Tag Archives: kefir

Stress, Microbiome, Inflammation and the Pancreas & Liver

flow chart stress intestinal function inflammation

Sometimes things happen that seem to come out of nowhere. It happens to all of us, usually when we least expect it because we are busy taking care of others or life in general. So here’s a scenario: Imagine that one day your blood sugar suddenly skyrockets and your Medical physician informs you that your liver and pancreas are not functioning properly. What could cause this? Well, many things could, but the one thing in common is inflammation. If the pancreas is inflamed, the Islets of Langerhans sometimes stop producing insulin and blood sugar doesn’t get stored, so it jumps up. If the inflammation is early in life, the immune system may go to the point of forming antibodies to the Islets, destroying them and causing Type 1 diabetes. If the body becomes inflamed later in life, cells may not respond to insulin anymore, causing Type 2 diabetes. But if the pancreas is inflamed, it doesn’t work properly. The liver can be implicated too, as it stores extra energy (glucose) reserves for when you need them. Liver inflammation can also cause diabetes. While these changes are all known to occur in people that are obese and have an unhealthy diet, how is it possible for it to happen this quickly, and in someone who isn’t obese? The answer lies in the fact that the immune system is mostly controlled by our gut bacteria and GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue, dendritic nerve endings, and other points of information exchange between the microbiome and the host immune system.

Research has shown that exposure to short-term social/emotional stress causes alteration of the gut microbiome. This altered microbiome in turn does not control the immune system approriately, resulting in increased systemic inflammation (which can make the social stress worse, as both the inflammation and the altered microbiome affect brain function and mood). See the illustration above, which is from my book The Symbiont Factor.

Another factor that can alter the microbiome and trigger widespread inflammation is short term dietary change, to a less beneficial diet. In research terminology, a diet that causes microbiome demise, inflammation and disease is called a Western Diet. It is used to produce a sick lab animal to study, and mimics what the average American consumer eats every day.

Sleep is absolutely necessary for a healthy microbiome, and disruptions of our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles has been shown to disrupt our microbiome and cause inflammation.

Exposure to air affects our microbiome too! Air is actually replete will huge numbers of human skin cells and bacteria from other people in the vicinity. The longer we are in a space with other people, the more we inhale parts of their microbiome combined with the microbiome of the space. These organisms then influence our own microbiome, so if the exposure was to unhealthy microbiomes, the result can be…inflammation once more.

Sometimes the scenario can revive imbalances and infections we’ve had before, such as chronic viral infections (shingles, for example, or herpes) or chronic bacterial infections such as Lyme disease-where the organism was in a dormant state due to good immune function-waiting for an opportunity.

Ok, so…can we picture a scenario where all of the above are combined? Stress, bad food, interrupted sleep with no real dark/light cycles, and lots of sick people/bad bacteria? Bingo-it’s the place where we send people to get well: a hospital.

What should we do to recover from this systemic inflammation?

  1. Regular sleep, hitting the bed and waking same time every day, preferably in a multiple of 90 minutes. So, 6 hours, 7.5 hours, 9 hours so that we don’t interrupt a sleep cycle. No lights, no devices at night. No bright little blue “charging” LEDs.
  2. Healthy food, and preferably some of it fermented. There is a great fermented oatmeal recipe earlier on this blog, and many areas have private individuals making fantastic fermented vegetables. Here in coastal Maine, “A Stone’s Throw to Health” is one such business, with handcrafted ferments by Sheila Perloff-Eddison.
  3. Avoid deep fried food, hydrogenated fats, sweets, gluten. Even if you’re not gluten sensitive, eating it when you’re inflamed raises the odds of you becoming gluten sensitive. No fast food. Real meat, vegetable, greens, fruit.
  4. Probiotic Bifidobacteria, in double the normal doses. Add prebiotic inulin, pectin, FOS, GOS supplements to help feed the newly introduced organisms.
  5. Curcumin is hugely effective for reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, healing liver and pancreas. Not turmeric, which is 5% curcumin, but 95% curcumin-the real stuff. I take 6-8 capsules a day, minimum, if I’m injured or inflamed. It works better than drugs-check out the Ghosh study in the bibliography below.
  6. Some other products, such as jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes, jicama, artichokes, asparagus, pomegranate, rhubarb, ginger have been shown to have fantastic prebiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  7. Make a point of, several times per day, praying or meditating on peaceful/optimistic and loving thoughts while breathing deeply. The physiologic effects improve autonomic tone and gut function, helping to recolonize healthy bacteria while healing gut membranes.

