General Question

lostinyoureyes's avatar

I can't eat grains or starches. How do I get more fibre in my diet?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1118points) October 30th, 2011

I’m on a month-long diet to stabilize my blood sugar due to hypoglycemia by eliminating starches and grains. On top of that, I can’t eat dairy, soy, gluten or sugar (long story—basically, I’m allergic). So I can only eat meat, veggies, some fruits, nuts and legumes (even though beans give me gas!), I think. Am I missing a food group? Anyways, I’m afraid I’m going to lose weight from my diet restrictions (I’m already quite thin) and really need more fibre.

Any recipe tips or general help you can provide? I don’t know anyone with this kind of restriction on their diet who can help.

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23 Answers

6rant6's avatar

If you have nuts in there, you can always make up the calories!

Also, artichoke hearts, jicama, okra are three high fiber foods that are low in glycemic index and can be added to your diet easily.

jaytkay's avatar

If someone tells you to avoid grains and starches, and they can’t give you a diet plan, that person is a quack. Period. Eating is not difficult.

prioritymail's avatar

Some fruits have fiber – also things like breadfruit are probably high in fiber. How does that work? Don’t fruits have more and simpler, more readily available sugar (fructose?) than starches and grains?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Fruits, veg, nuts, legumes, almost any thing that’s not meat or dairy has fiber.

Buttonstc's avatar

Sweet potatoes are quite high in fiber. Pumpkins and winter squashes are as well.

You can also prepare them as a soup as well as just vegetable sides.

marinelife's avatar

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat the fruit unpeeled. An unpeeled pear has more than five grams of fiber. Eat the stems of broccoli. Eat beans and legumes.

Fruits Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Raspberries 1 cup 8.0
Pear, with skin 1 medium 5.5
Apple, with skin 1 medium 4.4
Legumes, nuts & seeds Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Split peas, cooked 1 cup 16.3
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 15.6
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15.0
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 13.2
Baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked 1 cup 10.4
Vegetables Serving size Total fiber (grams)*
Artichoke, cooked 1 medium 10.3
Peas, cooked 1 cup 8.8
Broccoli, boiled 1 cup 5.1
Turnip greens, boiled 1 cup 5.0
Sweet corn, cooked 1 cup 4.2
Brussels sprouts, cooked 1 cup 4.1

Mayo Clinic

JLeslie's avatar


Fruit, especially dried fruit like raisins (but watch for sugar content).


No starches or grains sounds awfully extreme. Fruit can have a ton of sugar, but the dlc didn’t eliminate it? Seems better to become more aware of whole foods and the content of carbs and fiber in each food.

abysmalbeauty's avatar

Perhaps you can eat flax seed? Its not a grain and it is low carb as well as gluten free, its also high in fiber.

Coloma's avatar

What about Oatmeal? Are Oats considered “grain” like corn and wheat?

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@6rant6 Thanks, besides artichoke I’ve never tried jicama or okra in ever in my life! Don’t think I’ve ever noticed it in grocery stores here either. Will keep a look out.

@jaytkay That’s a good point, but he did give me a list of things to eat for each meal – I’m just looking for more ideas.

@prioritymail Yes, but I was told I can have a bit of fruit if I eat lots of protein with it. Protein serves as a blood sugar stabilizer. E.g. eating an apple with almonds. Also, I’ve never had breadfruit! Just googled it, and it looks interesting.

@JilltheTooth Thanks.

@Buttonstc Sweet potatoes are a starch unfortunately. I was eating it before, when I was on a less extreme diet, and it caused low blood sugar for me. For some reason pumpkin was also put on my list of ‘can’t eat’ stuff. I think because it has a high glycemic index. I’m not sure about other squashes though.

@marinelife Thanks! If only beans didn’t give me so much gas… kinda embarrassing to say.

@JLeslie Dried fruits are on my ‘can’t eat’ list too. I think the sugar content is just so high that it’s better to eliminate it altogether. I was originally on a less extreme diet to help improve my blood sugar levels, but I still had a huge dip in energy in the mornings… so my naturopath suggested I cut out starches and grains altogether – we noticed that my dips in energy happened an hour after eating a sweet potato, for example. It is extreme, but it should only be for one month. I hope.

@abysmalbeauty Yes, I can eat flax! Thanks.

@Coloma Yes, it is a cereal grain, so I can’t have it for now.

poopnest's avatar

I think flax seed might be one of the safest ways to get more fiber. If you are in a pinch, take a teaspoon or two and see what happens! There is also a supplement called Physllium husk that you can get. It’s what makes up Metamucil. The physillium husk puffs up and forma a gel in your intestines that helps to move things along. Flax seed has more health benefits though. It contains fatty acids and helps reduce cholesterol, has antioxidants and is tasty. You can put ground flax in just about everything…salads, breakfast foods, yogurt, smoothies, bake some into desserts or casseroles you might make, stew…anything really…as long as you are okay with a light nutty flavor, but that depends on how much you use. You could try to decide how much flax to use in a day and then incorporate that into your meals throughout the day like it’s a condiment like salt & pepper.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, Jicama is great! What about a non-dairy sour cream or dressing to make spinach dip with fresh spinach & jicama or water chestnuts. Great for veggie dipping esecially with sliced cucumbers!

