DIY Fermentation

Due to the high-stress, fast-food, antibiotic-happy modern culture, we have done quite a number on our probiotic population. In fact, whether its antibiotics or pasteurization, many people try to put up a shield against any and all kinds of bacteria, good and bad. While guarding against unfriendly bacteria isn’t a bad thing, it is vital to replenish the good bacteria in your system, both in your gut and on your skin.

One of the easiest ways to achieve this balance is to add fermented foods and/or supplements to your diet. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® are fermented for 3 years, allowing the strongest strains of good bacteria to survive and thrive in your system. The enzymes and organic acids from the probiotics have been known to improve digestion, which in turn helps your body absorb the other nutrients you are consuming.

Aside from taking a fermented probiotic supplement like Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, you can also make delicious fermented foods right in your own kitchen. The following fermented food recipes are taken from chef Nick Lacasse of Pure Kitchen Catering.

 

KOMBUCHA

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoby from previous batch of Kombucha, or purchase one ahead of time kombucha2
  • 3 1/2 quarts  water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 8 bags unflavored black or green tea
  • 1 cup starter tea from previous batch of Kombucha or unflavored unpasteurized store-bought Kombucha

Equipment:

  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • Funnel
  • 4-8 swing top bottles
  • Cheesecloth
  • Twine

kombucha

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until it dissolves completely. Add tea bags and steep until water is completely cool. Remove tea bags and transfer to a glass jar.
  2. Using a wooden or other non-metal spoon, stir in the starter tea. Gently transfer the scoby into the jar.
  3. Cover the jar mouth with cheesecloth and secure with twine.
  4. Store the jar in a dark place at room temperature for 7-10 days to allow it to ferment. Starting on day 7, try it daily until it reaches the balance of acidity that you prefer.
  5. Once your Kombucha has reached the balance of tart and sweet that you like, remove the scoby and one cup of Kombucha and transfer to a container. You can either make another batch, or store it in the refrigerator to stall fermentation for a future batch.
  6. Pour remaining Kombucha into swing top bottles, adding chopped fruit, fruit juice, flavored tea, honey, herbs, or spices to flavor if desired. Try experimenting with lychee, blood orange, and mint. Be sure to leave a few inches of room at the top of  your bottles, as it will expand as it carbonates.
  7. Store bottled Kombucha for 1-3 days in a dark place at room temperature to allow Kombucha to carbonate. Check daily to determine whether it has reached your desired level of carbonation.

 

KIMICHI

Ingredients:kimichee 2

  • 2 heads napa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 6 scallions, roots trimmed off, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 piece daikon radish, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 3 tbs shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt

 

  1. kimichiRub the cabbage with the salt until fully coated and cover with water.
  2. Wrap tightly with plastic and let sit out at room temperature for 10-18 hours to soften the cabbage.
  3. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and strain, squeezing out excess moisture. Dress the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Separate the Kimichi into clean glass jars, and close the lids tightly. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Unscrews lids to release gasses, then re-close and refrigerate. The Kimichi will develop more flavor over the course of the week, but can be eaten as soon as the first day of refrigeration.

 

 

CREME FRAICHE

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz buttermilk
  • 16 oz heavy cream

cremefraiche

  1. Whisk together cream and buttermilk and transfer to an airtight container. Leave at room temperature for 36-48 hours, depending on desired consistency. Letting go for 36-hours will provide a softer consistency similar to sour cream, whereas 48-hours will produce a firmer consistency comparable to mascarpone. Once desired texture is reached, transfer to a refrigerator to chill.
  2. Once chilled, season with salt, pepper, and your preferred flavorings. Try a pinch of fennel pollen, chopped fresh herbs, or minced preserved lemon.
  3. Serve with smoke salmon and a little fresh fruit preserves

 

While all of these recipes look delicious and I am telling myself I will try them, I will probably stick to fermented probiotic supplements for now, since cooking boxed macaroni and cheese is an accomplishment for me these days!

 

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Got Strong Bones?

