What do you intend?

The more you eat, the more your health improves! Doesn't quite have the same catchy ring to it as "toot", but it does have a better smell! Ah yes, beans... they sure have received quite the bad rap over the decades because of that stinky little side-effect. But here's something you may not know, the reason beans get the stinkin' blame (pun intended) is that among the protein and nutrients found in beans, they also contain high amounts of fiber, especially insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber quickly passes through much of the digestive system undigested and binds to excess cholesterol, hormones, and unwanted waste products along the way out. This means that the more waste products that need to be removed, whether it's from undigested starches, excess hormones, or other toxins (from diet, drugs, and environment) the more gas you might have. It doesn't necessarily mean that the gas is because of the beans but more that these unwanted waste products are there to begin with. Insoluble fiber just happens to get rid of that stuff quicker and more efficiently.
Woohoo! Yay for farts!!
Err.. but wait a minute...

Don't you also experience gas even if you haven't had beans?

Ahh yes...Flatulence can occur from eating too quickly or eating too much, having a stressful day, lack of digestive enzymes, imbalanced gut flora, processed foods, poor diets, sugar, caffeine, and on and on...

Regardless of the many reasons why you may have gas, it's important to resolve whatever caused it by consuming enough fiber to help balance out the gut microbiome and remove the unwanted toxins before they do long-term damage. Stress hormones, like cortisol, continue to circulate in your body wreaking havoc even when you're not 'feeling' stressed. This hormone along with many other hormones continue to circulate and recycle in your system until they are removed and that's where fiber comes in. When experiencing gas after eating a dish full of fiber is actually a really good thing because it means that the fiber is doing its job. Not to worry! Eating more fiber doesn't mean you'll cut the cheese all day every day for the rest of your life. It's quite the contrary. In fact, the real saying should have been, " beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the LESS you toot." That's right! Eating more beans means more unwanted material is being removed and fewer toxins recirculating means fewer times breaking wind.

If you're not eating fiber but you're experiencing excessive gas it's likely due to underlying conditions that aren't being addressed such as chronic constipation and food intolerances left unaddressed can cause more severe problems like ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and IBS.

On the flip side, if you're one of those individuals who doesn't experience much gas even though you're diet is lacking fiber it doesn't necessarily mean you don't need to increase your fiber intake. Gas is a symptom of something, it's not the cause of something. You can have plenty of toxins and excess hormones running rampant inside your body without as much as a single fizzle. It's very possible that your symptoms are totally different. For example, instead of gas, you might experience mood swings, chronic stress, or constipation instead. Whatever the symptom is, it's just as important to include fiber in any diet.
It's a fact that most people do not get enough fiber in their diet, especially from whole plant foods. While there's a plethora of reasons to add fiber to your diet, the unfortunate fact that ignoring daily fiber intake may put you on a path to something far worse than the occasional toot.  

So the question is, how much fiber should a person shoot for in a typical day?
Each person's needs are different and having a nutritional therapist work with you and your diet
will definitely make things easier. However, the USDA recommends consuming at least 14g/1000 calories consumed daily,
with the standard 2,000-calorie diet recommendation that would be 28g of fiber per day.

One thing to keep in mind as you begin to add fiber to your diet, at first you may have a lot more gas or bloating sensations than usual as the gut microbiome starts to change. This important change in the microbiome can maximize nutrient absorption in the gut and significantly decrease the risk of disease. Remember while you're getting rid of toxins and extra hormones you're also increasing bile production and feeding that healthy gut bacteria in your digestive tract. As you increase your gut colony, your ability to break down foods will also increase. Try to use a variety of sources of fiber, there are a ton of options out there, and introduce fiber into your diet gradually. Include both insoluble (easily dissolves in water, creating a gel-like substance, helps with bowel movements) and soluble (indigestible material, binds to bile and removes toxins from digestive tract) fiber in your diet. There are benefits to including both forms of fiber in your diet.

Here are some examples of each.

Soluble Fiber

  • Beans, Legumes, Lentils, Peas
  • Psyllium Husk
  • Chia Seeds, Whole Grains
  • Tofu, Tempeh Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli
  • Carrots, Corn, Asparagus

Insoluble Fiber

  • Beans, Lentils, Legumes
  • Whole Grains like OatsQuinoa, Sorghum, Millet, Amaranth, etc.
  • Turnips, Radishes, Rutabaga
  • Psyllium Husk
  • Whole Grain Pasta
  • Nuts & Seeds like Almonds, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, etc.
  • Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes (with Skin)
Ideas on how you can add fiber to your daily diet routine, consider:

  • ​making a chia seed pudding and topping with oats and a tablespoon of berries
  • adding 2 tablespoons of black beans to an omelet
  • adding 2 tablespoons of black-eyed peas to a mixed green salad
  • 1/4 cup of green lentils to ground meat for burgers, tacos, or pasta
  • switch up pasta sources from whole grain pasta to bean/lentil pasta
  • eat hot oatmeal for breakfast instead of cold cereal
  • add walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, and pecans to oatmeal
  • make a 13 bean chili with protein and avocado oil
  • Drink plenty of water

When you start to increase your fiber intake you'll also want to increase your water consumption as fiber requires a lot of water for elimination. If you notice your stools become too loose or you begin to have other GI issues when you add more fiber to your diet it's a good idea to start with 2 tablespoons of beans per day and increase to 1.5 cups over time.  If you're having difficulty with gas and bloating, you can start with psyllium husk and increase dosage of fiber slowly until your digestive system adapts to the increased fiber.  

Need more help? Looking for a new nutritional therapist to help you make amazing changes to your diet? Check out my INT Program or check out the Initial Session for more details about how to get started!

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to supplement medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult with their physician or qualified health care professional regarding specific health questions. No writer of the content within the posts or writer of the content of this website or writer of the links from this website takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in any relayed content. All viewers and readers of this content, especially those taking prescriptions or medications should always contact their physician or doctor prior to beginning or making any changes to their diet, nutrition plan, supplement(s), medications, or lifestyle.​

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