March is National Nutrition Month / Making Friends with Fibre

This may be deemed a little personal, but bear with me as I ask, “Do you ‘go’ daily?” I know it is one of those topics that feels a little embarrassing to talk about but alas, here we are. For many a daily trip for number 2, is a challenge. 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. It is time to have a frank chat and get us all flushing a little more regularly! The two biggest reasons for this is lack of water and many of us simply don’t get enough fibre on a regular basis. Take a peek at the list below and see how much fibre you should be aiming for on a daily basis.Veggies on counter fibre

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


Many of us have heard that our fibre sources should be mixed – both soluble and insoluble – and be from varied sources. But, what does that mean exactly?

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 psyllium, 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

As we can see, the best sources of fibre come 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. Many times a brief episode of constipation can be relieved by drinking a little extra water. Aim to drink 8-10 cups of water per day.

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 the diet if you ask me!

For years, the only time I ate beans was in chili and fresh from the garden. Both of these ways are perfectly acceptable and I continue to do so, but, what if there was a way to make something typically thought of as purely decadent and make it healthy? What if there was a way you could combine black beans and brownies and come up with something amazing? Let me introduce you to a recipe for blender black bean brownies!


Blender Black Bean Brownies

This recipe takes about 25 minutes from start to finish.  It’s a one machine wonder! You can make the entire thing in your blender and pour it right into the baking pan. Serves 12 -16, depending on the size you cut them.

Ingredients:Black bean brownies for fibre
1 can black beans, rinsed until they stop foaming, and well drained
4 tbsp raw cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup oats
1/4 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp warm water
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. 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. You may need to add a little extra water a tablespoon at a time here. The batter is ready when it’s a smooth & thick cake like batter consistency. Add a 1/4 cup chocolate chips into blender and blend for 15 second. Grease and 8 x 8 baking pan with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper. 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!