It has been a mystery in the United States for years. With our high consumption of diary products, why is it that we still have an incredibly high incidence of osteoporosis? Scientists in Asia, where both osteoporosis and diary consumption have historically been quite low, may have found a major clue.

It turns out that the calcium we consume through milk and supplements is not always absorbed or used to build bone. In fact, without a healthy probiotic population in the gut and the presence of other bone-building co-factors like Vitamins D and K2, magnesium, zinc, and essential fatty acids, calcium can pass right through the body undigested. Even worse, excess calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in the soft tissues and arteries. Turns out, parents bargaining with their kids to get them to drink large amounts of milk may not have always been in the child’s best interest.

However, this does not mean that we should stop consuming calcium all together, because there are many benefits to having healthy levels of calcium in the body. There are simple dietary adjustments that can alter the body’s internal chemistry in favor of building strong bones. Recent research done exclusively on Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® found that when women ages 48 and older took this probiotic supplement for at least eight weeks, their bone density was 36% higher when compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.

“Scientists suspect that probiotics help the body properly digest calcium,” said William Schoor, Vice President of Essential Formulas, the US distributor of the probiotic supplement used in the study. “The friendly bacteria also manufacture some of the vitamin co-factors needed for bone-building including B6, B12, K, and folic acid.”

It’s a surprising side benefit of probiotics, which are frequently touted for supporting digestive health and immune response. Derived from a fermented vegetarian blend, it is actually a whole food that contains probiotics, prebiotics (substances that feed probiotics), and organic acids. Scientists have noted that it is important to provide both probiotic and prebiotic components for the GI tract to enhance calcium uptake. Such dramatic results might not occur when using freeze-dried probiotic supplements.

In addition to probiotic and prebiotic supplementation, Dr. Natalie Engelbart, founder of Your Top Life and Alternative Health Solutions in Flower Mound, Texas, encourages women to consider increasing magnesium intake for better bone health. magnesium-food-sources-of“Magnesium regulates calcium absorption into our bones, and ensures that calcium deposits don’t wind up in the soft tissue. The proper balance for our body is a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. But if you have been deficient in magnesium due to high stress, or from taking calcium rich supplements or foods, you may want to increase your magnesium intake even more.”

These dietary tips are encouraging to the 8 million American women who are diagnosed with osteoporosis and the approximately 24 million others who have a high risk of developing it. Once again, prevention is key. Not only should mature adults make sure they keep up on probiotic and vitamin supplementation for bone health, they need to pass those habits along to the next generation!

 

 

 

It takes guts®… to have strong bones!fb

 

Can Bacteria Fight Obesity?

Why are some people fat? It’s not just a question that fat people ask themselves, but also one that drives much medical research because obesity increases the risk of serious illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.

A study recently published in Science adds gut bacteria to the list of possible causes of obesity.

The intestine is home to trillions of microbes that help the body break down and use food. The particulars of the mix have been found to vary significantly from person to person, even among identical twins.

In an effort to isolate the contribution of gut bacteria to weight, researchers led byJeffrey Gordon, of Washington University in St. Louis took the bacteria from pairs of identical and fraternal twins, each with one obese twin and one lean, and put it in previously germ-free cloned mice. (We glossed tastefully over the matter of the fecal transplant.)

The results indicate that bacteria does in fact play a powerful role: The mouse that got the obese twin’s bacteria grew fat and developed metabolic problems linked to insulin resistance, even when fed only low-fat mouse chow.

The researchers then housed the fat and thin mice together, allowing their gut bacteria to mix. (Mice housed in the same cage typically eat each other’s droppings.) The thin bacteria beat out the fat bacteria in the obese mice, and they became thin again.

So is obesity purely a question of gut bacteria? No such luck. The “thin” bacteria, specifically a group called Bacteroidetes, was only able to triumph when the fat mice were eating low-fat mouse chow. When they were fed a higher-fat food meant to mimic a typical American diet, obese mice kept the obese twin’s gut bacteria — and the excess weight.

