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25 of these every day can support healthy blood sugar & cholesterol!

January 23rd, 2018 | no comments

Plus:

Last week I shared my views on alcohol and offered my 3-step plan for safely including it in your diet without negative side-effects, if you so desire. In this post, I’m moving on to Universal Truth #7: Dietary Fiber is Key.

DIETARY FIBER

Dietary fiber is found in plant-based foods (what I call Earthfoods) like fruits, vegetables, whole and unprocessed grains, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds. Most Americans fall way short on fiber. This is due to a rise in the consumption of processed convenience foods void of nutrition, such as frozen meals, chips, cookies, white flour products (bread, pasta,etc.), boxed meals, canned foods and a dependence on take-out.

Why should you even care about getting more fiber? Check out the five benefits of eating more fiber and decide for yourself if it’s worth it:

  1. Fill up faster and eat less.
  2. Poop with ease! I ask you…who doesn’t feel like superhero after a ‘complete evacuation’???
  3. Feed the good bacteria in your intestines.
  4. Enjoy healthy blood sugar levels. Fiber (especially soluble fiber) slows the absorption of sugar and helps improve overall blood sugar levels.
  5. Help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure if either one is elevated.

To keep your body in tip-top shape and enjoy the benefits just mentioned, you’ll want to aim for a minimum of 25 grams of fiber each day—this includes both soluble and insoluble fiber. Sadly, the average American eats only a mere 15 grams a day (and that’s on a good day). Why not strive to be better than average?

Both types of fiber, have their own unique benefits:

Soluble Fiber:

  • Dissolves in water to form a gel-like material.
  • Can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Found in: oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium husk, flaxseeds.

Insoluble Fiber:

  • Moves bulk through the intestines and keeps you regular
  • Found in: bran, beans, lentils, flaxseeds, whole grains

Another reason to love dietary fiber:

You can subtract dietary fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate to get “net carbohydrates.” This is the amount of carbohydrate actually digested, which can influence your blood sugar. For example: One Raw Rev Glo bar contains 17 grams of carbohydrate and 14 grams of fiber, giving it a net carbohydrate value of only 3 grams!

To help you reach the 25 gram target, here are fifteen foods you can put in your cart on your next grocery trip:

  1. Raw Rev Glo Bars: 10-14 grams per bar
  2. Bean-based pasta (Explore Cuisine or Banza): 8-12 grams per 2 oz. serving
  3. Acorn squash: 9 grams per 1 cup
  4. Raspberries and blackberries: 8 grams per cup
  5. Avocados: 7 grams per 1⁄2 medium
  6. Beans and lentils: 6-8 grams per 1/2 cup cooked
  7. Pear: 6 grams for one medium
  8. Brussels sprouts: 6 grams per one cup cooked
  9. Ezekiel bread: 6 grams for two slices
  10. Broccoli: 5 grams per 1 cup
  11. Steel cut oats: 5 grams per ¼ cup dry
  12. Apple with skin: 4 grams for 1 medium
  13. Chia seeds: 4 grams per tablespoon
  14. Walnuts: 2 grams per ¼ cup
  15. Ground flaxseed: 2 grams per tablespoon

A word of caution about fiber:

If you are a fiber rookie, it’s a good idea to pace yourself and gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat (in 5-gram increments) over several weeks to avoid bloating and gas. Also, too much fiber and not enough water can cause constipation and digestive problems, so be sure to drink extra water to keep things moving along. There’s nothing worse than a digestive “traffic jam!”

 

In my next post, I will cover the final Universal Truth: Dietary fat is essential.

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats

Why steel cut oats? I get asked this question a lot.

Steel cut oats are whole oats that have been chopped into two or three pieces with steel blades. Rolled oats are made by steaming the whole oats, rolling them, steaming again, and then toasting them. Because they are minimally processed, steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic scale compared to rolled oats, meaning they have less of an impact on blood sugar.

Stove top, steel cut oats take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to prepare. But don’t let that deter you! I like to cook up a big batch (I add eggs to my oats in the last 10 minutes of cooking- see my recipe below for Protein-Packed Steel Cut Oatmeal!) and store in the refrigerator for the week. When it’s time to reheat, I add a little water to thin it out and pop in the microwave for a minute or so.

Whether rolled or steel cut, keep your portions relatively small (about a half cup cooked) and fill the remainder of your bowl with nuts, seeds, about a half cup of fruit (I like diced apples and pears with the skins on or berries), and top off with a few shakes of ground cinnamon.

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Protein-Packed Steel Cut Oatmeal

Oatmeal used to be a breakfast staple for me, but I noticed I would get hungry an hour or so afterwards. So I sprinkled a few nuts on top and the extra fat seemed to help sustain me a little while longer…but it still wasn’t enough. Then I tried stirring in some plant-based protein powder. The texture seemed off to me and I simply didn’t enjoy it.

Finally I hit the jackpot of just the right oatmeal ingredients to really make it stick to my ribs! And the magic ingredient? Eggs!

This recipe adds two eggs to the final 10 minutes of cook time, offering an extra four grams of protein per serving.

But don’t stop with the eggs! Adding 1/4 cup of nuts and a tablespoon of seeds really makes an impact on satiety and blood sugar control. I love to top mine off with a little cinnamon and a 1/2 cup of berries, or diced apple or pear with the skin on!

 

Print Recipe
Protein-Packed Steel Cut Oatmeal
When topped with 1/4 cup nuts, 1 tablespoon of seeds, and 1/2 cup of fruit, this recipe yields 3 Earthfoods per serving: ♥♥♥
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
1/2-cup cooked
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 organic free-range eggs, whisked
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
1/2-cup cooked
Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 organic free-range eggs, whisked
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil and add oats. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on how chewy you like your cereal).
  2. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, add eggs and butter and stir until combined. Stir frequently until eggs are cooked through.
  3. Top with: 1/4 cup of nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans or hazelnuts) + 1-2 tbsp. seeds (ground flax, chia, hemp, sunflower or pumpkin) + 1/2 cup fruit (berries or diced apple or pear with the skin on) + ground cinnamon.
Recipe Notes

Cooked steel cut oats can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Add water to reach desired consistency and heat stove top or in the microwave for 60 seconds.

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