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Fiber: “The Magic Sponge”
by Victoria Boutenko • Ashland, OR

Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.C., Ph.D., one of the most renowned nutrition experts in the world and author of many popular health books stated that:

“Any cleansing program should begin in the colon … In the 50 years I've spent helping people to overcome illness, disability and disease, it has become crystal clear that poor bowel management lies at the root of most people's health problems. In treating over 300,000 patients, it is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place.”

The main purpose of consuming fiber is elimination. Without fiber, complete elimination is not possible, if possible at all. The human body is built miraculously in such a way that almost all the toxins from every part of the body, including millions of dead cells daily, end up in the human sewage system—the colon. The colon fills up with waste matter so full of poison that we look at it with disgust, not daring to touch it. In order to eliminate this matter, the body needs fiber.

There are two main kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in fruit, beans, peas, oat bran and especially in chia seeds. It has a gel-like consistency that improves bowel movements by increasing the volume of bulk in the colon. Soluble fiber binds together cholesterol in the small intestines and takes it out of the body. Certain soluble fibers such as pectin (found in apples) and guar gums (found in chia seed, oatmeal, legumes and mangoes’ meat) slow down the release of the sugars contained in the foods we eat, thus reducing the risk of diabetes.

Insoluble fiber is found primarily in greens, peels, nuts, seeds, beans and skins of grains. Insoluble fiber under a microscope looks like a sponge, and indeed it serves us as a miraculous sponge, because every piece of it can absorb many times more toxins than its own volume. Have you ever wondered why we always like to have a sponge in our kitchen? Sponges are fibrous, they make the job of cleaning easier by absorbing dirt. So does insoluble fiber. It grabs the toxins and takes them out of the body and into the toilet. Insoluble fiber can hold several times more toxins than its own size. I call it a magic sponge.
Picture yourself being challenged to clean some large, dirty space like a garage, with nothing but plastic wrap. I would give up. The human body won’t give up, but if there is no fiber, the first thing that happens is our skin tries to take on the elimination “job” and as a result the skin becomes rough and bumpy. When our bowels are clogged, our body attempts to excrete more mucus, through our eyes, nose and throat. We also sweat a lot more—the body uses every possible channel to eliminate, but it’s like pushing the garbage out through the screen window instead of the door. By consuming enough insoluble fiber we unlock the door to eliminate toxins from the body the easy and normal way.

Research worldwide reveals undeniable evidence of fiber’s many healing properties. Fiber can:

Reduce cholesterol, which decreases the risk of heart disease.
Prevent and reduce cancer risks and binds carcinogens.
Regulate blood-sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugars, thus greatly reducing the risk of diabetes
Promote healthy intestinal bacteria, relieving and preventing constipation
Prevent gallstones
Promote weight loss by helping to curb overeating
Bind up excess estrogen
Prevent ulcers

The U.S. RDA for fiber is 30 grams per day. The average American consumes between 10 and 15 grams of fiber per day. These 10 tiny grams of fiber would have to absorb and move out several huge pounds of waste matter! I believe we should consume 50 to 70 grams of fiber per day, or more. However, we have to increase the intake of fiber gradually. It can be dangerous to switch overnight from 10 grams to 70.
Flaxseed is a perfect addition to the diet. Flaxseed is very high in both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. It contains 26% fiber (14% soluble, 12% insoluble). Just 1/8 cup (heaping) of flaxseed contains 6 grams of fiber. I recommend adding flaxseed to your diet regularly. Flaxseeds have a tough outer coating and should be freshly ground in order to receive the most nutritional benefit. You can grind whole seeds in a coffee grinder or Vita Mix. Try adding one or two tablespoons of ground flax meal to your salads, soups or smoothies. Ground flax meal can also be whipped into your green or any other smoothie in the blender. Flaxseed is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and it is by far, nature's richest source of plant lignan, an important anti-cancer phytonutrient.

Our bodies have degenerated over the last few centuries due to the daily consumption of highly processed foods (white flour & sugar, etc.) in addition to adopting unnatural practices, like spending most of our time indoors and a lack of exercise. Therefore, we need to reintroduce healthy habits into our life slowly to give our body time to adjust. Green smoothies are perfect for this gradual shift:

Green Benevolence
6-8 leaves Romaine lettuce
1 cup red grapes
1 medium orange
1 banana
2 cups water
Blend well
Yields: 1 quart of smoothie

Raspberry Dream
2 bosc pears
1 handful of raspberries
4-5 leaves of kale
2 cups water
Blend well
Yields: 1 quart of smoothie

Adapted from the book Green For Life © 2005 by Victoria Boutenko. Printed with permission of Raw Family Publishing, Ashland, OR. www.rawfamily.com

Victoria Boutenko has also written Raw Family, 12 Steps to Raw Foods and several raw recipe books. She teaches classes on Raw Food all over the world, sharing her gourmet raw cuisine and her inspiring story of change, faith and determination. As a result of her teachings, many raw food communities have formed in numerous countries. victoria@rawfamily.com.