“Eating a healthy diet encourages microbes associated with leanness to quickly become incorporated into the gut. But a diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables thwarts the invasion of microbes associated with leanness. This is important as we look to develop next-generation probiotics as a treatment for obesity,” said Gordon.

It can’t be long before we see Bacteroidetes and other potentially thinning “probiotics” for sale in the supermarket next to green tea.

But, buyer beware, the mouse studies are far from conclusive. The next step for Gordon and his team will be growing microbes in the lab and mixing them to nail down which combinations have which metabolic effects.

“There’s intense interest in identifying microbes that could be used to treat diseases,” he said.

Especially diseases that make us fat.

 

This is an article taken from Longevity and Health. To view the original article click here.

Wanted: Germs

 

The word “germ” brings to my mind a mental image of the bacteria/slugs on the toenail fungus commercials. Toe fungusYou know the one where they lift up the yellow, crackling toenail, jump inside, and join their other slimy friends for a germ party. Gross! The words germs, bacteria, and bugs have become synonymous with “yucky”, however, not all bugs deserve this bad rap! In fact, going on a germ-killing mission, using products that claim to eliminate “99.9% of germs” may disable your immune system from reaching its full potential.

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle keeps the entire family active, from 3 year-old kids who already know how to operate iPads, to hard-working adults. A strong immune system is absolutely necessary in order to fight off seasonal illnesses and maintain healthy energy levels. Typically, when you start to feel “run-down,” that is your immune system trying to tell you to take it easy. A major factor in the strength of your immune response starts in the digestive tract, where about 80% of the body’s immune cells reside. I always thought my immune system was in my lymph nodes since that is usually where I fell the first signs of getting sick. But, long before your immune system triggers a response in the lymph nodes, it is either being built up or destroyed in your gut. You support your crucial immune cells in the digestive system by consuming…bacteria! Not the toenail fungus, germy bacteria, but Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria.

According to  pharmacist, author, and holistic health expert  Ross Pelton, a study indicated that people who ingested probiotics for three weeks were shown to have immune cells that were twice as effective as those who did not. The friendly bacteria help support the function of immune system cells by, among other things, crowding out unfriendly guests like bad bacteria. Probiotics also enhance digestion, which means the body better absorbs all the nutrients it needs from food and supplements. That alone equips the body to stay healthy and more efficiently fight off any bad bugs (call forth the slimy,green, toenail-bug mental picture) that come along.

“Due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” according to Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well. To maintain ideal health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. However, this ratio is almost impossible to maintain without supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Dr. Pescatore encourages his patients to look for a supplement that encapsulates both the probiotic and its nutritious culture medium, or its food, called the prebiotic. In other words, the good bugs need bugs!

“A probiotic alone will not necessarily be successful. The friendly bacteria need what is called prebiotic support,” explained Dr. Pescatore, who noted that  Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, fit the bill. The probiotic formula is encapsulated with its culture medium, which provides the body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing organic acids. “This prebiotic support ensures that the probiotics take root and thrive in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Pescatore.

When relying on probiotics to help support immune response, it is vital to pick the right supplement. There are products that claim to contain “billions and billions” of bacteria, but, contrary to what many people believe, this is not necessarily a good thing. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain, can actually trigger an immune response that causes the body to treat the supplemented bacteria as a threat. Consumers should also look out for probiotic products that may have undergone manufacturing processes or shipping conditions that render them useless.

As healthy micro-ecology is restored, digestion improves and all the body’s organs and cells are able to receive nutrition more efficiently. That can have an incredible effect on whole health and energy helping the entire family to manage their demanding lifestyles.

 

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Beauty And The Bugs

My grandmother always used to tell me “real beauty radiates from within.” At the time, I filed this advice away in my mental archives and rolled my eyes. “What does an 80-year old woman know about modern beauty,” I thought to myself, along with “what does that even mean?” We’ve all heard some variation of the saying, but it turns out it may be true in a very literal sense and not just a matriarchal proverb.

