Fabulous fibre

Have you noticed how fibre has suddenly appeared in the news again? That’s food-related fibre, not the high-speed broad band type! A large meta-analysis of research studies published in The Lancet last week concluded that a diet high in complex fibre and whole-foods could prevent the development of many chronic health problems. It concluded their study provided a ‘causal link’ between a low fibre diet and poor health (read more here).

The world of food and health is complex and fickle. The fact that fibre is good for health has been known for a long time, but gets conveniently forgotten when more popular diets come along, like low-carb/high fat, or ketogenic programmes. There’s a lot of confusion about the carbohydrate element of foods with many people automatically associating ‘carbs’ with sugar. And it’s true, refined sugar isn’t good for us, but complex, unadulterated carbohydrates are.

As anyone who has participated in my Eat Well Live Well course will know, I’m a big fan of fibre. And one of the benefits of eating a whole-food plant-based diet is that it is packed full of lovely complex fibres that the body just loves. And rather than worrying about how much you should consume, it’s just part and parcel of every meal – as long as you eat a wide range of whole plant foods that is.

So why might you not get enough fibre in your diet?

  1. Only food from plants contain fibre, so if you eat mainly meat, dairy and eggs you’ll be missing out on fibre.
  2. Refined cereals and grains loose their healthy complex fibre, so if you eat white bread, pasta or rice, processed breakfast cereals or ready meals, you’ll be losing all the lovely complex fibre.
  3. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain fibre too, so if you don’t hit your 5 portions a day (like 70% of the UK population), you’ll be missing out on fibre.

So what does fibre do for us? Lots, as it turns out. I go into more details in my new book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie (out next month!), but in a nutshell it:

  1. Improves gut motility – ie: make you poo!
  2. Removes excess bile, fats and toxic waste
  3. Fills you up
  4. Releases nutrients slowly
  5. Looks after the friendly bacteria living in your gut.

As more is learnt about the importance of gut health, this last one is really key. Bacteria living deep down in the large intestine dine out on the insoluble fibre found in complex carbohydrates that we can’t digest ourselves, and then puts it to good use, carrying out functions we have outsourced and can no longer do ourselves. Gut health is connected to many health challenges, including food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions, hence my personal love of all things fibre!

So how do you get more fibre in your diet? It’s easy – eat more plants! And a wide variety of them too. Add beans to soups and stews, more veggies to dishes. Ditch the processed breakfast cereals and opt for wholegrain or oats. Swap to wholegrain pasta, rice and bread. Or just focus on eating amazing plant foods throughout the day and then you don’t have to worry where your fibre is coming from.

A word of warning though, if you’re not used to eating lots of lovely fibre, or have IBS or something similar, take care! Fibre makes you fart. And if your gut is not happy, a sudden overload of high fibre foods could find you trumpeting at inappropriate moments or doubled up in pain. So think about gradually increasing the amount of whole foods over a few days rather than all at once – you, and anyone around you, will appreciate it!

If you’re not sure how to start eating more fibre, check out the recipes on my blog. Made with whole plant foods, they’re all packed with fibre in various forms. And if you’re interested in finding out more, my book is a good place to start. Look out for more information about publication date, or sign up to my book mailing list. You’ll get the lowdown before anyone else, plus special launch information and offers. Just click here.

Last day of Advent

It’s Christmas Eve, and day 24 of my Sensitive Foodie Advent Calendar, the last instalment for this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts over the last 3 weeks or so and that they have helped make your plant-based Christmas a little easier!

As it’s Christmas Eve, I’m gifting you an early present – access to 5 of the recipes coming up in my new book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie. I’m so excited as it’s been a long-held ambition to be a published author. Out in February 2019, my dream is coming true!

More than just a plant-based cookery book, Eat Well, Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie is an accessible guide to understanding the connection between the food we eat, our health and the wider world around us. I explore our amazing bodies and how they prefer to live like Baby Bear – just right. It’s packed full of loads of fascinating facts, useful information and my tried and tested top tips.

Of course there are delicious recipes too – over 100 of them. Easy to follow and full of deliciousness there will be something to please even the fussiest of veggie eaters!

As valued readers of my blog, I’m giving you opportunity to have a sneak-peak of 5 recipes and exclusive access to pre-launch offers. Just sign up to my special book mailing list and you will can try out the recipes straight away, just in time for Christmas (in case you haven’t got anything else to do 😉 ).

Sign up now!

Finally, the last thing to do is thank you for being part of The Sensitive Foodie community and wish you all a very merry and tasty Christmas.

A question of tolerance

When I was eight years old, there were two things I wanted to be when I grew up. First was be a nurse. I had a great dressing-up nurses uniform which I loved to wear, and liked to help other people, so figured nursing was for me! 10 years later I discovered the uniform really wasn’t that good, that it involved a lot more than just ‘helping people’ but generally found the job fascinating and rewarding. Eight year old me was right on that one!

The second thing I wanted to be was a writer. My parents had given me a bright pink Petite typewriter for Christmas and I just loved tapping out random stories and reports, using up piles of paper and inked ribbons. I’ve continued my love of communicating through words, but have never completely followed my passion through; there’s always been something else to do. Blogging as The Sensitive Foodie has been a great way of scratching the writing itch whilst I’ve ran courses and workshops about eating great food, but now it’s time to take the next step,

So I’m really excited to say I’ve started writing my first book! Naturally it’s all about food intolerances and eating amazing food for health, with lots of lovely recipes for the reader to get stuck in to – many new ones not posted on this blog. I’m using the summer to sit down and throw all my efforts into this new project – I just need not to get distracted by the sunny days!

Whilst brainstorming my ideas, I keep coming up with a nagging question about the word intolerance, or rather it’s opposite, tolerance. Food sensitivities and intolerances have become more main-stream recently, but are still regarded with an unfair amount of negativity. But in my mind, most people have foods they don’t eat; is that because they cannot tolerate them? Maybe it’s our understanding of the word intolerance that’s the issue.

Anyway, to satisfy my curiosity, I created a survey. Whilst definitely not scientific research, the response so far is fascinating. If you haven’t already given it a go, please spare 30 seconds of your time (literally) and click here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/66J79MV to access. The larger the amount of responses, the more realistic the answer. The survey is anonymous, so I can’t credit you personally in the acknowledgements, but will really appreciate it non-the-less.

Meanwhile, with help from an excellent writing boot camp by Alison Jones (www.alisonjones.com), I will carry on creating my first book, attempting to see if eight year old me was right in my secondary career choice.