Posts

Eat Fiber for Better Digestion and Brain Function

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. It passes through your digestive system relatively intact, providing numerous benefits along the way.

  • fiber slows down digestion and helps keep you full
  • aids in weight management
  • helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream
  • promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • nourishes your microbiome, serving as fuel for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, helping to maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms
  • adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract and reducing constipation and the risk of conditions like diverticulitis

By eating fiber-rich foods regularly, you are providing essential nutrients for the growth and diversity of your gut microbiota. This diverse community of bacteria aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and influences aspects of your immune system.

How fiber improves brain function

A healthy gut microbiome is linked to better cognitive function, mood regulation, and reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Because fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels – which is essential for maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day – this stable energy supply to your brain supports optimal cognitive performance, concentration, and memory retention.

Because fiber reduces inflammation in the body, it has a protective effect. Chronic inflammation is associated with cognitive decline and various neurological disorders. By consuming fiber regularly, you can help protect your brain from inflammatory damage.

Fiber-rich Foods

Incorporating more fiber into your daily diet is a fantastic way to boost your overall health and well-being.

Fiber rich foods are nutrient dense foods and include:

  • Leafy greens: arugula, kale, lettuces, collard greens, mustard greens
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage
  • Root vegetables: beets (tops too!), carrots, potatoes, sweet potato, rutabaga, turnips
  • Beans and legumes: chickpeas(garbanzo, black bean, red bean, all beans, lentils, peas
  • Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice

What to do

  • 🌿 Start Your Day with Fiber: Kickstart your morning with a high-fiber breakfast such as chia pudding or protein oatmeal, topped nuts and fruits. This will set a healthy tone for the rest of the day.
  • 🌿 Bulk Up Your Meals: Add beans, lentils, chickpeas, or quinoa to soups, salads, and stir-fries to increase the fiber content of your meals without compromising on taste.
  • 🌿 Choose Whole Grains: Swap refined grains (pasta and white rice) for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, , and barley to increase your fiber intake while enjoying delicious meals.
  • 🌿 Get Creative with Vegetables: Experiment with different vegetables in your dishes – spiralize zucchini for “zoodles,” roast cauliflower as a tasty side dish, or blend spinach into smoothies for an added nutrient boost.
  • 🌿 Snack Smart: Instead of reaching for processed snacks, opt for fiber-rich options like raw veggies with hummus, apple and cheese, celery and almond butter

By incorporating these practical tips into your daily routine  you can easily elevate the fiber and nutrient density of your meals while tantalizing your taste buds at the same time!

A well-balanced lifestyle rich in fiber is key to supporting optimal digestive function and overall wellness.

Note: If you are not currently practicing a high fiber lifestyle, it’s important to gradually increase your fiber intake and drink plenty of water throughout the day to help prevent any discomfort or bloating that may occur when increasing fiber consumption.

Delicious, Nutritious Fiber Rich Recipes and Resources

High Protein Overnight Oats – Haute and Healthy Living

Chia Pudding Meal Prep – Downshiftology

4 Nutrient Dense Coleslaws

10 Ways to Boost Your Mood and Immune System with Leafy Greens

One Pot of Black Beans for Four Meals

Flavored Hummus – Love Eat Learn

Avocado Hummus Snack Jars – The Girl on Bloor

 

Are You Digesting Your Food? 4 Tips to Improve Your Digestion

Improving digestion is a vital for good health. By eating mindfully, incorporating fiber-rich foods, chewing thoroughly, and managing stress you can support your digestive system and enhance your overall well-being.

4 Detox Salads

Your body is constantly detoxifying — literally taking out the toxins. The problem is that it is often overwhelmed by inflammatory foods.

By eating more of these salads more regularly, you displace inflammatory foods on your plate and in your diet. Loaded with nutrients to help remove toxins and waste, these salads will aid your digestion and elimination.

