Poor Dietary Habits and Health Risks

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Last week, I had my first-ever colonoscopy.  Fun times, people, fun times.  I found out that I was going to have to have the colonoscopy the day after my 40th birthday.  Welcome to midlife!

I wasn’t overly concerned about the procedure since it was being done simply to rule out Crohn’s disease and colitis before giving me an official diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  I was dreading the prep more than anything, honestly, since I knew I’d be under anesthesia for the actual procedure.  Just before I was put under, my doctor reassured me saying, “Well, you shouldn’t have to do this for ten more years.”

I get to do it again in five.

They found two polyps and diverticulosis.  Polyps are not typically found in people under fifty.  Diverticulosis is not typically found in people under sixty.  Diverticulosis is suspected of being caused by a low-fiber diet.  The risk factors for polyps include:

  • a high fat diet
  • a diet high in red meat
  • a low-fiber diet

While I’m sure that these conditions occur in people without any risk factors, it’s sobering to realize that sixteen years of abusing my body with food and fat may have played a role in developing these conditions.  I was so excited to see the positive results of my health risk assessment a few weeks ago, but I now realize that there may be other effects of poor health and dietary choices lurking in my body.

As I mentioned in my post about my HRA results, I had already planned to start increasing the fiber in my diet.  After these results, that has become even more a priority.  I’ve been reading up and trying to educate myself on high-fiber menus and heart-healthy (which often means “high fiber) foods.  I’m pleased to see some of my favorites on the list.  I’ll be trying to eat those more consistently, while also trying to find some new favorites.

My main goal right now is just trying to plan more of those high-fiber foods in my weekly meal-planning since, a lot of times fiber is found in the foods that tend to be side-items, rather than the main dish on which I tend to focus.  I know me well enough to know that, if it doesn’t get planned into the menu, it probably won’t get eaten.  So, I really want to consciously try to include those high-fiber, heart-healthy foods in our meal plans.

Do you have any favorite high-fiber foods or recipes or links with good information and ideas? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. Maybe a bit of encouragement? According to my MD husband, every American past the age of 20 has diverticulosis. Not something we want but not the end of the world. Next part is kind of gross. 🙂 A direct correlation – the longer you sit on the potty, the sooner you get it. So yes, eat more fiber. And don't go until you know you have to go. 🙂 We've been discussing this lately because my mother was just hospitalized with a colon bleed due to diverticulitis. So we are all upping our fiber!

  2. Beans, of course…but they have to be spiced up a little for me to enjoy them. Remember, "Beans, beans are good for your heart…" :0)

    Also, I was having a difficult time getting 35 grams of fiber into my diet daily (recommended is 25 grams, but I need more) so I opted for Benefiber. Benefiber or Metamucil Clear contains inulin and mixes into anything. It dissolves completely and cannot even be detected in plain water. That's really important for me because I don't like gritty sludge in my drinks. I've also added Benefiber into baked goods, soups, casseroles, etc. to help me meet my daily goal. I really think that this keeps my cholesterol at a very good 158. Pretty good for my high BMI.

    And no, this is not a marketing plug for Benefiber. :0)

  3. I've found a high fiber cereal that has helped me sooo much in the area that Kori was talking about. It's called Uncle Sam, and I've only been been able to find it at WalMart, although my Dad has found it at Kroger down in Ga. It is not sweet, but does not taste bad at all. My kids even will eat it!

  4. I also have to be on a high-fiber diet, so here are some of my recommendations:

    1. Fiber One bars (or something similar). YUM, and 9 g of fiber/~150 cal per bar!
    2. I love making black bean soup–there are a lot of great recipes online.
    3. I make my own hummus–it's extremely simple, and I can add less or zero tahini, a taste I'm not so fond of.
    4. Make sure you spread it out fairly evenly over the day. You might have already figured this one out 🙂
    5. Multi-bean chili from whatever is in the cabinet.
    6. Bulgur with garbanzo beans thrown in.
    7. Quinoa in lieu of rice.

    I've worked myself up to liking the fiber so much that I have to be careful not to OD!

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