I’m not always on the right track. I think I know what I should be eating. Sleep, exercise, and eating the right foods requires tremendous effort. So, I’ve got to be strategic and efficient with all of it. There’s life to live! How do I do that? Because as much as I love blueberries, a quart of them is not going save me.
I know fiber is important. I didn’t know how important it is to women in their 40s and beyond. To get some answers on what the story is with fiber- that you absolutely need it, how much of it, and why, I asked Amanda Lauren of her eponymous, Amanda Lauren Wellness for the answers—she had some great ones. Here’s our conversation.
For a lot of women, they find their true calling through life experience. Amanda, you did not start as a Health and Wellness coach. You were a lawyer. What catalyzed you to not only change your lifestyle but your life’s work?
I love helping people. I became a lawyer to help people first and foremost. It wasn’t really about law entirely. I made my journey to being a certified Health and Wellness Coach through the Institute for Integrative Medicine after struggling with my own health issues. I had digestive problems most of my childhood and into my adulthood. Doctors and specialists diagnosed me with everything from IBS to heavy metal poisoning, all while I was exhibiting neurological problems and major skin issues. After little help from conventional doctors, I started to experiment with the way I ate and connected food and wellness. I figured out what to eat to heal and feel better, and on this journey, I wanted to help others do the same.
Our body speaks to us through our symptoms, both the good ones and the bad ones. The scale is not the sole measure of our health. Our skin, our energy levels, our sleep quality, our level of calm all reveal our quality of health. I wanted to help people understand this and teach them how to take good care of themselves.
I’ve been reading a lot about fiber—how important it is to eat as we grow (older). Why do we need it? Why do women, especially, need it?
There are two types of fiber you want to consider. Insoluble fiber is what we think of as roughage. It adds bulk to our stool, functioning as a scouring pad as it moves through the intestine. For this, you want to eat foods like bran flakes, Wasa crackers…But soluble fiber and prebiotic fiber are really what you want to focus on. Not to mention, they are found in foods that are delicious and satisfying.
We all know the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I thought it was said because apples are a healthy snack, now I’m guessing it’s because they’ve got a lot of fiber. Why is fiber so important?
Yes! Apples are a good source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and turns it into a gel-like substance. This gel slows digestion and blocks the absorption of sugar, controlling blood glucose levels. Thus, it lowers insulin. Fiber also helps with estrogen build-up in the body, which is super important, especially for women in perimenopause or menopause. During this time, women’s menstrual cycles shorten, so they have more estrogen fluctuation and make less or no progesterone. This causes estrogen dominance. Fiber helps with the detox of estrogen out of the body, helping to alleviate the classic symptoms of perimenopause.
You want to eat foods like:
- Brussel sprouts
- Swiss Chard
- Flax meal
- Chia seeds
So, my stomach isn’t the same anymore. I can’t eat whatever I want; I’m sensitive to a number of foods. If I’m avoiding white flour and sugar (low carbish), and I’m certainly not going near dairy and multi-grain bread, where should I get my fiber?
I’ve got a little secret that is so helpful to women like you. Prebiotics! Here’s the quick explanation. Your large intestine has its own microbiome. Your microbiome is comprised of good and bad bacteria. It would be best if you had a balance of both to avoid bloating, constipation and acid reflux. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that isn’t digestible by your body. Instead, it helps feed the good bacteria in your gut and maintain a healthy microbiome.
If you want to help the fiber in your diet do its job with prebiotic content, here’s a good list:
- Green Bananas
- Dandelion Greens
- Flaxseed (2 tbs a day)
As you know, I love a good smoothie, gets all the stuff I want to eat into one compact form I can sip on at my desk. A smoothie often tastes like an indulgence, ut can have lots of good stuff in it. How do I get some fiber into my smoothies?
Add Innerfuel by Bulletproof brand. I love it. It’s flavorless and tasteless and is a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your microbiome. And because prebiotics aren’t absorbed by the body, it has zero caloric impact or impact on blood sugar. And load your smoothie with veggies, either frozen or fresh, and seeds for even more fiber!
Here’s a short list I like to use:
- Cauliflower or cauliflower rice
- Broccoli or broccoli rice
- Swiss Chard
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Flax meal
I have to ask, with all of this good food to help my digestion, microbiome, and estrogen management, am I going to get gas?
I’m not going to say that you’re not. But if you do … give it some time. Change (with anything you do and in any area of your life) doesn’t happen overnight. Bump it up slowly and always ask yourself, “Is there some fiber on my plate?” and have veggies with every meal.
Amanda, you’ve been incredibly helpful. So much so, I feel like I can really manage my fiber intake and take charge of my microbiome myself. One more question — What would you say is your superpower? What do you do best?
Connect with people! I am genuinely interested in people’s stories and always so moved by their strength and determination to become better versions of themselves. I make amazing connections with my clients and use my insights and nutrition to help people find answers, routine, and recipes for healthy, energetic living. A lot of my clients refer to me as a food therapist because food is so much more than a physical thing, it can get you to a better place in your life.