Monday, February 3, 2014

Cleaning Up Our Diet: Chapter 4. Probiotics

Posted by Paulette

This post may not be for everyone. I believe that probiotics are essential for good health. They boost the immune system by allowing the body to get the nutrients needed from the foods we eat. GMO (genetically modified organisms) containing glyphosate kill off the natural bacteria in the gut! Replacing those bacteria is so important.
 An easy way to incorporate probiotics into the diet is to eat yogurt. My children love it! I like to buy Greek yogurt because the protein levels are higher, since it's been strained. I don't have to strain mine, because when I make it, I add more milk powder. 
 This is one of those things that's pretty hard to mess up. I make it in mason jars in a cooler overnight. My kids prefer the store bought stuff, but when money is tight, I pull out some food storage milk powder, and mix some of it up. They'll eat it with vanilla and raw honey, or with jelly. When I do buy yogurt, I am careful to read labels. Many of them contain thickening agents, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors. The ones that don't can be rather pricey. So I have my sources at Winco and Trader Joe's for the best quality and taste. And they're 1/3 to 1/2 the price of the trendy brands.

A few years ago, my mother turned me on to a concoction of apple cider vinegar and honey in water. You should use the vinegar with the "mother" still in it. This the the bacteria that changed the juice into vinegar. There's a short slide show, touting the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Adding raw honey to it makes it more palatable, but also ups it's immune boosting abilities. 
"Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It promotes body and digestive health, is a powerful antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, eliminates allergies, and is an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. Raw honey's benefits don't stop there. Raw honey can also stabilize blood pressure, balance sugar levels, relieve pain, calm nerves, and it has been used to treat ulcers. Raw honey is also an expectorant and anti-inflammatory and has been known to effectively treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma."
Kombucha is a fermented probiotic drink made from tea (black, green, or white) and sugar. The scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is what does the magic. In about a week or two, your sugary tea turns into a vinegar that is full of goodness. It can be flavored in the second fermentation. 
 This is also something that can be bought ready made at most health food stores. It can get expensive, though, since it's $3.50  a bottle. 
Making your own is the most cost effective way of getting it, and you can control the ingredients, using organic teas and sugars.
Each new batch makes a baby scoby, so there's plenty to share.
I've had some issues making my own at home. It's very susceptible to growing mold. I've recently had some success with water kefir in my bedroom closet, and so I may try a batch there.

Which brings us to my favorite probiotic of all, water kefir.
 When done right, flavored water kefir tastes like soda pop. Even unflavored, it has a taste that's similar to a sparkling cider. It's simply made with water, sugar, a little baking soda, sugar and kefir grains. I don't know of anywhere that sells water kefir, and that's really too bad, because as I've said, It really is the best of the probiotics. 
Unlike the scoby, you can eat the grains that grow from making water kefir. They taste slightly yeasty. Happy grains like minerals found in molasses, or an egg shell. There are plenty of sites that teach how to brew water kefir, and sell grains. The best way to get them is free, from a friend who brews their own.

Then there's always probiotics in a capsule. DoTerra has a really good one. They call it PB Assist. 

See that little green pill? The outside is actually clear with another capsule inside it. That's where the probiotic is located. The outside layer contains a prebiotic.
It contains 6 live strains of bacteria.

So, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like smelly things, this may be the way to go for you. I like to cover all my bases, and so I consume at least two servings of these brews, pills or concoctions a day.

I am not a health care professional. I am merely sharing my experiences and those of my family.

Next time: Sweet!

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