Well, vacation/holiday time is over and we’re back home. While it’s hard to leave beautiful places where you had no to-do lists or full on routines, it’s always nice to be back home. Believe it or not, one of the things I miss the most when we’re away is my pantry. I also miss cooking our regular meals.
There is no other way to ensure you’re getting all the delicious nutrients your body needs to thrive. And for some reason, being on the road throws things off, starting with good fiber intake. Fiber has a bad reputation of being boring, or worse, unnecessary*. Unfortunately, fiber IS necessary and it’s actually more fascinating than the images of Metamucil that the word may conjure.
You’ve heard of soluble fiber; the one that dissolves in water and binds to bile, cholesterol and other matter and escorts them out of the body. It also slows digestion and absorption of nutrients.
You’ve heard of insoluble fiber which reaches the large intestine nearly unchanged by the rest of the digestive process before it. Where soluble fiber slows digestion, insoluble fiber accelerates the process of food moving through the intestine. It’s this fact that has led many to believe that fiber has protective benefits from colon cancer.
But here is the fascinating bit: recent research on fiber and gut health, and specifically prebiotics is showing just how important fiber is to our immune system. Prebiotics are food for the good bacteria (while probiotics introduce new or more good bacteria). Prebiotics have the ability to change the microflora and how it acts¹. This is important as the large intestine houses the most, and the most diversified, families of bacteria.
And there’s more! Some fibers produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Animal studies have shown increased T-helper cells, macrophages and neutrophils (serious, hard-working cells in our immune system) when SCFAs were added to feedings¹. Some fibers even work with immune cells and directly stimulate the immune system.
This is impressive and not at all boring! Not only is dietary fiber known to confer all kinds of health benefits from protection from cardiovascular disease, lowering cholesterol, regulating blood glucose, greater satiety, weight and appetite control, reduced risk of colon cancer, etc. but now it plays a huge role in our immune function. It’s relieving to know that fiber and their prebiotics are readily available in so many of the foods we may already consume such as garlic, leeks, onions, bananas, apples and whole grains such as oats and barley. In my eagerness to get our systems and nutrition back on track I started with breakfast and made these delicious Apple Buckwheat Waffles. Since I’m not quite ready to talk about “Back to School” (we’re still 10 days away from that!) I figured breakfast was a good place to start.
Next month I should have some lunch ideas and e-book recommendations for you, at least one anyway! We’re just a few tests away from announcing the RED FOOD CONTEST winner! We’ve been lucky to get so many truly wonderful and creative red food recipes.
Still working on my reference page for the site but also looking to get a gallery up. If you’ve got pics of your kids cooking, cooking with Anise, or otherwise being in the kitchen and you want them featured, please send them over! Wishing you a smooth transition from family time, fewer to-do lists and fun in the sun to school, activities, and a lovely autumn.
Happy Cooking, Family!
In good health, Nathalie
*I saw a talk by Dr. Ron Rosedale about the Ketone diet where he discusses the history and importance of macronutrient consumption, especially fat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvTE--5w808
¹Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417–1435. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041417.