And eggs?

Egg salad or other egg dishes would be a good source of protein.

poopnest's avatar

Have you heard of Herbalife? I use the nutritional shake sometimes and the multivitamin they have. Sometimes I need help keeping a healthy diet and this stuff really helps me. It has 9 grams of fiber and protein and 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients. (I know, I sound like I’m selling but I feel great on this stuff…I just don’t constantly live off of the shakes ‘cus I like chewing my food!) Well, if you google Herbalife, you are sure to find more info.

Kardamom's avatar

Find out whether or not (from your doctor) you can take Beano to prevent getting gas from eating beans. If you can take it, then you can add more beans to your diet. Some beans cause more gas than others and some bean preparations can reduce the tendency towards gas. Check out this website to get all sorts of info on how to eat and prepare beans whilst avoiding gassiness.

One thing that you might be overlooking is Mushrooms. They’re very high in fiber and can fill in for meat in lots of recipes. And they’re super-yummy. If you have an Asian grocery store in your town, you can usually find a lot more varieties of mushrooms and get them for a cheaper price than at Vons or Whole Foods. Go for shiitakes and oyster mushrooms as well as regular old button mushrooms and crimini mushrooms and Portobellos and morels and for some of the more “exotic” shrooms try bunashmeji or maitake or Enoki or King Trumpet Oyster Mushrooms

Then take a walk through your local produce section of your grocery store, stores that specialize in produce are best (but that doesn’t mean they’re more expensive, like Whole Foods probably is). Then take a look at all of the veggies that you’ve probably never even tasted or thought about. Find the produce clerk and ask them how to prepare whatever you see, or seek out another shopper who’s lingering in the produce section. People are usually very happy to tell you how to prepare stuff. Then go for radishes and turnips and rutabagas and multi-colored potatoes, and carrots and fresh peas in the pod, and snow peas and and broccoli and cauliflower and rapini and kale and Swiss chard and beets and sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and acorn squash and crookneck squash (which is my avatar by the way, honk honk) and and those smallish yellow flat squash that look like spaceships called summer squash, and zucchini and celery and don’t forget your herbs like basil and cilantro and parsley and chives, and don’t forget about your spicy foods like bell peppers, both green and red and all of the chilies from Anaheim to Jalapeno, and while you’re at it, try some of those nifty heirloom tomatoes and maybe even some lemony/tomatoey flavored tomatillos for some fantastic salsa.

Of course you’ll want some nuts and seeds, such as peanuts (which are technically a legume) and walnuts and pecans and pistachios, and hazelnuts and cashews, and pine nuts and pumpkin seeds (or pepitas as they’re sometimes called) and flax seeds and sunflower seeds and sesame chia seeds. A lot of the nuts can be purchased or homemade into nut butters too. And you can get tahini (sesame seed paste) to flavor all sorts of things, especially hummus.

Oh and I almost forgot 2 of my favorite things avocado and artichokes.

Eat lots of fresh fruits and some amounts of dried fruits, but don’t rely on eating tons of dried fruits, because they have a much higher concentration of sugar in them and can lead to spikes in your blood sugar levels. But eating just a couple of prunes every day will be both delicious and give you a lot of fiber.

And don’t forget your berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries and cranberries.

Because you’lll probably want to create some recipes with all of this stuff, rather than just eating a plate full of raw fruit and vegetables, my next section is a short list of some products that you can hopefully eat, to make salads or simply to add to cooked food to make it taste better.

The first thing is Vegenaise which is a vegan mayonaise substitute. They make several different kinds and you can read on their site, which one is the best option. They make one that is soy free and one that is gluten free, so you can decide which one is the best match. And it tastes terrific! This is what it looks like. The original does have soy, so read the info on their site to make your best choice.

The next thing is Smart Balance Buttery Spread. They make about 4 or 5 different blends and I’m pretty sure they contain no dairy, but you can/should contact the company to make sure that their is no caesin or whey (which I don’t think there is) but this stuff tastes terrific and has plant sterols in it, that aid in lowering cholesterol. This is what it looks like. They also make a blend with flax, and olive oil and added Omega 3 fatty acids.

And get yourself a nice selection of vinegars (find out if that’s OK from your doctor) like rice, red wine, white, Balsamic, cider and malt vinegars. You can mix them with olive oil for salad dressing, or put a splash on your roasted vegetables. Or use them to spice up vegetable broth based soups.

