

      Breakfast

      Raspberry-Multigrain-Super-Porridge-by-Heather-McClees-Vegan-plantbased-noaddedsugar

        Image Source: The Soulful Spoon

        1. Morning Green Protein Smoothie

        2 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen berries, a plain cup of Greek yogurt for protein or protein powder, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds of flax seeds, and 1/2 a frozen banana or 1/2 an apple.

        2. Creamy Fiber Oatmeal Bowl

        1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with non-dairy milk or water and served with 1/2 cup berries and 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds. Add a plain cup of yogurt on the side with more berries if you desire extra protein.

        Lunch

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        salmon-518032_1920

          3. Fiber-Rich Protein Salad

          2 cups greens of choice, 4 ounces lean protein of choice, 1/2 a chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, 1 cup chopped and roasted squash or sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons avocado and a lemon/vinaigrette style dressing.

          4. Protein and Veggie Plate

          4 ounces your choice protein, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa or wild rice, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1 cup roasted squash or sweet potato and your choice healthy fat (2 tablespoons avocado, 1/4 cup nuts seeds, 1 whole egg, or 1/4 cup olives).

          Dinner

          30-minute-CHICKPEA-Sweet-Potato-BUDDHA-Bowls-A-complete-meal-packed-with-protein-fiber-and-healthy-fats-with-a-STELLAR-Tahini-Lemon-Maple-Sauce-vegan-glutenfree-healthy

            Image Source: Minimalist Baker

            5. Nutrient-Dense Soup

            1/2 cup no-salt-added black beans or lentils, 1 cup chopped veggies (onions, peppers, zucchini, etc.), 1 cup low sodium veggie broth, 1 can no-salt-added tomatoes, and a little oregano and black pepper. Add 2 cups of water and cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high.

            6. Buddha Bowl

            1/2 cup chopped wild rice or quinoa, 4 ounces protein of choice (salmon, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, 2 eggs, etc)., chopped cucumber or celery, and 2 cups mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are great). Top with your favorite condiments (hot sauce, salsa, mustard, etc.), and enjoy!

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            Don’t Forget

            water

              1. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day and water-rich drinks such as herbal tea. Even coffee counts, but too much (more than 2 cups) can dehydrate you, so make up for this by consuming more plain water if you consume excessive caffeine.

              2. Be sure you get some movement each day. Movement helps move fiber through your body so it can do its job. I’ve found a daily walk is perfect and does wonders!

              3. Mix up the different sources of fiber you consume so your body learns to use different types on a regular basis. This will help keep you healthy long-term and optimize gut flora function.

              4. If you have discomfort, cut back on beans, legumes, and excessive grains. Go for more fruits, vegetables, and implement 5 grams of fiber less per day to help your body adjust.

              5. Think of fiber every single time you go to make a meal. Remember, whole foods are best and real food is always better than processed sources of fiber or high-fat sources.

              For more fiber tips and ideas to include more into your day, check out these fiber-rich foods into your day. 

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              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

              1. The Inner Critic

              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

              2. The Worrier

              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

              4. The Sleep Depriver

              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

              His motivation can be:

              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

              How can you control these squatters?

              How to Master Your Mind

              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

              For the Inner Critic

              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

              • He riles up the Worrier.
              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

              For the Worrier

              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tense

              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

              For example:

              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
              • Muscles tension

              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

              Breathe in through your nose:

              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
              • Focus on your belly rising.

              Breathe out through your nose:

              • Feel your lungs emptying.
              • Focus on your belly falling.
              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

              For the Sleep Depriver

              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
              • Shut down your thinking.
              • Calm your feelings.
              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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