Fiber…Oh that Fiber!

Fiber…Oh that Fiber!

   I grew up eating whole grain cereals for breakfast like Wheatena ( my favorite), a wonderful nutty and tasty hot treat with sliced banana and milk – those winter months in New Jersey were cold!  Other cereals like Wheaties and Cheerios rounded out my whole grain intake…we didn’t know about whole wheat breads in my household.  We ate Wonder Bread.  Muffins and pancakes were made with Bisquick.  

Years later I read about the benefits of fiber in my first nutrition book written by Adelle Davis titled “How to Eat Right and Keep Fit”.  She explained the chemical bleaching process used to convert whole grains to white flour and warned of the dangers of eating flour devoid of nutrition, how it cannot be digested and just clogs the body as waste.  It made me grateful to my mother for giving me whole grain cereals as a child.

Whole grains have been a staple in my diet since then and as I learned more about nutrition I added foods like fruits and vegetables to get additional fiber in my diet.

Here are some important facts to know about fiber and some examples of foods you can try for yourself and your family.


  Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb..unlike other food components like fats, proteins and carbs which your body breaks down and does absorb.  Fiber can’t be digested.  It passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out during elimination.

The Digestive System

There are 2 kinds of fiber:

  1.  Soluable  This kind dissolves in water, turning the food in the intestines into a gel from which nutrients can be absorbed at a slow, steady rate.   

Examples of Soluable fiber are beans, oats, barley, bananas, potatoes, soft parts of apples and pears.

    2.   Insoluable  This type promotes the movement through your digestive system and increases stool bulk.  This kind of fiber is called “roughage” because it doesn’t dissolve in water.  It holds on to water which helps to produce softer, bulkier stools helping to regulate bowl movements.

Examples of Insoluable fiber are whole bran, whole grain products, nuts, corn, carrots, grapes, berries, peels of apples and pears, and lettuce.

In addition to promoting healthy digestion, fiber provides us with these wonderful benefits:

*Fiber curbs overeating.. it’s filling without fattening”. These foods require more chewing and the prolonged chewing besides predigesting food satisfies the appetite so you eat less, it stays in the stomach longer, absorbs water and helps the eater feel full.

The best fibers for weight control are bran and the pectin from fruits.

  Here’s a tip worth its weight in gold…Eat high fiber foods with high fat foods to decrease the absorption of fat.  Increase your daily fiber and you’ll absorb fewer calories.  

*Fiber steadies your blood sugar level, especially the soluable kind.  It slows the absorption of sugar from the intestines.  This steadies the blood sugar level and lessens the ups and downs of insulin secretion.

A breakfast and lunch containing moderate amounts of soluable fiber can help a child who shows behavior and learning difficulties which may be caused by blood sugar swings.

* Keeping insulin levels low and stable helps store less fat.

*Fiber slows fat absorption by the body.

*Reduces cholesterol…A diet high in soluble fiber, such as that found in oat bran, whole oats, psyllium, legumes, barley, fruit, and prunes, lowers blood levels of the harmful type of cholesterol (LDL) without lowering the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. As it travels down the intestines, soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gluey gel which picks up cholesterol and carries it out of the body. 

*Promotes regularity – Insoluable fiber mainly from the cellulose in skins of fruits, vegetables and the husks of grains help prevent constipation, promotes peristalsis (the broom effect).

*While soluble fiber helps protect against cardiovascular diseases, insoluble fiber protects against colon cancer.  It binds carcinogens (toxins that can transform normal cells into cancerous ones) lessening their contact with the intestinal wall.  The water and bulk of the stools dilutes toxins reducing their potential to harm.

*Fiber promotes healthy intestinal bacteria and contributes to a friendlier intestinal environment.

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Posted by DSaull in Nutrition
Salad for Spring!

Salad for Spring!

When winter comes I turn to hot foods and this past winter was no exception.  I depended on my soup for fiber and veggie nutrition along with my usual whole grain breads, pasta, and brown rice.  I added pieces of Romaine lettuce to the top of my soup bowl to get some roughage as well.

Springtime is another story.  When the warm air hits I crave the cool crunch of a hearty salad, and this spring I created one that is nutritious, colorful, and full of texture – a delight for the senses.  This particular salad really “unclogs” my system so I try to eat at least one salad each day.   Here is my salad recipe followed by the nutritional benefits of its ingredients along with online sources for you:

Diane’s Red ‘n Green Organic Leaf Combo Salad ©


* Organic Red Leaf lettuce… a few leaves

* Organic Romaine lettuce…a few leaves

*Hot or cold ingredients from my soup (see Welcome page for link to recipe)…1 or 2 tablespoons

*Parsley ¼ cup flowers without stems

*Red Bell Pepper ¼ cup

*Cheese…handful shredded.  I buy it packaged for convenience…I try different kinds like Sharp Cheddar (nice tangy flavor) and Mexican which combines several kinds of cheese in one package. 


