Wellness Wednesday: Five High Fiber Desserts

When we talk of boosting your fiber intake, many people think of beans, whole grains, veggies or salad. While that is true, these are all good sources of fiber, it doesn’t have to be all beans and veggies. It is possible to “have your cake and eat it too”, so to speak. You can get part of your fiber intake with DESSERT! Here are five recipes to get you started…

FUDGY FLOURLESS

LENTIL BLENDER BROWNIES

From: Yummy Mummy Club

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FOR COMPLETE RECIPE VISIT

Yummy Mummy Club

 

High-Fibre Oat

& Almond Bars

From: North Coast Naturals

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FOR COMPLETE RECIPE VISIT

North Coast Naturals

 

High Protein +

High Fiber

Chocolate Pudding

From: Ancestral Nutrition

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FOR COMPLETE RECIPE VISIT

Ancestral Nutrition

 

Double Chocolate

Black Bean Cookies

From: The Nourished Seedling

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FOR COMPLETE RECIPE VISIT

The Nourished Seedling

 

Banana and Avocado

Ice “Cream”

From: The Nourished Seedling

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FOR COMPLETE RECIPE VISIT The Nourished Seedling

Wellness Wednesday: 10 Easy Ways to Increase Your Daily Fiber Intake

As we continue to discuss fiber this week, as our nutrient of focus, I wanted to pass on a few tips to help you boost your daily fiber intake. Remember: 25 grams per day for women and 35 – 40 grams per day for men.

  1. Make sure your carbs come from whole food sources– ALL plant-based whole foods contain fiber, including:
    • fruits,
    • vegetables,
    • starches-sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, squash
    • beans
    • legumes
  2. Have a salad BEFORE your main meal-This will help you fill up with some fiber-rich, nutrient dense foods, before your main calories.
  3. Choose whole grains over refined food-If you do choose a processed form of carbohydrate, make sure it’s made from 100% whole grains.
  4. Include chia seeds in your diet – whether you make pudding, or add them to your smoothie, chia seeds are high in fiber and an easy way to boost fiber intake.
  5. Ditch juice in favor of the whole fruit – Fruit juice is devoid of fiber, and much higher in calories. Choose fruit instead, which is high in fiber and a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  6. Eat avocados– Whether you make guacamole, make avocado brownies, or throw them in a smoothie, find creative ways to add these healthy fruits into your diet
  7. Eat nuts or seeds – Small amounts, about 1 ounce or 1/4 cup is a great snack, high in fiber and healthy fat.
  8. Eat legumes– These tiny little things are jam packed with fiber. Make a big pot of bean soup or vegan chili.
  9. Eat berries– raspberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup. What better way to get your fiber?!
  10. Read your labels – If you choose to purchase processed foods, read the label and look for foods with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Many foods now have functional fiber added.

High Fiber Swaps.png

Source: https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-to-eat-more-fiber/

Ultimate Guide to Nutrients: Fiber

Before I get started on the nuts and bolts of fiber, I wanted to say thank you for being so patient with me over the past couple of weeks. My life has been a bit chaotic lately. Between school, my son’s accident, and caring for him, I haven’t had a lot of time to properly write my blog and give it the attention it deserves. So, thank you for your patience.

My son still can’t put weight on his foot for 2 1/2 more weeks, but he is stronger and can now do many things on his own. However due to the extent of his injuries-having broken 3 bones, he can’t go back to school, which doesn’t end for 3 more weeks. So we have teachers coming to the house to teach him, plus, he has physical therapy 3 days a week. So that keeps me very busy. But, we’re hanging in there. 🙂

As far as school goes, I handed in my final assignment, for my current course and got the graded paper back this morning. My oral exam is still to come.  But that is wrapping up as well. So, things are slowly getting back to normal.

ANYWAY… onto our main topic…FIBER!

WHAT IS FIBER?

By definition,  fiber is: “Polysaccharide found in plants that is not digested or absorbed in the human small intestine.” (1)

Ok, if you look at that and think “OK, that’s nice, but what does that mean?”  We touched on polysaccharides in my article on CARBOHYDRATES: THE BASICS

carbohydrates-4.jpg

A polysaccharide is a complex carbohydrate, or a type of sugar with more than 10 individual sugar molecules (monosaccharides) bonded together. There are three types of polysaccharides:

  • Glycogen-this is the storage form of sugar in the body, primarily found in the liver and muscles.
  • Starch- found in wheat, corn, squash, oats, grains, potatoes, yams, etc.
  • Dietary fiberfound in plants, not digested or absorbed by the body. Instead it is partially broken down by friendly gut bacteria and helps to “clean” the digestive tract.

