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$Monday: Poop Your Problems Away

Grandma always said eat your fiber. And now Grandma is in her 90s and still sharp and chic, so I've baked this whole grain banana bread with flax seeds to share for her birthday.


This week's bougie financial advice was inspired by last week's birthday cake binge. I bought a sheet cake for my daughter's party, and the children only ate 2/3 of it. I was happy to take the rest home, because I enjoy having a sweet treat with my morning coffee. For a week after the party, I started each day with a little piece of birthday cake and a latte. Dreamy, right? This proved to be a lesson in what happens when you make a habit (even for just one week) out of a special occasion treat when you're used to a fairly healthy lifestyle and you're over age 35.

Holy poop.

Like Homer Simpson, I refused to stop eating the treat before it was gone, so I soldiered on through a spiraling cycle of indigestion, fatigue, anxiety, lowered productivity, and sleep trouble.

But but but CAKE.

Fortunately, the cake is now gone (along with the chemical aftertaste of its brightly colored buttercream), and so is my desire for it. I went back to eating my mostly-balanced macros for breakfast (such as toast, a cheesy fried egg, and an apple) and started feeling better the next day.

Today is Grandma's birthday, and instead of bringing cake, I'm bringing a home-baked whole-grain banana bread with flax seeds on top. It is truly delicious; my husband, a self-described "manbearpig" who is at this very moment meeting a guy in a parking lot to acquire some elk meat--and who once ate so much cake at a child's birthday party that he puked--has declared this wholesome banana bread BETTER THAN BIRTHDAY CAKE and has already eaten half the loaf, so now I'm having him pick up some apple butter while he's out for parking lot elk meat so that I can also bake some oatmeal apple spice cookies.

Party time!

Fiber is a wonderful thing. You can eat it along with sugar, and it protects your body from the harmful effects of sugar. You can eat it along with cholesterol, fat, whatever, and it just soaks all that stuff up in your gut and tosses it right out the ole... chute. It keeps your guts cleaned out, functioning, and flourishing with healthy bacteria while making you feel full and satisfied. And it exists naturally in many delicious foods--all your favorite whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. ***(Please try naturally occurring fiber in whole foods before considering any supplements. Medications and supplements that make you poop should only be used as a last resort and as directed by a physician, NOT used as a lifestyle choice. Always seek medical help if you are depending on meds or supplements to poop. This indicates a serious health condition or eating disorder.)***

I find that it isn't important to strictly ban any "bad" foods from my diet if I make sure I'm getting enough fiber first. Fiber is so magical. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It reduces the risks of type II diabetes and heart disease and cancer. It makes you live longer, even if you have a sweet tooth and a drawer perpetually full of candy like Grandma, who is turning 93 today and still wearing her cute petite pastel trousers to dinner.

Fiber is not a sexy, lusty, hot topic. It will never be trendy because it's so obvious. Caveman/carnivore diets are trendy right now, but I'd rather wear trends than eat them and suffer impacted bowels and irreparable organ damage. Just sayin'. Better out than in.

And although it's boring, it's easy to eat more fiber. I try to fill up at least half of my grocery cart, dinner plate, and stomach with whole plant-based foods whenever possible, and then I fill in the rest with whatever I like. If you've eaten enough fiber, you'll--ahem--void the risks of your indulgences of choice.

Why is this a $Monday post instead of simple health advice? Because high-fiber, whole foods cost less than trendy diet foods right up front, and the savings compound into the future when you avoid chronic illness and all the expensive medical care and pharmaceuticals that you'll need if you eat cheap junk food or degrade your body with scammy and dangerous fad diets. I've seen this play out over the years among my family members, friends, and acquaintances. It's incredibly sad to see loved ones suffer the consequences of physical illness, mood disorders, and financial ruin after spending more effort crafting excuses than taking responsibility for their own health. And I've seen that it's never too late to begin; I've watched friends and colleagues in their 30s, 40s, and 50s reverse pre-diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol by making small but persistent lifestyle changes, including more dietary fiber.

Mayo Clinic offers an easy, simple guide for adding fiber to your life. The hardest part is psychological--just making the decision to go for it and committing to taking better care of your health in ways that aren't always glamorous, mystical, self-punishing, or trendy in ways your peers think are cool. There are no super secret hacks to being healthy without fiber. There is no value in punishing yourself for past mistakes or giving up while you're still alive. Mayo Clinic doesn't tell you about that part--that you need to get in the right mindset, love yourself, forgive yourself, trade weight goals for health goals (not the same thing, though fiber also helps with weight loss), and surround yourself with people who will cheer you on, not drag you down into the crab bucket of misery that loves company.

The sooner you begin to put yourself first and poop your problems away, the better. Bombs away.

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