Tear lettuce leaves into pieces and place in salad bowlAdd rest of the ingredients and gently toss with fork or spoon.

Salad Dressing Ingredients

*Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 *Apple Cider Vinegar…organic, raw, unpasteurized & unfiltered with the “mother” if you can find it. Warning:  Go easy on ACV…it’s strong…a few capfuls

*Soy Sauce (low sodium)

*Tomato Sauce (I try different ones to keep things interesting…my favorite is a chunky Marinara Sauce with added veggies found at my local supermarket.)

Combine above ingredients in your favorite salad dressing bowl.  I purposely left out the amounts because it will vary depending on the number of people it will serve.  I make enough for myself and a larger batch for company.

I also vary amounts of salad ingredients depending on my mood. If I’m hungry for lettuce I’ll add an extra helping…same goes for the other ingredients…salads are the kind of thing where you can be creative…sometimes I’ll load up on cheese…I love cheese on my salads! Sometimes I’ll add more olive oil, soy sauce or tomato sauce to my dressing…flexibility is the key.  Have fun with it!

Copyright © 2020 Diane B. Saull All Rights Reserved.

Health Benefits of Salad Ingredients with Sources

    (Listed in Alphabetical Order)

Apple Cider Vinegar

*Helps to maintain normal blood sugar

*Rich in antioxidants

*Good for digestion…improves assimilation of nutrients from food

*Supports lower blood pressure


*”Cheese contains the powerful nutritional triad of calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2, which together channel calcium into your bones and teeth while keeping it out of your arteries; this, combined with its omega-3 fats, make cheese a very heart-healthy food.” (See Dr. Mercola’s article in the link below.)

*Contains high-quality protein and amino acids

* Contains high-quality saturated fats and omega-3 fats

*Contains zinc, phosphorus, Vitamins A, D, B2 (riboflavin) and B12

*Contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a powerful cancer-fighter and metabolism booster

Olive Oil

*Contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids – oleic acid being the most important.  It’s extremely heart-healthy and capable of fighting free radical damage

*Contains powerful antioxidants…is considered an “anti-inflammatory food” and cardiovascular protector

*Helps fight cancer…contains special compounds that are considered to be anti-cancer agents

*Helps with weight loss…contains high amounts of healthy fats that control excess insulin

*Supports brain health…the healthy fats help to improve memory and ability to focus

*Fights mood disorders and depression…the healthy fats contribute to balancing the body’s hormones

*Naturally slows aging…contains a special antioxidant that helps activate gene signatures keeping us young and protects our cells

*Can help to lower diabetes… the fatty acids help to stabilize the blood sugar


*Rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K (plays a key role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s by limiting neuronal damage in the brain)

*Good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron

*Rich in B-Complex vitamins

 Red Bell Pepper

*Excellent source of dietary fiber (both soluable and insoluable)

*Rich sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6 (helps to process fats, carbs, and proteins)

*Rich in other antioxidants like carotenoids (lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

*good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese

 Red Leaf Lettuce

*My personal favorite…I love the rich red color of the leaves, the light texture – the way it sits up on my plate, and the taste is very pleasant…it gives my salad eye appeal and that’s important to me…makes it more appetizing…and I need that incentive when it comes to eating salad.  It means I’ll eat more of it and I need the roughage in my diet.

*I didn’t know lettuce had any major health benefits beyond its roughage until I did this project…what a nice surprise! Take a look!

*It’s loaded with antioxidants!

*It’s rich in Vitamin A.

*It’s high in Vitamin K which is good for bones and blood.

*It has some B-complex Vitamins, iron, potassium and is high in beta carotene!

**Take a look at the chart in the link below…

Here’s a tip:  My lettuce stays fresh for weeks in a plastic bag twisted tightly to keep air out.  I keep it in my crisper on the bottom of my fridge.

Romaine Lettuce

*Contains Vitamin C, K, B-Complex, and Beta-Carotene

*High in flavonoids

*Rich in folic acid

*Good source of fiber

*Contains minerals including chromium, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and iron

Soy Sauce

*Helps the body digest food more easily.  In soup (tasty addition!) it helps the stomach produce more gastric juice.

*Helps to destroy harmful microorganisms like Staph, Salmonella, and E. coli

*Eases hypertension with a nutrient called angiotensin

*Beneficial in repairing damaged cells

  Tomato Sauce (also listed in the Soup Nutrition section)

I think everyone knows how healthy tomatoes are for you and how delicious this sauce tastes in sooo many recipes!  I’ll just mention a few of the key benefits here:

*Contains a potent antioxidant called lycopene – known for increasing the healthy cholesterol and reducing the bad kind

*Excellent source of Vitamin A

*Rich in calcium

**I’ll let you read the website for details – even if it’s just to see pictures of those beautiful tomatoes!

  Happy Healthy Eating!

Posted by DSaull in Nutrition