My Year of Efficient Eating began with protein.  Two questions guided my search.  How much should I eat?  How do I incorporate that into my day?  As a result, the amount of protein in my diet increased.  One tends to associate the word “efficiency” with reduction.  The game has taken an early surprise turn.

Waiting patiently for me was another surprise.  An increase in meat and milk creates a decrease in a vital bodily function.

Food Category No. 2 must, by necessity, be fibre. 

What I found out

At Better Health Victoria:

  • Minimum requirement – 30g a day
  • There are two main categories, and we need both.  First, there is Soluble (fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, lentils, peas, soymilk and soy products).  But I ask you, who eats dried beans?  Then there is Insoluble (wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and wholegrain foods).  There are those beans again.
  • People need to eat more fibre when they are older.
  • Increasing fibre doesn’t mean increasing kilojoules if you choose your foods carefully.
  • And how useless is a cup of white rice! It has only 1g of fibre.

One final point to note:  Increasing fibre intake might just help with weight loss (see p35 of the NHMRC Guidelines – the PDF’s page 51). 

My initial reaction

Most of these items will cause me pain and discomfort higher in the system, when the aim is to relieve the same from the lower section.  Oh, the fun of being a cereal EOE’er.

There are two groups I’m comfortable with – fruit and vegetables.

At 8.2g, the cup of vegetables has the highest amount of fibre.  Love ’em steamed.  Love ’em roasted.  Love ’em stir fried.  And there are lots of ’em to love.

In a TV episode a few years ago, Jamie Oliver applied a variety of seasonings to different vegetables in a single baking tray.  I can’t find it on the internet.  The gist if it – each group of vegetables was rubbed down with a different combination of oil, acid (be it a vinegar or juice) and seasonings.  The result would be an explosion of aromas and flavours.

Even though basic vegetables might be just that – repetitively basic – each meal can be different.

Then, at 4.9g, two pieces of fruit is not bad.  But to make up 30g, I’m going to need more than two pieces a day.

2 and 5 

The 2 and 5 site is worth a look.

I’ve seen the tv ads – 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day.  That suggestion assumes that other sources of dietary fibre are also consumed.  The website has some good information on what makes up a serve.  It also contains information about particular fruits and vegetables.  But remember, the weight of the serve is not the same as the weight of the fibre content.

How it fits into my day

Unfortunately, very little cooking happens at home during the week.  So, I tried steaming vegetables in the microwave at work.  Oh dear, the smell, particularly the broccoli, is intense and lingers.  That’s not very polite in a large group setting.

I pondered the usefulness of vegetable juice, but it only has 1.6g per serve.  Not practical.

Outside the box thinking is called for.  If I’m replacing breakfast cereal with vegetables, then vegetables at breakfast might have to be the answer.  The 2 and 5 website includes tips on how to include vegetables into a breakfast meal.

Time to finally buy a microwave?

Caution

Don’t overdo it, though.  Too much fibre can be embarrassing and counterproductive.

References:

Victorian Government’s “Better Health” factsheet on Fibre, dated February 2011.  Internet address last viewed 17/2/2012:  http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/fibre_in_food

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