 

Sources:

Fermented Vegetables: http://www.astonesthrowtohealth.com/

Curcumin: http://progressivelabs.com/product.php?productid=17110&cat=0&page=1

Inulin: http://www.amazon.com/Prebiotin-Prebiotic-Fiber-8-5-Powder/dp/B001RVFSFS/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1459361720&sr=8-2&keywords=prebiotic

For more info: http://www.amazon.com/Symbiont-Factor-Microbiome-Redefines-Humanity/dp/1500553948/

Fermented oatmeal recipe: https://thesymbiontfactorblog.com/2016/01/26/super-synbiotic-breakfast-improved/

 

Bibliography:

Rhubarb extract prevents hepatic inflammation induced by acute alcohol intake, an effect related to the modulation of the gut microbiota.

Neyrinck AM, Etxeberria U, Taminiau B, Daube G, Van Hul M, Everard A, Cani PD, Bindels LB, Delzenne NM.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Mar 18. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500899. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:26990039

Combination with Red ginseng and Polygoni Multiflori ameliorates highfructose diet induced metabolic syndrome.

Kho MC, Lee YJ, Park JH, Cha JD, Choi KM, Kang DG, Lee HS.

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Mar 9;16(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1063-7.

PMID:26961224

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Chronic Psychological Stress Disrupted the Composition of the Murine Colonic Microbiota and Accelerated a Murine Model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Watanabe Y, Arase S, Nagaoka N, Kawai M, Matsumoto S.

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 7;11(3):e0150559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150559. eCollection 2016.

PMID:26950850

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Early Alterations in Glycemic Control and Pancreatic Endocrine Function in Nondiabetic Patients With Chronic Pancreatitis.

Lundberg R, Beilman GJ, Dunn TB, Pruett TL, Freeman ML, Ptacek PE, Berry KL, Robertson RP, Moran A, Bellin MD.

Pancreas. 2016 Apr;45(4):565-71. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000491.

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Hepatoprotective Effect and Synergism of Bisdemethoycurcumin against MCD Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Mice.

Kim SB, Kang OH, Lee YS, Han SH, Ahn YS, Cha SW, Seo YS, Kong R, Kwon DY.

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Protective Role of Dietary Curcumin in the Prevention of the Oxidative Stress Induced by Chronic Alcohol with respect to Hepatic Injury and Antiatherogenic Markers.

Varatharajalu R, Garige M, Leckey LC, Reyes-Gordillo K, Shah R, Lakshman MR.

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Semin Cancer Biol. 2016 Feb 4. pii: S1044-579X(16)30003-7. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2016.02.001. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

PMID:26853158

Preventive effect of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high-fat fed obese rats.

Maithilikarpagaselvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Sripradha R.

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Curcumin Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Activation of Redox-Sensitive Kinases in High Fructose- and High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats.

Maithili Karpaga Selvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Sripradha R.

Sci Pharm. 2014 Nov 4;83(1):159-75. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1408-16. eCollection 2015.

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Oral Probiotic VSL#3 Prevents Autoimmune Diabetes by Modulating Microbiota and Promoting Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase-Enriched Tolerogenic Intestinal Environment.

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J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:7569431. doi: 10.1155/2016/7569431. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

PMID:26779542

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Curcumin prevents paracetamol-induced liver mitochondrial alterations.

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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016 Feb;68(2):245-56. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12501. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

PMID:26773315

Alternating or continuous exposure to cafeteria diet leads to similar shifts in gut microbiota compared to chow diet.

