The Benefits of Fiber

Anytime I have any kind of ache, pain, illness, or vague complaint about my health, my husband’s main advice is “You need to eat more fiber!” I swear I could be sprawled out in the middle of the family room bleeding profusely and he would tell me to increase my fiber intake.

Fiber is a really hot topic now, so it comes up all the time during mixed company. There is no better way to captivate dinner guests than to present a soliloquy on fiber! When I sense this is about to happen, I try my best to nip the conversation in the bud and change the subject to spare our guests. I have actually said, “Please don’t get him started on the fiber talk!” on multiple occasions, but always to no avail. People actually WANT to know about fiber. They are eager for him to go into great detail. Meanwhile my face turns red from embarrassment, and I roll my eyes like a petulant teenager sick of the same old story. He is very passionate about this topic, and he could go on, and on, and on as I have witnessed many an evening.

I know you want the spiel, so this is it: Fiber is a natural wonder-drug. It can help you lose weight, reduce your cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent diabetes, and just all-around improve your digestion. Fiber even seems to reduce the likelihood of some types of cancer! The amount you should have varies by age and gender. Let’s just say it’s A LOT.

How to Add Fiber to Your Diet

The best way to get more fiber is not to take supplements, but to actually eat vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Obviously not all fruits and vegetables have high fiber. For example, although spinach and kale are both healthy, kale has almost four times the amount of fiber per serving. Raspberries have even more fiber. There are even apps that calculate fiber content in the foods you eat. WARNING: You have to start with a small amount and buildup very slowly each day or your stomach will literally explode. (That last piece of advice is from me and gleaned from personal and enormously embarrassing experience!)

If you want to change your life via the fiber route, see your doctor and make sure you’re on the right track. I can only hope that your doctor gives you half the scintillating fiber talk that my husband is known for far and wide… Good luck. I personally have not jumped on the fiber band wagon yet, much to his chagrin.

I do have several recipes which happen to be delicious and contain lots of fiber, so we’re both happy. This is one of my favorites and was given to me by my aunt. With all these beans, there’s plenty of fiber, but it is still yummy!

Sausage and Beans

  • 1lb Italian sausage OR ground beef (I like to use hot Italian sausage)
  • 1c chopped celery
  • 1c chopped onion
  • 1 can lima beans (drained)
  • 1 can yellow beans (or 1c fresh cut)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can green beans (or 1c fresh cut)
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1T mustard
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh chopped)
  • small can tomato paste
  1. Brown the sausage with the celery and onion
  2. In a large bowl, stir the sausage mixture with all other ingredients except tomato paste
  3. Spread in a casserole dish
  4. Spread the tomato paste over the top
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour

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