Are Probiotic drinks and Fermented foods right for you right now?

Ok so in writing this I’m not trying to say these wonderful ancient nourishing foods are bad NO NO NO they are packed with nutrients and good bacteria and brilliant for your microbiome . . . but to show you that in some cases your body might not be ready for them or you may have gone in to much to fast or the wrong type. . .

There’s a massive movement off traditional foods like sauerkraut and kefir now thanks to Pete Evans and Nora Gedgaudas who have opened up the masses to these foods . . . brilliant yay! BUT and the but is small, like any fad or exciting new way of life or food, jumping on board without knowledge might lead to more health issues in some sensitive bodies. Like with any diet or lifestyle one way does not fit all and we should all listen to our bodies’ -how? Our daily stools and our skin!

Some of you might have issues with Histamines and most probiotics foods would be out until you have healed your gut, or Amines so bone broths would cause you headaches ect . . .

Sauerkraut: So lets take those with thyroid issues who start on large amounts of sauerkraut. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, radish, turnips and cauliflower can be harmful to those with slow thyroids, these foods contain goitrogens which are naturally-occurring substances found in various foods like the ones above, and they have the ability to cause a goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland)

In addition to promoting goiter formation, goitrogenic foods can act like anti-thyroid drugs, slowing down the thyroid, and ultimately causing hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)

Goitrogens are able to disrupt normal thyroid function by inhibiting the body’s ability to use iodine.

I’m not telling you not to eat these power packed vegetables just go easy on them and thus don’t go from eating zero sauerkraut to cups every day. Build up slowly starting with ½ tsp of sauerkraut juice for 3 days then build up to 1 tsp of juice for 3 days then 1 tsp of sauerkraut for 3 days and so on till your body reaches the amount its happy with, without die off’s like skin rashes, headaches, bowl issues or bloating. If these symptoms appear then pull back on the amount you eat or just use the juice. Also balancing these goitrogen foods with iodine rich foods like seaweed or supplementing with iodine can help balance this effect out.

A good food to start fermenting is carrot sticks or whole cloves of garlic. Carrot stick can ferment in just 1 week making them a good easy place to start and to build up slowly to the 2-4 week sauerkrauts, Garlic cloves are easy to ferment (4 weeks minimum) swallow these whole as probiotic bomb for you gut!! Ha its just a nightmare to peel 18 cloves to fill a jar but worth it.

Kimchi: a beautiful tasty fermented ancient food. But if you have a leaky gut this nightshade rich hot chili condiment can cause more harm than good . . . again less is more until your are healed.

If you think about how these fermented foods were eaten they are always condiments and accompany a meal as a small part maybe 1-2 tbls per meal and given from 3-4 months old. If your also drinking kefir and kombucha maybe your over doing it? Less is more . . .

Kombucha: is made from tea, sugar and a Scoby “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast,” Kombucha has many healing properties, minerals and is a great probiotic rich food, but hay not for all of us. It can upset the balance of your microbiome and cause yeast break outs and die off’s. Often when making it at home it is hard to accurately make it safely either leaving to much sugar init or another potential problem is a bacteria called Aspergillus, a toxin-producing fungus that can appear when the acidity levels in home-brewed kombucha, the ones that prevent “bad” bacteria from surviving, are too low, something an inexperienced brewer might have a hard time detecting. But on the unhelpful other side most of the shop brought ones are to high in sugar and not brewed long enough or heat treated when bottled. Unless you are experienced I would suggest finding a good local small company you trust to make it well. There will always be a little sugar remaining and a small amount of alcohol which is why I don’t recommend kombucha for kids, and the amount depends on how long the tea is fermented. Generally, people brew the tea according to their taste. A 5-day brew is going to have a high quantity of sugar remaining but be more palatable. A 30-day brew is going to have very little remaining (yet still some). Most people brew the tea for 7-12 days, when it has a fizzy sour flavor with a touch of sweetness remaining. On average (according to my local expert) the amount of sugar at this point is 16 grams per 8 oz cup. This is equal to 4 teaspoons of sugar. You could brew the full 30 days to minimize the sugar, but at that point, the drink is so sour most wouldn’t drink it.

Also start really slowly and if your faced with rashes and bloating pull back at a lesser dose as you will still be getting the benefits so its not about drinking bottles of the stuff daily. As soon as you put your body under stress from these rich probiotic foods you loose the magic of them. For us we had issues with yeasts and Candida and our home brewed kombucha made us feel worst and we decided not to push through and remain on fermented vegetables only with young coconut kefir as a sometimes food I small doses.

-Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, says: “Apart from good bacteria a healthy body is populated by beneficial yeasts which normally protect the person from pathogenic (bad) yeasts, such as candida albicans. Kefir (and kombucha) contain these beneficial yeasts (as well as the beneficial bacteria) which help to take pathogenic yeasts under control.”  This is a good thing, but sometimes the body goes through a reaction to the mass die-off of bad bacteria and yeast, and temporarily symptoms worsen. This can last from a few days to a few weeks, but when the symptoms pass, people’s health improves dramatically

Kefir: may be tolerated better than Kombucha for some or visa-versa, I urge you to make your own or use a reputable company as many on the market are not fermented for long enough and contain to higher levels of sugar still as above if your on gut healing protocol these levels of sugars and the in fluctuating levels can cause more issues.

Keep it simple it’s also the trend to add many flavours to your probiotic drinks, that’s fine if you have already sealed and healed your gut but they can cause more issues if your sensitive to fruits or berries. Think healing ginger and lemon.

So my point is these are all wonderful healing foods but just because health experts or celebrity chefs indorse them they might not be right for you and your bio-individual needs. Once your healed try again or just work up very slowly until they are small parts of your balanced healthy diet and not a replacement food just aside a compliment is fine. Remember in small doses too!


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