Fiber and Protein at Every Meal…

ffactor, tanya zuckerbrot, fiber, protein

Since March, I’ve been really focused on my all around health. Focusing on eating right, exercise and honestly, trying to get in better shape. I’m not one who believes in the number on the scale. To me, it’s about how you look and feel. And I knew that I looked a little puffy and wanted that to change. I heard a long time ago that once you hit 30 (and honestly late 20s) you’ve got to work EXTRA hard to stay fit. Too true! Ya girls metabolism isn’t what she used to be!

Time to make some changes…

I’ve been working out regularly, predominantly interval training, at the gym and taking Orangetheory classes (which really changed the game for me). When it comes to eating, I will say I don’t eat poorly. I am guilty of snacking though. And honestly, I think I just wasn’t working out as much as I used to. For the past few months, I’ve been doing more and more research on eating habits, food/ingredient choices, and that lead me to stumble upon one way of eating that I’ve found to be beneficial to me in my quest to get in better shape. I heard an interview with famed dietitian, Tanya Zuckerbrot, and her ‘F Factor Diet’. Let me start by saying and be very clear, I wasn’t looking to go on a ‘diet’. I was however, looking to make some changes that could effect my overall health.

  1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
  2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Upon reading more about incorporating fiber into my system and the benefits, it’s one change I can tell I’ve benefited from. There are so many fiber rich foods, but we don’t eat nearly as much as we should to get the recommended amounts of fiber in ones body.

What is F Factor?

Long story short, the F Factor approach is centered around ‘fiber’ and it’s importance in overall health which “focuses on combining lean proteins with high-fiber carbohydrates, which are low in calories and keep you feeling full throughout the day” (FFactor). The latter part was critical for me. I wanted to make healthy adjustments that didn’t make me feel deprived all while changing my pattern of eating. And as Tanya says, ‘fiber and protein at every meal, makes losing weight no big deal’.

“Fiber is the zero-calorie, non-digestible part of a carbohydrate that adds bulk to food. When you follow a diet rich in fiber you feel full after eating – so you’ll generally eat less throughout the day. Also, fiber swells in the stomach, absorbs and removes fat and calories, and boosts metabolism.

  • Promotes weight loss and management
  • Lowers cholesterol by up to 30% (enabling some client to stop statin drugs)
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Reduces hypertension
  • Reduces the risk factors for colon cancer and breast cancer
  • Improves serum glucose levels for diabetics and prediabetics
  • Alleviates constipation and promotes regularity 
  • Banishes bloat
  • Enables clearer complexion
  • Improves energy throughout the day
  • Improves sleeping habits
  • Enhances exercise performance and results
  • Improves quality of sex life
  • Increases chances for longevity

Fiber is the part of carbohydrates that cannot be digested. It is found in the tough cell walls of plants – fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains – that the body cannot break down. Fiber is not found in animal products.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) recommends women get 25 to 35 grams of fiber in their diet daily, and men, 38 grams, yet most adults in the U.S. get only 9 to 11 grams of fiber per day, less than half of the recommended amount. This is due to our over-reliance on processed foods that have been stripped of fiber.  Lack of fiber in the diet leaves people hungry and more prone to overeating.

Since fiber is the indigestible part of the carbohydrate, it has no calories.  The fiber passes through the digestive tract and exits the body, so there is no reason to count it. Only the carb portion of a food contributes calories, so foods that are high in fiber and low in net carbohydrates (calculated by subtracting a food serving’s dietary fiber from the total carbohydrates) pack the least calories” (FFactor)

I’ve increased my fiber intake…

One way has been eating GG crackers – I typically, will have 4 GG crackers for breakfast (16 grams of fiber right there). Not just the crackers by themselves (they taste a little cardboard-esque so you definitely want to add things to them). I top the crackers with dairy free cream cheese (I love Kitehill) and some egg (typically scrambled whole egg or egg whites) topped with red pepper flakes and trader joes ‘everything but the bagel’ seasoning (soooo good btw). It leaves me feeling full until lunch time, which often wasn’t the case. I’d start feeling hungry late mid to late morning.

I will often snack on 2-4 more GG crackers later in the day and add some fun toppings (will have another post on GG cracker snacks that I like). This fills me up and doesn’t make me feel starving come dinnertime and therefore I don’t overdo it. Not to mention, one thing I’ve focused more on as well is having my dinner be my smallest meal of the day so that I don’t go to sleep stuffed.

It’s not just about the GG crackers though, it’s about incorporating more of the fiber rich foods that I already love to eat – like broccoli, brussel sprouts, artichoke, etc.

As I mentioned, I tend to snack. So, I’ve focused on great fiber rich solutions, like raspberries, apples, etc. in an effort to meet the recommended daily intake.

There are soooo many great ‘F Factor’ recipes (some that include using GG crackers, like GG pizza, muffins, waffles and more!). The options are endless and so easy to incorporate. Check out their Instagram for inspo!

How it has effected me…

At first by going from a low fiber diet (apparently we’re lucky to get even 10 grams a day), to a high fiber diet I noticed some bloating as my body was getting used to it. That’s normal. You definitely have to make sure that you drink A LOT of water when increasing your fiber intake. One it helps the fiber usher out all of the bad stuff (calories and fat) but it also makes sure you don’t get dehydrated. In general, I drink a minimum of 3 liters a day.

Without too much info, a higher fiber diet will keep you really ‘regular’ if you know what I mean.

Now, months later, I find that it continues to help me feel fuller longer. I will say, I’ve made many other dietary changes over the past few months but I still think the increased fiber has helped with bloating, weight loss (I can visually tell the difference), energy throughout the day and definitely clearer skin.

Do your research…

Like I’ve said, I’m doing a lot of research right now in an effort to find the best options for me and my healthy journey. I’d always recommend doing the same for yourself if you’re looking to make some changes. I’m continuing to make a lot of changes and this happens to just be one that I’ve incorporated. I don’t believe in depriving oneself and I also don’t believe in a quick fix. However, I thought I’d share one way that has contributed to an improvement while on my health journey. I will share some more soon!

ffactor, tanya zuckerbrot, fiber, protein

ffactor, tanya zuckerbrot, fiber, protein

photos by Anne Kim of Laura Metzler Photography

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