The Importance Of Fibre: Steve's Healthier Britain Weekly Blog

This week, Primal Living launched its first Fibrehydrate products. Put simply, these products replace regular pasta, spaghetti etc, with the same product, but replacing the carbohydrates with fibre. The benefits are huge for those who are trying to lose weight, manage diabetes or avoid chronic illnesses; and I think all humans probably fall into one of those 3 categories!

In today’s world, we eat way too many carbs (often processed) and many doctors will tell you one of two things; firstly, many diseases begin in the gut and secondly, most chronic illnesses begin with raised insulin and the quickest way to raise your insulin is to consume carbs. By the way, I call them carbs, not carbohydrates, because carbs to me is acronym for Carbs Are Really Bits of Sugar! 

In this week's Healthier Britain Blog, I want to discuss the importance of fibre, but if you would like to take a look at Fibrehydrates, click here  

Let’s begin by looking at our Microbiome... 

There are said to be more than 10,000 different species of microbes in our body, adding up to 100 trillion in total. This means that statistically we are 90% microbe and only 10% human, and these two groups dominate our guts. I didn’t just pluck these numbers out of thin air - there is a fascinating and wonderfully written book by biologist and zoologist Dr Alanna Collen called “10% Human”, which is certainly worth getting hold of. “10% Human” brilliantly details the intertwined lives of microbes and humans and provides an insight into what is happening inside our guts and what a huge contributing factor to body weight and obesity our microbes play.

There are two varieties of microbes that play a dominating role in our gut: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. These two strands of microbes alone can control whether we stay lean or get fat. When I learnt this, a light bulb went off inside my small brain. I had always wondered why my wife could eat un-healthily for a few days and put on no weight at all, but after just one unhealthy meal I would wake up the next day and scream at my bathroom scales.

First, let’s talk about Firmicutes. This bacteria is an expert at extracting as much energy (calories) as possible out of the food that we eat. Of course, the more calories that are absorbed, the more weight we will put on. If we can keep our not-so-cute Firmicutes under control, and let our Bacteroidetes flourish, we are less likely to put on weight. 

Bacteroidetes carry out the opposite task to Firmicutes. They let many calories slip through the net, taking a free ride out of the gut and hitching a ride on fibre, while at the same time extracting the vital nutrients and vitamins.

An article in the Huffington Post in December 2014 stated, “Avoid sugars and processed carbs. Firmicutes are so well-suited to grow on sugar that they’re known to grow rampantly in factories that process sugarcane into table sugar”. 

Put simply, it’s important to have lots of fibre in our diet as it works in partnership with bacteroidetes to literally flush our calories down the toilet. I also wrote in my first health book, Primal Cure, the following: “While cutting out starchy carbs is crucial to our health and happiness, it is equally important to ensure that we substitute them with plenty of nutritional fibre from sources such as nuts, seeds and leafy greens.” 

Last week, I had a few people ask me “if we are going to skip breakfast cereals, aren’t we also skipping healthy fibre?” Well, yes you are, but, just as we wouldn’t sit on a desert island for 12 hours in direct sunlight, going lobster red from head to toe in order to top up our vitamin D levels, there are other ways to increase your fibre intake. 

And for those who juice, stop right now! Juicing is one of the most ridiculous trends of the last 50 years. When we extract juice from our fruits and vegetables, we lose all of their great fibres, we miss out on most of their nutrients (healthy nutrients are normally bound to the fibre) and often end up with a glass of fructose (sugar). As I mentioned in last week’s Healthier Britain blog post, don’t juice but instead blend.

So, what is fibre? Fibre is the rough guys who hang around with the 3 macronutrients; carbs, protein and fat. Now what is interesting is that fibre is in fact a carb, but a health carb. Confusing hey! But that’s why we created the word ‘fibrehydrate’ (or ‘fiberhydrate’ if you are in America). We wanted to separate the fibre from the carb. You see, it’s always a difficult conversation when you are talking to people about a low carb diet, you always have to be careful in explaining that while avoiding carbs, especially processed ones, it’s also important to continue to seek out foods rich in fibre. So, for that reason alone, we thought we needed to create a fourth macronutrient to talk about. 

7 Benefits to consuming more dietary fibre:

  • Can lower LDL cholesterol
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Regulates bowel movements.
  • Digestive health
  • It fuels healthy colon cells
  • Weigh loss by encouraging helpful gut bacteria
  • Weigh loss by making you feel full for longer

In my book, Primal Cure, in the chapter on fibre, I wrote, “There are pastas, spaghetti and noodles that have been consumed in Japan for thousands of years that have zero calories and zero CARBS! How is that possible? Known as shirataki (meaning ‘white waterfall’) and made from the konjac plant, these transparent insoluble fibre noodles are edible, but not digestible. They absorb water so well that, while what is eaten might look identical to normal wheat noodles, they are actually made of 95% water temporarily suspended in fibre. The great news is they are now starting to become available in UK supermarkets.”