Today we will be focusing on just one of the three, FIBER. There are two main types of fiber:

  • Dietary fiber-This is fiber found naturally in plants. (1)
  • Functional fiber– Fiber that is added to food, for the beneficial health benefits. (1)

You will often see the term “TOTAL FIBER” . This refers to the combination of dietary fiber, found naturally in the food, and functional fiber, or fiber that has been added to a food.

When discussing dietary fiber, there are 2 types, and yes, you need both kinds:

  • Soluble fiber – This fiber dissolves in water-This type of fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in your large intestines. It is broken down and fermented by these friendly bugs. In general, beans, psyllium, vegetables, and flax are healthy sources of soluble fiber. (8)
    • binds with fatty acids
    • delays digestion of carbohydrates.
    • feeds healthy, good bacteria
  • Insoluble fiber – This type does not dissolve in water. Think of this type of fiber as a broom. It “sweeps” the digestive system/colon clean and keeps it healthy. In general, beans, lentils, bran, whole grains, and flax are good sources of insoluble fiber. (8)
    • Cleans the digestive system
    • Controls the acidity/pH of the digestive system

WHY DO WE NEED FIBER?

Fiber is a very important part of any healthy diet and required for a healthy digestive system, and by extension, a healthy body. So, just what does fiber do for us? Here are the highlights (2, 4 )

  • Healthy gut and happy friendly bacteria– this helps with the absorption of nutrients, improves the health of the immune system and prevents the growth of bad bacteria.
  • Helps blood sugar control-Soluble fiber slows the digestion of carbohydrates, and thereby the absorption of sugar.
  • Healthy heart and lower blood pressure – A high fiber diet has been shown to lower cholesterol, leading to lower blood pressure and  a healthier heart
  • Weight loss– High fiber foods help the body feel full longer, leading to fewer calorie consumption and higher weight loss.
  • Lower risk for cancer– The insoluble fiber sweeps the digestive system clean, lowering the risk for colon and rectal cancer.
  • Relieves constipation – Of all digestive system complaints, constipation is number one on the list. Theoretically, you should be having 2 to 3 bowel movements a day, however, at least 1 every day. If you aren’t having at least one everyday, EAT MORE FIBER AND DRINK MORE WATER!
  • Healthy bones– high fiber diets have been shown to increase the absorption of the bone minerals such as calcium.
  • Healthy skin – fiber moves fungus and yeast out of the body, which prevents it from leaching out of the skin, making your skin nice and healthy.
  • Prevents intestinal disorders – Disorders such as diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and  irritable bowel syndrome, can be healed or prevented with a high fiber diet.

HOW MUCH FIBER DO YOU NEED?

On average, Americans get approximately

13 to 15 grams of fiber a day (5)

However,

women need 25 grams per day

and

men, between 35 and 40 grams per day. (6)

WHAT ARE THE BEST

FOOD SOURCES OF FIBER? (7)

Here are the top 15 best

  1. Split peas – 16.3 grams/ cup cooked
  2. Figs – 14.6 grams/ cup – dried
  3. Lima beans – 13.2 grams/ cup cooked
  4. Black beans – 12.2 grams/ cup cooked
  5. Avocado – 10.5 grams/ cup sliced
  6. Lentils – 10.4 grams/ cup cooked
  7. Artichoke – 10.3 grams/ medium artichoke
  8. Asian pear – 9.9 grams/ medium pear with skin
  9. Acorn squash – 9 grams/ cup baked
  10. Peas – 8.6 grams/ cup cooked
  11. Okra – 8.2/ cup
  12. Raspberries – 8 grams/ cup
  13. Chickpeas – 8 grams/cup cooked
  14. Brussel sprouts – 7.6 grams/ cup
  15. Coconut – 7.2 grams/cup

Sources

  1. McGuire, Michelle; Beerman, Kathy A.. Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food (Page 125). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.
  2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/25/9-fiber-health-benefits.aspx
  3. http://www.eatingwell.com/high-fiber/info/health-benefits/10_amazing_health_benefits_of_eating_more_fiber
  4. http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/fiber_benefits.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22709768
  6. https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines-americans
  7. https://draxe.com/high-fiber-foods/
  8. http://www.healthcastle.com/fiber-solubleinsoluble.shtml

