I’m on a journey to guide women in understanding that their symptoms aren’t in their head, and more importantly, they aren’t their fault.
5 pillars of gut health
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If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to measure your average fibre intake too, using an app like Cronometer.
Well, I could sit here and talk for hours about this vastly underrated and oh-so-critical nutrient for gut health and overall health, but I’m going to spare you the novel and keep it short:
Fibre is directly responsible for repairing your gut, whether it feels like it or not.
Which means, you should actually care about how much fibre you’re eating every day. Our ancestors (to glimpse into our past, we can take a look at the modern hunter-gatherer tribe, the Hadza, living in Northern Tanzania) used to consume a whopping 100g of fibre a day from over 600 plant varieties. Not sure any of us can say the same today, and our worldwide declining microbiome health is a testament to this change in our food landscape and dietary habits.
How much fibre should we be consuming? The RDA is set at 25g for women, but I’m forever ringing the B.S. alarm on this number and will consistently recommend to my clients that they aim for double that for optimal gut health: 50g a day to be exact. But of course, you have to work your way up to that number.
You might be reading this and already be whole food plant based. Or, perhaps you’re on your way to following a more microbiome friendly diet that’s rich in prebiotic fibre (soluble fibre, resistant starch) and you’re just looking for inspiration; either way, you’re in the right place if you want to learn some sneaky strategies to add more fibre to your day-to-day diet.
Without further adieu, here are my top 5 tips for getting more fibre in your diet without doing a complete overhaul of what you eat on a day to day basis:
1. Swap refined grains with whole grains and increase your portion size: Many of us still consume ample amounts of refined grains including white rice and refined wheat (think: white pasta, cereals, etc.). In either instance, I encourage you to swap out these foods for higher fibre alternatives like brown, black or wild rice, farro, millet, and whole wheat (when choosing bread, make sure it’s actually whole wheat and not just white bread labelled as “multigrain”). Also, increase your portion sizes of whole grains when you do eat them. Whole grains, because of their fibre and nutrient content, are conducive to a healthy weight; they will not make you gain weight! I find so many women are terrified to eat more whole grains, when in actual fact, their health journey and weight would greatly benefit from more fibre, and therefore, more whole grains. If you normally eat a 1/2 cup of rice, go for 1 cup. If you normally have one scoop of pasta, have two! I give your permission to eat more and drop the guilt.
2. Super-seeds: Consume 2 tbsp a day of super-seeds of your choice. Soluble fibre rich seeds like ground flax, chia or hemp, pack a hefty fibre punch. In fact, chia seeds are 50% fibre by weight, making them one of the greatest sources of fibre in the world. Add 2 tbsp to breakfast, or switch things up and do 1 tbsp for breakfast, and 1 tbsp sprinkled on top of your dinner. I love me a good hemp sprinkled kale cashew caesar salad!
3. Daily Smoothie: I can’t say it enough, smoothies are a fantastic way to get in more fibre, whether you have a large one for breakfast, or a snack-sized one in the afternoon. This is because you can load so much in there. I recommend adding at least a cup and a half of fruit, one banana, 1-2 tbsp of super-seeds (flax, chia or hemp), 1-2 cups of non-dairy milk, a large handful of greens, and nut/seed butter. If you don’t crave one for breakfast, try one as an afternoon pick-me-up. My smoothies contain, on average, 20g of fibre.
4. Include a 1/2 cup of beans or legumes at lunch and dinner: There are far too many people out there that are scared of beans and legumes. This needs to change! Beans and legumes such as tofu, lentils, black beans, green or split peas, chickpeas, navy beans, and tempeh are some of the richest dietary sources of fibre we have. And when we skip out on them, we miss their fibre rich benefits and all the gut healing goodness that comes with consuming them in ample quantities. If you’re just starting out, I recommend sprouting some chickpeas or lentils and adding them on top of your meals. That way, they’re easier to digest and are used as a garnish, rather than being the star of your plate. The key to incorporating beans and legumes into your diet is to start small and think long term. It has to be sustainable, not quick. Which means, if 1/2 a cup is too ambitious for you, start with 2 tbsp and go from there. If you’ve been thinking about adding beans and legumes in for a while now, this is your sign! Play around with which ones are easier for you to digest.
5. Choose high fibre snacks: Snacks such as dried figs, dates, kiwis, rye crackers with hummus, roasted chickpeas (or air fried), muesli with soy milk and fruit, or a snack sized smoothie will forever trump saltines, chips, and granola bars when it comes to snacks and their fibre content. Choose wisely. Every bite of food is a chance to get more fibre, or not!
I hope these tips were helpful and give you some level of inspiration, no matter where you’re at in your gut healing journey!
Remember, bite by bite, you can and will repair your microbiome.
Interested in getting personalized support to work on this further? Apply to work with me 1:1 by filling out the application below!
With love and whole body health,