We recently had some friends round for dinner, and I cooked shirataki noodles in a Thai soup. My friends could not believe that ‘Primal Steve’ (that’s what they call me) was eating CARBS. I asked them how they found the soup and they loved it. They had no idea at all that the noodles were any different to the norm. When I told them that it was CARB-free with zero calories, they thought I was just playing with them. 

So why am I telling you about shirataki? Because it’s a great example of what fibre does. It can fill up our stomach, and at the same time be used as a vehicle to transport micronutrients around our body. There are numerous health benefits for making sure we eat plenty of fibre in our diet, while the NHS website also informs “Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. If you have constipation, gradually increasing sources of soluble fibre such as fruit and vegetables, oats and golden linseeds – can help soften your stools and make them easier to pass”. Solid advice from our NHS (well except the oats bit)”.

I’ve been consuming fibre noodles for many years now and thanks to my wonderful researchers and development team, we now proudly have our very own Fibrehydrates at Primal Living.

What made me happiest this week 

One of my favourite sports is dinghy sailing and whenever I can, I still take my kids out in a 14-foot dinghy. The fact we took back-to-back sailing golds in Tokyo really put a smile on my face.  

What upset me most this week 

Last week I mentioned the tragic floods in Germany and bush fires in Portugal which I captured on camera. And this week we have seen terrible fires in both Greece and Bodrum. I know Bodrum really well as it is where we stay when we go gem hunting in Turkey. It’s so upsetting to see people losing their homes and livestock. We must convince our politicians to take global warming more seriously and then all play our part too.

Favourite customer email this week

"Just posing for my 3-year-old grand-daughter Lexi & having fun.  Really can't thank-you enough for changing my world." - Nicky Neary

A huge well done to Nicky who recently completed her Health Reset. When I asked her if I could share her story, she kindly agreed and sent me this email...

"Hi there Steve, 

Yes, will do anything to help others. 

Just at St Mary's hospital, London, with my friend who is hoping for a gastric band op!! Have given her my copy of your book and explained Primal Living, hoping she too will at least give "OUR" way a try first."

Nicky, we are wishing your friend the best of luck in which ever route she travels.  

Primal Living Latest performance 

We are passionate to create the very best health products on the planet. Many thanks to everyone who kindly took time to submit a review this week; here is your latest statistics:

Favourite recipe this week 

As we’ve been talking about fibre, I thought it would be fitting to share a recipe featuring Fibrehydrate (it also works with other brands of konjac noodles too). On our Primal Living app (also on our Health Results app), we have lots more ideas too.

You will notice we have several ramen recipes... why? Because people just love ‘em! Super tasty, very nutritious and endless varieties. In our home the aim is make them taste and look as similar to those my kids love at Wagamama’s, except, of course, with optimal nutrition.  

It can also be a one-pot dish, so next time you’re fed up of all that washing up, why not give it a go.

Pork Ramen

  • Vegetable stock 
  • 250g Fibrehydrate noodles 
  • Pork loin 500kgs 
  • Onion 
  • Carrots 
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Sesame oil 
  • Bok choi 
  • 1 boiled Egg per person 
  • Garlic 
  • Ginger
  • Cut the pork loin into portion sizes (so if you're cooking for 4, cut it into quarters). 
  • Place 1 chopstick either side of the pork loin portiom. 
  • Start to cut the pork loin, holding the knife level to the work surface. Stop cutting when you reach the chopsticks. The meat should be cut nearly all the way through, but still in 1 piece. but not cut into pieces.  
  • This keeps the meat hanging together in one piece which looks awesome.  
  • Fry them in olive oil until they are browned on the outside.  
  • dd a little of boiled water and vegetable stock and turn the heat up until it starts to boil. 
  • Reduce to medium heat. 
  • add the carrots, sesame oil, grated garlic, finely sliced ginger and pork. 
  • Cook for 5 minutes before adding the bok choi and noodles 
  • Combine for 5 minutes (be careful not to overcook the meat or bok choi) 
  • Slice and add the boiled egg – 1 per person 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste 

A healthier Britain  

In everything we do,  in everything we create, our purpose  is to prevent and reverse health problems by helping people understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of their health and put them in charge of reaching or even exceeding their health potential. 

Primal Living app update 

Be sure to update your Primal Living App this week, we have just added what I believe to be the most complete nutrition table for each and every food type available ANYWHERE and remember, it’s totally free!

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