Did you know that our body is made up of a huge amount of bacteria cells. What?! Yes, that is right.
But these single cell organisms are not only there to enjoy rent-free living, they actually help with functions like nutrient absorption, digestion and self-defense.
Think about your body as an ecosystem. Each one of us is populated by different types of bacteria and none of us have exactly the same. The balance in this ecosystem is very delicate, that’s why we should make sure we keep the right environment for all the little guys.
So, you say, if bacteria is really that wonderful, then what causes illness? I’m glad you asked. Illness could be caused when our bacteria gets out of balance. See, when our bacteria is balanced, each one of these organisms co-habit and benefit from each other – even the opportunistic bacteria. All of us have opportunistic bacteria. Ideally they are in very small amounts because they’re tightly controlled by the good guys. But factors like a modern-processed-food-diet, antibiotics, and long term stress can actually feed them, disrupting the equilibrium.
Ways to get your probiotics
Now that we know all the basics, let’s talk about what helps keep the good bacteria healthy and alive in our bodies:
Dairy probiotics: it is important that your dairy has live cultures. To ensure this I would recommend using raw milk, that way you’ll make sure it keeps all it’s properties. You can also make your own yogurt, whey or kefir. If you buy them, read the label to make sure that your product has live bacteria.
Fermented foods and drinks: from kimchi, to sauerkraut or just plain fermented veggies. Just like the dairy probiotics, you can either make them yourself or buy them. If you choose to buy them, just remember that not all fermented food is created equal. The best way for your body to absorb the live enzymes is the way that has been made for thousands of years, either with unprocessed sea salt or whey.
Trusted supplements: even though I would highly recommend we get most of our probiotics through food, there is also the option of getting supplements. Just like I said before, read the labels before doing so.
Try this recipe for getting those good probiotics through veggies!
Basic Fermented Carrots
- About four large carrots shredded or sliced
- 2 cups of filtered water at room temperature
- About 1 Tbsp. of unrefined sea salt
1. Mix the sea salt in the water. Set aside. This is the brine.
2. In a clean jar, preferably one that has a wide mouth, pack in the carrots and pound them until they start to release some juice and are pretty tight together. Make sure to leave about an inch between the carrots and the mouth of the jar as ferments tend to expand.
3. Pour the brine into the jar, making sure that the carrots stay under the brine. To make this easier, some people use some kind of weight, for example a glass that’s small enough to fit in the jar. Just make sure that your weight is not made out of metal.
4. Cover the jar with a clean cloth.
5. Place it in a warm spot, on the counter away from direct sunlight. Allow it to ferment for 3-5 days. Checking every day that the carrots are under the brine, so mold doesn’t form.
6. Once you are satisfied with the taste, secure it with a tight lid and move it to the fridge. I use mine within the next three months, as long as they smell and look fine.
Note: You can experiment adding herbs, garlic , ginger, etc.