Fiber, Fiber, Fiber
Transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle can be rough initially if you’re not used to the increased amount of fiber in your diet.
Many people are concerned about their protein intake and therefore, they try to add in a lot more beans and legumes into their meals.
While adding more beans and legumes is great because of the dense nutrients found in them, it is quite a change for most.
This is because the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) consists of more protein needed for sustenance but is deficient in fiber from plant foods.
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
Fiber improves health and helps prevent and even reverse disease. Therefore, it’s very important that you learn more about different sources, as well as, different types.
Soluble fiber utilizes water to form a gel inside your intestines. This is extremely helpful for lowering cholesterol and for regulating blood sugar. It does this by binding with fat and by slowing down the absorption of glucose.
Examples of soluble fiber include oatmeal, peas, beans, nuts, ground flax seed, fruit and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber assists soluble fiber by moving it through your intestinal tract. It is also known as a ‘bulking’ fiber because it bulks up in your stomach assisting soluble fiber. While it does that it promotes a healthy gut.
Insoluble fiber includes prebiotic foods such as inulin found in artichokes and chicory.
Other insoluble fiber foods include green, leafy vegetables, fruit skins, bran and root vegetable skins.
The best and worst thing about beans and legumes is that they have good amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
They also have fibers called oligosaccharides which ferment in your gut causing flatulence.
This may help explain why they can be difficult to digest. It’s possible that the gas you may be experiencing is warning you that you are constipated or have undigested food in your gut. The beans are trying to clear that out! The oligosaccharides help with this process.
I highly recommend that while you are transitioning to a plant based lifestyle that you add high fiber foods into your diet slowly.
If you are used to eating these type of foods then you will be okay, but for others, there is definitely a transition period.
This could be said about anything.
I suggest you take your time, for example, start off with 1/4 cup of black beans on your salad a couple of times a week. Then increase it to 1/2 cup of bean soup a couple of times a week or make some spicy garbanzo beans as a snack (see recipe below). Try some hummus or bean dip with veggies as an appetizer shared with friends on the weekend.
Just don’t go all out in one sitting because you may cause yourself some unnecessary digestive embarrassment.
Be kind to yourself and if needed try some Digestive Enzymes with your meals. This may be used as an aid but otherwise let your body adjust accordingly.
Your patience with this process is well worth it because there are far too many health benefits to consuming beans.
According to research concluded by the National Institute of Health, eating legumes assists with reversing disease. One study which included a randomized, control group revealed that consuming legumes had a cholesterol-lowering effect in only 3 weeks.
In a similar study, subjects with type 2 diabetes followed a diet which replaced two servings of red meat with legumes 3 days per week. Scientists found significant improvements with the legume group for lowering bad cholesterol, as well as, improved insulin levels.
With this little bit of information on beans, are you ready to put more on your plate? Check out my recipe below.
Baked Garbanzo Bean Snack
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans a.k.a. chickpeas, drained
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F. After draining beans, pat dry with a paper towel or lint-free kitchen towel.
- Arrange beans on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a medium bowl, combine spices with the coconut oil. Add this mixture to your beans after you remove them from the oven. Then enjoy after they’ve cooled a bit. Feel free to store them in your fridge for about 5 days.
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