Monday, June 11, 2007

That pesky fiber requirement

There’s a commercial on TV that I see once in awhile that advertises one of those “fiber in a pill” supplements, supposedly meant to help fiber-starved Americans get their daily allotted requirement of 25 grams a day. It cracks me up. It shows a woman continuously chewing on a broccoli stalk, a carrot, and a bran muffin as she moves through her day, working hard (and failing, natch) to cram what she needs into her mouth before the day is up. The message is, “Who has time to get what you need?” And although those fiber-pill makers would have you think otherwise, the answer is, “You do” – with very little effort (and much more cheaply and nutritiously than you can with a pill).

Plain and simple, you do not have to continuously nosh on broccoli (without cheese sauce, raw, and as bland tasting as possible) to strain for your fiber requirement, and you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian, either. Incorporate just a serving of beans or legumes into your diet a day, and you’ll get a good 10-14 grams, depending on the bean. In one serving. Toss in an apple and a few dried prunes (delish, even if they’ve got a rather unattractive reputation) and you’ve got another five or so. Substitute three cups of popcorn for a few handfuls of those potato chips and you’ll get about three. Try out some of that whole grain bread at the store; use one slice of your favorite white bread and one slice of whole grain to get you started, or try one of the newer “white wheat” brands.

Combine hamburger with cooked lentils or mashed kidney beans (half and half or two-thirds meat to one-third beans), to make your meat loaf or burgers fiber rich, painlessly. And viola! You have your fiber requirement without even trying.

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