Besides throwing out vegetable oils, what is the single most beneficial health change you can make?
After all, you’re just like everyone else. You’re trying to find another small change to make to your health. Maybe you’ve already cut out processed foods and/or you’re buying grass-fed beef.
I seriously hope that margarine tubs actually look like this to you:
So what’s the next small change that can provide huge health benefits?
You see, the unseen yet most common health epidemic is terrible gut health.
It’s like a terrorist cell that nobody knows about – we can witness the aftermath of the damage, but the reasons why don’t click for most people.
Things like autism, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, allergies, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and many more – the world would rather shout “Why me!” at the heavens than research how their own bad gut health played a role.
In fact, it’s been suggested for hundreds or thousands of years that “all disease begins in the gut” (Hippocrates said that) and “the primary seat of insanity generally is in the region of the stomach and intestines” (That one’s Phillipe Pinel, the father of modern psychiatry).
In other words, physical and mental diseases are often linked to crappy gut health. If you’ve got an illness you’ve been battling, odds are it either began with or was severely exacerbated by gut issues.
There just isn’t another factor more important to your overall health.
When I think of probiotics, I think of those cheesy commercials with Erin Andrews that are on ESPN all the time – but seriously, don’t buy those. Yes, they’re probiotic but they’re usually stuffed with other chemicals and added sugars.
Think of your gut as a battlefield – you’ve got either good troops or enemy troops occupying the space. Maybe you’ve been working hard to clear the field of enemy troops (eliminating toxins, eating wholesome and organic foods, etc.) and most of them are in full retreat mode.
Probiotics are like building an impenetrable wall at the edge of the field so the enemy troops can’t return. If you take them consistently, the wall remains strong and even fuels your troops.
Or, if enemy troops have completely taken the battlefield (unfortunately the norm today), probiotics can slow their spread and limit the damage they can do.
Probiotics specifically help to:
- Boost your immune system
- Prevent infection
- Reinforce your intestinal wall (yeah, it’s bad when undigested food leaks into your bloodstream 🙁 )
- Limit the toxins released by bad bacteria
- Produce B vitamins essential to your body’s function
- Prevent virtually every mental disease and degenerative disease known to man
Without probiotics, we allow bad gut health to fester. The longer we wait, the more toxins are released into our bodies.
Then the gut-wrenchingly terrifying part happens.
One day we don’t feel so great and the doctor tells us we’re going to have to live with a serious illness. It doesn’t make sense to us because how can a compromised gut lead to Alzheimers or Schizophrenia?
Our guts are jerks like that.
Where Should I Get My Probiotics?
I’d caution against store-bought probiotics unless your naturopath gives you a solid recommendation. I’ve never purchased these at the store because I can make them at home for dirt cheap.
Since probiotics are bacteria, you’ll need to ferment things at home.
Yes, you’ll be weird. Yes, people will wonder why your fridge is full of strange concoctions.
Yes, you’ll have a brother wonder what’s cooking on the stove and stare at you weirdly before composing himself when you say “fermented herbal tea” (which is kombucha).
But of the health tips I can give, this is second only to lighting your veggie oils on fire.
I’d recommend adopting at least 2-3 of the following into your diet daily:
- Yogurt (We’re not talking Yoplait either!)
- Fermented fruits and veggies
- Fermented condiments
In our house, we’re very good about always having kombucha and kefir brewing. All our bread and pancakes are (deliciously) sourdough.
We have some fermented condiments, most notably ketchup (takes 5 minutes to make and tastes dynamite).
I probably shouldn’t say this, but I wouldn’t be caught dead eating sauerkraut or other fermented veggies. I give you permission to be picky because there’s still 5 other things on that list above.
Despite this aversion to sour veggies, we still eat something probiotic-y every single day to keep our good gut bacteria flourishing.
This stuff only takes a few minutes a day, so I know you can do it! It’s pretty great to be self-sufficient with something as out there as fermented foods. Plus, there’s nothing like seeing better health take the place of that perpetually cruddy overall feeling many people have. Probiotics will help.