Forget counting calories, it’s all about the fibre

Forget counting calories, it’s all about the fibre

Well, kinda. I’m nearly finished reading the excellent: 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness by Alanna Colleen and have learned so much from this book.

In a nutshell, we are only 10% human. The other 90% is a colony of diverse bacteria living in and on us – our microbiota. Each of us has a different combination of hundreds of different types of bacteria. And these (mostly friendly) bacteria help us to process our food and stay physically and mentally healthy.

There’s so much to learn from this book, including some juicy snippets I’ve already written about here.

But this post is about the power of fibre – that much-overlooked part of our food that (and apologies in advance to the squeamish)  we tend to worry about only when we’re in need of a decent poo.

Provided we’re regular in that department, many of us don’t give fibre another thought. After all, we’re getting what we need from those processed cereals with ‘High in fibre’ plastered all over their cardboard boxes – aren’t we?

Turns out, no – we aren’t.

Switch the frosties for something real; Image: Jannis Brandt/Unsplash

And the consequences are a lot more serious than a couple of days without a Number 2.

Not getting enough fibre is actually making us fat.

There’s a strain of gut bacteria that help keep lean people lean. They are plentiful in lean, healthy humans and underrepresented in the bodies of overweight and obese people.

And these microscopic heroes love fibre. It’s their favourite food. Particularly the cellulose found in plants. Eat more plant-based fibre, feed these lean bacteria and you’ll get leaner. That’s the theory.

Indeed, Colleen puts forward a powerful argument that we are getting fatter, not because we’re eating more food, more fat and more sugar, but because we’re eating LESS VEGGIES.

Calorie counting, sugar restriction and fat demonising aren’t working.

We all know that.

Collen goes back a hundred years to look at the diets of our great grandparents. This generation weren’t leaner and slimmer than ours because they ate low-fat, low-cal, low-sug, but because they ate high-fibre, high-veggie, unprocessed, real food.

Since this revelation, I am all about the fibre. And it’s a tasty (if slightly more windy) surprise.

I’m enjoying popcorn, pumpkin seeds and brown rice (all high in fibre), packing extra veg into every meal, and enjoying a luxurious breakfast bowl of porridge oats, pumpkin seeds, banana, nuts, Greek yogurt and honey.

Popcorn is my new food hero; Image: McJefferson Agloro/Unsplash

And thanks to writing a healthy foodie Insta review for a client (happy hours spent perving at the most beautiful, nutritious and delicious looking food I HAVE EVER SEEN), I am now cyber-stalking these health-food goddesses: @alphafoodie, @nadiashealthykitchen, @veganbysomi, @swoon.food and @bos.kitchen. Please check them out. You won’t regret it.

Unlike every other food fad I’ve embraced in nigh-on thirty years of being a Western female conditioned by our sick culture’s demands for a thinner frame than the one I was born into (yes, I’m angry, and I have a daughter who’s got to go through the same shit sometime soon) this way of eating feels good.

It feels right and positive and empowering.

It’s not about counting calories anymore. It’s all about the fibre.

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