Everyone seems to be talking about gut health these days. And for a good reason! Turns out that 90% of the genetic data in your body are from the microbial species found within it - only 10% are 'human'! And these little guys are key influencing factors on our nervous system, immunity, and even brain function. It turns out that the lining of your gut wall is only 1 cell thick, and it's this lining that is responsible for making sure that what you consume gets digested properly. Healthy bacteria are what seal this lining, but things like antibiotics, NSAIDS, and high-carb processed foods can harm this lining and cause it to break down, which releases food and toxins back into your bloodstream. The results can be excess weight, upset stomach, irritable bowel symptoms and other digestive issues, sluggishness/lack of energy, and excess inflammation, including autoimmune diseases. When there's too many harmful bacteria dominating our microbiome, we are highly-prone to getting sick and since these bacteria live off of sugar and processed foods, that's what we tend to crave. It's a downward spiral that can leave us feeling frumpy and foggy!
It is so important to make friends with these good dudes so that you can have a happy, humming body and mind. You can take them as a supplement (save yourself from feeling overwhelmed: this one and this one are great options), but that can get pricey to do on a regular basis. You can also buy artisan, fermented sauerkraut or sour cream, which you can find in any health food store and they're super delicious. A couple of tablespoons at every meal is enough. In my hunt for a cost-efficient way to get the most dudes, Nat Kringoudis recommended that I try making my own. At first this was super overwhelming, but Cultures for Health made it very simple for me to learn how to make my own water kefir.
Water kefir is by far the easiest fermented food/drink to make. It takes about 5 minutes of prep work every 24-48 hours. It's also super cheap: the grains cost about $16 and are reusable pretty much indefinitely as long as you take care of them. Then you just need some sugar (the dudes feed on the sugar so it doesn't remain in the actual drink) and you're good to go. You can drink it straight-up, which basically tastes like sugar water, or add all sorts of flavorings - juice, fruit, it can be as creative or simple as you want! Unlike other fermented foods like kombucha, which takes about 2 weeks to make, kefir only takes a day or two, so you can get lots of probiotics into your belly every day.
I got myself some kefir grains a few weeks ago and gave it a try. So far, it's turned out pretty well! It tastes yummy and feels great. I've heard that Florida is a pretty difficult place to grow your own dudes because of the humidity, and I did have some batches that went 'bad', possibly due to my jars not being super clean or the kefir somehow getting contaminated. But Cultures for Health helped me to rehabilitate them, and they got right back on track. I'm definitely excited to have introduced this into my daily life, and I think the other 90% of me is too!