A lot more fibre
Posted on 7th February 2018 at 20:14
Out with the bran flakes and in with the real deal
If there is one thing in our diet that we underestimate the importance of then that is fibre. And let's get one thing straight here, we're not talking about sugary cereals that masquerade as 'healthy food', we're talking about real food - fruit, vegetables and wholegrains that give us the different types of fibre that our bodies need.
Fibre is absolutely vital if we want to stay healthy but not all fibre is created equal so we need variety. Not only does fibre help detoxify the body it also feeds the gut bacteria which affects our immune system, which in turn makes us more resistant to disease and better able to deal with trauma such as surgery. I could go on here with a kind of 'dem bones' scenario, you know the one where toe bone's connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone's connected to the heel bone, and the heel bone's connected to the ankle bone etc etc, except it would be about the gut but I'm going to spare you that. What is important to know is that different fibre feeds different gut bacteria and the more varieties of gut bacteria we have the better.
Breakfasting on the same bowl of 'high fibre', probably sugar laden cereal every day is not the answer - our good gut bacteria are too important to try to palm them off with that. Eating fruits and vegetables unpeeled and in season will diversify our fibre intake as will adding a variety of unprocessed wholegrains - brown rice, red rice, quinoa - red, white or black, pot barley, pearl barley, kamut, spelt, rye, bulgar wheat, buckwheat, oats (the list could go on and on but you'll get the picture). In terms of wholegrains we can all get a bit one dimensional - wholewheat pasta for supper, again?
As well as supporting diverse gut bacteria, digestive fibre, (of which there are many types), can keep us feeling full and help with weight loss, it can enable the digestive tract to work effectively and promote regular bowel habits. Pre and post surgery it is super important in dealing with constipation and repopulating the microbiome so that healing can take place swiftly and effectively.
I have a favourite breakfast, a raw muesli, that I have eaten for years (not every day of course). So where is the variety in that you may well ask? Trust me here, there is variety aplenty and heaps of fibre from the wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, desiccated coconut and raw cacao powder. You can add in the ingredients you like and leave out those you don't. Vary them continually - if I've made something with ground or flaked almonds and I have just a few left then I throw them in the muesli box. It is one of the best breakfasts you could possibly have because not only does it contains a range of healthy ingredients that you can vary on an on-going basis but the grains and seeds are soaked overnight which takes them to a pre-sprouting stage making their nutrients more absorbable and the breakfast even more nutritious.
I make up a Tupperware box full of the mixture and keep it in the fridge for months, just removing 1-2 tablespoons in the evening to soak overnight in water and use the next day. It’s really easy when you get into the habit.
For the base recipe use the following quantities as a guideline.
1 tbsp each of any or all of the following - rolled oats, oat meal, oat bran, wheat germ, rye flakes, rice flakes or quinoa flakes (or any combination you like). 1 tbsp of mixed seeds such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, hemp or linseed (vary as required). Once you have a mix you like then increase the quantities and store as detailed above.
You can also add - ground almonds, desiccated or flaked coconut, chopped nuts, raisins and/or sultanas, and for a natural chocolate flavour raw cocoa powder or nibs or carob.
Prepare the evening before required by measuring 1-2 tablespoons of your mix into a bowl and adding in an equal amount of liquid – water, or rice, nut, coconut or oat milk. Cover with a saucer and leave to soak overnight.
In the morning add in 1-2 grated apples, or a chopped banana or pear (even more fibre) and a heaped tablespoon of full-fat natural yoghurt - cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s or coconut will do but avoid soya (more on that in another post). Mix together and enjoy.
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