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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jan 14. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500815. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID:26767716

Curcumin prevents inflammatory response, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high fructose fed male Wistar rats: Potential role of serine kinases.

Maithilikarpagaselvi N, Sridhar MG, Swaminathan RP, Zachariah B.

Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Jan 25;244:187-94. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2015.12.012. Epub 2015 Dec 20.

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Abarikwu SO, Durojaiye M, Alabi A, Asonye B, Akiri O.

Ren Fail. 2016 Mar;38(2):321-9. doi: 10.3109/0886022X.2015.1127743. Epub 2015 Dec 27.

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Liu Z, Dou W, Zheng Y, Wen Q, Qin M, Wang X, Tang H, Zhang R, Lv D, Wang J, Zhao S.

Mol Med Rep. 2016 Feb;13(2):1717-24. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.4690. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

PMID:26676408

Curcumin Supplementation Decreases Intestinal Adiposity Accumulation, Serum Cholesterol Alterations, and Oxidative Stress in Ovariectomized Rats.

Morrone Mda S, Schnorr CE, Behr GA, Gasparotto J, Bortolin RC, da Boit Martinello K, Saldanha Henkin B, Rabello TK, Zanotto-Filho A, Gelain DP, Moreira JC.

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:5719291. doi: 10.1155/2016/5719291. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

PMID:26640615

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Biological and therapeutic activities, and anticancer properties of curcumin.

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Exp Ther Med. 2015 Nov;10(5):1615-1623. Epub 2015 Sep 17.

PMID:26640527

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Curcumin prevents the non-alcoholic fatty hepatitis via mitochondria protection and apoptosis reduction.

Wang L, Lv Y, Yao H, Yin L, Shang J.

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015 Sep 1;8(9):11503-9. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26617882

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Curcumin attenuates chronic ethanol-induced liver injury by inhibition of oxidative stress via mitogen-activated protein kinase/nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 pathway in mice.

Xiong ZE, Dong WG, Wang BY, Tong QY, Li ZY.

Pharmacogn Mag. 2015 Oct-Dec;11(44):707-15. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.165556.

PMID:26600714

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High Fat High Cholesterol Diet (Western Diet) Aggravates Atherosclerosis, Hyperglycemia and Renal Failure in Nephrectomized LDL Receptor Knockout Mice: Role of Intestine Derived Lipopolysaccharide.

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PLoS One. 2015 Nov 18;10(11):e0141109. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141109. eCollection 2015.

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Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host.

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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Jan;63:217-27. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

PMID:26479188

T-Helper Cell-Mediated Islet Inflammation Contributes to β-Cell Dysfunction in Chronic Pancreatitis.

Talukdar R, Sasikala M, Pavan Kumar P, Rao GV, Pradeep R, Reddy DN.

Pancreas. 2016 Mar;45(3):434-42. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000479.

PMID:26474432

Curcumin Induces Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Cell Death Via Reduction of the Inhibitors of Apoptosis.

Díaz Osterman CJ, Gonda A, Stiff T, Sigaran U, Valenzuela MM, Ferguson Bennit HR, Moyron RB, Khan S, Wall NR.

Pancreas. 2016 Jan;45(1):101-9. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000411.

PMID:26348467

Curcumin inhibits lung cancer invasion and metastasis by attenuating GLUT1/MT1-MMP/MMP2 pathway.

Liao H, Wang Z, Deng Z, Ren H, Li X.

Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Jun 15;8(6):8948-57. eCollection 2015.

PMID:26309547

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Curcumin attenuates ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis through modulating Nrf2/FXR signaling in hepatocytes.

Lu C, Zhang F, Xu W, Wu X, Lian N, Jin H, Chen Q, Chen L, Shao J, Wu L, Lu Y, Zheng S.

IUBMB Life. 2015 Aug;67(8):645-58. doi: 10.1002/iub.1409. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

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Curcumin pretreatment mediates antidiabetogenesis via functional regulation of adrenergic receptor subtypes in the pancreas of multiple low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Naijil G, Anju TR, Jayanarayanan S, Paulose CS.