Natural health and beauty author, Kat James, has shared an intriguing surprise ingredient for creating lasting radiant beauty: probiotic supplementskat james

It turns out that probiotics- the helpful bacteria that naturally live in the digestive tract- not only help us properly digest our food, but can also affect major natural beauty issues. From weight management to skin clarity, friendly bacteria are responsible for keeping us feeling and looking healthy.

“I learned the hard way that outer beauty suffers as inner ecology deteriorates,” said James. “Even as a professional New York makeup artist with a bag full of beauty tricks, there was no more hiding my own ravaged skin, spirit, and health, or my expanding waistline.” She explained that when probiotic balance (or inner ecology) is harmed, it affects the whole body. The digestive system may not absorb nutrients efficiently, which leaves the rest of the body nutritionally starved, even if an individual is eating well. This can lead to excessive cravings, increased appetite, and weight gain.

Because probiotics also help the body detoxify itself, poor probiotic balance can even result in dermal blemishes, rashes, and breakouts. Over time, compromised inner ecology can cause or aggravate issues that leave you feeling less than beautiful: fatigue, mood swings, and bloating. Poor energy and fatigue often show on the face, especially in under-eye area.

James was struggling with all the signs of reduced probiotic population. Her energy level and health at an all-time low, she realized something had to change. She began a quest to discover where her balance had been thrown. Researching nutrition and natural approaches to beauty enhancement, she learned about studies that have looked at the lesser-known effects of probiotics. “We’re only beginning to discover all the clinically verifiable benefits of probiotics,” she said. “If you’ve taken antibiotics or birth control, or spent a good part of your life as a sugar addict like I did, your probiotics are likely depleted.”

Motivated and ready to change, James developed her own personal dietary program focusing specifically on beauty-enhancing nutrients. “I included probiotics to help me absorb nutrients. It literally transformed me beyond recognition, first restoring digestion and then clearing my skin and renewing my relationship with food,” James said. “I have permanently dropped ten dress sizes!”

While James’ experience is quite dramatic, it is common for people to see some beauty-enhancing ‘side benefits’ when taking a probiotic supplement. “Probiotics are responsible for helping us digest food properly. So, it’s a domino effect after that. To feel and look your best, all of your body’s cells need to receive adequate nutrition from your food. Without that nourishment, you’ll see external consequences. “If probiotic imbalance is at the core of someone’s overeating or the root cause of their skin irritations, they could see incredible improvement after a few months of taking a high-quality probiotic product and eating well.”

There are a few serious considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a probiotic supplement. “I would never compromise by taking freeze-dried brands that might not be viable,” said James. “I prefer Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®. It contains the strongest strains of living friendly bacteria along with prebiotics, which are specific nutrients that nourish probiotics.”

Having a diverse list of probiotic strains in the supplement may be more important than having billions of one kind. “This is definitely a case where quality is more important than quantity,” says Barrows. “In fact, products advertising billions of a certain bacteria strain can actually overwhelm the body and trigger an immune response. The body might think the sudden onslaught is a threat.” A high-quality product will contain multiple strains along with prebiotic nutrition.

Apparently, the Dr. Ohhira’s product that James prefers is part of a larger product line which includes topical beauty products. Scientists have discovered that probiotics also do your body good when applied to the surface of the skin. Applied through a moisturizer or cleansing bar, probiotics can help nourish and moisturize skin without any need for harsh chemicals or irritants. That’s another refreshing alternative for anyone with very sensitive or breakout-prone skin!

Whether looking for healthy approaches to weight management and metabolism or hoping to improve dermal health, probiotics may be an overlooked but vital key to any beauty transformation program. “Feeling better and looking better, you begin to radiate a whole new energy,” said James. “Beauty really does start on the inside, at a gut level!” Finally, we have proof that Beauty is more than skin-deep!

It Takes Guts®… to be beautiful!!

Try Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®, Kampuku Beauty Bar ™, and Magoroku moisturizer ™

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