Whole Grains and Fiber, Week 8 of GET FIT, HEALTHY and CONFIDENT challenge

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1. If you haven’t yet, join the challenge here:
2. Every Saturday come back to The Art of Making a Baby and ShutterMama to read the tips on how to be fitter, healthier and more confident.
3. Weekly write a post about your progress, following the questionnaire below, take a self-portrait (optional) and link up with us.
4. Don’t forget to grab the GET FIT challenge button on the sidebar and display it proudly on your blog or GET FIT post.
5.  Link your post with
Selfie Saturdays if you took your week’s self-portrait.


Haven’t been we bombarded enough with whole grain this, whole grain that? But do we ALL understand why whole grains are so important? What makes them so much better than the tasty refined grains?

I have been eating exclusively whole grains for about a year now. And I have to tell you it makes a huge difference. Of course, there are times that I have to eat refined grains, like in cookies, or on very rare occasions when we go out and the restaurant doesn’t offer a whole grain option, but I tend to avoid it. Just like I made healthy eating my lifestyle, no meat – my mantra, I made whole grain is the only option for me when it comes to breads, pastas and rice.

The reason for the switch beyond numerous health benefits was obvious. If I am going to eat healthy and take care of my body, I should NOT eat anything that is a waste from the nutritional standpoint. Anything that has empty calories is off limits for me. That includes sugared drinks, most deserts and sweets ( I do have some on occasion), pasta, rice, bread (all made from refined grains).
It started as a weight loss supplement for me and my husband {why would we ever eat so many calories and not reap the benefits of nutrients?}, but ended up being a healthy food choice.

The fact is: Eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least 3 servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. Here’s what we’re looking at:

The benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:

stroke risk reduced 30-36%
type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
better weight maintenance

Other benefits indicated by recent studies include:

reduced risk of asthma
healthier carotid arteries
reduction of inflammatory disease risk
lower risk of colorectal cancer
healthier blood pressure levels
less gum disease and tooth loss

Whole grains work in different ways to make you healthier, but here’s the main reason: FIBER!
Besides having a higher nutritional value, including more protein ( and if you’re a vegetarian, you could use some extra), more iron, whole grains have a significantly more fiber.
And fiber is really a magical ingredient.

See, daily our body is bombarded by hormones reacting to things, like emotional stress, physical stress, changing blood sugar levels throughout the day, different levels of available energy… But fiber can at least help your body defend against a few of those. Food that is high in fiber ( that’s fruits, vegetables and whole grains) controls and keeps your blood sugar level steady. If you’re overweight and have what is called “pre-diabetes” ( you might not even know it), eating more foods high in fiber will help you body control your insulin, so that you don’t develop full on Type 2 diabetes in a few years like most pre-diabetics do. You might think “Oh I am fine! I’m not diabetic”! But you can only say that if you’ve been tested recently ( in the past year) In fact, 40% of school kids are pre-diabetics, a disease that used to plague mostly middle-aged folk.

Aside from evening out our blood sugar level, fiber keeps you full faster and longer. By eating foods high in fiber, you’ll eat less and won’t come back to check out what new showed up in the refrigerator in the last hour, thus helping you lose weight. Get full fast and Stay full longer- isn’t that what most people want?

Fiber reduces the risks of heart attacks and high blood pressure (cardiovascular diseases), obesity and diabetes (metabolic disorders), intestinal problems (constipation, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, polyps, and colon cancer), varicose veins and blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). (notice the similarities between whole grains and fiber benefits?)

Now, finally, FIBER is THE BEST cure from constipation! I know,right, who wants to talk about constipation?
But I guarantee that half of you have a problem with it, and the other half just doesn’t realize they have a problem.
Did you, guys, know that you’re supposed to go after EVERY MEAL within a few hours? Crazy, huh? But it’s true!
If you go number 2 less than once a day, you have a problem. If you go once a day, you could still do better.

Listen, it’s not like I want to go poop every couple of meals, BUT that IS the right way that our body is supposed to work. And guess, what after eating perfectly for about 6 months, it is how my body and my husband’s body started working.
I know this is kind of gross to talk about it, but it’s really important, because easy and consistent bowel movement is the reason behind all those lowered risks of diseases I listed earlier. If you read my post about eating meat, you might remember that colon is where all the toxins gather from our food. It’s the most toxic place in our body. Colon cancer is 4th most common type of cancer. The goal of our intestine (colon) is to move those toxins and waste through our body as fast as possible. Well, what do you think happens when you don’t eat enough fiber, all that “stuff” sits there for days and let’s juts say that’s not good. I wrote about it in detail in my post about how meat is killing us, so go read if you’re interested.

So it’s in your best interest to be mostly eating foods high in fiber. Why would you EVER have a refined grain product if you can get a ton more nutrition, protein, fiber in the same amount of calories?

I was eating lunch today and thinking about writing this post, looking through my lose it, seeing how much fiber I’ve been eating over the weeks The number is always about 30 grams daily, which is excellent considering an average American get about half the recommended amount of 25 grams.
-“Hm, I thought, it’s not like I am consciously trying to eat more fiber!”
And then it dawned on me: the amount of daily fiber intake is THE BEST indication of how well a person is eating in general. Think about it, fiber is ONLY in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You can’t get fiber in bad stuff, you can’t get fiber in meats or dairy. Which makes fiber the best measurement for how much of the healthy foods a person is getting. If they get more than 25 grams of fiber, they are most likely eating extremely healthy ( healthy doesn’t equal the right amount of calories, though).