Nutr Res. 2015 Sep;35(9):823-33. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.06.011. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

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Pancreatic β-Cells Limit Autoimmune Diabetes via an Immunoregulatory Antimicrobial Peptide Expressed under the Influence of the Gut Microbiota.

Sun J, Furio L, Mecheri R, van der Does AM, Lundeberg E, Saveanu L, Chen Y, van Endert P, Agerberth B, Diana J.

Immunity. 2015 Aug 18;43(2):304-17. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.07.013. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

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Curcumin ameliorates streptozotocin-induced liver damage through modulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated apoptosis in diabetic rats.

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A quick how-to: Fermented oats with flax. A Synbiotic Breakfast!

IMG575

Tonight I thought I would share one of my favorite fermented foods: oatmeal, with ground flax seeds. Since it is made with kefir (fermented milk or, in this case, fermented coconut milk) and includes fiber to feed the microbes, it is more than a probiotic, it is a synbiotic. This is really easy to make, and fermented oats have been found to be very healthy. The fermentation releases more of the nutritional value of both items. Has some sour taste, but not strongly so-I got used to it quite quickly and enjoy it now.

I use coconut kefir that I make myself (see a previous post for this) but you could also use commercial kefir. Yogurt can work but more slowly as it doesn’t have as much bacteria. The first step is adding one cup of oats (preferably organic, but this is what I had today) to a bowl:

IMG576

Then, add about two tablespoons of ground flax seeds:

IMG577

Now the critical ingredient-the symbionts! Add 1/2 cup of kefir, then 1/2 cup of coconut milk:

IMG578

Stir the whole mess up until all the dry ingredients become wet:

IMG580

I usually put a plate over it to keep dust and such out of it:

IMG581

Then, it goes on top of the fridge next to another batch of coconut kefir!

IMG582

I typically mix this in the morning, and leave it up there until the next morning. Then, I add blueberries, cut up peaches, some walnuts, maybe a little maple syrup even. Mix it all together, and enjoy!

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC526387/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26130143

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25644341

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25267244

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22457771

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26113960

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24140807

Why Diet and Gut Bacterial Symbionts may be the most important thing you learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism is a neurobehavioral condition that has been dramatically on the rise in the last decade. There are many factors that contribute to its causes, but none so pervasive as gut bacterial imbalance. To see the connections, you first have to realize that our brain development is heavily influenced by the interaction between our gut bacterial symbionts, our immune system, and those little cell organelles that produce energy-known as mitochondria. I explained at length how the gut bacteria influence brain development in The Symbiont Factor; in short there are many pathways for influence including gut bacterial alteration of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF. This substance is necessary for proper nerve growth and development, and a deficiency or imbalance in gut bacteria results in a reduced level of BDNF. New research has shown another factor in brain development, Short Chain Fatty Acids or SCFA. This substance is produced by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates (sweets, essentially!)  Eating too many carbohydrates results in increased populations of the gut bacteria that thrive on sugars, including Clostrida, desulfovibrio, and Bacteroides. When these bacteria ferment carbs, they produce high levels of SCFA including propionic acid which is one SCFA. Propionic acid is also a common food preservative in prepared foods, so read your ingredients and eat organic as much as possible. New research has shown that high propionic acid levels interfere with mitochondrial function, reducing the energy available for nerve cell function and producing ASD. It is important to understand that some of the organisms that produce propionic acid are not necessarily pathogens; more like “frenemies” in this case (see Jerry Seinfeld; friend + enemy, and a good laugh too) Establishing and maintaining a microbial balance is really a more accurate way to state the goal. The overuse of vaccines and antibiotics in children, combined with chemicals in packaged food and toxins in farm-raised food are all factors that conspire to imbalance our gut bacteria. It is worth noting that reduced mitochondrial function also results in elevated oxidative stress, which is the neuroinflammatory/degenerative process that drives many diseases from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome to Parkinson’s, dementia, and aging in general. Significant variables that we can influence include diet (less sweets, more organic fruits and veggies and organic grassfed meat; organic Paleo diet essentially) and behavior. Pushing ourselves past the point of fatigue, or allowing small children to stay “in overdrive” too long with video games and sweets, causes more bacterial imbalance and neurologic dysfunction. Many supplements, from Curcumin and probiotics with Lactobacillus and Bifido species, to fermented foods and drinks such as GoodBelly and Lifeway Kefir, can help to build and maintain healthy levels of gut bacteria and give our kids the best chance possible of good health and function. The next time a stranger at the bank drive through offers your child “a sucker”, consider the potential effects of regular sugar ingestion on a child’s microbiome and brain function. Really!

