I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I was asked how it was possible to get in all the necessary fiber if wheat and grains aren't great. This particular person wants to cut all grains from her diet.
First, what is fiber anyway?
The word fiber comes from the Latin word "fibra", which simply translates to string or thread. Fiber is also known as roughage, the undigestable part of plant foods. It travels through the digestive tract, absorbs water along the way and helps with ease of passage of food and therefore easier elimination of food.
There is soluble and insoluble fiber and both are present in all plants, though usually not in equal proportions. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gelatinous mass, where is insoluble fiber remains intact. Both can be fermented by bacteria in the colon.
Why are we not getting enough fiber?
Look around the grocery store. The middle aisles are packed with packaged and processed foods. I have never seen as many different kinds of cereal as in the United States. I vividly remember the first time I walked down the "cereal aisle" amazed at the variety of "heart healthy" cereal, fortified with fiber for better digestion.
Did I just say enriched? You better believe I did. As our diets have changed over the decades (centuries and millennia), the amount of vegetables and fruit we consume has decreased significantly, while packaged foods have seen a huge increase, hence the sheer size of grocery store middle aisles.
We claim we're too busy to cook. We just don't have the time. Besides, it is so much easier to just pop that pizza in the oven or eat a quick bowl of cereal. Because all of these "foods" aren't naturally high in fiber, we had to start "fortify" them. We still need fiber or we won't poop!
Can I get enough fiber from fruits and vegetables?
Yes, you can!!
I found this handy little description of just one day without grains on the Paleo Leap website!
Sounds delicious, right? And it's nutritious and of course, full of healthy fiber. When your choice is real food, you will naturally consume all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs for a healthy life.