I’m currently having a bit of an IBS flare :(, I believe it’s just a hormonal shift that normally occurs during the month. I have to take all my medication and probiotic supplements religiously. As you know, this can get pricey. I currently alternate between two supplements, but I’m going to narrow it down to one. Right now, I’m taking Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care & Align Probiotic. The Ultimate Flora supplement I have been taking for a while and I feel that it helps quite a bit. The problem is that it’s around $55 for a 60 day supply. The Align was recommended to me by two gastroenterologists. I bought it when I was in extreme distress last year and it seemed to be effective when alternating it with the Ultimate Flora, but I digress.
With all that said, I was thinking about what people eat when they couldn’t rely on supplements. Surely, this wasn’t a big problem in the past. Our bodies most likely made to function optimally when consuming food with a certain amount of spoilage. However, in modern times, we know we tend to eat less spoiled and fermented items. 🙂 So while less people are dying from food poisoning and parasites, more people are getting digestive issues due to lack of good bacteria in their guts. Now we are trying to reintroduce this bacteria in capsule or powdered form.
What about natural methods of eating probiotic foods? I’m all about convenience and cutting costs,this way I can be less reliant on supplements and still get the same benefit. The good thing (for me) is that most probiotic foods are among my favorite foods. The downside, is that you have to make the foods yourself to *truly* get the best benefit.
Here is a list of great probiotic foods
- Yogurt – Of course. Most doctors recommend yogurt if you need more good bacteria in your system. If you choose to by store-bought yogurt, make sure it has live cultures – Stoneyfield has the most. If you want to try to make your own yogurt, there is a great tutorial here
- Sauerkraut – I could eat a whole jar of kraut. I love it, but again, stay away from the store-bought variety that has been pasteurized and either make your kraut yourself or buy from the deli. I know people that have had success making sauerkraut using a Perfect Pickler. Alton Brown has a good recipe for homemade kraut.
- Kimchi – very similar to sauerkraut, but with added spices and ingredients, like carrots, ginger, peppers, etc… Again, don’t buy the pasteurized shop. If you are lucky enough to live near a Korean grocery, buy it fresh there. Great Kimchi recipe here.
- Miso paste/soup – buy the unpasteurized miso paste. It tastes better and is better for you. Don’t buy instant. I happen to live near a Mitsuwa Markeplace (Japanese Grocery) and I get the Miko brand from there. I like Shiro miso the best. You can dilute miso in hot water for soup, use it in salad dressing, marinade, the possibilities are endless.
- Tempeh – Fermented soybeans. I’ll admit to not eaint this very often, only at Indonesian restaurants, but I’m going to change that. Tempeh has a smoky flavor similar to a mushroom. If anyone has any good tempeh recipes please let me know. 🙂
- Kefir – This is what I’ll give my son in smoothie form. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk and letting it ferment for about 24 hours. I think it’s great with enzyme-rich fruits, like pineapple.
In my opinion, it’s best to combine probiotic foods with prebiotic foods. Essentially, prebiotics are the main source of food for your gut flora. This is what will keep them happy and healthy, allowing them to multiply and raise beautiful families. Combinations such as yogurt & honey, miso with edamame on the side are excellent choices.
Here are a couple of great articles on probiotic foods:
Top Probiotic Foods You Are Not Eating – The Conscious Life