Have you seen all of the commercials on tv for Activia? The yogurt with the good bacteria that will supposedly help your bloating and overall digestion?
Have you ever tried it? I haven't, but I wanted to tell you a little bit today about healthy bacterias in yogurts, kefir and what they do and when you should and shouldn't be using them.
Yogurt as you know is a dairy source, and unless it's organic and grass-fed, I wouldn't recommend consuming dairy at all. And for most of the people I work with, dairy is just off the list, at least in the beginning because inside the body, dairy contributes to dampness and is mucus forming.
In Chinese medicine, they talk a lot about the yin and yang - the cold and warm elements in the body and which foods are cold or heat forming. People that suffer from bloating and digestive issues, typically have more dampness in their bodies so you do NOT want to be consuming more cool and damp foods (like dairy)!
But there IS a way for you to get healthy bacteria and yeasts in your body without eating yogurt. Have you ever heard about kefir? Kefir is another fermented food, but it has different, more and better strains of healthy bacteria than yogurt does. And kefir's good bacteria are able to colonize the small and large intestine, unlike the bacteria in yogurt. You know the label of your probiotics - they say so many CFUs?
That stands for colony-forming units. And those are what you want inhabiting your gut - to balance out the bad bacteria and yeasts. The good guys in kefir will actually help to go into the lining of your digestive system and take over the bad yeasts and bacteria. Pretty cool!
But what if you're lactose intolerant??? Can or should you have kefir then?
Actually, the yeasts and bacteria in the kefir consume almost all of the sugar from lactose so you should be fine. But, if you like, you can just have a coconut kefir instead and then you will still be dairy free as well.
There are still some conditions that would warrant holding off on having kefir. If you have yeast overgrowth as with Candida symptoms, your gut is not ready for this. You need more drying foods, and would likely want to wait to introduce kefir until you have done some work on healing the guy in other ways.
Even if you don't have issues with yeast overgrowth, you may still want to introduce kefir into your diet slowly. If you watched any of my scopes from last week, you need I talked about taking your probiotic right away in the morning - same thing with kefir, eat it first thing on an empty stomach and it can help with your digestion. AND this is an excellent thing to take if you have had to be on antibiotics (yuck) for any reason.
Anytime you're on antibiotics, you need to do something to promote healthy bacteria and a healthy gut again!
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If you want to make your own, you can definitely do that with starter kits - however, you can also buy it in nearly any health market store these days. Look at the labels for added sugars, pick a flavor you like, and start out with a few ounces. Try it and let me know how you feel!