I’ve known that there’s something a little odd about the fact that when I’m bored, one of my favorite activities is to go to Whole Foods or some other local organic market and wander around. A few years ago I used to actually have a routine on the weekend where I would go to a produce market and 2-3 organic markets to get all of the foods and treats I enjoy because no one store had them all. It would take me hours to complete the shopping circuit, but, oddly, it made me really happy!
At the time, I would chalk this somewhat odd behavior to at least being productive since I was buying foods that would last me a while and my diet was much stricter than it is now.
Well, today I realized something. I’m officially a health food geek. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a title I wear with a great deal of pride.
I spent most of this lovely Saturday wandering around aimlessly, even stopped to get a bite to eat at a restaurant/bar that has both good food and good outside atmosphere. Since I wasn’t exactly feeling it, I decided to head out and stopped at Rollin’ Oats on my way home to pick up some roasted veggies from their pre-made food section.
But, did I stop there? Of course not! And I learned a few interesting food facts along with way.
One was about Psyllium Husk.
Psyllium had come up in a conversation with a friend recently. She was looking for something to keep her ‘regular’ and psyllium supplements were at the top of my list of recommendations. But, I was only familiar with pysllium as a capsule.
Today, I discovered you can buy psyllium powder and the entire husk to use various ways — including in recipes. And there it was in the bulk food section right below the nuts all along. Despite all of my research into health food and, especially digestive supplements and high fiber products, I had no idea until I heard a gentleman asking about it for a friend of his who is coming to visit him.
For those of you unfamiliar with pysllium, it’s a source of serious fiber. I sort of envision it like a sponge. This is probably more than a bit of a simplistic explanation, but I think of it like a dry sponge/brillo pad in your intestine that absorbs water and expands as it moves through, scraping up and dragging all the gunk in the intestines with it, and, well, not to be gross, but then disposing of all that at the other end.
Being the nosy person I am and always overhearing conversations and piping in my two cents, I took this opportunity to ask the man about the psyllium powder and husks and how to use them. Unfortunately, he didn’t share a whole lot trade secrets, but it was enough to send the research part of my brain into overdrive when I got home.
Here’s what I discovered…
First, on top of the fabulous benefit of keeping you regular, because it’s so high in fiber (70% soluble fiber and 30% insoluble fiber) and because it expands the way it does, it can help with weight loss since it fills you up. I’ve read that it’s also highly beneficial in helping to treat IBS and even fights the risk of stroke in obese individuals.
And, here’s the part I really didn’t know before today…
- You can add psyllium to a juice or some other drink, just be sure you drink it quickly before it thickens up.
- You can add psyllium powder to baked goods to increase the fiber content without adding calories or flavor
- When combined with water psyllium works as an egg-replacement to bind ingredients in gluten-free baking!
- It makes smoothies thicker and decreases levels of the hormone ghrelin (a Dr. Oz favorite). Ghrelin is what tells you that you’re hungry, so by decreasing the levels, you feel full faster.
So, there you have it! The many uses of pysllium. But one really, really important note — Drink LOTS of water! Since psyllium absorbs all that water, if you don’t replace it, you will very likely end up dehydrated! You’ve been warned – from the girl who is so terrible about drinking water that I had to put an app on my phone to remind me. :)
Of course, you know what this means! Guess who’s going to be back at Rollin’ Oats tomorrow!