Miscellany: Of wheat grass and gut flora
Dietary fiber is really important. Back around the beginning of the 20th century, people used to eat a LOT more fiber, mostly because everything was "whole grain" back then, not just health foods. The whole wave of refined sugars and flours hadn't quite hit every household yet.
I've been taking wheat grass pills in addition to paying more attention to the empty carbs and sugars I consume. Couple that with daily exercise, and I've dropped 15 pounds in two months, with no signs of stopping any time soon. More important, however, is that I have the energy to make it through the day.
Why is fiber important? One of the biggest reasons is your intestinal bacteria, or "gut flora." Most of what you actually excrete is bacteria - these bacteria can sometimes be harmful, of course, but most of the time they crowd out other harmful species. They also help your body absorb energy from food, and strengthen your immune system. Eating fiber "feeds" these gut flora (that's also what causes flatulence), keeping them healthy and happy, keeping you healthy and happy.
A lot of foods are rich in fiber that you might not expect. Nuts and beans are obvious suspects, but pretzels and popcorn have a good deal of fiber, too.