December 11, 2022 12 min read
Below, you will find five breakfast, five lunch and five dinner recipes all from the Fiber Fueledbook by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz.
Let this blog serve as a mere introduction into the vast realm of plant-based eating and its healing abilities.
This blog will serve to cover the basics of the Fiber Fueled plan by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz. It will also deepen our understanding of overall gut health, digestion, and role of fiber in the diet.
The Fiber Fueled diet plan is centered around the consumption of very high amounts of dietary fiber. Some of us may currently have trouble digesting raw plant fibers, which will hinder this healing experience. Fear not, there is a solution.
As you continue through this post you will find a powerful solution to prime your gut before starting this protocol.
Ultimately, are looking to maximize the healing power of plants by optimizing our digestion and gut microbiome.
If you enjoy the recipes and this diet plan, then it makes sense to support the author and his work. Will we go over five days of recipes, which will include our three main meals of the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more recipes like this, including both snacks and dessert, check out the Fiber Fueled Cookbook.
It’s important to note that the author urges the reader to think of this not as a diet plan but rather a “Culinary Adventure.” We will head out on this adventure learning new recipes, new ingredients, and experiment with exotic flavors.
Before we dive deeper into the Fiber Fueled plan, we must first understand the true importance of dietary fiber. Most people have heard over and over again how loads of fiber in our diet comes with a plethora of health benefits. Fiber is vital when it comes to preventing heart disease, Irritable Bowel Disease, Colorectal Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes or even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
As we understand the “what” of fiber, our goal now transitions to understanding the “why” and the “how” fiber works. Join us on a biological journey to discover why fiber is extremely important and how it really works when ingested.
We will also cover why some individuals have trouble digesting raw plant fibers and how we can fix that for good.
It is estimated that there are over 39 trillion microbial cells that live on and within us. Roughly 70% of those microbes can be found residing in our colon alone! This makes up the gut microbiome. Within the microbiome, we are seeing key species and families of bacteria (which we’ll cover in more detail) that are constantly contributing to a higher function of the human body.
To list a few:
It’s now up to us to harness the right microbes within us and we’re going to do this with, you guessed it, fiber!
What happens when we digest fiber or any food for that matter?
Let’s think of it this way: our first contact with the outside world is food. As soon as we consume something it then comes in contact with our gut lining. This gut lining is comprised of a mucus-like membrane that surrounds the small and large intestines.
This mucus membrane is here to prevent leaks and breaks, so no food particles or endotoxins can flow through (i.e. leaky gut). Floating above the gut mucus layer, we find the bulk of the gut microbiome. Trillions and trillions of beneficial microbes that work to keep the gut lining strong and healthy. Underneath the gut mucus layer, we find the intestinal epithelium (the surface of the intestines).
Picture (A) highlights an example of a healthy and properly functioning colon. The gut mucus layer is intact and strong as it keeps the bacterial cells above. Picture (B) highlights an example of a comprised gut. The gut mucus layer is weak and degraded, allowing all bacteria to penetrate with some breaking through to the other side (i.e. leaky gut in the beginning stages, IBD in the later stages).
(Image from: Noortje Ijssennagger., Roelof van der Meer., Saskia W.C. van Mil. Sulfide as a Mucus Barrier-Breaker in Inflammatory Bowel Disease? Volume 22, Issue 3, P190-199, March 01, 2016.)
This is the most important idea: good gut bacteria will influence the strength of the gut mucus layer. If we are eating a diet high in refined sugars, processed and deep fried foods, ones that have been mechanically stripped of all fiber, then we we will be on track for results akin to those depicted in picture B.
Foods devoid of fiber and stripped away from their fiber matrix will feed dysbiotic bacteria and it's as simple as that.
There are a few key strains of bacteria that can be considered the “masters” of our microbiome. These are strains that thrive on the fiber we consume.
The main strain that comes up time and time again is Bifidobacterium.
High populations of bifidobacteria will regulate our immune system by potentiating helper T-Cells. It will aid in reversing insulin resistance by restoring proper insulin function. It has been shown to greatly aid in optimizing energy levels through internal B-Vitamin production. Bifidobacteria has also been shown to aid in the reversal of IBS, food sensitivities and seasonal allergies. It has been shown to have a strong correlation in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Our next “master”microbe in the gut would be, Akkermansia Muciniphila, which can actually be fed by bifidobacteria.
Akkermansia has become somewhat of a buzzword in the health community as of late, and for good reason. When discussing the gut lining and the strength of the gut mucus layer, Akkermansia is at the forefront.
Otherwise known as the anti-obesity microbe, it carries a strong association with overall lean body mass. The main way it does this is by contracting the surface area of the gut. As its surface area decreases and contracts, we naturally absorb less calories from each meal. As Akkermansia populations rise, caloric harvest goes down.
Have you ever known someone who can eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce of body fat? Akkermansia most likely the key contributing factor.
Harnessing The Optimal Gut
Akkermansia and Bifidobacteria work together to strengthen the gut mucus layer in a synergistic relationship.
