06 August, 2012

Fibre woes

I am unfortunately one of those people who has a sensitive gut. Personally, I do 'blame' it on not being breastfed and having a GIT that never quite got the hang of it. Besides, we live in the present, not the past!

So lately I have found that I am having bloating issues and that I am tired. It may be because I have started working 6 days a week again but I am pretty sure my diet has a lot to answer for.

I've been focusing on fibrous vegetables. That's quite self explanatory - even those who are the epitome of unhealthy know that you should eat lots of vegetables to be healthy. Like I said, I'm an all or nothing kinda gal.

I would say I have close to 8-10 serves of vegetables a day - mainly your leafy salad greens, Chinese greens, celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, red and yellow capsicum (albeit technically the aforementioned 3 are fruits) and other vegetables high in insoluble. Unfortunately, my gut has not been my friend. This happened has also happened earlier this year when I did the Biosignature course and got down to an insane 14.6% body fat level. Visible inguinal ligament, 8 pack, serratus anterior ripped but not happy. I would love to be about 15% body fat but with insides that love me back! So here are  my travels.

My previous travels lead me to believe it was FODMAPS type issues so I focused more on eating the greens and cutting fructose out of the diet. In consultation with a dietician, I also needed to start eating more freakin' carbs (head game, I'm trying to lose fat here [there's a post if ever I saw one] but yummo berries and sweet potato and corriander fries!) Energy levels are much better and the mad carb cravings are gone but the bloating and other disturbances still remain.

Then spending all the time on facebook, as those of a modern generation do, I came across a link discussing how our good friend, fibre, can cause digestive issues particularly in those with less than hardy guts. I was most intrigued to find the almost identical list between those foods higher in FODMAPS and those with higher insoluble fibre in them.


Insoluble fibre has been described as a wire brush scraping the insides of your colon and I so agree with that description. 

Now I don't think anyone would EVER suggest not eating foods high in insoluble fibre. That's downright stupid and dangerous. I would also suggest that the vast majority of people do not eat enough fresh and/or fibrous vegetables so please don't think I am suggesting you cut your vegetable intake.

So what to do? I am making my food more accessible and friendly to the gut by -
  • Cooking foods with higher insoluble fibre well (ie less of the fresh and stir fries)
  • Increase stomach acid and digestive enzymes (including cellulase) by means of supplementation 15 minutes prior to eating
  • Drink warm/hot drinks to aid digestion - it's very Oriental in its advice and I've never found the exact reason but logic would lead me to think that you need to keep your food more pliable for the squishy and squelching of digestion as well as helping the muscles of your GIT function better like warming up before exercise
Practically this means that I will need to
  • Make more soups and smoothies to breakdown the physical structure
  • Roast and steam my veggies well
  • Take my enzymes with me everywhere!
  • Pre-soak nuts
  • Eat smaller pieces of protein with some well cooked veggies as snacks instead of my raw sticks of veggie and nut spreads

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