Probiotic Foods

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

WebMd -Top Foods for Probiotics

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Shake Review: Jay Robb Egg White Protein

The latest protein shake I decided to try was Jay Robb egg white protein. I’ve heard great reviews on the whey supplement, but I’m trying to limit dairy and would rather not give up my yogurt ration, so I gave Jay Robb’s egg white protein a try.

One scoop contains 120 calories and 24 grams of protein and various amino acids. Jay Robb is purely a protein supplement, so you aren’t going to find added vitamins and minerals here.

It is easily mixed with water in a blender bottle, and has a great chocolate taste. The dowside, for me, is that Jay Robb contains stevia, so the great chocolatey flavor was followed by this sickeningly sweet chemically taste. This was the final time I was giving a stevia product a chance. No more stevia for me, I just can’t take it.

That said, I think that Jay Robb makes a GREAT post workout supplement, if you can handle the taste of stevia.

PBJFF Sandwich

PBJFF stands for Peanut Butter, Jelly, Fruit & Flax. My son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and this adds an easy nutrition boost. Just add ground flax to the peanut butter (you can mix it up if your child is super picky) and finely slice up the fruit of your choice ( I used fresh strawberries here). Lightly spread jelly on your bread (I use Whole Foods 360 brand fruit spread and Limpa brad from a local baker) and add sliced fruit. Add peanut butter/flax mixture to other slice of bread. Slap the two pieces together and eat it up.

Working out at the playground.

As a working mother, multitasking is something that we have to get good at quickly. My son is on winter break from school and I’ve taken vacation from work to hang out with him. One thing I learned quickly is that it’s difficult to work out with him in the house. He critiques (which can be a positive. lol.) and gets under my feet all. the. time. I determined that the best way to kill two birds with one stone, allowing for both me and him to burn energy, was to workout at the playground.

Here is what I did:

I brought a jump rope and used an interval timer to do cardio. If you don’t have an interval timer, Gymboss timers run about $20. If you have a smartphone, you can download either the Gymboss app (free) or the Interval Timer Pro app ($2.99). Both work very well.

I set my timer to 18 rounds of 45/20. That means that I alternated between 45 seconds of jumping rope and 20 seconds of rest. My legs were sore from previous workouts and I needed the 20 second downtime in between sets, but you can shorten that up to 10 or 15 seconds if you want to. This session lasted 20 minutes.

Afterward, I alternated between 10 reps of spiderman planks and assisted pull ups on the monkey bars. I did 16 rounds (8 rounds each) of this session.

The best thing is that I get this workout in while watching my son playing with other kids. 🙂 It’s important to remember that we don’t need an expensive gym membership or workout gadgets to get fit. The best thing you can have is motivation to do your best. You can even shorten up your sessions and play with your kids for a little while – that burn calories too. 🙂 We did a long game of tag, which was tough because my legs were dead tired from jumping rope.

Here are some link to other playground workouts I hope to incorporate soon.

I have also added these links to my Pinterest Workout Board.

Rethink Breakfast: Israeli Inspired Breakfast.

I ate a little bit bad last night. I admit it. I had a piece of lasagna, some ice cream and about 3 glasses of wine. It was NYE and I couldn’t say no to bad for me eats. This morning I was determined to make my first meal of 2012 healthy. I love Isreali style breakfasts and I had enough veggies in the fridge to make it work. 😉

A classic Israeli breakfast usually contains a salad of finely chopped fresh vegetables, scrambled or fried eggs, a soft cheese or yogurt and fresh bread. I was too groggy this morning to finely chop most of the vegetable aside from the cucumber, but here you have it my  “California-style” version:

  • pickled tomato
  • slices of avocado
  • grape tomatoes
  • chopped cucumber
  • baby carrots
  • sugar snap peas
  • jicama
  • Wasa crispbread
  • 2 fried eggs
  • Greek yogurt mixed with garlic.

Very filling and very good for you!