Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 "A high-fiber diet appears to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including heart diseasediabetes, diverticular disease, constipation and colon cancer. Fiber is important for the health of the digestive system and for lowering cholesterol."

                     --University of California San Francisco (

Are you getting about 35 grams of dietary fiber a day? Or less? The fact is that most Americans consume nowhere near enough fiber to prevent diseases.

When we eat enough fiber, everything just works better. The plumbing, that is. Our digestive system, to be specific.  Yes, I am talking about bowel movements.

I will never forget one of my wake-up calls about the dietary fiber problem in this country.  I was asked to work with a parent whose child had only 1 bowel movement a week (not normal).   The child was complaining of chronic stomach pain and missed a lot of school.  

On another occasion I was asked to teach a series of nutrition workshops for kids who have been abused and/or neglected living in a residential shelter. I saw more evidence for the need for health literacy education for parents and those adults who are responsible for the care and well-being of children. What I observed was the adults who were buying food for the children in the shelter bought the cheapest bread.  It was also the bread with the least amount of dietary fiber. The staff would complain about kids eating an entire loaf of bread in a day.  No wonder, as bread made with refined wheat flour where the wheat bran has been stripped from the wheat to increase the shelf life has also been stripped of the dietary fiber that provides satiety and fills us up.  

As you increase the amount of fiber in what you choose to eat, remember it is important to increase the amount of water you drink. 

Dietary fiber plays a critical role in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and colon cancer.  Reading food labels to see how many grams are in a serving will help you make good decisions for you and your family. After all, we are Growing Healthy Kids, one child at a time! 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, August 18, 2021


"Because a poor diet is linked to cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes, public health authorities have long endorsed a diet rich in fruits and vegetables."
        --source:  CDC's 2015 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System

Most Americans eat far less fiber than they need, consuming only about a 1/3 of what they need. There is no fiber in foods that come from animals. Fiber is only found in foods that grow from the earth. 

People often ask, “Am I getting enough protein?” when the MORE IMPORTANT QUESTION  is, “Am I getting enough fiber?”  I will have a party when someone asks me, “Am I getting enough fiber?” 

When I teach workshops, we talk about the importance of reading food labels to identify key nutrients.  Do you eat cereal most mornings?  Look at the “Nutrition Facts” panel and identify what a serving size is.  Do you routinely have one or two servings? Next, look at how many grams of dietary fiber are in one per serving.  If you are eating two servings of cereal, then double the number.

Most adults should aim for about 35 grams of fiber a day.

This is one of my favorite summer breakfasts (see picture, above): cooked oatmeal, milled flax seed, almond milk, and half of a fresh, locally grown peach.   Usually I also have a whole wheat English muffin (where the first ingredient on the Nutrition Facts label includes the word “whole”).  Here is my breakfast’s fiber total:

½ cup dry Quaker oats:                         4 grams       

2 tablespoons milled flax seed:              3 grams

½ cup Blue Diamond almond milk:         <1

½ large peach:                                     1.5 grams

1 whole wheat English muffin:               3 grams

TOTAL FIBER:                                   >11.5 grams

This breakfast easily puts me on the way towards the day’s goal of about 35 grams of dietary fiber.  Remember, fiber fills you up and prevents overeating.  Most people don’t get anywhere near enough dietary fiber.  NOTE:  As you increase fiber, also increase the amount of water you are drinking.  Increasing your dietary fiber is key to controlling and reversing diabetes as well as losing extra weight.  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


"Only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and veggies."

                                                                                 --CDC study 

Did you grow up with your mother telling you to eat your vegetables?  Turns out your mom was right about those vegetables.  Foods that grow from the earth (vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains) contain fiber, that substance that give them shape. Like bones in animals. 

Fiber is really good for us.  It fills us up and prevents us from overeating. The bad news is that most Americans don’t eat enough of it.  Maybe 1 or 2 in 10 people get enough fiber.

Are there consequences to not consuming enough fiber?  You bet. Diabetes and obesity, for starters.  Colon cancer for another. 

A good place to start is to become aware of how much fiber you eat now.  Read the “nutrition facts” labels on prepared and packaged food and look for what a serving size is and how many grams of dietary fiber it has.  Just do the math for a day or two and you will figure out if you are low in fiber.  If your daily total is less than around 35 grams a day, then you are probably fiber deficient. 

Start with your personal inventory of dietary fiber.  In the next issue of Wellness Wednesdays, I’ll share how a couple of my favorite meals stack up!  

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Committing to Change

"We should all be eating fruits and vegetables as if our lives depend on it - because they do."

                                                                                         --Michael Greger, M.D.

Eric Adams is the Brooklyn Borough President and may be the next mayor of New York City.  Several years ago, he woke up and could not see the clock. He sent to the doctor and was diagnosed with advanced diabetes, at risk for going blind and an amputation of his leg. 

Eric made changes, stopped eating meat and other animal products, and rapidly shifted to plant-based eating.  His A1C dropped from over 15% to under 7%.  The A1C is the test that is the average of one’s blood sugar over 2-3 months.  The higher the A1C, the greater the chance of complications of diabetes, such as blindness, amputation, heart attack, and loss of kidney function. 

Now this man is committed to making changes in food policy in New York City and prevention of chronic diseases.  From retired policeman to future mayor with an interest in reversing diabetes. 

To learn more about Eric Adams' journey and how he reversed his diabetes, listen to his interview on the Rich Roll podcast. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect