Fiber is the word we hear everyday, a word that was never once spoken aloud in my family until recently. Dietary fiber is considered one of the most important ways to maintain good health. Fiber discussions are everywhere and that leads to fiber guilt. Now when friends get together, we’ ll often check the fiber content of the muffins before choosing one. (We don’t always choose the one with the most fiber, but we feel obligated to check.)
The earliest mentions I remember of better living through fiber were worded in euphemisms and had to do with specific bodily functions. It was mostly older people in my family discussing their bodies as a form of social interaction. We knew that Gramma’s second husband needed more bulk in his diet. She told us so in great detail. I’m still not all that comfortable with such in-depth knowledge of other people’s bathroom habits, but it’s too late now. The conversation is multi-generational and public.
Fiber crossed over into general chat territory when it began to be marketed as a way to lose weight. Overnight, fiber was a food celebrity. Hello fiber, goodbye fat. In case you missed it, evidently the world runs on fiber. They’d been trying to teach us this for years (food pyramid, etc.) but when the sermons switched to how certain kinds of fiber whoosh the fat right out of our bodies, we paid attention.
I saw a show on PBS called “Brenda Watson’s Fiber 35” about how you can change your world by eating that many grams of fiber a day. It seems a bit ambitious for me. I counted up and I’m lucky to get 20 grams a day right now. It looks like I’d have to quit working in order to achieve 35. But it is getting easier, what with fiber-added everything.
I’m conducting my own very skewed research. I’m eating only fiber-added foods that taste good. The nutrition/snack bar selection is huge, but I’ve found only one brand so far that tastes like real food. I’m enjoying the new sugar-free, low-calorie fudgsicles with fiber added. There’s a creamy yogurt with several grams of fiber and, of course, a mountain of bread loaves. I’m trying them all. (A bread lover doesn’t have any trouble eating bread.) So far the ones with “double fiber added” are still best used only for toast.
Kashi and Fiber One are the two brands that consistently taste good (all their products I’ve tried so far) and have heaps of fiber.
Like most of us, I’ve developed the label-reading habit.I know, for instance, that when I bring home a bag of Cheetos, it’s not going to bulk me up in the good way. I still eat Cheetos, but now I’m free to enjoy them with absolutely no expectations.
Ó Anita Garner 2009