Probiotic

Digestive-Probiotic Green Smothie

Probiotic Green Smoothie

Hot days are creeping up and I’m in the mood for smoothies!! I try to monitor the amount of fruit I eat, especially when there is an abundance of amazing seasonal fruits available now. Green herbs are also in season and I love a good yogurt drink, especially when it’s homemade from grass-fed raw milk (recipe here).

The homemade yogurt makes this an amazing powerful probiotic (since I leave it 24 hours to ferment). The herbs add the touch of a digestive aid and beautiful flavor!

To make this wonderfully refreshing digestive-probiotic smoothie, you simply assemble:

  • 2-3 Cups of whole yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbs. fresh green herbs such as dill, mint, parsley, etc… (I like to use 1/2 dill and 1/2 mint)

Place it all in a blender for about 20 second and enjoy 🙂

 

Probiotics, What Are They?

Probiotics1

This recipe was taken from my book A Closer Look At Nutrition & Wellness – Handbook of Digestive Health for Well-being

Cultured Foods and Pro-Biotics            

 All disease begins in the gut.

~Hippocrates, father of medicine~

Cultured and Fermented Foods

Cultured and fermented foods are basically the same thing; they are food that has been preserved usually with salt or sugar, water or in its own juices, cultures or whey, and warmth. They are loaded with probiotics, so they are known as probiotic foods; these foods actively promote optimal health.

The most commonly known probiotic foods are yogurt, kefir, and pickles, but not the kind you buy in the store which have added harmful ingredients. The way to get full benefits and probiotics is by making your own at home or buy from a trusted source.

 History of Food Preservation

The origin of fermented foods and cultured milk products is said to go as far back as predated recorded history. Traditionally foods have been preserved by humans for upcoming seasons when the food they are preserving might not be available, such as long winter months when nourishing foods are needed.

Historically fermented and cultured foods have been part of every culture worldwide;

dairy -cheese, yogurt, whey, vegetables- sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, fruits- chutney.

Grains have been fermented to make bread, beans fermented for curds and meat and fish have also been fermented for preservation. Even fermented drinks, the most popular being yogurt, kefir, or kombucha tea.

 Probiotics-Friendly Bacteria or “Good Bacteria”                                                                  

Probiotic literally means “for life” and are beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive system, colon, urinary and genital organs. Probiotics are needed for maintaining a healthy immune and digestive system. When the digestive system (the gut) is properly working, this leads a straight clear path for great health.

Probiotics are essential for the body to help break down food by stimulating the natural digestive juices and enzymes, they help break down sugars and carbohydrates in foods to make them more digestible and enhance the absorption of nutrients in foods. Probiotics help to prevent or fight disease caused by unfriendly bacteria.

The process of fermentation or culturing foods creates probiotics and enhances nutrients to make them more available. For example, raw cabbage if loaded with vitamin C, but sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is 20 times higher in vitamin C.

 What Probiotics do?

  • Assists in the digestion of food
  • Assist in assimilation
  • Makes nutrients more available
  • Protects us against toxins
  • Helps stabilize a good mood
  • May prevent or help treat childhood respiratory infections
  • Helps in prevention of tooth decay

 Unfriendly Bacteria or “Bad Bugs”

Unfriendly bacteria release toxins that putrefy and ferment food in the intestines, the probiotics are needed to fight and rid the unfriendly bacteria from the body much like the same way anti biotic do, except the antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad.

 These dire and potentially life-threatening circumstances have prompted urgent research into the use of probiotic bacteria to battle infections. We now know that probiotics can raise antibody levels in the body. This immune-system boost reduces the risk of infections taking hold in the first place, thus avoiding the need for antibiotics. Many doctors recommend live yogurt for patients on antibiotics to replenish good bacteria and some argue that yogurt live cultures may also reduce the occurrence of colds, allergies and hay fever.

Bacteria Misunderstood

For years the medical establishment thought all bacteria were villainous and have had a bad reputation for being the cause of infections and disease; they were something to be avoided. The theory was, the human body is sterile and microbes attack it making us sick.

In recent years, researchers have studied the role of the 100 trillion good bacteria that live in and on the human body, and their positive effects proven on human health and wellbeing and a healthy human body lives in symbiotic relationship with microorganisms.

Many good and bad bacteria and other organisms live in the body naturally. No matter how much antibacterial soap or sanitizer you use, you will still have them; the only difference is when you sanitize everything, you are getting rid of your protectors as well.

The best way is through probiotic foods to fight from the inside out.

Kinds of Probiotic Bacteria

To keep it simple and just scratch the surface for a basic understanding, there are several different kinds of probiotics with different health benefits. The more common strand is Lactobacillus; it has various species including acidophilus and bifidobacteria. You may have seen any of those names on yogurt, on a pill bottle, or an advertisement.

 Anti-Biotics

Opposite of pro-biotic, the name “anti” means a negative against life. The job of antibiotics is to inhibit and destroy microorganisms, specifically bacteria (good and bad). Today there is an alarming appearance of disease-causing agents (viral, bacterial, etc.) that are resistant to antibiotics, due to overuse and unknowingly-over consumption in foods. Antibiotics are overly prescribed for infections including viral, when they do nothing for a viral infection.

Chances are you’ve taken antibiotics prescribed to you by your doctor, but did you know that if you consume dairy or meat, even seafood that is conventional or farm-raised, you are getting a regular dose of antibiotics. It is routine to give conventionally raised animals antibiotics because there is so much sickness as a result of farming methods. If the animals are raised in a natural environment, such as grazing on large green pasture and access to fresh water, or in the case of sea food, allowed to roam free in the ocean then wild caught, the use of antibiotics are not necessary.

To someone who does not understand the damage that antibiotics can do, they may think this is a good thing; regular antibiotics killing bugs=sanitary environment, sounds great. However, the bugs that the antibiotics are killing are necessary probiotic bacteria for your health and wellbeing as you will further understand from this lesson. As a result of use of antibiotics, stress, poor diet, too much sugar, or environmental toxins, an unhealthy or unbalanced digestive system may result and lead to major illnesses.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

Scientific research supports the possibility of using probiotics to prevent or treat many common conditions. An important reason to breast feed, and do so for as long as you can (preferably 2 years) is that breast milk is rich in nutritional benefits that promote the growth of bifidobacteria; a friendly strand of bacteria that keeps babies digestive systems healthy and disease-resistant. A healthy gut flora must be established at birth, so a pregnant woman should make sure she includes plenty of nourishing foods along with probiotics, even before planning a pregnancy, and continue during breastfeeding. This way your baby will be off to a great start!

What Probiotics Help Treat

  • Vaginal infections
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Bladder infections
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal disorders; IBD-inflammatory bowel disease and IBS-irritable bowel syndrome
  • Improves allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Colic in babies
  • Helps in fighting h. Pilory; a disease that causes ulcers and restoring the gut flora.
  • Prevention of common cold
  • Prevention in repertory infections
  • Fever blisters
  • Acne
  • Helps stabilize high LDL(bad) cholesterol and raise the HDL (good)cholesterol
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lyme disease
  • Hives
  • Common cold and flu
  • Common signs of deficiency are digestive issues and reoccurring infections.

 Probiotic Food or Supplement?

It’s important to understand that probiotics from food are not a new concept. However, the pill form is. Eating cultured and fermented foods are far more beneficial and cost effective than using pill form. Dr. Natasha Campbell Author of GAPS says she had a team test fermented vegetables and found that one serving of cultured vegetables contained 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria, while pill form contains 10 billion, so in comparison, it was equal to 1 bottle of a probiotic supplement. Needless to say, probiotic food is the optimal choice.

 How much is needed daily?

At least 1 serving of a probiotic drink or food is necessary for the body, once you are used to it ½ -1 Cup is a good serving size. Some individuals eat a serving with each meal. You really have to find out what works best for you. Depending on which cultural food your family eats will depend on which probiotic you choose.

Sources of Natural Probiotics

It’s best to make your own at home, if you must buy already made, make sure you trust the source, such as a friend or a local farmer at the farmers market who uses organically grown vegetables and unrefined sea salt.

It’s a good idea to include a variety of cultured foods in your diet since the bacteria found in each probiotic food are not the same. Whichever you choose, make sure it is in a raw form even animal products such as dairy or meat, with the exception of soybeans.

There are plenty of options when it comes to cultured and fermented foods Here is a  compiled list (not limited) of various traditional cultured or fermented foods and beverages:

  • Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soybeans
  • Kimchi, a traditional Korean cultured cabbage, ginger, carrot and a variety of ingredients.
  • Miso, a traditional Japanese paste made with fermented soybeans or other grains.
  • Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian dish that is made by fermenting soybeans
  • Fish Sauce
  • Sauerkraut, a western version of kimchi
  • Cortido,  a spicy South American sauerkraut
  • Pickled ginger
  • Yogurt, grass fed, whole low heated/raw (preferably)
  • Raw Cheese, from pasture raised/grass-fed animals
  • Raw Milk, from pasture raised/grass-fed animals
  • Buttermilk, from pasture raised/grass-fed animals
  • Olives (not from a can)
  • Pickles (homemade with unrefined sea salt, not store bought which are loaded with unhealthy ingredients)
  • Relish
  • Fruit chutney
  • Salsa, you can ferment you favorite

BEVERAGES

  • Kefir, a popular drink originating from eastern European, Russian countries. Made by fermenting raw milk and special grains that multiply while fermenting.
  • Kombucha tea, a recently popular health drink that tastes much better when brewed at home.
  • Water kefir, made with water, sugar and grains
  • Beet kvass, made by fermenting beets in water, salt and whey
  • Barley grain sprouted health drink
    • You can culture or ferment most vegetables, fruits, and homemade condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.

Starters for Culturing or Fermenting

Fermenting will take trial and error. There are a few different ways to culture or ferment foods, one process is the addition of whey to make lacto-fermented food. Lacto-fermentation provides enzymes and good bacteria.  If your lactose intolerant, leave it out and add a little more salt.

 Salt

Salt has historically been used to preserve foods. It inhibits the growth of invading unwanted microorganisms, and assists in the growth of wanted good bacteria; Lactobacilli which is salt tolerant. Depending on the type of food you are fermenting/culturing, depends on how much and of which to use.

 Whey

Whey definitely adds a benefit when used in culturing foods. Whey is the liquid that separates in the process of making cheese.  Yogurt can also be made into a cheese by hanging in a muslin cloth; your finished product will be a solid Greek style yogurt and the liquid-whey. Another way is to leave raw milk on the counter for many days until it clabbers resulting in curds and whey. It’s important to use salt along with whey when using the lacto-fermenting method for a crunchy final product.

 Sugar

Kombucha and water kefir are the 2 more common fermented beverages which use a culture, sugar, water and in the case of kombucha -tea. The use of sugar in creating fermented beverages is an ancient art; the sugar is needed to feed the yeast (good bacteria) in the culture converts the sugar into a beneficial health drink. The final product will have CO2 (carbon dioxide), which gives bubbles and there will only be about 1-2 grams of sugar per 8oz of liquid; less if left longer.

Grains or Starter

Foods and drinks such as yogurt, kefir, water kefir and kombucha require a starter.

  • Yogurt needs a scoop of yogurt from a previous batch to produce yogurt.
  • Kefir (water and dairy) require grains which multiply while fermenting. Kefir water also requires sugar to feed it’s grains, the 2 types of grains are different.
  • Kombucha requires sugar, tea, and a scoby culture or “mushroom” –a mother- that will create another scoby referred to as the baby. This scoby will produce a baby every time, which you can compost or give it away to someone else.

