I’ve been recommended to take probiotic supplements for years; ever since I learnt that I had Crohn’s disease, friends and teachers have advised me to take this product or that product to repopulate my flora. The doctors have never told me to do so, I didn’t really appreciate what my flora is and it all seemed a bit much, so I didn’t bother. Still having symptoms and issues with digestion a few years ago, I was decided to try them! But, they didn’t seem to do anything (I got a generic Holland and Barretts one, I don’t think this is perhaps a good quality). People still kept talking about these things to me! At the start of the year, I bought some more, of a good quality from a health food shop. It was horrible! I was more bloated and farty than before so I didn’t take them for many days!..
A few months ago I came across the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, it described my problems, was written by a doctor and thus seemed like my prayers for improved digestion had finally been answered!! Except, I had to go on a hugely restrictive diet with a shed load of animal fats included, which seemed counter intuitive to what I had learnt about alkalising and not going too heavy on animal fat (due to it’s inflammatory and acidifying effect on the body). There was so much science and sense in the ideology of it for the most part that I took the fundamental points, which were easy to apply into my daily life, and carried on being allowed to eat out and with friends! The main thing I took, ditch grains (even gluten free), unless you NEED that cake or pasta meal for mental health reasons haha, and consume a lot more probiotics. But note, that’s what’s currently working for me, we are all so different that it may or may not help you to try this.
You’ve possibly seen my post on Kefir, this book got me back into making my own (I flushed my milk mushrooms when I moved home last because EVERYTHING was too much of an effort when you have to move home), but also I started to use Sauerkraut (a live one) and to be able to continue with probiotics without making symptoms of bloating, constipation, gas, etc (all the things which make you want to die or simply NOT have a life in public!).
So, WHY take Probiotics? Why am I still pursuing and now publically sharing about this?
If you’ve had anti-biotics (i.e. kills bacteria, even those helpful ones in your gut which help digest and absorb the right stuff from your food), steroids, parasites in your gut, some kind of poisoning, constant IBS symptoms (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, i.e. just a shit digestion and the doctors can’t say why, hence it’s a sydrome..), any type of strong cancer or other therapy drug or treatment, wasn’t breast fed, regularly consumed NON-ORGANIC dairy or meat (as these too contain a heap of anti-biotics), been constantly or regularly sick with something it’s possible that your gut is imbalanced. As literally, you aren’t so much what you eat more than, what your gut is absorbing from what you eat (clearly if you’re living on burgers and chips, there’s not much nutrition there to start with!).. It’s what gets into your bloodstream through your intestines which is what is powering your body and mind; what gets into your bloodstream is controlled by what bacteria are in your gut, if they produce good nutrients on breaking down your food or, if they produce alcohol, opiates or other things which can plainly cause you to feel mental and not very nourished; it’s going to make a difference to the sensitive biochemistry of your body. This biochemical ‘fun’ can be expressed as skin problems like spots, rashes, welts, dryness; brain fog, sore joints and muscles, vision issues, and many more mental and physical disturbances.
Basically, bacteria are awesome, they’re on everything too. This is a good thing, we work in harmony together and help keep each other alive. It’s just when too many selfish/bad/pathogenic bacteria (rather than the symbiotic/good/healthy ones) end up making residence in our guts, we can feel less than our best and they basically run our show! IF we have a good amount of healthy bacteria, our guts are healthy, then we are healthy and, these good bacteria help to keep not just the ‘bad’ bacteria in check but also our immune system can stay fully optimal and we have a lot less physical and mental issues and dis-eases. Simple.
If any of this resonates with you, yes probiotics might well be helpful, if not then probably not. Mindset ALWAYS makes an X-factor of difference.
From my own trial and error, you read, I had issues at first but here’s some tips I learnt to make it easier, if you do want to try yourself, to see if they can help you a little (or a lot). Note, I’m not a doctor, this isn’t cause to bin your GP, don’t be a dickhead, use some common sense, especially if currently taking any medication or suffering from any condition, check with your doctor first!.
- Consume first thing with some warm (not too hot as it’ll kill the little lovelies) lemon water, as I found if taken with lunch, those little darling just make a party in my guts and I bloated like a balloon (update, now my gut is more balanced I tolerate them at anytime). Eat something soon enough after to help them to have something to fuel them but go easy.
- Get a good brand like Bio-Kult, one you know is going to still be alive and well and able to reach your intestines and not just give up half way.
- To gently try first and support your bacteria day to day, try probiotics like Kefir, miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi. ALWAYS look for organic, where possible, especially for the kefir, as if not, you have antibiotics in the milk from the poorly treated cows; so it’s kind of an oxymoron to consume non-organic kefir!
- Start with less, build up to ‘full dose’ after a few weeks, the packet should have instructions, if not check the manufacturer’s website.
- Try for a few weeks to cut out refined sugar and minimise grains, this is because the ‘bad’ bacteria thrive on these products, as well as the bi-products of them, if you are imbalanced can just make things feel harder biochemically than they need to be. I cut out most sugars ages ago, have been a bit more diligent with sugar (added/refined) and sweet fruits (rather than acid ones which seem better on my digestion at least) and notice a massive decrease in bloating symptoms, bloating from gas is usually a bi-product from bacteria processing the foods in your gut. Apply common sense here.
- If you’re on a healing drive, add a little miso, sauerkraut or something like that with each meal, keep topping up those symbiotic bacteria, moderately, if it feels good to do so. If not, then don’t!
- Pre-biotics like different fibres etc can be useful to feel the bacteria, if you’re diet is a bit rubbish, look it up and balance this too.
- Go easy. You can apply this to everything, less stress in your head = less stress in your body = healthier body which is better able to manage itself and balance appropriately.
- Keep trying things out! Be consistent with any changes/additions/removals of dietary things for a couple of months to see if it does help but else if it’s not working, “next”! As I said before, you have a different life, body and needs to me, I can tell you what’s helped me but there’s no saying if it’ll work for you. Try it and see for yourself!
Happy bloat-free pooping!