Monday, October 18, 2010


After my recent bout with diverticulitis, I’m supposed to be gradually increasing the fiber in my diet until I’m eating quite a bit of it on a daily basis. If you’re an average American, you don’t think much about your fiber intake and you get less than half of the recommended daily amount of the stuff. The exact recommendation varies depending on where you get your information, but an adult should be eating something like 25-35 grams of fiber per day. The fact that Americans eat very little fiber is a factor in the presence of diverticulitis within our culture. Some cultures that eat quite a lot of fiber don’t ever get diverticulitis, and it’s fair to say that diverticulitis is one consequence of the industrial revolution, when processed flour and grains that are low in fiber became common.

I haven’t been too much of a stickler yet, but seeking to increase my fiber intake has had an impact on the dietary decisions I’ve been making. One thing I’ve realized is that eating upwards of 25 grams of fiber per day will not be easy, unless I start taking supplements. Maybe supplements are fine, but for whatever reason, I’ve always had it in my head that taking supplements of any kind—vitamins or whatever—isn’t ideal and doesn’t really benefit you like the real things would. Maybe that’s a paranoid way of thinking, but somehow that’s what I’ve always thought. So, as I’ve been doing my research, I’ve started feeling like I’m going to have to spend all day, every day eating, if I’m ever going to stand a chance at eating enough fiber. Start the day with a bowl of Raisin Bran? Fantastic—you’ve got 8 grams of fiber. Now just make sure you get at least 10 more grams of fiber for lunch and 10 more for dinner. Mind you, if you ever start your day not with Raisin Bran but instead opt for, say, Corn Chex, well, you’ve only got 1 gram of fiber in your system. It hardly even counts.

I don’t know. Maybe this doesn’t strike anyone as a challenge, but it seems a bit overwhelming to me. There are some great sources of fiber out there, including beans, but am I stuck eating chili for dinner every night? Do I have to eat three or four pears between each meal to get into the recommended range? Can I never have a (normal) waffle or pancake for breakfast again, just because I don’t have room in my stomach for anything that isn’t fortified with fiber? It’s the “every single day of the rest of your life” aspect of this that seems daunting. Eating that much fiber two or three days a week sounds difficult, let alone rarely having a day that dips below 25 grams.

And that’s that. Fiber’s on my mind pretty constantly lately. Just thought I’d give you a glimpse at what my mind is thinking, almost all of the time nowadays. Isn’t it fascinating?

1 comment:

  1. Wow Benny, that does sound daunting. I get tired of taking a pill everyday just cuz you can never miss it. But that's more like brushing your teeth- you just do it everyday- not like eating... how many??? bowls of Raisin Bran!?!
    I've always been wary of supplements too. Like they won't really do any good. Even pre-natal vitamins, I've read in a couple places aren't so necessary as they are just in case. But maybe being pregnant or in a special condition like you are, you have to do the supplements because it IS impossible to get it all any other way?
    I've recently been looking into bean recipes. I'm yet to try anything but I'll have to send you some copies or something. Pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, the magical fruit!