General guidelines for a nutrient dense salad that supports your body’s natural detoxifying processes:

  • Shred a whole cabbage (or broccoli or Brussels sprouts) in the food processor. (Or buy it already shredded).
  • You can mix with leafy greens — lettuce, spinach or arugula — especially if these nutrient dense salads are new for you
  • Make it a complete meal adding hummus, canned salmon or sardines, or other proteins and fats (avocado, nuts, seeds). You need good fats to absorb essential vitamins A, D, E and K, and to obtain essential fatty acids necessary for building cells, hormones and fueling your heart and brain. You need the protein as building blocks for your tissues, enzymes, antibodies, as well as insulin and glucagon that regulate your blood sugar.
  • Or make it part of dinner alongside meatloaf, chicken or other protein side dish
  • BONUS – Use what you need for the salad. Save the remainder to use as a base for a grain bowl or stir fry. Make a lunch wrap with hummus or guacamole. Add it to soup.

One of my superpowers is crazy delicious, nutritious salads.

My kryptonite is that I can’t seem to write down the combinations and concoctions that come out of my kitchen every day.

So here are 4 recipes to use as building blocks for 2023. Rich in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals oh my! – you will also improve your immune system.

Use them as building blocks for meal planning throughout the year. As a start, pick one of these salads to make each week for the next four weeks.

CAVEAT! – Every body is unique. A mega dose of salad may not be best for everyone. If you have gut health issues all these raw veggies may be too much for your system. This is where mindful eating and a Food and Mood Diary come in. Eat a small serving. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel. For at least 5 – 7 days write down what you ate and how your body feels.

Seriously Delicious Detox Salad Gimme Some Oven

Variations

  • Use dark leafy greens (spinach, arugula, red leaf lettuce) instead of kale
  • Shredded beets or apple instead of carrots
  • Other nuts instead of almonds

Rainbow Power Greens Black-Eye Peas SaladCotter Crunch
This salad is similar to the previous one. I share this one

  • because of the collard greens – so important to expand beyond eating the same greens ones over and over. Each one has different nutrients though they may look the same
  • for the combination of beans and quinoa, an easy and powerful way to boost nutrient-density!

Variations

  • Add green onion or some finely sliced or chopped red onion; the synergy of greens and onions boosts your immune system
  • Use other dark leafy greens instead of collard greens – Swiss chard or kale
  • Switch out black-eyed peas for other beans (black beans, cannellini beans, even lentils)
  • Use other grains (brown rice, barley, faro)
  • Add herbs – parsley, cilantro are easy options

Kale Detox SaladWell and Full

I share this one for the roasted vegetables and the pesto. Easy to make with leftover roasted vegetables and store bought pesto. You can use any herb to make pesto; cilantro helps remove heavy metals and protects against oxidative stress. Make a double batch of pesto and use it:

  • On roasted fish, on chicken breast
  • On a wrap with roasted veggies, chicken, fish or even steak
  • Mix into goat cheese, for snack with veggies and seed crackers
  • Add to a vinaigrette and make it into a salad dressing

Variations

  • Change out the veggies. I use sweet potatoes rather than fingerling because that’s what I usually have
  • Add additional roasted veggies; I always double up when roasting any vegetable to use in salads or wraps later
  • You can skip the rice unless you have leftovers, or use other leftover grains: quinoa and barley are my favorites

Super Food Detox SaladFit Foodie Finds

Yes, I chopped this by hand. For me cooking can me a mindful meditation practice. It’s a major mind shift to go from cooking being an obligation to considering it a privilege. Far too many people go hungry each day.

I share this salad for its Brussels sprouts. Often people who don’t like cooked Brussels sprouts discover they like them raw.  And sharing for the almonds too. Almost all my salads have nuts or seeds -one of the most nutrient dense food categories – and loaded with vital brain nutrients.

Variations

  • Having highlighted the Brussels sprouts, it seems contradictory so suggest another cruciferous vegetable, but a) they are not always available and b) there are only so many Brussels sprouts salad even the most enthusiast eater can eat – so, switch them out for shredded cauliflower or broccoli
  • Blueberries are a summer food, so in winter use pomegranate or shredded beet
  • Use dried cranberries instead of raisins
  • Any nut instead of almonds (or seeds — pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)

30 Healthy Salads – Dinner at the Zoo

A fabulous collection of delicious, nutritious salads – make one each week and you have 34 weeks of salads.

Let’s make it a delicious, nutritious year!

Which salad will you start with?

Updated from January 2022 post