My uncle just got out of the hospital with a bacterial infection called C.Dif. My aunt called me while they were discharging him to ask, “So, you’re a health coach. Can you explain to me what a probiotic is and where I can find one?”
Yes. Yes I am. Yes, I can.
First, we need to understand that magic happens in our guts. Magic, people. And by GUT, I mean BOWELS. That’s right, our colon. Where the poop is stored. The poop. (Aside: You’ve heard the term “leaky gut?” Yeah. Basically, our poop makes its way into our blood stream. How? Diet. Moving on….)
By MAGIC, I mean lots of good stuff, but specifically our immune system is located, housed, fed, maintained in our guts. Our gut is called a BIODOME. It’s a beautiful, incredibly complex place where our bodies house incredibly important activity.
Our bodies are an ecosystem of a bajillionty things, especially cells and bugs and stuff. By “bugs,” I mean bacteria. Bacteria isn’t all bad, guys. A lot of it is good. GREAT, even. Like, we can’t live without it. And a lot of that good stuff lives in our gut, which is where the term “gut flora” comes from. We’re programmed to consider bacteria to be bad, but it’s not all bad. In fact, we cannot live without the GOOD bacteria that lives in our gut.
When everything is balanced, the good bacteria outnumbers the bad and the bad stays in check. Unfortunately, we are very often unbalanced. When this happens, we get sick in a myriad of ways. So, then what happens? A doctor prescribes and anti-biotic. Seems to make sense, right? Except that it kills the good stuff, too. When this happens, all hell can break loose. At some point, we can go into greater detail on this, but for now, suffice it to say that IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO PUT THAT GOOD STUFF BACK!!
How? By eating the foods (and possibly taking supplements) that supply probiotics. These foods are fermented foods, such as: Kefir, Kombucha, Yogurt (with live cultures), RAW sour kraut, Kimchi (a spicy fermented cabbage common in the Korean diet), Dark chocolate (a good, high-quality chocolate), Tempeh, Microalgae, Miso, Pickles (Bubbies are my favorite) (link), Natto (fermented soybean), Some soft cheeses (such as Gouda) and sourdough bread contain Lactobacilli bacteria, Fruits & Vegetables like artichokes, green beans, leeks, bananas and tomatoes, Some whole-grain breads, Raw Honey.
But that’s not enough. Once that good stuff is in there, we need to FEED it so it stays strong and health and able to fend off the bad guys. How can we give it the strength and courage necessary? Phytonutrients. That’s right – plant-based foods – good ole fruits and vegetables, and the denser and RAWer, the better. You thought salads were just for weight-loss? Au contraire, mon frere.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I feed my family Juice Plus products. We use Complete protein powder in our smoothies in the morning, along with fresh greens and fruits. And we take Juice Plus whole food supplements. This way, I am assured that my peeps walk out the door every day with MOST of their recommended daily intake of phytonutrients. (Learn more here:)
The more you know, huh? It actually is not hard. There are other supplements on the market. I know folks who are happy with their brands. I’ll have a post in the near future outlining some of the better ones.
So, tell me, what changes are you about to make to ensure that the good-guys in your gut outnumber the bad guys?