In order to begin making yogurt or any of the health drinks mentioned, you will need a starter, perhaps there is a group of people in your area who share grains, or a health food store where you could ask if they know how you can get grains for the drink you would like to begin making. There are resources on line, but if you could find someone locally would be better. When you begin to create your health drinks, pass on the favor to your friends or compost them, you will have so many cultures you won’t know what to do.

STARTING OUT

  • When first introducing cultured foods in the diet, if your body is not used to them, start with smaller amounts and work your way up. Too much of a good thing can hurt you. Symptoms like gas and bloating may appear at first, but once your digestive system gets used to them, this will go away.
  • Remember, probiotics are food, they are in food, but many people on a western-new foods-diet don’t get many probiotics in their system. As a result, die off symptoms may surface such as headaches, flu-like symptoms and skin conditions. This happens because probiotics are killing off the pathogens (or bad bacteria) and when they die, they release potent toxins, which may result in die off symptoms.
  • Start with 1 Tbs. of cultured vegetables with a meal, or 2 oz of a pro biotic drink at a time, every other day to start off with. Then work your way up, doubling your intake after about a week, and then up from there to about 1 Cup of cultured vegetables, or more, with meals and up to a cup of a probiotic drink, depending on which one will determine the amount of servings per day. The main thing here is to listen to your body.
  • If you find that you are not taking well to the addition of probiotic foods to your diet, you may have chronic issues such as overgrowth of yeasts and a detoxification may be necessary to do a full clean up. There are many detoxification programs out there. One of the most effective programs to get the body on track is the GAPS Diet, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha-Campbell McBride. If you do not have any major health issues, a detoxification can be safely done at home. Further research and the advice of an alternative health practitioner or doctor is recommended before doing a detoxification program, as some individuals need to be supervised due to health conditions.
  • In the case that probiotics are not working, you would stop until you clean your system. 

How to Culture Your Own Foods

Please look for recipes under Cultured Foods , or search under probiotic foods.

Safety;

  • Safety in the use of probiotics is not a concern for most people.
  • Concerns about the quality of improperly cultured foods are toxicity due poor quality foods and the harmful ingredients added. It’ best to make your own at home using whole food sources and organic, or buy from a trusted source. Some products on the market actually contain unfriendly bacteria. There are supplement of lactobacillus that can be taken, but if you can get it from food source is best.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, then a dairy source of probiotics would not be your first choice, however, raw dairy is usually tolerated by intolerant individuals of dairy; try a small amount first and work your way up.
  • If you are on medications or on chemotherapy, speak to your doctor before adding cultured foods to your meal plan, in such cases probiotics may increase your chances of getting sick and interfering with treatment.
  • If you are taking antibiotics, don’t use a probiotic at the same time, to avoid interactions, take a probiotic at least 2 hours before or after taking an antibiotic.

Proteins And Best Sources

cows on pasture

Proteins are the body’s building materials and are needed for all cells, tissues and hormone productions.

Proteins also help form enzymes which produce chemical reactions to help the immune system, carry nutrients in the blood, and keep the body’s fluid in balance.

  • Too much protein can lead to complications by risks of failure on the kidney.
  • Too little protein compromises the immune system and other functions. 

Enzymes are complex proteins that assist in or enable chemical reactions to occur. “Digestive” enzymes, for example, help your body break food down into chemical compounds that can more easily be absorbed. Thousands of different enzymes are produced by your body. There are enzymes for neural cells, intestinal cells, and saliva. Protein can easily be incorporated to the regular diet by eating traditional proteins such as soups made with homemade bone broth, plenty of pastured butter and eggs, grass-fed meats and dairy. One thing to remember is too much protein and too little fat can cause a negative calcium balance that can lead to bone weakness (insufficient vitamin K2), eye problems (from insufficient vitamin A), immune issues (commonly linked to insufficient vitamin D), and other health conditions resulting from excessive ‘lean’ protein consumption.

