Vegetables are the friends of people with intestinal issues for numerous reasons.  This site boasts on how cooking and blending can avoid most of the risks and discomfort, but what about the people whose issues with fiber and sodium do not come from trouble with digestion.  Here is some information and tips.

First, people with gastroparesis tend to not deal with fiber well.  The lack of motility in the bowels doesn’t let the fibrous food pass quickly enough.  Compounding that issue is that soluble fiber inherently slows down digestion.  Gas is also a byproduct of fiber digestion.  Your body can’t directly digest fiber, but the bacteria in your gut can AND will effectively, which is why you get gassy.  Soluble fiber is psyllium from veggies or fruits and fiber from grains or oats.  Those same foods also have a lot of complex carbs and sugars, which make digesting more challenging.  Soluble fiber, in short, attracts water and gels.  This causes the stomach to empty slower and  make digestion slower.  You NEED soluble fiber though.  It helps lower cholesterol, control blood glucose, and prevent heart disease and Type II Diabetes.  You may notice cholesterol greatly contributes to those disease.  Coincidence?  =)

The foods that have the most soluble fiber:  oranges, apples, berries, celery, cucumbers, carrots, some grains, nuts, flaxseeds, oats, and beans.  These foods are in A LOT of our recipes.  Peeling everything is a good way to reduce the fiber content.  You can also cut the amount of these foods in half.  Cook these foods a little longer too.  They are cooking in a lot of water based liquids, which they will absorb, heating longer or at a higher temp helps denature this effect by reducing the broth more and lowering viscosity of gelling effect (make smoother).

What about insoluble fiber?  This is actually good for you if you have bad motility from gastroparesis, scar tissue from surgery, etc.  It doesn’t gel because it doesn’t mix with or absorb water (hence insoluble).  This has a laxative effect and moves quickly through bowels.  Insoluble fiber is the BEST substitution you can make to keep friendly fiber soups.  Insoluble fiber makes you feel fuller faster than soluble fiber, but the effect is not as long lasting.  This is a good thing because it will make you eat smaller portions more often, which really helps combat dysmotility.

The foods with the most insoluble fiber:   whole wheat and grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skin.  You’ll notice that these foods are brown or darker.  That’s what you need to look for.  There are also repeats on this list.  Unfortunately, the best sources of fiber are just that- the best sources of both types of fiber.  If it’s on both lists use less of that ingredient.

Substitutions to make:

1)  Use the “brown” version of starches.  Example:  brown rice or whole wheat as opposed to white rice or regular oatmeal.

2)  Use couscous instead of potatoes.  Just remember a little goes a long way.  Use 1/3-1/2 the box.

3)  The highest fiber nuts are almonds, walnuts, and peanuts (a legume).  Use hazelnuts, pistachios, or Brazil nuts.

4 ) When in doubt: peel off the skin

5)  Use dark veggies and fruits.  Try zucchini instead of squash.

6)  As for beans, well, the more you eat the more you toot, so don’t use the whole cans.  There’s really nothing that can be done about these bad boys other than limiting use.