The gut mucus layer is comprised of what are called “glycoproteins," otherwise known as “mucins.” Mucins are long chain sugars that are attached to a single protein.
Our gut lining can either be strengthened or weakened depending on the amount of mucins available. The higher the amount of mucins, the stronger the gut lining.
Important Idea: Harvesting good bacteria works to improve the strength of the gut mucus layer.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
We have specific genes found in the epithelial lining in the large intestine. These genes produce more mucins. Two of these specific genes we can see in Figure 2. These are; Muc2 (Mucin 2) and Fut2 (2’fucosyltransferase).
Good bacteria within our microbiome will influence these genes to turn on. As they are activated, they begin to make mucins, thus strengthening the gut mucus layer.
As we can see from the image above, the gut microbiota floats above the mucus layer. Good bacteria will turn on the genes; Muc2 and Fut2, improving the strength go the gut mucus layer. (Image from:Schroeder, Bjoern O. “Fight them or feed them: how the intestinal mucus layer manages the gut microbiota.” Gastroenterology Report 7 (2019): 3 - 12.)
This is where the super prebiotic - Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) come into play. There are hundreds of HMO strains, however the most beneficial and researched strain is 2’fucosyllactose. Nearly identical to the Fut2 gene that produces more mucins; 2’fucosyltransferase.
For this reason, HMOs are known as “strengtheners” of the gut lining. They will turn on the genes necessary to create more mucins.
As HMOs are working to feed Bifidobacteria and turning on genes to make more mucins, we have Akkermansia eating those mucins.
Akkermansia is known as a mucin degrading bacteria.
Here’s how it works:
As we feed good bacteria, through HMOs and plant fibers, they will in-turn produce more mucins. These mucins help keep Akkermansia fed to do its job. These bacteria will then produce optimal ratios of Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) that work to close up the gut junctions, heal the colon, digestion and get the most out the fiber we consume.
Let’s break down what happens when we digest fiber.
When you ingest plants and their fibers, your body breaks down and ferments non-digestible carbohydrates (fiber) and turns them into Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs).
These are then utilized by Bifidobacteria which is utilized by Firmicutes such as F. prausnitzii, Roseburia, Anaerostipes, Eubacterium, etc. to give us the SCFA, butyrate.
As you digest fiber, it not only breaks down into butyrate, but it also breaks down and gives us something extremely important: Antioxidants.
The colon is strongly oxidizing and is constantly going through a ton of oxidative stress. It is necessary for this reason to have a regular influx of plants and their fibers in the diet to help maintain balance in the colon.
We can begin to experience true healing when our gut microbes are producing the optimal ratios of SCFAs, especially Butyrate.
This is because butyrate is the main fuel source of the “Colonocytes.” These are the cells that line the colon. If the colonocytes cannot feed correctly then our body will be unable to utilize and break down fiber. This is what is known as “Impaired Butyrate Transport.” This is where we begin to have a plethora of health issues, and we can recognize this through our inability to digest fiber.
Do you Struggle With Digesting Fiber?
We have an order of operations to follow and it all involves our gut microbiome. Let’s take a more detailed look inside with Figure 3, to discover what may be happening inside our gut.
Figure 3:The left of the image highlights a fiber rich diet reflecting a healthy microbiome, mucus layer and epithelial lining. As we begin to travel down the road of a fiber deficient diet, we see the mucus strength degrade. As this prolongs, we create more severe issues causing bacteria to break through the epithelial lining producing the endotoxin LPS (lipopolysaccharide).
Image:Schroeder, Bjoern O. “Fight them or feed them: how the intestinal mucus layer manages the gut microbiota.” Gastroenterology Report 7 (2019): 3 - 12.
Let’s Prime Our Gut So We Can Become Fiber Fueled!
If we currently have trouble digesting raw plant fibers in excess then let’s start with the Gut Reset Protocol.
This works to jump start Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia production, which will in-turn strengthen our gut lining and repair butyrate transport. Following this protocol, our ability to digest even the hardest of fibers will have improved drastically.
Here’s what we’ll need:
These are powerful tools that can properly prime the body prior to starting the Fiber Fueled Diet Plan. This will maximize your body’s ability to breakdown and ferment these plant fibers. It will also allow you to maximize the amount of antioxidants and butyrate produced from the digestive process.
The Optimal Dosing
These will be best consumed at breakfast for 1-2 weeks prior to starting Fiber Fueled. You can continue for another 1-2 weeks through the start of the protocol to maximize the benefits!
At breakfast, take:
This will elicit the best results.
Going primarily plant-based in the short-term can be a remarkable healing experience. Your body will be producing mass amounts of good bacteria through the fermentation of fiber.
This will not only leave you feeling more energized and light, but also comes with a plethora of disease preventing and anti-aging benefits.
It’s important to remember that we as humans, are seasonal eaters. This is how we evolved. Different seasons brought on abundance of various food sources, or lack thereof. For this reason, our body is equipped with various survival mechanisms to keep this ship afloat.
