The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bit of a "fiber" rant

NCKathryn's picture

Bit of a "fiber" rant

Hope this is the right place for this. My husband got an exam this week and based on (fairly age-appropriate) diverticulosus, NOT diverticulitis, the doctor told him to stop eating bread and pizza and go on a low-starch diet to avoid any problems in the future.  They didn't ask anything about our current diet, which is pretty high fiber anyway-about 25-30 grams a day. When I add up the fiber in the recent part-whole wheat loaf I made, it seemed like it would be a decent amount (we usually don't eat moe than one slice at a time, and fiber charts seem to all be based on 2 slices). And the pizza I make (recipe from TFL) has a crust so thin you can practically see through it. It's frustrating that he was demonizing "bread" when I know he had biscuits and grocery store white bread in mind, not what I'm fixing.  Hmmph! It did get me determined to experiment with adding more fiber, but boy, was I irritated :-)

b_elgar's picture

IMNAD, nor do I play one on TV, but I do have the same disorder as yoour husband, so may know a bit more about it than the aveage person

Generally, for uncomplicated diverticulosis (which, as you say, is quite common as one ages), the recommendation is to eat a healthy diet - that is, one rich in fiber. Fiber in the bread is terrific and an very good way to include fiber, but there are other foods that offer fiber, too, such as fruits and vegetables or even supplements if one cannot incorporate enough fiber in the foods one eats for some reason.

I am not even sure what a "low starch" diet is, but there are several good websites that can offer advice about diverticulosis. Careful as you google, of course, as there are also a lot of quack sites out there, too. You may also want to check to see if your medical coverage includes visits to a nutritionist, who may be better able to tailor a diet for your husband. Real live medical care is always better than the net.

And do not worry about trying to prevent the disorder from having a wicked turn such as add-ins or keep-outs in diet have been substantiated as being able to do that.

If you want to add more fiber to your wonderful home made breads, think of including oatmeal, brans, grains, etc. They add texture and flavor, too.

NCKathryn's picture

Good to know about the "no add-ins or keep-outs" part re: diverticulitis-that's reassuring!

We eat about 7-9 servings a day of fruits and veggies, by adding chopped pears and sliced almonds to salads, have some type of legume daily, add flax seed to brown rice and baby lima pilaf...that kind of thing.  I suspect our demographics (50-60, rural south) lumped us in with folk who eat a lot of biscuits and gravy and consider french fries as a vegetable  :-)

gregnim's picture

You mean they're not a vegetable? And here I was counting them as three servings when served with catsup. Topped with cheese and I'm done with my vegetables for the day (my version of baker's math).

MichaelH's picture

You have 2 of the major food groups there, veggies and dairy. Add a can of beer and you have grains.

We think alike.


CoveredInFlour's picture

Make it chili cheese fries and you have some added protein.

NCKathryn, I'm very sorry to read about your husband's diagnosis. Is it possible that your husband was either misdiagnosed or has borderline diverticulosus? Your daily diet sounds incredibly health!

NCKathryn's picture

I'm pretty sure it's borderline-no symptoms. He had many years of NOT eating like this, and he just turned 60, so apparently it's not unexpected.

Now I'm thinking of Canada's poutine (sp?) with fries, cheese curds, and can feel your artieries clogging as you wat it but boy, it sure tastes good!



CoveredInFlour's picture

I've only had poutine once, despite living in Canada for 18 years, and it was like eating fries covered in hot plastic. Ick. But I'm told by a friend who comes from Montreal that there's no place to get really good poutine outside that city.

It's good to know it's borderline, but I'm still very sorry to hear it. My grandmother was diagnosed with it, but by that time she was 80 and decided to live her life hwo she wanted it. She lived to be a very very active 92. :)

Daisy_A's picture

Hi Kathryn,

Am writing to say sorry to hear of your husband's condition and I hope it can be kept in check with diet. My mother developed a similar condition in her 60s and it was kept in check without pills, as I remember. 

I am also writing because I came across a similar blanket condemnation of bread in a talk by a food researcher and academic that was later qualified when challenged. This very interesting talk was part of a conference on alternatives to mass agricultural practices and the blanket condemnation of certain food groups. For example, it challenged blanket notions of eating animal fats as 'all bad' and pressed for the good husbandry of some animals and the role of animal fat in cell reproduction to be taken into account, so that some animal fat could also be seen as a 'good' part of a balanced diet.

When speaking of bread, though, it was back to the 'all bad', until she was challenged by some bakers in the audience to consider sourdough and wholemeal breads. At that point she did stress that breads with long fermentation and those containing whole grains and seeds were a different case and could play a positive part in a healthy diet!

Needed the challenge, otherwise it was just the old 'x food group is bad' routine, when in reality what she was criticising was industrially produced and chemically enhanced white bread. 

I'm not sure the degree of skill that some home bakers bring to their bread making has hit home to some doctors and nutritionists to be honest. Shame as there probably are areas of common interest. 

Sounds like the diet you are providing is very healthy! I was interested in adding flax to rice. Could you tell me more? I though flax went to gel form in water?

Many thanks, Daisy_A

NCKathryn's picture

HI, Daisy- I really think that some of the medical/dietary folks feel they have to play to the lowest common denominator. Glad folks were there to challenge those blanket statements. After you get to my age (50s) it seems like you've been warned against pretty much everything, then encouraged to eat this, that, and the other, then back again.

Like butter: I'll have some as a treat, but it's from a local farmer's market, and I get my eggs from a friend with chickens.

Red meat usually comes from hunting season :-)

I think what bugs me is professionals not getting a baseline before wanting to change things.  I'm  pretty sure the doc's idea of "regular diet" was different from mine.  I might look that up to see what CDC considers a "regular" US diet...

Re: the flax seed: I didn't know about the gel thing. I cooked brown rice, baby limas, and dill, and added the flax after a few minutes. It was instant brown rice (10 minutes) so it didn't cook very long. It was till brown specks that were visible, and everything had the usual consistancy as far as I could tell.