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How much fiber do you need? Day 14

I’m feeling better — and back on track today, thinking about fiber.

Fiber is one of those words that we hear a lot about but don’t really know what to do with. We know it’s important—but how many of us really keep track of our fiber intake (as compared with calories, fat, or sugar)? Well everyone, including me, needs to start. (The average American eats only 14-15 grams of fiber per day; women need 25-30 grams a day.) Why? Fiber not only keeps you “regular”, it also helps lower cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels. And it helps you lose weight because when you eat fiber-rich meals you feel fuller sooner—and stay satisfied longer (so you’re less hungry and less likely to reach for munchies between meals).

So today’s goal: start assessing your fiber intake—and figure out how to get more. (Important note: you don’t want to go from 14 grams a day to 30 grams as increasing fiber too suddenly causes gas and bloating. You’ve got to do it gradually. So start today and gradually start increasing over the rest of our 21-day program—and beyond.)

Best ways to get more fiber:

√ Eat whole-grain cereal for breakfast. My favorite breakfast is steel cut oats with almonds, flaxseed meal, a bit of unsweetened coconut, bananas, and agave nectar.

√ Opt for fresh fruit and raw veggies (including the skin) instead of drinking juice.

√ Add brown rice to your salads. This is one of my favorite ways to add a bit of fiber to my workday lunches. (Brown rice is higher in fiber than white.)

√ Have whole-wheat pasta instead of white.

√ Try beans. Add them to salads, pasta, soups, etc.

For an idea of how much fiber is in certain foods, check out this chart.

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