Ever since I started my journey to veganism last year — from eliminating beef in my diet (I had already stopped consuming pork in 2013), to briefly becoming pescetarian (fish, vegetables and fruits), to finally embracing vegetarianism and eventually having a complete plant-based diet for health reasons, I have made a conscious effort to increase my intake of fiber-packed foods to make sure I support my body system while coping with the changes in my food consumption.
This is for obvious reasons: while it’s given that your body will most likely be able to digest vegan food, I wanted to be sure that I was eliminating the wastes from all the animal produce I had consumed pre-vegan stage. To have that “peace of mind” that I was genuinely getting rid of any traces of non-plant produce in my system. I know, it’s probably the obsessive-compulsive in me that wanted to do that. But since I was going vegan, that was ultimately the goal, right?
Which brings me to my fascination towards food that are rich in fiber. Dietary fiber, according to www.mayoclinic.org, includes the parts of plant foods your body can’t digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.
Simply put, fiber-riched foods — which can be found mainly in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and NOT in animal meat and dairy products — play a vital role in cleaning the wastes in your digestive system, thus, helping reduce the risk of developing certain health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and constipation, as well as promote weight loss and proper digestion. Powerful, isn’t it? But the sad thing is, most people do not get enough fiber (from real food, not supplements) in their diet because there’s just too much hype on protein being the popular super nutrient out there. Wrong. It’s not the only thing people should pay attention to when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Not to go all geeky here with all the science and health stuff, I’ll just leave you with a list of five of my most preferred high-fiber foods that I personally make an effort to include in my daily meals whether at home, at work, eating out or traveling:
There are a lot of beans out there, but black beans are the easiest to source or look for in the supermarket.
I love a good lentil salad or what’s becoming more popular now — the lentil burger.
Ok I’m obsessed with chickpeas. It’s not only packed with fiber nutrients, but also plant protein and iron. I once tried these vegan nuggets made from chickpeas at a vegetarian restaurant in Singapore (Jadeite in the very old Bugis Cube, whose owners were totally lovely and accommodating despite their lack of English skills) and was totally floored and amazed by how delicious it was.
I fell in love with blackberries after my parents sent me this superb blackberry jam from Canada and was pleased to know that blackberries are extremely high in fiber. I’ve always looked forward to hunting for blackberries when I’m traveling out of the country ever since. It also helps that I still prefer my BlackBerry phone over the iPhone (even if I own one), I guess? LOL. #oldschool
5. Steel-cut oats
While rolled oats are the more common type of oat cereals that people consume, steel-cut oats are the least processed type of oats (they are merely groats cut into small pellets instead of going through steaming and flattening) and are totally more enjoyable to eat than rolled oats because of its chewy texture. Or let’s just say it’s the fancier version of the traditional oat cereals. Ha.
There you have it. For this post, I just wanted to highlight the importance of fiber in our nutrition and you’d be happy to know that there are tons of othet high-fiber foods that you can easily incorporate into your meals (Google away) for an overall better health.
Going healthy is badass. Own it. x