Prebiotics and probiotics?

I’ve read all over the place that gut problems (permeability, issues with gut flora) can cause so many other issues.  This makes sense to me, since my Big Huge Weight Gain occurred after a triple-whammy to my digestive system within a relatively short period of time (two rounds of intense antibiotics within one year, for ostensibly unrelated reasons, and one bout of…. I guess I’ll be indelicate and call it intense Travelers Trots, after a trip to Mexico).

I can imagine my gut health was pretty shabby. In retrospect, I hypothesize that the resulting inflammation made me blow up like a balloon (certainly my daily routine, diet, and exercise did not change in any way that would make me pack on weight so dramatically).

That’s why when I read articles/posts like this one on Mark’s Daily Apple, it makes a lot of sense to me.

Yesterday I was feeling run down. Beat. Tired. Verging on sick. The flu bug is in the air.  I was pretty sure I was about to catch it.

And though I have been staying away from most dairy, and had never had kefir before, I was really craving kefir.  I had an idea of what it would taste like, and I knew it contained probiotics.  For some reason, the idea of drinking a thick glass of the stuff seemed SO appealing. I went right to the store on the way home, and got the best/most natural one offered at Publix (for folks outside the Southeast, Publix is a “regular” grocery store as opposed to a health food store, but their offerings of organic offerings is growing, including the store’s own “Greenwise” brand).

The kefir I chose was full-fat rather than reduced fat, and contained no added sugar, flavor, etc., but wasn’t from grass-fed cows.  I was somewhat surprised to learn that it’s 99% lactose free.  The container advertised that it helps with immunity.  Maybe so, because I drank two glasses of it as soon as I got home.  It was smooth, thick, sour, creamy like yogurt but with a tang… exactly as I expected.  And it made me feel very much revived and fortified.

Honestly, I don’t know if it was the kefir or the 9 hours of sleep I got, but I felt so much better today.

Anyway, the prebiotics/probiotics thing is really interesting.  Certainly I crave garlic when I am ill (noted in the article linked above) and I never stop craving my Korean friends’ homemade kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage).

So, next time I am at Whole Foods, I expect I will pick up more kefir (from grass fed cows’ milk, if I can find it).  I reckon it’s more primal than paleo, and I am OK with that.

Anyone else like/enjoy or hate/despise kefir?  Anyone know of additional reasons to drink it, or to avoid it?

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