Make (Dietary) Fibre Sexy Challenge

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Why did I take on a Make Fibre Sexy Challenge? Well, I was interested to know how much fibre I usually eat and where it comes from. I also wanted to share these insights and tips with you, to make eating it sexy.

Three sexy fibre foods, stir-fry, lentil bolognese and a fresh red apple

My definition of sexy fibre

Fibre that comes from foods that are appealing—visually attractive, easy to prepare, taste great and most importantly meet the current requirements of my body and mind.

Since it comes from plant foods, it was easy to create appealing meals.

Since fibre comes from plant foods, it was easy to create appealing meals.

Make Fibre Sexy Challenge Rules

#1 Eat mindfully

I chose what and how much I felt like eating from the food that was available. I mostly ate at home but did have a few meals from cafes.

#2 Measure the fibre content

It was easy to estimate the content of home prepared food, as I could weigh all of the ingredients. Foods eaten from cafes were a little trickier, so I based my estimates on portion sizes, e.g. one cup of soup contained half a cup of lentils.

Insights from the challenge

  1. I mostly eat foods that come without packaging.
  2. Packaged foods eaten were two cans of legumes (I also used dried beans), one serve of spaghetti and a falafel wrap.
  3. The food group that provided the most fibre was lentils and legumes.
  4. High fibre snacks were fresh fruit and nuts, plus a homemade nut meal and date cake.
  5. The day I relied on two meals outside of home had the lowest daily tally.
  6. I reached the minimum daily fibre commendation of 25g each day.
  7. My daily tally range was 25.4 to 52.9g, and the average daily intake for the 5 days was 38g.

I eat a plant-based diet with some cheese, yogurt, and eggs. I prefer whole foods with the occasional piece of dark chocolate, so I am not surprised that I exceeded the minimum daily target of 25g.

Why is dietary fibre important?

It has a number of important health benefits:

  • Improved digestive health
  • Lowered risk of digestive disorders
  • Healthier body weight
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lowered risk of heart disease
  • Protective against colorectal cancer
  • Manage and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lowered risk of early death

Recent research indicates that many of these health benefits come from a healthy microbiome.

There are three types of dietary fibre

Table from Eating for You

Types of dietary fibre

TypeFunctionGood sources
Soluble Fibre

 

Soluble fibre includes pectins and gums. It slows down the passage of food in the stomach and small intestine by forming a gel with water. It decreases the rate of glucose absorption, lowers blood cholesterol levels and helps to relieve constipation.Fruits, vegetables, lentils, legumes, barley, oats, oat bran, psyllium and flaxseeds.

 

Insoluble Fibre

 

Insoluble fibre includes cellulose and lignin and it assists in forming stools that are easy to pass. It also increases the regularity of bowel motions.Skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, dried lentils and legumes, wholegrain foods and brans from wheat and rice.
Resistance StarchThese starches are not digested in the small intestine. They pass into the large bowel and are fermented by healthy bacteria. The resulting short chain fatty acids nourish the cells of the colon and improve immunity and general health.Firm bananas, cold cooked potato, lentils and wholegrains. It is added to foods as an ingredient called Hi-Maize®.

Once we appreciate what it feels like to be well fed and well nourished, choosing plant-based and whole foods becomes a sexy way to eat. It is good for your libido too.

Make fibre sexy tips

  1. Make plant-based foods your first choice
  2. Gain confidence preparing lentil and legume-based meals—see recipe links below.
  3. Have fresh fruit and nuts for snacks

I have been a mindful eater for nearly 20 years, and enjoy the occasional food challenge to assess the nutritional quality of what I eat. Earlier in the year, I undertook a no added sugar challenge and a no added salt challenge.

Once we appreciate what it feels like to be well fed and well nourished, choosing plant-based and whole foods becomes a sexy way to eat. It is good for your libido too.

Other resources

Nourishment Newsletter

Recipes

Fragrant Pumpkin Curry

Lentil Bolognese

Traditional whole-grain porridge

Versatile Yellow Curry

Whatever goes stir-fry

Websites

Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council

Nuts for Life

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