January is all about detoxing from the Christmas season and getting back on track with the healthy living. One thing I really rave about is probiotics and friendly bacteria. I’m not talking about the sugar-filled flavoured ‘yogurts’ and drinks on the supermarket shelves…I’m talking kombucha and kefir! I take probiotic supplements regularly, but I think consuming fermented produce is also really important. There is so much research out there now that links your gut health to everything, from autoimmune conditions to your skin health. Your gut is a big part of your immune system – they say 70-80% of immune tissue is in your digestive system, so keeping it healthy is the place to start for overall health and wellbeing.
So, how do you help your gut? A good place to start is an elimination diet, to see what your body reacts to once you start incorporating it back into your diet. Many people aren’t necessarily ‘allergic’ or ‘intolerant’ to food groups, but are sensitive or feel much better off these foods. Dairy, Gluten and sugar are all big contributors for poor digestive health. I know there’s a bit of a misconception about people who remove gluten from their diet because it’s ‘trendy’ but there is a strong link between a lot of illnesses and gluten sensitivities – search ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and you’ll see that there’s a fair amount of evidence that shows some people just do better without gluten.
Introducing friendly bacteria to your gut will help immensely. I’m sure you’ve all heard about ‘good bacteria’ and how important it is. Most people know about friendly bacteria from yogurt adverts, but I prefer to get mine without the processed dairy and sugar. I take probiotic supplements (look for the ones that quote billions of bacteria, or multiple strains), but water kefir is something new I’ve been trying in order to boost my health.
Water kefir is a carbonated, fermented drink made from water kefir grains. There are two types of kefir, dairy or water, and as I love kombucha (fermented tea!) I decided to give the water kefir a go. I bought my grains from Happy Kombucha and was so impressed with how quickly the grains took to their new home. They are living cultures and live in fresh, filtered water, fed with sugar which gets consumed by the grains. Strain out the grains after 48 hours, bottle the leftover water for drinking and pop the grains in fresh water with food (sugar). It’s pretty simple and does so much good! I very much recommend Happy Kombucha if you’re ever looking for any live cultures…a few years ago, I bought some milk kefir grains from another shop and they were a major disappointment…these Happy Kombucha grains have been nothing but a wonderful success and already the grains have multiplied over and over!