You likely know that the liver is the filter in the human body. As our blood passes through the liver, toxins, waste, and anything else that doesn’t belong there (like medications) are removed. But now that your liver has collected the trash, how does it get rid of it?
Some things can be converted to urea and sent to the kidneys (via the blood) to be eliminated through urine. Others are added to the bile being sent through the gall bladder to your small intestine. Once it reaches the small intestine, bile’s primary function is to help with the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. But it also functions as the transit vehicle for toxins.
Now that these toxins are in the GI tract there is a problem. How do we keep them from just being reabsorbed into the blood, brought back to the liver and recirculating? Unfortunately, that is a risk if you are eating the Standard American Diet (or Western Diet). Whole plant fiber grabs the toxins and drags it through the intestines and out with the rest of the trash leaving the body. BUT, if there isn’t any (or very little) plant fiber, there is no train to ride out.
For most of human existence, food = fiber. Our body says, “Hey, I need some fiber!” But what we hear is, “Hey, I’m hungry.” And (sadly) most of us eat VERY little if anything with fiber (animal products have zero fiber and processed food has next to zero fiber). That is a problem.
If you saw our Facebook live about fiber you know that in the Paleolithic era early humans ingested upwards of 100g of fiber a day. Ditto that for current era humans in places where our deadliest diseases are virtually unknown (rural China and rural Africa). In the US we average 12-18g of fiber; basically half of the minimum recommended amount of 20-35g. 97% of us are fiber deficient and we have the sickness to show for it.
If you’re wondering about the fiber content you see on processed food labels: We don’t recommend eating processed foods. But you can take the amount of carbohydrates and divide it by the amount of fiber. If the answer is 5 or less, it’s not so bad. If you find a processed food that is 5 or less, please let us know. They are pretty rare.
The fiber you buy in a container isn’t going to give you very many of the benefits of eating actual plants. Which plants you ask? The ones that are best at grabbing onto bile are (1) beets, (2) okra (don’t fry it!) and (3) kale. But really, any plants are better than no plants.
Even if you’re not ready to give up animal products, put some plants through your system. Your body will thank you.
If you are ready to address how your food choices are negatively affecting your health, let’s set up a free get-to-know-you chat. Send me an email and let’s get you on track to taking control of your stress eating. Health@RnRJourney.com
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.