10/28/13

Get Regular

This post is for mature audiences. However, even if you are a "millennial" (born between 1982 - 2002) you could benefit from this information, considering the sorry state of the average American diet.

At his most recent colonoscopy, my husband Rick was diagnosed with diverticulosis, a symptomless condition of the intestines which seems to be common in our aging baby boomer generation. The suggested lifestyle change for people with diverticulosis is to add more fiber to the diet. Untreated #diverticulosis can become the painful diverticulitis, so it is important to prevent the condition from worsening.

NOTE: The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that children and adults consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories of food they eat each day. For an adult male between the ages of 19 and 30 who eats about 2,800 calories per day, that means 38 grams of fiber per day; for an adult female of the same age who eats about 1800 calories per day, that means 25 grams.

Anyway, the list of recommended foods for increasing #fiber in our diets which the doctor handed us didn't vary much from what we already eat, so that was a dead end. And our daily green smoothies also provide high amounts of fruit and vegetable fiber. But the doctor also recommended supplementing with "Konsyl", a #psyllium (pronounced "silly-um") soluble fiber powder. I liked the fact that he had suggested a natural product with no added sugar or artificial ingredients; psyllium is derived from the seeds of a plant called plantago ovate. Following the doctor's advice, we bought powdered psyllium at our local drug store. Since then I have been using a psyllium grown organically which seems to be ground a little finer too.

The instructions on the powdered psyllium said to mix 1 teaspoon with water or juice, one to three times per day… but it's a bit tough to swallow! I started thinking about how to make this fiber supplement more palatable. I had made a couple of candy truffle recipes, and I figured the powdered psyllium could be incorporated with nut butter, sweetener, cinnamon, and other good tasting ingredients, similar to the truffles. So I've created a recipe for a raw fiber bar, easy to make, which tastes like a piece of candy… and is delivering the daily recommended amount of psyllium fiber. My measurements were based on making an easy-to-eat daily portion of the fiber supplement, equivalent to 1 tablespoon (= 3 teaspoons) per day.

JUDY'S FIBER BARS
(makes 28)
My preferences for ingredients in red type in my recipes are further explained on the "ingredients" page


1 c psyllium powder
1 cup almond flour (or very finely ground almonds)
2/3 c nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)
2 T carob powder* OR unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T honey
2 T coconut oil **
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until completely blended and crumbly. Remove mixture and pat into a ball. Cut the ball in half. On waxed paper, form each half into a rectangle, about 2" x 6" x 3/4" thick. Make one cut lengthwise, then evenly space 6 cuts across the rectangle - this will create 14 pieces for each half of the dough. No need to break them apart; just scoring them will make it easy to break one off once they are refrigerated. Eat one piece every day, remembering to drink lots of fluids. It sort of sticks to your inner mouth and teeth, so remembering to drink is not usually a problem!

Refrigerate one of the 14-slice bars, and slide the other into a zip back and freeze until ready to use. Taking one daily, you now have approximately a one-month supply. This bar will help make you more regular, and could decrease the likelihood that you will develop painful diverticulitis. The recipe is #gluten-free also.


* I use #carob powder, which has a chocolate taste and no caffeine, but, more importantly, it is a source of soluable fiber and reputed to improve digestion, with other nutritional benefits.

** Coconut oil is solid when refrigerated, so it helps make the bars firm. I like the health benefits of coconut oil also. Olive oil can be substituted.