Getting Healthy

Fiber—The Why?!

  • Okay, now that we know what fiber is, why do we need fiber in the first place?

 

Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is important for many reasons, including…

 

1. Acne…Fiber—especially psyllium husk, a type of plant seed, can flush toxins out of your body, improving the health and appearance of your skin.

 

2.  Diabetes. A diet high in fiber—particularly insoluble fiber from cereals—can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, regulate your blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol.

 

3.  Digestive System…Soluble fiber can also help treat many cases of constipation,

Fiber functions as a prebiotic, feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine and shifting the balance of bacteria, increasing healthy bacteria, while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive problems

Fiber also provides bulk in the intestines, while helping balance the pH levels in the intestines. It promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent or treat problems—such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and ulcers.

 

4.  Heart Disease…Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is an important element of any heart-healthy diet. Failing to get enough fiber in your diet will cause your digestive tract to not work efficiently or effectively (not sure which word should be used here)…which in turn could lead to high cholesterol levels and eventually heart disease.

 

5. Immunity and Risks…High-fiber diets may help lower your risk of certain diseases—including diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

 

6.  Nutritional Value…Soluble fiber creates a gel in the digestive system because it bonds with fatty acids. This gel causes food to stay in your stomach for a longer amount of time, allowing for better absorption of nutrients.

 

7.  Obesity…Fiber is a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps us feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

Also, high-fiber foods—such as fruits and vegetables—tend to be low in calories.

Finally, because fiber works to regulate blood sugar levels, fiber can help you avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods.

 

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Getting Healthy

Daddy Always Said, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”

Most likely whenever you look at the ingredients label for any typical packaged food, you won’t have a clue what many of the ingredients listed are, and probably won’t be able to pronounce many of them either.

Those ingredients are most likely artificial chemicals that have been added for various purposes—such as to make the foods hopefully taste, look, and have the texture of unprocessed or minimally processed foods. These ingredients are also used to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product, increase shelf life, disinfect and deodorize, hide odors, and sweeten our foods.

Big food companies must think that they are doing both ourselves and themselves a huge favor…by making our foods more palatable, while at the same time making a larger profit themselves.

In fact, as consumers get used to the taste of a certain food, even more and more of these additives are usually added to those food items by the “food engineers” of these big -brand food manufacturers in order to keep them or make them even more addictive.

And as if that list of ingredients shown on the package that you just looked at isn’t long enough already, most also contain even dozens more additional chemicals that aren’t even listed on the label.

However adding all these additives can affect the health of everyone who eats that manufacturer’s products…including their own workers.

Health problems that can result because of all these additives include allergies, heart issues, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, hair loss, and even cancer.

For example, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging periodically conducts laboratory testing of foods. One study involved the testing of thirty different macaroni and cheese products.

One chemical in particular, that the Coalition was looking for was phthalates, a hormone-disrupting chemical that manufacturers use when making rubber, plastics, adhesives, sealants, and printing inks…and that also poses a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children.

The Coalition found phthalates in 29 of these 30 items, including eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested.

Another study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those people who eat the most processed meats—such as hot dogs and bologna—have a 67% higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Sorry, Oscar Mayer, but my dad died from pancreatic cancer. Crossing hot dogs and bologna off my grocery list permanently.’

We should all learn how to avoid such additives.

One way is to refuse to buy products with ingredient lists that…

  • are longer than the Santa wish list of my “resident four year old”
  • contain the words “artificial flavor. “Artificial flavor” is not actually an ingredient. Who in the heck even knows what “artificial flavor” is?
  • have words that are too hard to pronounce
  • have words that have more than twenty syllables

What exactly do the words “artificial flavor” mean?

Just like we previously learned, when doing a previous “What Now” unit on taking the perfect cruelty-free shower…as far as health and beauty products are concerned, the word “fragrance” can be code-name for a whole slew of we-really-don’t-want-to-tell-you-because-if-we-did-tell-you-then-you-probably-wouldn’t-buy-this ingredients…and when it comes to food, the words “artificial flavor” are basically code-name for that exact same thing.

Any time that you see the words “artificial flavor” listed as an ingredient, you should realize that this is a proprietary blend of several different ingredients that are considered “trade secrets.” For “marketing” reasons, manufacturers can get by without listing exactly specific ingredients make up their “artificial flavor.”