The fiber dilemma

Happy Wednesday!

It’s time for another  What I Ate Wednesday– join the party!

Today I am focusing on fiber. As some of you have read, I’m doing some experimenting with my diet to figure out if I can possibly improve my IBS-C. However, because I am anti- anything too restrictive, I am starting off by doing less serious experimentation. I’m starting with fiber- but not they way you may think.

I’ve been reading a lot about fiber, and like I suspected, fiber may be the enemy in my condition. So first, I’ve been trying to reduce my fiber. Every doctor I’ve ever seen about my condition, has told to me to eat lots of fiber. I always tell them I eat plenty, but I am fairly sure most haven’t believed me. But honestly, if the answer was as easy as FIBER, do you think I would be paying to see a specialist?! Thanks to boards like this one, I have been able to read advice from people suffering with my same issues. The majority of the individuals writing on the boards have said that fiber has not been beneficial, but hurtful. Of course there are plenty of articles/sites like this one, but if you’re like me you might be skeptical of anything not peer-reviewed. I have read some of the literature, and much of it supports the claim that adding fiber to a diet that is already fiber sufficient will not improve chronic constipation. (Sorry I don’t have any references- it’s late and I’m writing this on the fly!)

Reducing my fiber may sound easy, especially since the majority of Americans only get about ~1/2 of what they need, but for a veggie-fruit-whole grain- legume- loving girl, it’s anything but easy. On a typical day, I eat at least 40 grams of fiber. FYI, the recommended intake for adults is 25-30 grams. Of course, as I tell my doctor, I drink plenty of liquids to keep everything moving. Or attempt to keep it moving. Don’t get me wrong, fiber is great- it’s known to increased satiety, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood sugar spikes. However, sometimes what is good for one person, isn’t good for another.

Anyways, these eats are from my second day of reducing my fiber intake. I tried to be careful of not going over 25 grams of fiber. I started with a manageable goal, because changing food habits is hard. No doubt.

breakfast.jpg

Breakfast: Pumpkin pancake with 1/3 cup oats (2.7 g fiber), 1/3 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup pumpkin (1.5 g fiber), 1/2 tsp baking powder, and cinnamon. Topped with sunflower seed butter (3 g fiber). Plus dark chocolate and 2 cups of coffee.

Snack: Banana (3 g fiber)

lunch

Lunch: Mashed sweet potato (4 g fiber), spinach (which steamed down once I microwaved it, making it easier to digest) (2 g fiber), ground venison leftover from tacos, salsa (1 g fiber), and one and a half of my homemade tortillas (1 g fiber). This is a lunch I could eat every day!

snack

Snack: Rice cake (1g fiber) with neufchatel cheese

dinner

Dinner: (I apologize for the ugly presentation- darn yellow plates) Very eggy fried rice made from white rice, an egg, broccoli (2 g), garlic, onion (1 g fiber), and tofu (1g fiber). Topped with soy sauce and hot sauce. Anybody else tend to end up with more of the extras than the rice itself?

Plus two energy peanut butter energy bites (3 g) while washing dishing. Because I wanted to sweeten all the salty in my mouth!

fudge

Dessert: The last of the ultimate fudge pie (2 g fiber) with almond milk. (Last of my pie- will have to make more!!)

Some of the things I purposely did to reduce my fiber intake included using meat rather than beans at lunch, white flour instead of whole wheat flour for the tortillas, neufchatel cheese instead of nut butter on the rice cake, white rice instead of brown rice at dinner, and leaving out the peas in my fried rice in favor of upping the eggs. If you want to up your fiber intake, do the opposite! 😉

Overall my total fiber intake was 28.2 grams. Not bad, but still over my goal. Eating less fiber, instead of more  seriously feels against my nature. Yet, this is what diet experimentation is about. If somehow changing my diet can help me feel better, I think it’s worth the try as long as it is safe.

I’m sharing this today, because I know some of my readers relate to maybe needing to take some of the “health” out of their diets. If what you consider to be “health food” isn’t make you feel healthy, maybe it’s not all that helpful to your health?

