Skating Uphill

Living A Health Lifestyle

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." ~Virginia Woolf

Let's talk about two very important elements not only in weight loss, but also in the types of foods and beverages we consume daily. I am not talking about wine and cheese, although, I wish I was. I am referring to fiber and water-perhaps the two most important elements of daily consumption. Last month, I joked about poo poo and pee pee; honestly, it is no laughing matter. Regularity and hydration are key factors in a healthy profile, and any reputable person in the health field will agree.

First, let's talk fiber. I mean fiber in a form that can be easily ingested, but not easily digested. Fiber is key to keeping your system regulated. Fiber aids in bodily functions such as preventing constipation, aiding digestion, helping maintain a healthy weight and lowering the risks of diabetes and heart disease. On average, Americans consume about 14 grams of fiber per day. According to a Mayo Clinic report, most adults should consume between 21 and 25 grams of fiber each day. At first glance, it may seem difficult to find those 25 grams in the food you eat, especially when some foods, like flour, some pastas, many breads and meats, have no fiber at all. Here are some tips as to how to top the magic 25. First of all, eat a nutrition bar. It's a quick and delicious way to take in a powerful punch of fiber. However, not all nutrition bars are created equal. Some so-called "health" bars have more sugar, fat and calories than a Snickers bar. As you know, when I make a recommendation, it is based only on what I like and have found to work. With that said, I highly recommend the Fiber One bar. It tastes great and has nine grams of fiber, which is a big jump start on your 21-25 daily fiber grams!

Interestingly enough, fruit has more fiber that most vegetables, but both are usually sure fire ways to adding healthy fiber to your diet. For instance, just a half-cup of raspberries has five grams. Also, Kellogg's Raisin Bran cereal has a big seven grams per one-cup serving. One cup of Campbell's Lentil Soup has five grams. Beans are very high in fiber-a great source. One-half cup of pinto beans has six grams. Other high fiber foods include whole-wheat English muffins, apples, pears, lentils, sweet potatoes, blackberries and almonds, just to name a few. Google "Foods High In Fiber" to view a plethora of lists. If you are not prepared to eat any of these items, buy Stober Farms flax sprinkles and sprinkle two teaspoons on whatever you are eating. Pretty soon your fiber count will be so high you will be passing wicker furniture! Ha!

Let's go on to the other absolute vital element for a well-regulated body. No, I don't mean wine. I mean good, pure, plain water. Water is essential to your body with almost every part of the body cell, tissue, and organ needing water to function. In addition, when dehydrated your body may mistake hunger for thirst, causing you to eat more, yet still remain in a state of dehydration. Some symptoms of mild dehydration are tiredness or sleepiness, dry mouth, dry skin, constipation, light-headedness and headache.

The debate about how much water to drink has reached ridiculous proportions. I have read everything from the classic advice of six to eight glasses per day, with a glass being eight ounces, up to a formula that asks you to drink the number of ounces equal to half of your body weight. There is also the theory that you can get almost all of the water you need from food, and actually need to drink very little extra. However, when your diet consists mainly of hamburgers, French fries, pizza and other on-the-go meals, chances are you are not getting the hydration you need from these foods. This theory is worth a thought if your diet consistently includes watery foods such as lettuce, broccoli, watermelon and grapefruit. All of these are more than 90% water.

After reading many articles with varying advice, I decided to go with what my urologist told me at my last appointment. He said we do get water from the foods we eat, but there is no substitute for drinking real water. We get credit for any liquid we drink, except alcohol. His advice is to drink a minimum of three glasses of plain water every day, in addition to any coffee, tea or soda you may consume. It is best to start your day with a glass of water because it gets your organs and systems going. if you know what I mean.

The ultimate test of adequate water intake is your urine. It should be clear or nearly clear. If it is dark or darkish it could indicate not enough water intake or perhaps some other urinary issue.

The bottom line is that your body will function better, and you will feel better when you consume enough fiber and stay hydrated. Take the simple steps of adding the fiber and water to your diet, and chances are you'll be good to go! In this case, it's good to be just a regular gal!

Next month, tune in for BIG New Year's Resolutions!  No, not the old standbys like lose 20 pounds and write more thank-you notes. Skating Uphill will do much better than that. Check it out.

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