You need fiber. And while I know it doesn’t sound particularly fun or sexy, it’s a fact and you know the reality about facts: we have to face them.

As bland and boring as you might think fiber is, it actually performs miracles inside your system that will help you look, feel and honestly be healthy. I recently had the pleasure of sharing lunch with Tanya Zuckerbrot MS RD, a nutritionist and author of The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight Loss and came away with a greater knowledge and understanding about the why’s and how’s of fiber in our daily diet. I really like Tanya because she is a fun person and very smart, yet when you are talking with her she shares her information in a way that is more like girl talk as opposed to a scientist speaking to a room full of students.

I know you are curious about the ‘look, feel and be healthy’ fiber related promise I made in the previous paragraph, so now, like the good journalist I am, I’m going to make good on that for you.

As for how fiber makes you look better, Tanya tells me The F-Factor diet is high in fiber, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and good fats that help you keep your hair, skin and nails looking their very best. Switching from a refined diet to a high fiber diet results in a clearer, suppler complexion, shiny, fortified locks and strong flexible nails. F-Factor also helps banish bloat, so you will look and feel better in your more form fitting fashions. When you eat according to Tanya’s recommendations, by consuming fiber and protein at every meal, your stomach feels full for a good long time. Because you feel satiated, and you are eating whole foods that are slow to digest, you feel energetic and robust. The health benefits of fiber are also major and many. For one thing, fiber keeps you regular and we’ve all heard about the vital importance of colon health. Eating a fiber rich diet can also help lower cholesterol and, here’s the big one people, help you lose weight and keep it off.

Because she believes that we can ‘eat any food ~ it’s the quantity and frequency that is key’, Tanya’s plan works for everyone. If you cook, great, her book offers 75 of her original recipes and you’ll have a great time whipping up her delicious fare. Not a fan of riding the range? No problem, you can follow the F-Factor diet without ever cooking one thing. Vegan or vegetarian? This eating plan works for you, too.

Remember to think of this is a way of life, folks, because as Tanya told me, ‘for long term results you can’t do anything temporarily.’ She suggests we all adopt, if we haven’t already, a heightened sense of awareness and accountability’ about what we are eating each and every day. To help us accomplish the goal of 25-30 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 per day for men, Tanya has come out with her own products under the F-Factor heading. Her cereals and meal bars are both satisfying and great tasting, proving once again the fiber doesn’t have to taste like a cardboard box!

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Laura Carson Miller is a freelance lifestyle writer in Atlanta. Find her website and blog here:

Book, cereal and cereal bars were provided courtesy of Tanya Zuckerbrot.