Fiber and Metabolism

From Chapter 30 of "Healthy Garden Healthy You" by Milo Shammas

Prebiotics and High-Fiber Foods
Prebiotics have received much attention in the media for good reasons. Prebiotics are non-digestible, high-fiber ingredients that prepare an environment for the beneficial probiotics in our intestine. Typically, prebiotics are carbohydrates found in the grains and greens, but they can also come from other sources such as soluble fibers. Fruits and vegetables, especially those fibrous vegetables that have thick veins, can promote healthy bowel regularity. It has been said many times, “Death starts in the colon.” Over time, eating meats or highly processed foods loaded with simple sugars, preservatives and other processed foods slows down your digestive tract. Without the bulk of fiber, digestion becomes sluggish, causing more toxicity in the body, while metabolism also slows severely.

Eating probiotics along with a high-fiber diet keeps the colon “clean” and working vigorously, as it is meant to. Fasting, drinking high volumes of distilled water daily, and eating leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables high in fiber all promote colon health. The general idea of consuming fiber is to eliminate all waste and non-essentials as quickly as possible. The longer the contents of your bowel sit in your body, the greater the potential for them to become toxic. When digestion and elimination are sluggish, the colon fills with undigested, putrefied waste that can leach back into the bloodstream and make the entire system toxic.

People who eat a lot of meat, potatoes and white bread are at greatest risk of developing colon cancer and other digestive conditions. Diets high in fiber help eliminate cholesterol and sugars that, when left to build up in the body, can contribute to diabetes. The high-fiber foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) act like a sponge in your intestine to absorb and eliminate putrefied toxins. These foods literally drag out impurities through elimination.

I eat salad at least once a day. My body depends on it to stay regular in eliminating all other foods that I have eaten, such as meats and breads. We need to clear our digestive tract regularly to maintain our maximum health. We must take the trash out before it becomes putrid and creates a host of other problems. A diet high in fiber also helps reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes and gallstones. High fiber diets prevent overeating, and obviously, constipation. What a relief!

I like to eat vegetables with every meal. It is good for me and makes me feel better. I do not closely follow the often-cited U.S. recommended daily allowance, or RDA. I simply eat as much as I feel I need. If you feel as if you are not eating enough fiber, perhaps take a high bulk fiber product such as psyllium husk. I do this regularly when I feel I need a boost to eliminate foods after going on vacation and over indulging at the buffet during the holidays.

Without high-fiber in your diet, meats and other processed foods tend to accumulate in your colon. In our modern world, we tend to exercise less, eat more processed, unnatural foods and take many synthesized medications. These all lead to bioaccumulation in the intestine and seepage of toxins back into the body. Eating clean, pure organic fruits and vegetables along with probiotics helps eliminate these digestive problems

Fast Metabolism – Lean Body
During my college days in Los Angeles, when I was 19 years old, my friends and I would run out to a Mexican catering truck at 2:30 in the morning. We would eat beef tacos and a beef burrito with all the trimmings. Then we would go right to bed only to wake up and go out for a huge breakfast. I would then down an omelet, hash browns, toast and a smoothie. In an 8-hour period, I probably consumed about 10,000 calories and never gained a pound. Also, we drank beer and ate appetizers before we got to the catering truck, so there were another couple thousand calories with no weight gain.

Things changed quickly when I turned 25. I began to count the calories that I put into my body. I have always exercised, so weight gain was never an issue for me. Now, years later, I can feel the difference in my body. My metabolism, or the rate at which all the processes in my body burn up calories from the food I eat, has slowed as part of the normal aging process. I must carefully watch what I eat. I consume those foods I know will accelerate my digestion and give me energy to keep me active and going strong.

A healthy metabolism turns the food we consume into energy very effectively. Conversely, a slow metabolism, or low metabolic rate, burns food less effectively. Like a bank account, if we take in more calories than we spend/burn, we accumulate the excess as a “balance” of fat. This is how we gain weight by overeating and under-exercising. (We can also gain weight by building larger, stronger muscles, because muscle is denser than fat, but this is not related to overeating.)

We can do many things to accelerate our metabolism and thus burn calories more effectively. Eating healthy foods (with measured, small portions) and drinking energy producing juices balanced with a exercise plan can keep you looking great and maintaining a fast metabolism.

If you consult a nutritionist, he may use the term basal metabolic rate or BMR. The BMR measures the amount of energy your body uses when at rest. It includes all the energy you use to do simple tasks like breathing and maintaining your body temperature. Metabolism varies with age, gender, genetics, exercise habits and the type and quantity of foods in the diet. Your BMR is largely tied to a period of about twelve hours after your last meal before bed and when you wake up the next day. During sleep, our organs do not exert much energy. The nutritionist wants to know your BMR because of its relation to your daily activities and schedule.

Because our BMR usually slows down as we age, it is well to do what you can to maintain a faster metabolism. Faster metabolism is associated with low body fat content and a high-energy lifestyle full of vitality. As we age, it becomes more difficult to jump start our metabolism and keep it high. Although aging makes it progressively more difficult to change your eating and exercise habits, you CAN do both. Many healthy, happy exercisers did not make their important lifestyle changes until their 50s and even 60s. It’s never too late to do the best thing for yourself.

Here is a quick and simple way to get an approximate number for your BMR. Multiply your weight in pounds by 10. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, your BMR is 1,750, meaning you need at least 1,750 calories daily to maintain energy for survival. You should eat more than this for energy to move freely and think clearly, but this simple calculation will demystify BMR and give you an idea of the minimum you should consume daily.

To make your life simple without having to count calories, you can adopt a few things into your daily life. Eating the right foods at the right time and getting the proper exercise makes all the difference. Here are some more tips.

  • Drink plenty of water daily. Drink before, during and after your meals and all day between. Some European studies indicate that metabolism can increase 30 percent after drinking 17 ounces of water.
  • Drinking antioxidant-rich teas such as green tea, white tea or even a little coffee will speed up metabolism and burn fat naturally. I am not a coffee drinker, because it gives me the jitters, but many have found it to work for them. Just lay off the sweeteners.
  • Eat plenty of green foods naturally high in fiber and loaded with phytonutrients. Green foods not only speed up metabolism by eliminating the foods quickly, they also help chemically prevent disease. I love probiotics. They digest all the accumulated foods in my system and eliminate them effectively, which also helps speed up metabolism.
  • The right meat is very important. Try to consume turkey, chicken breast, or my favorite, wild caught salmon. Salmon is not only good for metabolism, it is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that aid the heart, nervous system and brain. Avoid fatty meats like ground hamburger and anything fried.
  • Here is another trick I have been using for years. Eat lots of cayenne pepper powder. It speeds up the metabolism and has many other nutritional benefits.
  • Work up a sweat in the garden. Speed up your heart rate daily to maintain a fast metabolism. Do not expect miracle diets to do the work for you. Avoid synthetically formulated metabolism pills that suppress your appetite. These pills might work in the short term but will disappoint you in the long run.

Every day you have the ability to make a series of choices. Your life is a cumulative summary of those choices. Whether you are overweight at 30 or look great at 70, how you look and feel today reflects the daily choices you made over a lifetime. Again, it is never too late to start making healthy choices. The backyard garden could be the best place to speed up your metabolism through a healthy diet and exercise.

Grow it. Eat it.

Milo Lou Shammas
Founder and Formulator

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