Daily Archives: September 6, 2015

Probiotics without Prebiotics or Dietary change?

After posting some replies to various tweets on probiotics, I just have to post a though here (ok, perhaps a bit of a rant but I’ll keep it short)…When a person goes through life, eating whatever it is they eat, the gut bacteria they accumulate are those that can survive on what has been eaten. Taking a probiotic, without changing diet, really doesn’t make any sense when you see it clearly. If the diet only supported x,y,z named organisms, and you take a,b organisms in a probiotic-what are they going to eat? If your diet supported a,b they would already be thriving there!

So many research studies evaluate probiotics for a given condition, without considering this fact. I just replied to some tweets about a study (article about it here: http://tinyurl.com/no3cnvt) evaluating whether probiotics can help reduce drug-resistant organisms. The intervention consisted of one capsule twice a day for two weeks, and nothing else. That is so weak! No prebiotic fibers, no dietary change. Only two weeks of intervention! In fact, the article states that some of the subjects were on feeding tubes, which means that the biggest variable of all, diet, was not controlled for! In other words, this study was accepted as valid, when it is anything but.

Another way to look at it? What if someone threw a half dozen tomato seeds into a bare parking lot, then watched for three days and pronounced that gardening really doesn’t work, because no tomatoes were found. And, they did this without first reading a gardening book or speaking with someone who has successfully grown tomatoes (that would be myself and others who have written books about working with symbiont bacteria, and the thousands who have healed by following probiotic protocols).

Next time you read about how probiotics don’t work for this or that, please consider these variables before believing the probiotic naysayers. And, don’t forget to eat your *fermented* vegetables 🙂

Practical use of fermented and anti-inflammatory foods during stressful times!

For the last month or so, I’ve been hauling boxes and driving a crazy number of miles. I still have another epic trip to make, getting my horse to bring him to Maine. The last trip involved pulling a very heavily loaded 30 foot trailer, and was super stressful and fatiguing. What have I been doing to maintain my brain health and energy level? Many things, actually!

Fermented oatmeal is really versatile stuff. I wrote about it in a previous post, and have been using it extensively. Adding some ground flax seed before fermentation, and walnuts/raisins/coconut milk and maple syrup afterward yields a simple and tasty treat. It’s easy to keep in a cooler while on the road and eat a bit from time to time.

I’ve also been keeping a jar of kimchee in the cooler, and often take a few bites of it during roadside stops (yes, I’ve been traveling alone mostly. On the last run, my two cats didn’t seem to mind the smell-perhaps knowing they had worse in store for me!)

Kefir and yogurt of course help to maintain a low anxiety level and good digestive function during stressful drives. As I follow a Paleo diet pretty closely, I opt for coconut kefir (make my own) and coconut yogurt usually. I’ve also made a point of deep breathing from time to time to keep my autonomic function balanced and prevent constipation or reduced circulation.

Smoked salmon is one of my favorite road foods. I love it on a gluten-free bagel, but will eat it straight out of the wrapper as well (more paleo, right? certainly feels primal eating fish with my fingers as I go down the road…) Get the kind that doesn’t have artificial color and additives if at all possible. I’ve also often eaten sardines at rest areas, as the high omega-3 content of both items should help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation secondary to pushing the brain and body this hard.

Of course, taking a good probiotic/prebiotic with a combination of Lactobacilli and Bifido organisms is a good choice, as both reduce inflammation and anxiety. Snacking on fruit, both fresh and dried, provides some good “road nibbles” while nourishing those beneficial organisms.

Doesn’t this sound like it would help maintain concentration and health while on the road? Compare that with the average person’s choice of fast food and soda while traveling and I think there is quite a contrast!