For much more about the role of diet and gut symbiont bacteria on brain development, behavior and health, please check out my book The Symbiont Factor: http://tinyurl.com/qyg85t9

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26031685

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24466331

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26046240

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25956238

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25956237

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25852770

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911232

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25852213

The Next Book after The Symbiont Factor

What’s the perfect diet to host as healthy a microbiome as possible and live a healthy life? well, that turns out to be different for each person…our microbiome and our body live in a balance, with “the ideal microbiome” depending on several variables. How do you figure it out? That is going to be the subject of my next book! I know that there are so many books about diet, and this is not going to be one of them. It will be more about how to understand your body, making useful observations, deciding what tests to have run, understanding what those tests mean and deciding what to change to op I realized that I did not include much information about what to do in The Symbiont Factor. I wrote it more to set the stage by understanding the role of the microbiome in health; why it’s important in other words. If you’re making your way through the book or have already finished it, you will understand what is coming in the next book much better!

When is an Ice Cream Sundae not ice cream? Synbiotic Deception!

IMG2015

So, time for a treat, right? Here’s an example based on my book, The Symbiont Factor. Before reading the rest of this, open the picture and look closely. Doesn’t that look like the best vanilla ice cream/butterscotch/hot fudge sundae ever? LOL clever deception…in fact, it is plain greek yogurt, with tahini and blackstrap molasses! Why you might ask? Probiotic and Prebiotic combined with healthy fats that are metabolized into cancer-fighting agents…let me explain. Gut bacteria metabolize sesamins in sesame into mammalian lignans that are powerful substances that protect agains some cancers along with other benefits. The yogurt of course has some probiotic bacteria (I had a probiotic capsule right before eating this) and blackstrap molasses has great nutritional value (it is basically the nutrients that were removed when white sugar is made!) It is also a good source of antioxidants. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, another beneficial symbiont, can be cultured on blackstrap molasses as can other good bacteria. It serves as a prebiotic. So, this is a synbiotic treat masquerading as an ice cream sundae!
References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23387872
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19537732
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549449
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103324
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7765100
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jgam/54/4/54_4_237/_pdf
tinyurl.com/m4agxd5

New Video about Gut Bacteria, Probiotics, Brain!

Well, I had some time between patients yesterday, and, having watched just enough cute cat videos and ignored enough political/religious arguments on Facebook-I decided to do something useful and create a video. This short video should help to make sense out of probiotics, gut bacteria, and how they affect us mentally/emotionally. Check out my new video about gut bacteria and probiotics! http://tinyurl.com/oyvvwt2

A Kefir Orange Creamsicle drink!

So, you’ve been buying or making kefir, and looking at ways to incorporate it into daily life…Here is one tasty treat I’ve found:

Mix equal parts of unflavored kefir (I make coconut kefir because I have lymphocyte sensitivity to dairy but regular kefir would work great) with vanilla soy or almond milk and orange juice, then mix. That’s all there is to it! of course if you freeze it in those handy popsicle maker ice trays, it becomes creamsicle treats. I’m sure if you prefer vanilla flavored kefir, such as Lifeways, that would work out well also-just a bit sweeter if you like that.

This simple drink is great with breakfast, as a snack, or an evening probiotic nightcap before bed. It’s yet another easy way to add some probiotic goodness to your day! Try it out and be sure to let me know how it works out for you, ok?