This article is being written not only to educate others, but to hold myself accountable to healthy best practices. For as long as I can remember, I have had stomach issues. When I was younger it wasn’t as substantial, probably because I was able to burn calories much faster. But as I’ve matured and grown more sedentary for larger portions of the day, I have realized that I can’t eat the way I used to eat. For example, I remember a time I ate five (yep, five) Entemann’s crumb-topped donuts right before a soccer game in high school. Then after the game, I had McDonald’s. First of all, I can’t even fathom how that is possible ever. But that’s beside the point. It’s grotesque, sure. However, it didn’t FEEL like it was killing my insides.
Flash forward to my life today. It’s fifteen years later and I am a relatively healthy eater by nature, especially when fresh produce is available all the time. Still, I am guilty of aggressively snacking when I get home from a long day or eating more than my body needs (just because it’s in front of me) when I’m out and about. More often than not, these behaviors result in what a close friend of mine recently referred to as “digestive unpleasantries”. I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what that means. The point is that I needed to discover the root of the problem and move onward from there.
The last couple of days, I have been researching what I can do to have a healthier gut and essentially detox from all the crap I’ve been consuming. Now, I’ve done juice cleanses before. And I was not yet in the mood to do that again. So, I decided to work on increasing my intake of probiotics. Most people initially think of yogurt when they hear the word “probiotic”, but there are many other options to help initiate healthy bacterial balances in your body.
I had my first experience with kombucha years ago, before I really understood what it was. For those of you who may not know what it is, kombucha is fermented tea…I did not like it. But when my wife and I went to Hawaii, my entire perspective changed. We spent at least half of our trip driving thirty minutes to Kauai Juice Co. because they made arguably the best kombucha you’ll ever know. Plus, this probiotic beverage helps provide mental clarity and mood stability, in addition to it’s digestive benefits!
Kefir has high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics. Like yogurt, this aged dairy item is a remarkable blend of goat’s milk and matured kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus microbes, kefir is also beneficial for cancer prevention due to the antioxidants. Other benefits of kefir include:
- Improving Lactose Digestion
- Supporting Detoxification
- Fighting Allergies
- Boosting Immunity
- Building Bone Density
- Killing Candida
You may also want to try water kefir. This bubbly drink is a great alternative to soda – or
even kombucha. Plus, you can make it yourself! Try this killer water kefir recipe from my friend and fellow blogger, Daniela.
Miso is one the backbones of conventional Japanese culture and is usually utilized as a part of macrobiotic cooking to help control digestion. Produced using aged rye, beans, rice or grain, the length of the fermentation process determines the flavor strength of the miso and also contributes to the number of probiotic organisms in the final paste. Adding a tablespoon of miso to some warm water makes an astounding, speedy, probiotic-rich soup, loaded with lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria. Nutritionally, miso paste is also rich in several vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium.
So, next time you’re thinking you need to refuel and reboot your belly, try some of these suggestions and let us know how you feel!
Be mindful. Be healthy. Love your life.