Hey Babes! Are there any #WBKbabes out there following in my footsteps and transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle? If you’re like me and your diet has a significant amount of fiber in it, you are doing wonderful things for your health, your body and even for the environment! BUT! As some of you may have found, there can be some challenges that go hand in hand with increasing your fiber intake. In this blog I’ll give you my top tips to minimising your digestive discomfort while following a wholesome, plant-based diet. And for those out there who aren’t yet completely plant-based, this article is for you too! Anyone eating lots of fruit, veggies and legumes on a regular basis- you’ll be surprised by how much better you will feel with these high-fiber eating tips! Before we get into the swing of things I just want to get everyone up to speed on what fiber is and why it’s so good for us!
WHAT IS FIBER?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods, that our bodies can’t actually digest. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds all contain fiber. Once we have eaten fiber, it enters the gut where it is fermented by the healthy bacteria that resides there, then we pass what remains through our digestive system.
WHY IS IT GOOD FOR US?
• Eating foods that are rich in fiber will decrease the speed at which sugar in these foods is absorbed into the bloodstream. This results in more sustained energy levels and less peaks in dips in energy. • Fiber helps cleanse your digestive system, as it acts almost like a scrubbing brush for your intestines. This decreases the build up of toxins and also decreases your risk of intestinal cancers. • Consuming fiber helps to slow down the absorption of foods, helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. • Fiber helps to keep your bathroom visits regular and comfortable. Even though transitioning to plant-based, high fiber diet is super healthy, it can sometimes cause some discomfort. Here are my tips to enjoying the benefits of fiber without the undesirable side effects:
TIP 1: EASE INTO IT!
The healthy bacteria in your gut that breaks down fiber will need time to adjust as your fiber intake increases. If you suddenly switch into a fiber-rich diet all in one go, it will overwhelm your gut bacteria, which can result in some very uncomfortable intestinal issues. Instead, try to gradually increase your fiber consumption week by week!
TIP 2: DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
This helps to soften the fiber as it moves through, and out of your system, making sure it has a smooth, easy passage. Aim for 68 ounces of water throughout the day, everyday, and even more if you are exercising!
TIP 3: SPREAD YOUR FIBER INTAKE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
As I mentioned before, healthy gut bacteria help us to process fiber. If you try to consume your whole day’s worth of fiber in one sitting, your bacteria will be overworked which can result in undesirable and uncomfortable consequences.
TIP 4: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Many people find that certain kinds of fiber-rich foods produce different reactions in their bodies. Not all fiber is created equal, and so some foods may be digested easily by the body, while others could result in discomfort. Pay attention to the way your body reacts to the foods you are eating and try to narrow down which ones are troublesome. Common culprits include beans, oats, banana, onions, prunes, peas and lentils. You don’t necessarily have to exclude these nutritious foods from your diet, rather just try not to pair them with one another and maybe limit your serving size when you do eat them! There you have it, girls! Now you can enjoy your plant-based fiber rich diet, without the downsides! If you’re ready to transition to a plant-based lifestyle why not check out my plant-based meal plans, otherwise I also have regular meal plans! I take care of all the hard work - the ingredients, the schedules, the planning - so you can focus on being the best version of yourself!