I hope this wasn’t too overly-personal, but one thing this blog is for is tracking my progress. I’d love to hear about a way that you’ve experimented with your diet to improve your health! 

 

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45 thoughts on “The fiber dilemma

  1. I hear ya. I have to be extremely careful about the amount of fiber I consume. Eating too much at one time can completely ruin my day. That and other cruciferous vegetables. No broccoli or brussels sprouts for me, unfortunately.

    It really is hard to decrease fiber intake. Some things I’ve done is eat eggs in the morning (instead of oats or fiber rich pancakes), watch the granola bars I’m eating (KIND bars can have a LOT of fiber…and inulin!) And eating snacks that may not have normally been “okay” in my book (ie chips vs almonds at lunch).

    Its hard and it does feel WRONG but it surprisingly helps. Definitely doesn’t fix anything but I’ll take all the help I can get (as I’m sure you will too).

    1. Agreed… chips never hurt me, but broccoli and beans do. How strange, right?!
      I am really grateful for your encouragement- it’s nice to hear from someone who’s been through such a similar situation!

  2. Oh man, I would have such a hard time finding ways to decrease my fiber, but you did well! I hope you find out the culprit to your problem!

  3. Wow. What a kind of “reverse” dilemma ,eh? Just goes to prove “healthy” is not an overall general term. This is amazing how quickly fibre can add up! Looking at your meals, I don’t know how I would go about reducing even more. But you are oh so smart and wise and I know you will figure out delicious, yet healthy, ways to do so. Meat and proteins I suppose? Anything that makes you feel better is completely worth it.

  4. Soo interesting since people are usually on the other end. However, it is TRUE that in some cases, too much fiber can be harmful, especially when not paired with water (cases like diverticulitis and extreme inflammation). It’s so sad but doctors truly aren’t well-versed in nutritional dilemmas, and I don’t believe they take any nutrition classes, so their go-to is too eat more fiber. It’s so frustrating that they don’t know much more. I’m glad you are experimenting and sharing it on the blog because hopefully we can all learn from you!

  5. Loved seeing the fiber content of your day broken down like this!! Last year I was dealing with constipation for a lot of the year and I too wondered if too much fibre could have something to do with it. I mostly wondered because every time I went home for the weekend (where I was tending to eat more refined grains, more cheese and less produce) it seemed to clear up. But I couldn’t really find any information that went along with this and so I never tried reducing my fibre. But in hindsight, I totally should have – it certainly would have been worth a try. Thankfully things have been a lot better in that department and I really really hope that your situation eases soon too. Thanks for sharing your experiments 🙂

  6. This is SO interesting to me. I’m (obviously) all for using diet to try and heal yourself, and you’re right – changing is HARD. I was originally going to just do a straight up elimination diet but it sounded miserable so I ditched that idea quick. I’ve never realized how much fiber is in things! Also, how on earth do people not get enough fiber, since it’s apparently in everything!

  7. I’ve heard that about too much fiber! I will be very interested to hear about the results of this experiment!
    Eating more fiber and drinking more water is what the doctors always tell me too. It’s like they find it hard to believe that some people actually maintain a healthy diet! Craziness!

  8. I totally had a problem with too much fiber. I while back I decided to add more veggies into my life. So I started eating them with breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. It went well for s while until I had to go number two like 6 times a day including during my runs which SUCKED! So I had to stop with the veggies at breakfast and lunch for a while. I’ve gradually added them back in at lunch but stick with less fibrous substances for breakfast. It helped a lot. Too much fiber is real!

  9. Wow – I’ve never heard of someone trying to limit their fiber, but you did a really great job at tracking it and your meals were still really wholesome and nutritious! I pretty much always hit over my fiber goal for the day too. As for doctors, all they care about is money and pimping out medications. Sorry, but they don’t believe that food can heal. Do your thing and listen to your body – you know it better than any white coat!

    1. I think the way our medical system is set up makes doctors perform so poorly . I don’t think most go into it with the plan to be abrasive but nurturing, but having 20 patients scheduled in one day can make it tough! But sigh… I am feeling like my doctor doesn’t have the answers!

