I read a simple but truly revolutionary book recently called Fiber Menace. It ties in beautifully with so many other things I’ve encountered, but really puts it into a common sense perspective. Fiber is indigestible material. It is something that the human body cannot digest. Humans benefit from eating an abundant amount of foods that are fully digestible, not indigestible. Although we are omnivores and can certainly derive energy from fiber-containing carbohydrate foods (only carbs contain fiber), because they are partially indigestible they are not ideal human foods. When suboptimal human foods are overconsumed, disaster strikes in a myriad of ways.
My first encounter with too much fiber came as just a young pup. I grew up in a ?whole-grain family. Many of my breakfasts were the All-American high fiber/high carb champ: whole grain cereal (highly sugar-sweetened Raisin Bran or Bran Flakes usually) with lots of fruit, whole grain toast with jelly, lots of orange juice, and reduced-fat milk (especially as I got older). This is considered a healthy way to start the day, but without modern medicine, this breakfast literally would have killed me.
At age 6 I developed appendicitis, an ailment more common among children:
?Appendicitis is more prevalent among children precisely because their tiny cecum and appendix are so much easier to clog with undigested fiber and large stools [caused by too much fiber in the diet]. – Excerpt from Fiber Menace
I remember being toilet trained as a kid and being teased for my red face, straining painfully to get that rock hard, fiber-filled Kellogg’s brick out of me. This straining, constipation, etc. is exactly what leads to all types of digestive illness, and is a precursor or at least a contributing factor to several others, including Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel, Diverticulitis, etc.
My second ?menacing? encounter with fiber came when I switched to a primarily vegetarian diet. I ate liberally of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and most of all, legumes. Again, this is hyped up to be a near optimal diet, and I pursued it, of course, in interest of having great health and vitality. After several years of this my stomach pain and gas was so severe (and my health was at its poorest as an adult during this time), that I finally had to make some changes ? more fish and eggs, less beans and lentils.
Fiber clash number 3 came when doing some ?cleanses? using a fiber supplement from Psyllium Husk. Me and the person doing the ?cleanses? with me, both times we tried it, got incredibly (and I mean incredibly) constipated, bloated, cramped up, and frustrated despite the fact that all we were eating was vegetables, fruits, and juices. On one cleanse we did only fresh juices mixed with Psyllium. The results were even worse.
?Fiber from psyllium is probably the most offensive, because it’s at once a bulking agent capable of obstructing the esophagus and intestines, an osmotic laxative capable of causing severe diarrhea, a fermentable biomass that causes acidic damage of the intestinal epithelium, and a severe allergen for some people. And all that besides the cramping, bloating, gases, and severe straining required to expel large stools. -Yet another excerpt from Fiber Menace congruent with my own personal experience.
Simply put, the idea that fiber is an essential component to good health is a complete and total farce. Fiber is considered a remedy for conditions which it is often the cause of (gas, constipation, colorectal disorders, overweight, digestive illnesses). Whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables are not optimal foods for a human being. Simply put, we don’t digest them well. We cannot truly break down cellulose and fiber effectively ? we don’t have four stomachs like a herbivorous animal that can live off of these foods. They are secondary foods that can only be tolerated in moderation, and if they are consumed in abundance, they must be treated with extra special care (sprouting, fermentation, hours of cooking, etc.).
The healthiest human societies ever studied relied heavily upon animal proteins and fats ? the foods that provide the essential tools for cellular growth and regeneration. Unlike carbohydrates, they do not cause detrimental changes to the endocrine system, put strain on the digestive tract, cause metabolic disorders and excessive weight gain, lead to bone, joint, and dental disorders, etc. Cultures like the Eskimo ate animal foods exclusively, consuming truly negligible amounts of carbohydrates and fiber throughout their entire lives ? and are considered among the healthiest humans to have ever been examined. In fact, the Eskimos are unique among Native Americans in that they had no role of Medicine Man in the tribe. Who needs a doctor when no one is sick?
Of course many human civilizations that enjoyed optimal or near-optimal health subsisted off of whole grains, starchy vegetables, and other carbohydrate foods (only after the very recent agricultural revolution). Still, animal products were the mainstay, and fibrous, carbohydrate foods were prepared with ritualistic processes to enhance the digestibility. Polynesians dried, hand-ground, fermented, and cooked taro root (a starchy vegetable similar to the potato). They certainly didn’t go through this arduous process just to pass the time. Breads in other cultures were always made by sourdough fermentation and then cooked, which breaks down indigestible material like the intestines do, allowing yeasts and bacteria to do the work beforehand. Vegetables in many cultures were fermented as in sauerkraut, not just for storage, but for ?pre-digestion.
Cooked and raw (preferably raw) animal products: eggs, fish, red meat, fowl, organ meats, butter, cheese, milk, and kefir are the mainstays of a healthy human diet, and can comprise over 90% of all dietary intake. This is not something to switch over to overnight as all of our digestive tracts have become accustomed to a more varied diet, nor do you need to exclusively eat from the animal kingdom to experience good health, but it is vital information to know with certainty if you are in pursuit of excellent physical vitality and overcoming the obstacles of chronic and degenerative conditions.
And if you read Konstantin Monastyrsky’s Fiber Menace, ignore his advice on switching to white rice, taking a lot of supplements, and a few other foolish tangents he goes on towards the end of the book (like sugar being better than complex carbohydrates). Even really intelligent people have blind spots and say stupid things, but his book contains undeniable and extremely important truths not to be overlooked.
?Basically, we don’t digest whole vegetables and grain well. We cannot utilize that which we cannot digest. — Aajonus Vonderplanitz, PHD and author; recovered from digestive Cancer through a mostly raw animal-foods diet with no supplements or medical treatment.
?The overconsumption of high-carbohydrate grain-based foods such as bran, fibrous breakfast cereals, whole-wheat bread, and soy?is a primary cause of intestinal disease and other diseases. — Jordan S. Rubin, Naturopathic doctor and author; recovered from Crohn’s disease (an ?incurable? digestive illness) after all else had failed, by eating mostly meats, raw dairy products, fats, juices, and properly fermented plant-based foods.
?Don’t eat cereal. Over the long term it causes gas, abdominal pain, endocrine system disorders, food allergy, appendicitis, constipation, and digestive disorders related to constipation. Basically, it’s not that GRRREAT for you. Matt Stone, nutritional blogdork and author; fully recovered without drugs or surgery from numerous mainstream delusional ideas about what comprises a healthy human diet, sans appendix and all.
For more on the perils of plant kingdom overconsumption, please revisit the fantastic contribution made by my great friend and colleague, Pippa Galea.