Wellness Wednesday: Five Butternut Squash Recipes

Yesterday, I wrote about complex carbohydrates in my series Ultimate Guide to Nutrients. In that article, I listed 10 whole food sources of complex carbohydrates, and squash was one of them. One of my all time favorite types of squash is Butternut Squash. I absolutely love this stuff. It’s not too strong and has a smooth, slightly sweet buttery taste. Did I mention it’s good for you? 🙂 Here are the nutrients from whfoods.com

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So, how do you incorporate squash into your diet other than just roasting and eating it? Here are 5 recipes to get your creative juices flowing!

ENJOY and BON APPETIT!

(BTW-I’d love to hear how you prefer to eat your squash!)

FROM DELISH: Bacon, Gruyere, and Butternut Squash Frittata

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FROM DELISH: Butternut Squash Risotto with Parmesan

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FROM WOMAN’S DAY: Roasted Sausage and Butternut Squash Hash

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FROM WOMAN’S DAY: Potato and Butternut Squash Gratin

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FROM MARTHA STEWART: Spicy Squash Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

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Ultimate Guide to Nutrients: Complex Carbohydrates

In the past few articles in this series, we’ve discussed carbohydrates, covering the basics as well as simple sugars and the dangers of artificial sweeteners. In this edition of Ultimate Guide to Nutrients, we’ll cover complex carbohydrates: what they are and why you need them.

As a refresher, carbohydrates are broken down into simple and complex.

See the chart below for the break down.

carbohydrates-4

A few weeks ago, we covered the simple sugars: monosaccharides and disaccharides. Today, we will cover complex carbohydrates, which include oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.

COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES-consist of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. This is the group of foods from which we should be eating.

Here is the complex carbohydrate breakdown:

  • Oligosaccharides-3 – 10 sugar molecules. Oligosaccharides are found in many foods, such as lentils, beans, and peas. The human body lacks the enzyme necessary to digest oligosaccharides. Instead, they are broken down by the friendly bacteria in our large intestine, and therefore VERY important, because these little friends help keep our digestive system and the rest of our body, healthy and happy. One side effect of this process is bloating, cramps and gas. (Like when you eat a bowl of chili or beans…this is why!) the two most common oligosaccharides are:
    • raffinose
    • stachyose
  • Polysaccharides– more than 10 sugar molecules.
    • Glycogen-this is the storage form of sugar in the body, primarily found in the liver and muscles.
    • Starch- found in wheat, corn, squash, oats, grains, potatoes, yams, etc.
    • Dietary fiber- found in plants, not digested or absorbed by the body. Instead it is partially broken down by friendly gut bacteria and helps to “clean” the digestive tract.

Are carbohydrates bad?

Carbohydrates have become the new “bad guy” in the nutrition world. For decades, fat was the “bad guy”. Food companies quickly picked up on this trend, producing “low-fat” and “non-fat” products. What was the result of this removing fat from the daily diet? Here are some statistics. (1)

  • In the 1950’s, approximately 10% of the United States was classified as “obese”.
  • In 2012, the current obesity rate in the United States is 35%.
  • As a result of the “low-fat” or “no-fat” trend, the obesity rate has tripled in 6 decades.

What are the reasons for this weight problem? Well, entire books have been written about this very topic. Suffice it to say there are a few basic reasons: (1)

  • Restaurant portion sizes increased 23%
  • Increased screen time on televisions and computers
  • The main reason-sugar-added to everything. In order to add flavor to the low-fat/no-fat products, manufacturers added sugar to the products. As a result, you are hard pressed to find a pre-packaged food product with out added sugar.

You may be asking what these fat facts have to do with the current low carb trend. Well, after decades of eating a low fat/high carb diet, it has been discovered that fructose destroys the liver, causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (AKA: non-alcohol cirrhosis). (2) This is because fructose serves no purpose and is not used anywhere in the body. As a result, it must be processed and filtered by the liver, which causes damage.

It has also been found that fructose contributes to the following conditions: (3)

  • elevates triglycerides
  • increases harmful LDL (so-called bad cholesterol)
  • promotes the buildup of fat around organs (visceral fat)
  • increases blood pressure
  • makes tissues insulin-resistant, a precursor to diabetes
  • increases the production of free radicals, energetic compounds that can damage DNA and cells.

