Raw Fiber: Friend or Foe?

Raw Greens Salad

 

If fiber our friend or foe?  We have been told often that fiber is very good for us.  Well in reality, the topic is a little more broad than that.  It isn’t really that difficult, but is often misunderstood.  What is fiber?

Fiber is usually some form of plant material that is non-digestible by human beings.  Fiber could be from an apple, some spinach, a mushy baked potato, leaves, etc.  Whatever passes through the body undigested could be classified as fiber.  Well as you know, the fiber from some raw salad greens is a lot different from some mashed potatoes.  We are told that raw food is good, that it has enzymes, and living nutrition.  I couldn’t agree more.  However, it starts getting tricky with very fibrous plants.  I mean just because somebody sells it in a supermarket doesn’t necessarily mean we should be munching on it raw.  Traditional societies often took plant-material that was hard to digest and soaked, dried, or cooked these things to make them easier on the digestion.  So I will quickly summarize what I see as the pros and cons of fiber.

PROS: Acts as an intestinal “broom.”  We need a little roughage here and there to keep the walls of our intestines/colon clean.  It also strengthens the walls of the intestines.  If we ONLY eat mushy food, our system gets lazy and weakened.  It could be viewed as “working out” your system.  Raw roughage makes your system work extremely hard to process/eliminate all of that hard plant material.  So you want “some” of this stuff.  It also depends on your genetics and health condition, season, etc on how much fiber your body wants.

CONS:  If I eat a plate of raw kale and carrots it is going to sap my energy, end of story.  I like explaining it this way;  If i eat some raw vegetables with “10 units” of living energy but it takes my body 30 units just to grind up and process that energy, then is it a good food for me?  NO.  This is a new loss in energy.  I eat juiced vegetables often.  I eat cooked vegetables often.  Cooking softens the fibers making it easier to digest.  Think about throwing some raw carrots down your garbage disposal.  All that crunching that would happen?  Your body has to do the same thing.  That’s why chewing is so important.  Also, if your digestion is irritated and inflamed from years of Gluten, pasteurized dairy products, medications, stress, chemicals, etc (most Americans), it may be a wise idea to take it easy on the roughage.

So is Fiber our friend or foe?  I don’t think there is an answer one way or another.  It has advantages and disadvantages.  You need to listen to what your own body wants.  For example:  My body currently likes fiber in the form of fruits, slow cooked veggies, etc.  Cherries, apples, and berries provide excellent fiber.  I may include some raw spinach or something every once in a blue moon but not regularly.  Juicing and blending makes for a lot easier digestion.  Blended salads basically break down all of the fiber before it even touches your lips.  So don’t be one of these people clinging to “raw-foodism” by downing large plates of raw salads.  Use your instincts.  Go with the flow.  Your body will guide you.

-Joe

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