Fiber Filled Friday

When I first told my professor and Men’s Health editor, Kevin Donahue, about the idea for Challenge Accepted, he seemed pretty into it.

He told me about Men’s Health’s attempt at similar story. The staff wanted an intern to eat the recommended daily amount of fiber – something few people do. For some reason, be it labor laws or finding funds for fiber-rich foods, the challenge fell through.

So what better way to start this blog than succeeding at something that failed? So today, I will eat the recommended daily amount of fiber.

Pre- Challenge: While there is no RDA for fiber, there is a dietary reference intake. Based on the Institute of Medicine’s website, a 21-year-old female should consume 25 grams of fiber a day. The American Dietetic Association, however, recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, regardless of gender or age. As a nutrition minor, I know I only have to eat the recommendation for my age and gender. But as a daredevil, I know I need to go all the way. By the end of today, I’ll eat 35 grams of fiber. I should stock my bathroom with Febreeze and trashy tabloids.

Challenge: When I woke up this morning, I craved a bowl of cereal. Weird, but perfect given my challenge. I could have taken the easy way out and consumed a cup of Fiber One Original for 28 grams of fiber. Not one to take the easy way, I mixed equal parts Fiber One Honey Clusters, Honey Nut Cheerios, and light soy milk. Thanks to the good people at General Mills and Silk, I ate 8.3 grams of fiber. Not completely full, I ate half a banana and some Skippy, adding 2.5 grams of fiber. By the end of breakfast, I ate 10.8 grams of fiber. Almost a third of the way there, and it was still morning.

Three hours and one trip to the toilet later, it was time for a snack. I settle for Kashi’s TLC Trail mix bar. It fills my stomach while filling me with four more grams of fiber. 14.8 grams so far. Not too shabby.

By lunch time, I hadn’t had any more bowel movements, as the pros say. I also wasn’t hungry, since fiber fills you up. But since I had to eat for dietary and challenge reason, I ate a small meal of figs and an apple. With seven grams of fiber, this small meal was seriously filling. At 21.8 grams of fiber, I felt pretty full and hoped to empty out soon.

When I sat down to dinner, I’d dropped another deuce (sorry, I should’ve mentioned I have a potty mouth). To fill up my now empty stomach, I devoured a pita with turkey, spinach, and feta cheese, some carrots, and some chips. Though the turkey and cheese lacked any fiber, the other ingredients made up for it, providing me with 6.8 grams of fiber. Add in a Fiber One chocolate bar for desert, and that put me at 33.6 grams of fiber. I can see the finish line, but will I be hungry enough for the prize?

Turns out, I am. While browsing the cookbook section at Borders, my external cues kicked in. Overwhelmed by photos and descriptions of delicious eats, I started craving something equally delicious. Since I lacked the funds or time to make something decadent before heading to the bars, I settle for some toast with peanut butter. Not only was this the perfect pre-game snack, but it was also the perfect way to finish today’s challenge. At 5.3 grams of fiber, my PB sans J brought my total intake to. . . 38.9 grams of fiber!

Post-Challenge: While I did not reap the bowel-moving benefits of fiber, I still see the importance of adding it to the diet. By keeping you fuller, longer, fiber is a great way to ward of cravings and grazing. There were times I didn’t want to eat, but had to in order to meet my goal. Aside from checking labels and nutrient info for every item I ate, I thought this challenge was a piece of fiber-filled cake.

Now I’m off to the bars to celebrate my victory. I wonder how much fiber is in a bottle of Bud Light?

Fiber friendly yours,
Leah

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