So, as a society, we have decided not to just demonize simple sugars, but all carbohydrates. This has resulted in a complete flip from low-fat/high-carbohydrate to high-fat/low-carbohydrate diets, which can be just as dangerous, for different reasons.

While it is true that all carbohydrates inevitably breakdown to simple sugars within the body, at the end of the day, your body still needs carbohydrates. As long as you stay away from simple sugars and eat complex carbohydrates, from whole food sources, you will be fine.

So, what exactly do complex carbohydrates do for the body? (4)

  • The main source of energy-This is immediate energy-after filtering out the fiber, which is built in to complex carbohydrates. Eating complex carbs early in the day will provide energy to fuel your activity
  • Aid digestion– The fiber in the carbohydrates helps with digestion and keeps you “regular”. We’ll talk more about fiber in the next article, but, without carbs, it’s difficult to get enough fiber.
  • Boost metabolism– Because they provide energy, carbohydrates are important to improve metabolism.
  • Aid in sleep– Some complex carbs, such as oatmeal and sweet potatoes, contain large amounts of Trytophan, which relaxes the body and aids in sleep. Oatmeal also helps the body produce melatonin, which regulates sleep.
  • Filled with Fiber– Fiber regulates your digestion and keeps you full for extended periods of time. All whole food complex carbohydrates are great sources of fiber.
  • Improved nervous system– It’s why we call it “comfort food”! Complex carbohydrates help the body to relax and feel less nervous. These complex carbs help the body produce enzymes which bring balance to the body.
  • Optimal brain function–  Your brain needs carbs. Complex carbs can aid in mental focus, as well as relieve problems such as depression, and brain fog.

How many carbohydrates should you eat?

Well, that’s the million dollar question isn’t it. Remember-I advocate biochemical individuality. Some people can get by with 50 or 75 grams per day, while others need significantly more. However, Dr. Catherine Shanahan, in her book Deep Nutrition recommends 100 grams per day, for anyone trying to lose weight. (6)

So is there such a thing as good carbs and bad carbs….ABSOLUTELY YES! Stay away from processed forms of carbohydrates. Eat whole food, complex carbohydrates.

The ten best sources of complex carbohydrates: (5)

  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Quinoa
  3. Lentils/legumes
  4. Squash
  5. whole fruit
  6. Ancient grains-such as millet, amaranth and buckwheat
  7. Oats
  8. Rice-Yes, brown rice, but venture out into the realm of other colors such as red and the SUPER HEALTHY black rice (forbidden rice)
  9. Leafy greens-the darker the better
  10. Colorful veggies such as beets, peppers and eggplant

Take a look at the charts below:

e19fb54eea3e9824966a71f1b4811f15good-vs-bad-carbs

So, don’t be afraid of carbs. Just eat the right kind, in the right amounts. What is dangerous and counter productive is extreme dieting, on either end of the scale. Experiment with macronutrient percentages and find out what’s good for you.  Remember, there isn’t one right diet for all humans, but there is one right diet for you. You just need to find it.

Bio-individuality recognizes that there is no one size fits all diet. Each person is a unique individual, with highly individualized nutritional requirements, based on factors including personal tastes, natural shape.png

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.livestrong.com/article/384722-how-much-have-obesity-rates-risen-since-1950/
  2. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-toxic-truth/#.WRsQi1PyuRs
  3. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/abundance-of-fructose-not-good-for-the-liver-heart
  4. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/benefits-of-complex-carbs-and-the-best-ones-to-eat/
  5. http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1495/Ten_Best_Complex_Carbs_For_Optimal_Body_Compositio.aspx
  6. Shanahan, C. and L. Shanahan. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food

Ultimate guide to nutrients: Carbohydrates-The Basics

Carbohydrates are a bit of a complex topic, so we’ll be breaking it down, in order to cover it properly. The challenge will be to cover the topic, help you understand what they are and why we need them, without boring you to tears. Future articles will cover:

  • Simple sugars
  • artificial sugars
  • oligosaccharides
  • starch
  • dietary fiber

This article will cover the basics, and yes, there needs to be a bit of science involved…sorry! 🙂  Carbohydrates are basically chains of sugar.  One thing to remember about ALL carbohydrates: THEY ALL, YES ALL, break down into SIMPLE SUGARS in the body, whether it’s a piece of candy or a whole grain bran muffin. To your body, both items, when broken down, are identical. The only difference between the two is the length of time it takes the body to break down the sugar. Because of the fiber and complex sugars in the muffin, it takes longer to digest, and has less of an impact on your body. In other words, the fiber in the muffin will cause less of a “sugar spike” and keep you full longer.