  10. Have you looked into the SCD diet? It’s really effective for IBS-C but it is, admittedly, a little extreme for the first couple months. Hope you feel better soon 🙂

    1. I have! I’ve read about it several times… it’s definitely on my list to try, but I wanted to try less restrictive first. The SCD diet is pretty scary, but if it works, I think it would be worth it.

  11. I completely agree with you! Sometimes being “too healthy” is not healthy. It’s all about finding your own personal balance! …also, I used to have some serious IBS issues, but found that when I cut dairy out of my diet they disappeared! No jk, it’s pretty amazing actually cuz it used to be really bad. But I totally understand if that feels too extreme! Good luck with everything. I hope that you feel better soon!

    1. I wouldn’t be too opposed to cutting out dairy, but beside cheese (which is low in lactose), I don’t really consume a lot of dairy. It would be worth a try though!! Thank you for you advice and input.

  12. This is similar to what I’ve been dealing with in trying to figure out what works for MY stomach. Every doctor said to increase fiber or go low FODMAP, when I don’t think that is the whole story. It’s so important to do what we need to do for our bodies and figure out our version of balance.

  13. Oh I hear you. I found my digestion to be the best (And my body perform overall) when I legit eat the most processed foods ever. When I did Whole30 in 2014, that was such a big indicator. Hope things are on the up!

    I call my fried rice sl*tty fried rice. It’s like.. 90% everything else 10% rice. 😀

    1. Yeah, I forsee saltines and slim jims in my future lunches. Just kidding… I hope. But seriously, I am glad to hear someone else who has a healthy diet agree!
      Sl*tty rice because it will let anything in right? Haha!

  14. I can see how hard it can be to cut down fiber! I think for us “health junkies” we go against the norm of not eating enough fiber. It’s hard for me to think of foods without fiber hahah! I believe that you can do it, baby steps are key!

  15. I think I eat way too much fiber too so I can imagine how hard it is to try and limit the amount you are eating, especially if it goes against what you naturally eat! I hope your experiment gives you the results you are looking for. Your pumpkin pancake looks absolutely amazing. Also, rice cakes with peanut butter are one of my all time favorite snacks!

  16. I also had to come to grips with that. I’m no vegetarian by any stretch but I love my veggies like no tomorrow. I already had zapped any form of beans and coniferous veggies (the loss of my roasted brussels actually made me want to cry) but to then have to cut down on veggies in general was a really big deal for me. Bye bye to zoats (still oats because I need them lol), bye bye to having a stir fry every day post workout, bye bye to more then an ounce of avocado in one sitting. It truly sucks sometimes because I feel that I see so many people eating these huge salad beasts and veggie stir fries which I adore and used to have all the time and now I’m stuck only being able to have them once in a blue moon. But I feel better because of it.

    I also had to deal with the guilt that came with it too. Irrational I know, but I still feel like wow I’m having rice cakes, whey icing and banana for most of my post workouts now when I used to have a stir fry…so I start to feel as if I’m not eating enough veggies any more. I know this isn’t the case because I still have quite a lot but it’s that sense of not having them at every meal that gave me issues mentally and it was something I had to get over because my IBS clearly didn’t like that. It’s a hard and steep learning curve that is for sure!

    1. It’s SO hard. I’m still not totally committed, so I’m not yet seeing the results I want. I just really love big salads!! Thanks for your encouragement- it may be hard, but definitely worth it!

      1. It takes time for sure. It took me until I finally came down to “Do I want to feel like crap for a day afterwards just to eat this one thing, or do I want to adjust” for some things I finally did the later and feel better because of it.

  17. Hello! I know you posted this entry a while ago so I hope that this comment finds you in your email.

    I don’t have a blog myself, however, I read recovery blogs from time to time and I had to reach out to you. I’ve struggled with the exact same issues following years of disordered eating and had that procedure done without results as well.

    I had the same experience of doctor’s not listening or taking me seriously as a result of my disordered eating and often shoved miralax in my direction also. -__-

    Like the lady above me said, it has been a lot of trial and error and I still deal with symptoms, but overall, it’s been MUCH better. I could share some things that have worked for me via e-mail.

    I believe that only you can see the e-mail that I listed. Feel free to contact me 🙂

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