Eat Right Be Fit Live WellLike us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn  Connect with us
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine"
February 2015 
In This Issue
Quick Links

Jean Varney
Jeannie Varney
 Nutrition Consultant



If you vowed to change your eating habits and lose those unwanted pounds once and for all this New Year, you're not alone.  But getting through January is the easy part.  After the Super Bowl parties end, the rubber meets the road and you see whether you can sustain the good habits for the long haul.  Improving your diet and maintaining a healthy weight can increase your energy, sharpen your mental function, and significantly reduce your risk of chronic and age-related disease.  But in order to reap these benefits, the changes need to be permanent.  Unfortunately, after just a few short weeks of avoiding sweets, suffering through a liquid cleanse or subjecting ourselves to the latest unsustainable diet fad, enthusiasm for our new routine wanes and we quickly resume old habits. Rather than endure another bout of guilt and frustration, why not commit to incorporating into your meals more fiber -- the food most associated with weight loss?  Doing so will ensure you're eating nutritiously while giving yourself the best chance at dropping those unwanted pounds.  Below, I've included 7 foods that will help you increase your fiber intake while protecting your waistline, your heart and your New Year's Resolution. 





Rough It To Lose Weight 

Fiber, the non-digestible part of a plant, is quickly becoming the darling of the nutrition industry and for good reason.  Eating a diet high in fiber-rich, whole foods curbs hunger and protects you against irregularity, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in men and women worldwide.  There are two forms of fiber, insoluble and soluble.  Insoluble fiber's primary function is to keep the digestive system working.  Soluble fiber on the other hand has unique health benefits.  It lowers cholesterol, supports the immune system, controls blood sugar and can help you maintain and even lose weight by increasing fullness. In the Nurse's Health Study, women who ate the most fiber had a 49% lower risk of major weight gain than those who ate the least.  Both forms of fiber are essential to your health and all plants (fruits, vegetables, whole intact grains, nuts, seeds and legumes) in their unprocessed state contain some of each.    

Unfortunately less than 5% of Americans consume the recommended daily allotment of this carbohydrate, which for men under 50 is 38 grams, women under 50, 25 grams, men over 50, 30 grams and women over 50, 21 grams.  Where you get your fiber is as important as how much you consume.  Don't be fooled by food manufacturers' marketing claims.  Processed cereals, breads, crackers, breakfast shakes/bars, cookies, cakes, baked goods, and frozen desserts that contain added fiber in the form of inulin, oligofructose, soluble corn fiber, or resistance wheat starch do not reduce cravings, curb hunger, promote weight loss or help prevent constipation or chronic disease like the fiber found in plants.  In other words, as an article in the October issue of CSPI's monthly newsletter Nutrition Action states, " added processed fibers don't turn cookies, brownies, bars, and shakes into beans, bran, berries and broccoli."  


To improve your diet and help you lose weight: 


*  Familiarize yourself with the fiber content of real, whole foods by visiting such websites as Mount Sanai's Fiber Chart


*  Assess your daily fiber intake and commit to slowly adding fiber-rich foods to your meals and snacks by substituting some of the processed foods you're currently consuming with fruit, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole intact grains. 


*  Add theses 7 fiber-rich foods to your diet frequently:


Oatmeal - Say goodbye to refined breakfast cereals. Choose unsweetened steel cut oatmeal instead. Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that's been shown to lower "bad" cholesterol, improve insulin resistance and assist with weight control. Top it off with berries, 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds and a little cinnamon for a balanced, heart healthy breakfast.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating whole grains is associated with a 15% lower risk of mortality, particularly from heart disease.

Oranges - This juicy, citrus fruit is a good source of pectin, another type of soluble fiber that is associated with lower cholesterol and smaller waistlines. Forgo your morning OJ for the fruit itself to reap the benefits.



Avocados - Filled with fiber, flavor and heart healthy fat, this green fruit, yes it's a fruit, is the perfect substitute for cheese on your omelet, croutons in your salad and ketchup on your turkey burger. Add a quarter to your protein rich smoothie for a creamy and delicious drink.


Chia Seeds - These little gems are full of plant-based omega 3s and fiber. They expand
in your stomach and may help prevent frequent visits to the pantry and refrigerator in between meals. Throw 1 tablespoon in your yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal or smoothie for added bulk, calcium, magnesium and heart healthy fat.


Beans & Lentils - Replace your saturated fat-filled meats and cheeses with these fiber-rich legumes to fill you up, protect your heart, lower your cholesterol and keep your blood sugar stabilized. They're incredibly versatile and can be eaten at any meal. Throw them into an omelet with onions, peppers, Napa cabbage and salsa for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.


Pistachios - Pick a handful of pistachios over pretzels or other chips for your afternoon snack. These delicious nuts are full of fiber and plant compounds that block the absorption of dietary cholesterol in your blood, a must for protecting your arteries.


Chinese or Napa Cabbage - Swap that iceberg lettuce with this incredibly nutritious green. Napa cabbage is low in calories and high in fiber. Try it in a slaw, eat it raw, or use it as a wrap. Fill it with beans, hummus and tomatoes or even leftover slices of chicken, mustard and apple. Don't stop there - add it to soups, frittatas and stir-fries.


Even among healthy food sources, fiber content varies significantly.  For example, artichokes, apples and barley have much more bulk than grapes, cauliflower and brown rice.  Your biggest bang for your buck comes from beans, peas and lentils but seeds and nuts are fiber dense too. 


Below is a sample menu that gives you more than ample fiber while allowing you to enjoy plenty of food, all of which is good for your health and kind to your waistline - a sure way to feel better about yourself and make your New Year's resolution a habit worth keeping. 


Grams of Fiber*

1 cup rolled oats topped with -
1/2 cup thawed blueberries
1TBSP flaxseeds/2 TBSP nuts

3 cups mixed greens topped with -

1-2 medium carrot sliced 

1/2 cup cooked broccoli
1/2 cup tomatoes and peppers
2 TBSP slivered almonds
1/4 - 1/2 cup pinto beans
1 -2 hardboiled egg
Fresh lemon and balsamic dressing

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 pear with skin
4 - 8 Triscuits

4 - 8 ounces of grilled salmon
1/2 cup Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup of grilled asparagus

1/2 ounce of dark chocolate
      Total Daily Fiber Intake


*Fiber content is estimated and may vary per source.  Gentlemen you may need larger serving sizes than shown.  Go ahead and indulge in unlimited veggies to fill you up.


For help with your diet, contact Jean Varney at  All consultations are conducted over the phone. 


This article is for informational purposes only, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is not a substitute for medical advice.



Fiber- Rich Recipes of the Month

Chia Seed Pudding 


Chicken and White Bean Chili


Orange, Avocado and Pistachio Salad


Apple 'N' Oat Cobbler Breakfast


About Jean Varney 
Jean Varney is the founder and president of Eat Right, Be Fit, Live Well LLC, a health and nutrition consulting firm committed to empowering men and women to improve their health through sustainable changes to their diet and lifestyle.  Based in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Jean coaches clients nationwide by phone and in person.  She focuses on helping individuals make smart choices about the foods they eat in order to maintain high energy levels, avoid unwanted weight gain and decrease their risk of heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes and other chronic illnesses.  Jean received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.  To learn more about her practice, please visit her website at: