I know since you have landed here you are a Get-It-Done kind of person. 😉 We all have goals and plans and want to get the most out of each day, right? We need strong bodies to keep up! And if you’re a momma like I am, you just want to keep your babies well.
You’ve probably heard that probiotics are an important part of staying well, but did you know that 75-80% of your immune system lives in your gut? Yup, gut and intestinal health are hugely important to our well being. But most of us have been on many courses of antibiotics throughout our lives, and processed food and sterilized, indoor environments further deplete our inner ecosystems.
So, how do we replenish our guts with good bugs? Here are some of my favorite ways to get more probiotics in our diets! Oh, and hey, don’t get overwhelmed. Puh-lease don’t run out and try and do everything at once.
To be brutally honest, making some of this stuff is a giant pain in the butt! Pick one easy thing to try this week. Maybe it will just be picking up a new food at Sprouts. Then next week add in another idea that sounds interesting. Baby steps work better than burnout. 😉
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind this is not medical advice, just tips for proactive self care and WELLNESS. If you need medical advice, please speak to a physician! Capiche? 😉
#1 Fermented Veggies:
When I was a kid I hated sauerkraut. We would have it pretty much plain out of the jar, heated up (which destroys the good bacteria), with sausage on top. I would pick out the sausage. Who’d have thought I’d someday be here singing the praises of fermented vegetables? 😂
Probiotics in food are generally incorporated in the body better than pills, so even if you take a supplement, don’t neglect the importance of probiotic foods. Making your own fermented veggies is actually pretty simple. Although it takes a bit of time, it’s economical and yummy.
I like the culture starter from Body Ecology. It comes with simple instructions which involve mixing the culture with a small amount of sugar and warm water, and then mixing it with organic shredded cabbage. You then place it in mason jars and let it ferment on the counter for one week. You can experiment with adding in things like kale, shredded carrot, ginger, dill, etc. Just keep in mind that anything with a strong flavor will be magnified, so less is more.
No time or too overwhelmed to make it yourself? Believe me, I understand! There are plenty of wonderful options on the market too. My kids, (YES KIDS!), love Farmhouse Culture’s Dill Pickle sauerkraut.
Try to have a couple spoonfuls of fermented veggies every day, your gut will thank you!
Kefir is relatively easy thing to make and makes a great base for smoothies. I have tried it with the kefir grains but I personally found the packets to be easier to work with. Okay, confession, I killed the grains. 🙈
To make this, you’ll need milk that is low processed, not ultra pasteurized. Again, I had luck with a Body Ecology starter packet, just mix it up according to package directions and let it ferment on the counter. FYI, I have no affiliation with Body Ecology, although if they wanted to send me free stuff I would not refuse it. 😜
Some people also love water kefir. I have made it and the smell made me want to vomit. Maybe the culture had too much yeast in it? I don’t know, but I am not a fan of water kefir. 🤢 Have you had better luck with it? Let me know!
Of course you can also buy kefir at the store. Just watch out because a lot of them have a ton of sugar. I can think of funner ways to consume a day’s worth of sugar than a cup of kefir, can’t you? 🍦😂
For those unfamiliar, Kombucha is a fermented tea which was known as the “Immortal Health Elixer” by the Chinese. It actually originated in the Far East over 2,000 years ago. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acetic, gluconic and lactic acids. And trust me, it tastes a lot better than it sounds. 😆
I recently started making my own kombucha tea and it’s every bit as tasty as the expensive ones from the store! Except more of a pain in the butt. I keep procrastinating and letting it ferment too long. 😳 Sometimes it’s just one more thing, you know? There are benefits to making it yourself, as some in the store have been pasteurized and don’t contain all the beneficial bacteria.
To make kombucha yourself, you’ll need to acquire a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). SCOBYs multiply, so if you have a friend who makes kombucha they will probably be more than happy to give you one. If not, you can order them online but find a reputable source. When I was starting out, I found the recipes and instructions from Kombucha Kamp very helpful, and they also sell SCOBYs. I didn’t buy anything fancy, just some big jars from Amazon.
As much as I dislike keeping up with kombucha making, this is probably our family’s favorite way to get probiotics. Ginger and berry is our favorite flavor.
#4 Probiotic Supplements:
Food is used by the body better than pills, but a probiotic supplement can give us a boost, especially if our guts have been wiped out by antibiotics. And since we’ve already established that sometimes we (or at least I 😂), just can’t keep up with everything, a supplement can be an insurance policy when you aren’t eating as well as you’d like.
When shopping for probiotics, some are formulated to be shelf stable, but many of the best products will be in a refrigerated section. If you have a probiotic shipped to you, put it in the fridge on arrival. If the strains of bacteria are not actually alive you are wasting your money.
Young Living’s Life 9 supplement is one that I really like. It’s is a high-potency probiotic that combines 17 billion live cultures from 9 beneficial bacteria strains. So for those of you who are Young Living fans, put it on your order. 👍 Either way, just make sure you are getting a quality product.
So, you are going to all this trouble to feed your gut with good bugs, but how do you care for them once they are in your body?
Please, please, try and stay away from GMO foods. If you are eating products made from food that is itself classified as a pesticide by the EPA, that is not good for your gut! The manufacturers tells us the GMO’s are safe because they work by destroying a specific pathway in insects that humans do not have. But, our gut bacteria does have that pathway! Avoid these foods like the plague.
Eating plenty of prebiotic foods, which feed your gut bacteria, is another vital factor in gut health. Here’s a list of prebiotic foods to help you out, feel free to Pin it for later. 😊
Taking care of your gut health is one of the best things you can do to keep your body strong and WELL. What are your favorite ways to get probiotics in your diet? Let us know in the comments!