This post has been written in collaboration with Arla Fibre, but all thoughts are my own.
Earlier this month I was invited to a lunch by Arla Fibre to learn more about how they're helping the nation plug the fibre gap in their diets.
When the invite popped into my inbox I jumped at the chance. Suffering with IBS I know how important fibre is in my diet and how little we talk about it. It's just not as sexy as protein (everything seems to be about protein these days!) and when it's related to bowel movements you can kind of see why. So I was thrilled to learn more about a company tackling this essential head on with a tasty product.
The lunch was designed to highlight the fibre gap in many people's diets.
We should all be getting 30g of fibre a day in our diets to support balanced digestion. But most of us are only hitting 17g a day on average.
You're probably all panicking thinking that I'm going to say you need to be horsing down prunes and sprinkling flaxseeds on everything in order to make the grade. Not true.
The lunch was attended by Registered Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed who told us all about the simple swaps we could be making to plug this gap simply and easily. By the way, the best way to know a brand has nailed it with their product is when they have a fully qualified nutritionist on-board dishing out the facts!
These swaps totally rang true with my blog post from last week about not needing whacky ingredients to have a healthier diet.
The ideas weren't crazy ingredients and didn't require cooking whole new meals - they were easy exchanges.
There are the obvious ones sure - brown and wholegrain rice and bread over white would seem logical to many of us. Oats instead of sugary cereal for breakfast also well-known.
But there were some surprising ones too: did you know strawberries have more fibre than grapes for example? Or that almonds have more fibre than cashews? Or if you're snacking that carrot has more fibre than apple? And my favourite - sesame seeds over pine nuts for a sprinkle on your main courses or when making pesto is more high in fibre! I feel a sesame seed pesto recipe coming on....
To really emphasise the ease of the swaps the lunch we were served seemed on the face of it to be the same for everyone. A risotto to start, lamb and potatoes for main course and a fruit tart for dessert.
But there were subtle differences - higher fibre veggies and a wholegrain crumb on the starter, and strawberries over grapes and Arla Fibre yoghurt in the dessert meant some of us were getting way more fibre than others without even realising.
At the end of the afternoon we were all sent home with a little sample of Arla Fibre to try. I served mine up the next morning with some muesli, apple, banana and a sprinkle of granola. A delicious breakfast and knowing the yoghurt has 4.7g fibre per 150g (compared with next to zero fibre in a regular plain yoghurt) is a great way to know I'm helping my digestion for the rest of the day.
So what do you reckon? Are you aware of your fibre intake? Do you think it's something you could do with more of? I wonder if tracking even just for one day to see your fibre intake might be an interesting experiment.
For those of you wondering what the fibre actually is - Arla Fibre contains chicory inulin which contributes to normal bowel function by increase stool frequency. I thought it was interesting that this study also claims that chicory inulin was "well tolerated by subjects with gastrointestinal complaints" giving hope to those with IBS who may find some products aggravate them.
Sad fact of the day: wine has zero fibre. Better go looking for it elsewhere...!
Thank you to Registered Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed for proof reading this for me to ensure my facts are all straight. I'm not a dietitian so if you have any questions about your fibre intake and making changes to your diet make sure you seek advice from your GP or a registered dietitian or nutritionist.