The body is extremely intelligent in its ability to learn and adapt to our eating habits. For example, if you are eating too much of one food, your body can eventually reject it and develop an allergy. This is why our body, and especially the gut microbiome, thrive on diversity.
Changing things up, challenging ourselves, and experimenting with new foods will be a massive key to our success.
The Fiber Fueled Plan
Now that we understand the true importance of fiber in the diet, we can begin to move on to a powerful, plant-based healing journey.
This plan was created to fit the uniqueness of each and every individual. This is your own custom experience as you can feel free to play around with the ingredients to make it more suitable for you and your taste.
With our own individuality at the forefront of our mind, we must remember that the rules are meant to be bent. Be intuitive and follow your instincts as this is a life long journey that we will embark on.
Keep A Journal
Use your journal to rank recipes from your enjoyment — perhaps on a scale from 1-10. This ranking system should be based on your taste, preference, convenience, enjoyment, and overall satisfaction. This journal will help us create staple recipes and make it much more convenient when revisiting them in the future.
The Fiber Fueled Plan does not track your caloric intake but rather how many different plants you use at each meal. Your total number of plant points will be calculated for the week in sum. Note, that each recipe card below will include the total number of plant points for that meal. This point system is designed to keep track of your overall plant diversity. It’s important to remember that a healthy gut thrives on diversity!
Tracking your plant points
We will become gut health masters as we begin this new and exciting culinary journey. The point system is here to help you and remind you to increase diversity over time. With patience, we will begin to notice that it takes less effort to search for foods we know we’ll love at the grocery store. Accumulating these points will allow us to move to the highest level as our true healing journey has only just begun.
Plant Point Goals
How the Author Calculates Total Plant Points
Less than 150 = “Rock Rookie”
We are just getting started. We may have not felt any benefits yet but it’s only up from here!
150-174 = “Rock Artist”
This is where we experience the real change. Here, we should notice better energy levels, more restful sleep, and overall, less inflammation in the body. All signs of great progress.
175-199 = “Rock Star”
Changes in your gut are underway. Your gut microbiome is shifting for the better. Here, we will notice healthier bowel movements and overall better digestion.
200-224 = “Rock Legend”
Pushing yourself to achieve greatness! Feel amazing and witness the healing power of plants and their fiber.
225 and beyond = “Rock God”
A fiber fueled god of rock. Welcome to the world of microbiome diversity. This will keep you healthy and happy for a lifetime.
Calculate Your Plant Points
Plant points are calculated by the number of plant foods included in the recipe. You can find that listed below on the recipe cards. Every unique plant will count for one point.
Fresh herbs count for 1 point but dried herbs and spices do not. They are however, heavily encouraged throughout the fiber fueled plan.
The Ultimate Fiber Fueled Checklist
This will include all your essential SHELF-STABLE ingredients that may be hard to find. Make sure to order some of these ahead of time if needed. This will also include appliances and cookware you’ll need to be successful. It’s time to invest in your health and it all starts in the kitchen.
To Note:These recipes and lists are made for you to save, print and use as a check-list if needed. Stick it to your fridge as a great reminder every time we look inside.
We don’t need it all to do amazing! Pick and choose what you’ll need based on your cooking style and preferences.
To help cut down on cooking days, it can be very helpful to find a day of the week that works for you to prep some goodness. It does not have to be a Sunday as it depends on your schedule.
Cooking large meals ahead of time, refrigerating and freezing portions can truly be a lifesaver!
It’s Not About Restriction
You will notice some tasty and healthy dessert recipes throughout the fiber fueled journey. This is because it is so important to enjoy what you’re eating. As long as your gut microbiome gets the fiber and diversity it needs, it will thrive.
All recipes can be used interchangeably. Though the author includes a 28 day meal plan with all different recipes, there is no problem of bringing certain recipes back throughout the 28 day journey. Find what works for you and follow your intuitive mind. Consider the recipes below a delicious appetizer to get you excited for what’s to come.
Your Handy Resources
The goal here is to stock up and feel prepped. We want to be ready not just for a few weeks. We want to be ready for the rest of our lifetime!
There will be lots of ingredients listed below for the following recipes. So just remember that you’ll be investing in recipes that will not only revamp your gut health, but will also have staple recipes to use throughout your life.
This is simply a glimpse into the fiber fueled plan and its healing journey. All things are interchangeable. There is no right or wrong, just you and achieving a healthy gut.
Let’s get stocked and prepped for a complete and beneficial lifestyle change.
Each graphic below is ready to be saved and printed for you to take with you to the grocery store, post on your fridge, etc. These are your resources and recipes to have you one step closer to your ultimate health goals.
Now On to The Good Stuff
As an introduction to the exciting journey of Fiber Fueled, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz recommends aiming for a total of 30 plant points per week.
aFeel free to mix and match these recipes throughout the weeks to come. Create your own combinations of meals to reach your 30 Plant Points at let’s begin this exciting new journey!
Fiber Fueled Book: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight Restoring Your Health and Optimizing Your Microbiome by Dr. Bulsiewicz Will.
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