e’ve been working to improve our health for nearly a year now (47 weeks to be exact), so I’m really hopeful you’re seeing some results and reaping the benefits of taking your health into your own hands by fueling your body with real food and a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re just joining us and aren’t quite sure what a healthy diet even means, then be sure to read this post where we discus different healing diets, as well as healthy change #47 where I explained our trusted traditional diet (based on the findings of Dr. Weston A. Price).
Probiotics can be obtained numerous ways, some of my favorites being through homemade fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles, milk kefir, yogurt (either homemade or a full-fat brand like Nancy’s) and this delicious spicy pineapple salsa. Others include probiotic beverages like kombucha, kvass and our very favorite, water kefir. Beyond eating a diet accompanied by delicious fermented foods, these ferments contain probiotics which help our gut to better absorb food by balancing bacteria and increasing digestive enzymes. This allows for better health because our bodies are able to obtain many more nutrients, lessening the need for added supplements and vitamins since we’re getting them from the food we eat (assuming the foods we’re eating are providing these nutrients!).
While store bought fermented foods will certainly have their benefits, they may not be as beneficial as their homemade counterparts (including affordability and taste). Many store bought ferments, in order to produce a consistent product, only have a couple strains of bacteria added, whereas homemade ferments from fresh produce contain a wide variety of strains naturally present on the food itself. This means eating a spoonful of store bought sauerkraut each day, although good, isn’t great because you’re not getting the diversity in bacteria our bodies so badly crave/need.
All that being said, if you’re a healthy individual with a low-stress lifestyle, if you get plenty of sleep and eat a diet that’s varied and includes many naturally occurring probiotic rich foods, you may not need to take a probiotic supplement. But how many of us can say that about our lives? The truth is, that’s only a very small percentage of Americans, and can fluctuate with frequency as illness and stress come and go.
To complicate matters further, if you’re one of the millions dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome, IBS, SIBO or auto-immune diseases, or if you’re on a specialized diet like GAPS, there are certain probiotics that will work better for you than others. Megan over at Eat Beautiful has put together a very comprehensive post about the differences between the different probiotics and which ones are most beneficial if dealing with any of the above issues.
Bottom line, our “good guys” could use some help from time to time, and diversity is a really good thing when it comes to the different strains of beneficial bacteria. So mix it up and start making your own ferments at home! I promise, once you give them a try, you’ll be shocked at just how easy they are.
If you suspect gut imbalances then start on some high quality probiotics and fermented foods (start slowly with both to avoid adverse reactions), try to drink bone broth at least once daily (better yet with each meal), get plenty of sleep and identify and eliminate stress.
Our go-to probiotic has always been BioKult, however after reading Megan’s post, we’ll keep our BioKult but will be swapping it up a bit more often!