A carbohydrate, by definition, is an organic compound made up of varying numbers of monosaccharides. A monosaccharide is 1 single molecule of sugar.  ALL carbohydrates, when broken down in the body, are broken down into one of the basic monosaccharides.(Yes even that bowl of brown rice 🙂 )

Carbohydrates are broken down into 2 categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES-consist of monosaccharides and disaccharides.This category includes glucose. The function of glucose in the body is to provide the cells of the body energy. Other energy sources can be used, but it is the preferred fuel for the nervous system/brain and the sole energy source red blood cells. In other words, carbohydrates are a very important part of any healthy diet. Here’s a breakdown of simple carbohydrates.

  • Monosaccharides-1 sugar molecule
    • glucose
    • fructose
    • galactose
  • Disaccharides-2 sugar molecules
    • lactose-made up of galactose and glucose…found in milk and dairy products
    • sucrose-made up of fructose and glucose…simple table sugar
    • maltose-made up of 2 glucose molecules…not found in many food items, but instead made from the breakdown of starch, such as the production of beer.

COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES-consist of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. This is the group of foods from which we should be eating. Here is the complex carbohydrate breakdown:

  • Oligosaccharides-3 – 10 sugar molecules. Oligosaccharides are found in many foods, such as lentils, beans, and peas. The human body lacks the enzyme necessary to digest oligosaccharides. Instead, they are broken down by the friendly bacteria in our large intestine, and therefore VERY important, because these little friends help keep our digestive system and the rest of our body, healthy and happy. One side effect of this process is bloating, cramps and gas. (Like when you eat a bowl of chili or beans…this is why!) the two most common oligosaccharides are:
    • raffinose
    • stachyose
  • Polysaccharides– more than 10 sugar molecules.
    • Glycogen-this is the storage form of sugar in the body, primarily found in the liver and muscles.
    • Starch- found in wheat, corn, squash, oats, grains, potatoes, yams, etc.
    • Dietary fiber- found in plants, not digested or absorbed by the body. Instead it is partially broken down by friendly gut bacteria and helps to “clean” the digestive tract.

 

carbohydrates-4
Table 1: categories of carbohydrates

What type of carbohydrates should you eat?

Don’t be afraid of carbs! You’re body needs them! It’s important to include healthy sources of carbohydrates in your diet. If you eliminate simple sugars, processed sugar and refined food, and focus on whole food carbohydrates you’ll be fine.

Another tip, adding a healthy fat, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or organic cultured butter will slow the digestion down even more.

carbs

Next week we’ll continue on with our discussion on carbohydrates with an article on sugars, what to use and what to avoid. Let me know if you have any questions on the above information. I hope it came across clear for you. Stay tuned throughout the week as I introduce you to some ancient grains and healthy carbohydrates!

SOURCE: McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013). Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food.  (3rd edition). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

 

How to Cook Perfect Quinoa & 10 Quinoa Recipes

After a long and tiring weekend, with many late nights spent working on an assignment for school, it has been submitted and I’m awaiting a grade from my professor. I was extremely tired this morning and found myself over sleeping, thus the lateness of my post today.

We begin discussing macronutrients this week, so the nutrient for this week is CARBOHYDRATES. Stay tuned, later today, for my article: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO NUTRIENTS: CARBOHYDRATES.  All recipes this week will be based on this important and often vilified nutrient.

perfect-quinoa-recipe

Today, I am focusing on my all time favorite whole “grain”, quinoa. It isn’t actually a grain at all but a seed. And a powerful little seed it is. It is considered a complete protein, because it contains all essential amino acids required to make it a protein. This makes it a great alternative for vegans. I found a great article from Cookie and Kate, discussing quinoa, how to properly cook it AND 10 recipes. ENJOY!!

Here’s a look at some of the delicious recipes! YUM!

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Learn all about quinoa—my secrets to cooking perfectly fluffy quinoa (no more mush!), 10 fantastic quinoa recipes, quinoa nutrition facts, and where to buy.

Source: How to Cook Perfect Quinoa & 10 Quinoa Recipes – Cookie and Kate