Ahem, this is a little personal…and I do apologize if I offend, but I was wondering if you enjoy a daily ‘evacuation’? I know it is one of those topics that feels a little embarrassing to talk about but alas, I must go there! I see many clients for whom, a daily bowel movement is non-existent. Some people go every other day, others once every couple of days and occasionally I’ll meet someone who only goes once per week. As children, we are often praised for making a deposit. Somewhere between ages 4-6, the topic becomes taboo and can get you into trouble if you talk about it around the table! The truth is that many of us struggle with bowel movements and I thought it was time to have a frank chat and get us all flushing a little more regularly!
Many of us simply don’t get enough fibre. Take a peek below and see how much fibre you should be aiming for on a daily basis.
Children 1-3 – 19 grams
Children 4-8 – 25 grams
Boys 9-13 – 31 grams
Boys 14-18 – 38 grams
Girls 9-13 – 26 grams
Girls 14-18 – 26 grams
Men 19-50 – 38 grams
Men 51+ – 30 grams
Women 19-50 – 25 grams
Women 51+ – 21 grams
Pregnant women – 28 grams
Breastfeeding women – 29 grams
Our fibre sources should be mixed – both soluble and insoluble – and be from varied sources.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and helps to reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and slows down digestion which makes you feel full longer. Good sources of this type of fibre include pysllium, oats, lentils, apples, pears, flaxseeds, beans, carrots and celery.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and provides roughage which works like a gentle brush throughout your digestive tract. This type of fibre prevents constipation. Sources of insoluble fibre include nuts, leafy greens, root vegetable skins, whole grains, broccoli, cabbage and onions.
Many sources of fibre do a great job of providing us with both soluble and insoluble fibre. Make sure to keep your diet varied and enjoy a rainbow of colours. As you can see from the examples below, with a little planning, it is easy to get in all the fibre you need to flush regularly.
Sources of Fibre:
1 medium apple, with skin – 3.7 g
1 medium apple, without skin – 2.4 g
1/4 cup raw almonds – 3.98 g
1 cup blueberries – 3.9 g
1 cup blackberries – 7.6 g
1 cup black beans – 15 g
1 medium banana – 2.8 g
1 cup chickpeas – 12.4 g
1 cup fresh green beans – 3.7 g
1 cup fresh beets, cooked – 3.4 g
1 slice whole wheat bread – 1-2 g
1 cup broccoli – 4.6 g
1 cup cooked carrots – 5.2 g
1 cup cherries – 3.3 g
1 cup dry oatmeal – 8.6 g
1 cup brown rice – 3.5 g
Were you surprised by any fibre values above? How about the fact that a slice of whole wheat bread only has about 1-2 grams of fibre per slice? If you enjoy eating bread from time to time, be sure to find bread made with whole grains and other ingredients you can pronounce! Many breads have sugar or even glucose-fructose added to them! I like to purchase my bread from local bakeries who use real food ingredients. Be wary of food products that boast fibre content. These items are often filled with refined sugars and artificial colours & flavours and are often no more than a candy bar or cookie with a handful of fibre added. The best sources of fibre are from whole food sources!
In addition to adequate fibre, making sure that you are drinking enough water is essential to keep the digestive tract chugging along. Aim to drink 8-10 cups of water per day. For every caffeinated beverage, drink 2 cups of water due to the diuretic effect of caffeine that can leave your body feeling dehydrated.
To help you bump up your fibre consumption, I am sharing with you a super easy and tasty recipe. Black beans are a great source of fibre – 15 g per cup, protein – 15 g per cup, calcium – 46 mg per cup and iron – 3.6mg. Black beans are a pretty fantastic addition to your diet if you ask me!
Looking for something a little more savoury? Click the link to try my quick, easy and delicious black bean burgers!
Black Bean Brownies
- 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 -1/2 cup warm water just enough to get a smooth cake like batter
- Preheat oven to 350F. Pour all ingredients except chocolate chips in order into the blender and pulse for 60 seconds. Then blend until smooth for another 45 to 60 seconds. Add water as you go. You may need extra water than the recipe calls for. The batter is ready when it's a smooth consistency. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips into the blender and blend for 15 seconds. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil. Pour batter into the baking pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until a fork comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!