Fiber

“Fiber” (CC0)

Fiber is very important part of a healthy diet. It is comprised of plant matter that cannot be digested, however, it is a probiotic for our microbiomes. Consuming fiber makes digestion and excretion easier and it supplies nutrients for the bacteria in our gut. Without fiber, the good bacteria are unable to thrive and digestion becomes more difficult.

Fiber comes from a variety of food sources. Whole foods such as oats, whole wheat, rye, brown rice, and millet are rich is fiber and many other valuable nutrients. Fruits are rich in fiber and phytochemicals. Vegatables are also another good source of fiber and are rich in antioxidants, which repair cell damage. Nuts, seeds, and beans are also great sources of fiber and protein. Some people would say that beans will feed the world becuase they are rich in fiber and protein, are low in bad fats (saturated, hydrogenated), and add nitrogen back to the soil to maintain its productivity. Eating these whole food, high fiber, low fat items are good for your health and better for the environment as well.

“Millet” (CC0)

A whole grain is a food that is sold the way it had been grown in nature without processing. It consists of the branwhich is the outer covering that protects the seed, it is high in fiber, protein, and vitamin B. The next part of a whole grain is the germ which is the actual seed which contains proteins, minerals, vitamin B, and healthy oils like Vitamin E. The last part of a whole grain is the endosperm which contains the starch, more protein, some minerals and very little fiber. The majority of the fiber comes from the bran and the germ, however, processed white flower is made from only the endosperm. This processed white flower became produced on a large scale due to the industrial revolution, the germ was removed to make the product more shelf stable.

Refined and processed foods have the nutrients stipped away, sythetic materials are added back into the products, often they are bleached, and basically made into something that no longer resembles anything from nature. It is important to note that enriched wheat flower is not a whole grain, it is white flower that had minerals and vitamins put back into it to make it appear to be healthier.

“Eating Healthy Food” By US Air Force (CC BY 2.0)

Some important things to mention about choosing food. You should eat fruits that are in season to reduce your carbon footprint and to reduce the amount of residues of pesticides and chemicals that are on your food. Leafy, dark green vegetables are the most nutrient dense food stuffs. Nuts and seeds have a high caloric density and they have healthy fats, walnuts have omega-3 in them as well.

“Lynx” by Karen Arnold (CC0)

One of the main differences between carnivores and herbivores is the way in which they eat and digest food. The carnivore has claws and sharp teeth for tearing flesh where as the herbivore lacks claws and have flat molars for grinding grains, nuts, and seeds. The carnivore has a very high stomach acidity for breaking down animal proteins and they have a short and straight colon which allows for easy passage of animal products. The herbivore on the other hand has a much weaker stomach acidity, acid relfux is due to increased stomach acid production to digest excess animal produts. An herbivores colon, including humans, is long, twisted, and full of ridges to increase the surface area for the absorbtion of nutrients. Those on a high meat diet often have fecal matter lodged into these ridges which can cause gastrointestinal problems. Our digestive system was not designed for such a high volume consumption of animal products.

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