Without significant saturated fats and fat soluble vitamins excessive protein will cause more harm than good.

Proteins help slows the glycemic (blood sugar) effect of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, thereby maintaining a steady supply of insulin secreted by the pancreas which, in turn, provides a steady energy source.

That means if blood sugar levels rise at slower rate, they will also fall at a slower rate, which can lengthen the time before hunger returns. It may also reduce cravings for more carbohydrates.

Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fat. By ensuring each meal contains a reasonable serving of protein, hunger may take longer to return. It may be that increased protein leads people to eat less because they are more satisfied from their meals.

  • Supplementation with fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil, and therapeutic consumption of bone broths will ensure optimal health far more than powdered protein in any form.

Best Protein Sources  

Proteins are found in food sources such as pasture raised; meat, chicken, eggs, organic beans and legumes, and pasture raised dairy; raw milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey (the liquid that drains from yogurt, not powder).

Animal proteins (along with some super foods) provide all of the necessary amino acids, the building blocks of protein for our bodies. For thousands of years, these were the main sources of protein in human diets.

Today the animal protein found in the average American’s diet is much different than it once was; today the animals; cows, sheep, goats, chicken, turkey, fowl, game, and seafood are treated inhumane the majority of the time, they live in filth and disease so they are pumped full of antibiotics. There are some clean/sanitary conventional farms, but they are still given antibiotics, GMO feed, raised and slaughtered inhumane.  There has also been the genetically altering of animals to produce meat/milk/eggs faster by using a growth hormone, as well as cloning which by law, doesn’t need to be labeled.

The animals are raised on foods which are completely foreign to them. The result is meat with a much-altered nutrient profile. The administering of antibiotics and hormones to animals, as well as GMO foods, creates superbugs and other bad bacteria will form and harm the animals, environment, and human health. Compare that to when the animals are fed on a traditional diet; green pastures, fresh water, and sunlight – maximum health benefits are received.

The good news is, you can still find good sources of animal protein out there, and increasing resources as the demand is high. (You can even raise a few backyard chickens for fresh eggs if you have a small space.)

When these animal protein sources are raised on diets they are meant to eat, the fat that is found in the meat is often healthier, containing more omega-3 fatty acids. Properly raised animals are grown without the use of antibiotics or hormones since there is no need; they don’t get sick.

Dairy Products 

Milk, cheese, and yogurt are very healthy foods, as long as the milk contains all the fat because it provides important vitamins like A, D and K2, which are needed to help you absorb the calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the milk. The butterfat in milk also makes it much easier to digest and less likely to cause illness.

Another factor that makes it healthy is if the animal source is pasture-raised; raised on green pasture, has access to fresh-clean water, and is NOT processed; pasture-ised or homogenized.

Pasteurization is a type of heat treatment that destroys the pro-biotics (good bacteria) and makes it very difficult to digest, which can be very irritating to the digestive tract and cause health ailments such as digestive issues, allergies and asthma.

Homogenization breaks up the fats in milk and makes the components of the fat less healthy. 

Unprocessed milk is called “raw milk.”

You may have heard that raw milk is dangerous to consume; but actually pasteurized milk causes more illness than raw milk. However, if you are consuming raw milk from confined, grain-eating cows that are laden with disease and pumped full of antibiotics, then it would possibly be more dangerous than pasteurized milk, which is why pasteurization began in the first place; the animals were unclean, fed toxic foods and people began to get sick, you can read more about raw milk in a book call “The Untold Story of  Milk”, by Ron Schmid.

Things to Consider about Raw Whole Milk that doesn’t apply to pasteurization:

  • Helps cure certain disease, including heart burn and digestive issues since it contains special bacteria called lacto-bacilli, which help strengthen the digestive tract. When we have a lot of these good bacteria in our digestive tract, we digest our food very efficiently.
  • Neutralize toxic poisons in the stomach by coating and extracting
  • Protects against allergies, such as eczema and asthma and can even reverse these ailments
  • Contains an enzyme which kills bad bacteria
  • Contains an enzyme called lacto-ferrin, which prevents anemia
  • Supports the immune system
  • Many mothers report improved behavior in children.