And load up your spice cabinet with all sorts of non-salt and non-sugar added spices. Go for the regular stuff (most of which is extremely full of cancer fighting compounds. Cinnamon is apparently very good for people with diabetes) Just make sure that if you are taking any prescription meds, that you tell the pharmacist what spices you use. If you prone to kidney stones, let your pharmacist know if you eat any particular spices, some can produce oxalic acid in the kidneys if you are prone to kidney stones, but in most cases your every day spices will not only be tasty, they’re good for you. So think about cayenne pepper and smoked paprika and chile powder and cumin and turmeric and dried ginger and garlic and oregeno and rosemary and get yourself some good peppercorns (not that nasty old pre-ground dried up black pepper).

And then for your milk substitutes, try some of this new So Delicious Brand Coconut Milk or one of these Non Dairy and Non Soy Milks I personally loved the hazelnut, but thought the hemp milk tasted icky, but my best friend liked it.

Check with your doctor to see whether you can eat honey or Agave Nectar Sweetener My diabetic uncle uses the agave sweetner and it tastes like honey.

Then start practicing with different techniques to prepare your food. Don’t just use the same old methods. Try steaming and poaching and braising and roasting and stirfrying for veggies and fruit. Instead of just eating a piece of celery, grate it super fine and then grate some apples into it with a few sliced strawberries and give it a squeeze of lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar. Make a hash of sweet potatoes and turkey sausage, then top it off with a fried egg. Embrace the soup (darned near everything can be made into soup, if you need a recipe just ask me). Don’t think of chili as just containing beef and red beans (you’d be surprised at all of the good things that can be put into chili). And realize that just about any fruit or vegetable can be made into a slaw, not everything has to be eaten cooked, even if that’s what you’re used to. On the other hand, you can roast just about any ordinary vegetable and some fruits and turn it into a gourmet feast for your tastebuds.

Now for a killer recipe, try this Tom Kha Soup (Note: just omit the tiny bit of sugar that this recipe calls for. And use canned coconut milk, not the coconut milk “substitute” from above which tastes like regular milk, not coconut.

Hope this helps : )

Kardamom's avatar

Another favorite recipe is Indian Chole (chickpea curry)

And if you like the above recipe ^^ then you’ll probably like Indian Bharta (eggplant curry)

For something more in the neighborhood of comfort food, you might like this Kale and White Bean Soup

Or Multi-Mushroom Soup (Note: just use one of the milk substitutes in place of the cream) They also make dairy free half and half substitutes, but you’ll have to check the ingredients. The almond, hazelnut or coconut milk subs should work just fine, it will just be a little bit thinner.

Or grill up some Portobello Mushrooms on the barbecue.

Of course most of you know about my favorite go-to salad recipe Raw Kale and Root Vegetable Salad with Spiced Nuts (note: if you don’t want to make the nuts, just get Trader Joe’s sweet spicy pecans)

This sounds yummy Marinated Mushroom Salad

And for a hearty warm meal on a cold night Chicken and Mushroom Stew

And for a different take on cole slaw, check out this delicious Asian Cabbage Slaw

And for a bit of Southwestern flair, try this Green Chile, White Bean and Chicken Chili

And for something completely decadent, but super-healthy with an eye towards Thanksgiving, check out this Herb Roasted Vegetables with Mushroom Wine Gravy (Note: this calls for a tiny bit of whole wheat flour, just as a thickening agent, you can simply omit it, and then just reduce the gravy down a bit, which means cook it a little bit longer over low heat until more of the liquid evaporates.)

JLeslie's avatar

@lostinyoureyes And, avoid fruit juices too. A glass of orange juice has the same amount of sugar as a glass of coca-cola. I would think balance small meals would be best? Some protein, a little carb, and fiber. I assume you already know that whole grains and things like legumes have sugars, but the sugar enters your blood stream more slowly than fruit sugars, pasta, bread, etc. So, the whole grains are kind of like taking sugar that is time released.

marinelife's avatar

@lostinyoureyes That’s what Beano is for.

JLeslie's avatar

Just curious, why are you focusing on getting more fiber?

lostinyoureyes's avatar

@Kardamom Wow thank you for your lengthy responses. I was definitely forgetting about the fibre in mushrooms and other things. Appreciate the help.

@JLeslie Because I’m cutting out starches and grains completely—even quinoa. Before this, stuff like quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and yams was prominent in my diet.

KevinBradley's avatar

Include more Raw vegetables and fruits in your diet will surely increase fiber. Dietary fiber can only be found in food made from plants, so increase your intake of raw fruit, especially the raw fruit peel, will help you a lot. For the best results, eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday. Fruits that are excellent sources of fiber include berries, pears, apples and prunes. If you want to increase fiber by eating more vegetables, stick to Brussells sprouts, carrots, potatoes and lettuce.

snowberry's avatar

Concentrate on low glycemic Fruits and vegetables. Avocado is not on any glycemic list that I have found, but it’s high in fiber and very low glycemic.

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