So I’d like to give you an assignment for this week: If you’re using loseit.com or any other calorie and nutrient counting programs, look up day by day how much fiber you have gotten for the past two weeks. Also review the total weekly amount divided by 7, to give you an average. If you’re above 25 grams, GREAT JOB! If you have been consistently under 25 grams, you know what you need to work on.

Keep in mind, you can get TOO much fiber (usually over 40 grams).

If you’re just starting to eat a diet high in fiber, keep in mind that it’s going to take a few weeks to get the benefits going when it comes to your intestines. Start slowly, increasing your fiber intake day by day and you shouldn’t incur any side effects of jumping onto a fiber wagon suddenly, like constipation, gas and bloating

So I encourage you to substitute ALL your grains with whole grains. The sooner you adopt the change, the easier it’s going to be for you to teach your kids to eat properly. If whole grains is all you eat at home, that’s all your kids will eat. Keep increasing the amount of vegetarian meals you cook at home, as well as vegetables and fruits you snack on. Remember, vegetables don’t have to be a side, like our culture seems to think. Vegetables make an amazing meal on their own.

{P.S. I would love to know how much fiber you currently eat and whether there’s room for improvement or if you’re meeting the daily recommended amount}

Now, my entry for week 8

1.  Height: 5’11″, weight: 131. lb  

2. Your  fitness challenge(s) for this week: I am preparing for a future pregnancy so  my work outs are intended for improving my strength and my muscles, rather than weight loss: 30 minutes of pilates every other day + 30 minutes of cardio ( rollerblading, running, swimming or treadmill) every other day. Special exercises designed for pregnancy to increase flexibility (daily) + Kegels (twice daily). A total of about an hour of physical activity a day.

3. Your health challenge(s) for this week: My eating habits are close to perfect,  however I could improve on my water intake. My goal will be 8 glasses of water daily + continue eating the way I do now.

4. How well did it go:
  • Fitness: I guess I did good. It’s so hard for me to be happy about achievements until I performed perfectly
  • Water: It was on and off. I kept forgetting to refill my KleenKanteen
  • Food: Perfection. That’s one area where I can never do wrong. I just don’t want to eat bad stuff. I make myself have some cookies after a meal, so that I could at least fill up my daily calories so that i’d gain some weight already.

5. Failures and slip-ups: I did good this week. I can’t say I excelled at exercise. I was tired all week for some reason, probably lack of sleep, and was very unhappy about having to work out. I did though. I might have missed 1 day out of the week, and I guess that’s good. It’s just hard to feel about something you did in spite of fatigue instead of giving it 100%. Today’s workout felt really good though.

6. Weekly challenge wisdom: The worst thing is the anticipation of a workout. Once you’re done, the buzz all over your body is unbelievable and you wonder why you ever dreaded it.

7. Advice to fellow GET FIT members
:  Push yourself more than you think you can. Your body will thank you! I pushed myself in today’s work out and felt like I’m on clouds, compared to the other workouts during the week, where I grudgingly got through them doing them half-assed.

8. Self Portrait: I AM BEAUTIFUL {self-love challenge}





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  • Reply
    March 26, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Love the selfie! What a great idea.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Love your advise this week! I dread my workouts in the afternoon but feel so much better after they are done. I know that ideally I would work out every morning but I just can’t do it before going to work at 6am.

    I get about 17 gm of fiber/ day. this is better than most people but still not so good. We have trouble finding whole grain breads and pastas that my son can eat due to food allergies. I know is something I need to work on.

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      March 26, 2011 at 10:17 PM

      Oh 6 am work outs would be brutal!
      As far as fiber, I assume your son can’t eat gluten, is that the problem? Why don’t you make separate meals for him when they involve pasta, rice and bread? One of the things my husband has done is switch to a higher fiber morning cereal…
      Also, there are quite a few fruits and vegetables with really decent fiber content, like raspberries (10 g per cup), pears (7 g per pear), legumes, peas and beans have excellent fiber content. I think most people neglect legumes, but they’re so healthy and tasty and a great source of both protein and fiber.

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      March 26, 2011 at 10:20 PM

      Oh dand great job on 17 grams, you’re right most people don’t even get 17 grams!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Actually he can’t have oats, soy and peas. I miss Oats soooo much. We don’t buy anything that he can’t eat because he tends to steal food from other people’s plates. He’s actually also the reason we don’t eat out due to more allergies to eggs and peanuts. It’s surprising where allergens are hiding. He only can eat a few cereals and one kind of bread. We did go to th store last night and over half of our purchases were fresh fruits and veggies. Yum. My 4 year old asked me which yogurt doesn’t have artificial flavors and colors. hee hee. Anyway…thanks for the great advice. I have no idea about raspberries. I will buy some next trip.

    • Reply
      Elena @ Art of Making a Baby
      March 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Oh wow! You must have it really hard then, with so many items off limits. At least he can eat the good stuff, like veggies and fruits.
      And yay to your 4 year old being a healthy eater already

  • Reply
    March 27, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    My parents made us eat whole grains since I was bout 9…when I was 19 I remember eating a sandwhich at my grandma’s withe white bread and I just sat there kind of bleh…the whole wheat bread that I once hated, had become my personal choice over the white crap. Now having changed up my eating habits, I changed over to whole grains- wheat…and I remember Jose taking a bite of my toast and *over exaggerating* nearly puking…I was laughing so hard. Ahhh what a loser, I’m making a good choice 🙂 hahahaha. I try to make him eat what I eat. He’s sometimes not a fan. Glad you wrote about this. I love your selfie, you’re just absolutely mind blowing gorgeous! Mine will be up tomorrow, our camera is getting fixed…Maia dropped it =/

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