Check for a local source of raw milk from pasture-fed cows by visiting www.realmilk.com.

Cheese

Cheese is preferably made from raw milk.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a type of fermented milk that contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria. These help with digestion and also help your body absorb vitamins and minerals.

Homemade yogurt is best, using whole raw milk. You can also purchase organic plain-whole yogurt, you should buy whole plain yogurt. You can then:

  • Sweeten it with fruit and vanilla extract, maple syrup or honey

OR

  • Add salt for a sour side dish to Middle Eastern or Indian food (goes great with spicy food to cool the mouth).

Protein Description; Animal Proteins

Based on what we covered about protein sources, the following are descriptions of how you should buy/obtain your protein. By following these guidelines, you will be making optimal choices for your health. 

  • Beef – Pasture-raised/grass-fed only
  • Cheese* – Organic, from grass-fed cows
  • Chicken – Organic, free-range chicken with bones; best to purchase the whole chicken.
  • Dairy Alternatives – Homemade rice milk or homemade almond milk (use in moderation).
  • Eggs – Organic, free-range
  • Fish/Sea Food – Wild Caught; Alaskan salmon, tilapia, cod, halibut, orange roughy, scallops, white fish, shrimp, tuna, lobster
  • Milk* – Organic, from grass-fed cows or goats, preferably raw (only if from clean source; grass fed, fresh. If you are afraid to consume raw milk, then heat it at home yourself, but purchase raw))
  • Other Meats – pastured raised/grass fed only; goat, lamb, bison, venison
  • Soy* – Miso, tempeh are preferred since they are fermented for easier digestion.
  • Turkey – Organic, free-range turkey with bones; best to purchase the whole turkey.
  • Whey Protein Liquid – Since it is very difficult to buy in stores, you can make your own by straining organic yogurt in a muslin cloth, the liquid that drains is your whey and the solids are creamy Greek yogurt. 2-4 Tbs a day is recommended, add to smoothies.
  • Yogurt – Organic, from grass-fed cows and homemade Greek style yogurt

Check your local farmers market or health food stores for grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry and wild-caught fish sources.

F.Y.I.

A recent meta-analysis of current research showed that red meat intake was not associated with any increased risk of coronary heart disease or diabetes. Processed meat consumption, though, was associated with a 42 percent increased risk of CHD and a 19 percent increased risk of diabetes. 

Like many other processed foods-processed meat consumption may lead to long-term health problems. Use unprocessed, naturally raised meats as often as possible. 

Non-Animal Proteins 

Although it is best to eat local and get mostly protein from meat sources, there are those who:

  • Don’t eat animal products
  • Want more protein options
  • Want to take a break from meat
  • Can’t find clean sources
  • Have your own personal reasons

In any case, here is a list of alternatives, not limited to as research is always finding new nutritional values in ancient foods (AKA Super Foods). Make sure you always buy ORGANIC or Fair Trade. 

  • Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)
  • Amaranth
  • Tempeh
    Seaweed (sea vegetables)
  • Kale
  • Wild Blue-Green Algae
  • Spirulina
  • Bee Pollen
  • Goji Berries
  • Hemp
  • Chia Seeds
  • Nuts and Seeds

Look for future articles on various suoer foods including the  non-animal protein. 

The amount of protein the body needs daily is a controversial subject and science cannot give a consistent answer so it’s left up to intuition. It’s best to include a small portion with at least 2 meals a day, more if you have an active lifestyle.

This article is not saying you must be a meat eater, but if you are going to be, do it right! And keep in mind, what works for one person, may not work for the others, so if someone is thriving and healthy but chooses not to eat meat, it should not be pushed upon them and vise versa.