(This post is continued from my post yesterday on probiotics. If you missed it, this post won't make much sense until you read it!)
Where Can I Get Probiotics Naturally Through Food?
Probiotics are not just something you can get through supplements. In fact, they have really started to become trendy in some foods. Danactive and Activia yogurts have created marketing campaigns based on their benefits.
In our home, we don't eat the yogurt you buy in the store because most of it contains high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. This would make Tyler's eczema worse. (Dannon Plain is the only type I buy, when I buy it. Health food stores or Whole Foods would also have great non HFCS choices, too.)
I actually make my own yogurt! (I know this isn't for everyone, but its really easy!) All it takes is milk (I usually use organic), a cooking thermometer (similar to this one ), and a yogurt starter. You can use some Dannon plain as a starter, too. I, however, purchase mine from Amazon (does that surprise anyone??). Here is what I use:
(If there is interest, I would be happy to do a tutorial on how to make this at home. It saves money and you know exactly what your child is eating.)
To add sweetness and flavor, I add honey or the natural sweetener stevia and a dash of cinnamon.
Probiotics Are Not Just In Yogurt
Another great source of natural probiotics that is considerably healthier than even yogurt is something called kefir (read its health benefits here ). The taste is somewhat similar to yogurt, but it is thinner and is more of a drink. Tyler loves it and prefers it over yogurt (I also sweeten with stevia and/or fruit)
The equipment to make kefir is the same for yogurt. The method is also very similar. As you might have guessed, I also buy my starter off of Amazon:
You can also get something called "kefir grains". Tyler does not like it prepared this way. I'll let you do your own research on this if it interests you since its a little beyond the scope this article. (You can start here, if you want.)
These are not the only places to get natural probiotics from, however. According to this source, you can get them from:
Aged cheeseBeer (microbrews, if you are of age, of course!!) Cottage cheese(look for bacterial strains in ingredient list) Kimchi Miso Pickled ginger Pickles (brine-cured, without vinegar) Sauerkraut Shoyu Tamari Tempeh Wine (again, you must be of age. Obviously I won't be doing this for Tyler!!)
Research these things before you buy them. Just because they "might" contain probiotics does not mean they do. For example, read the label on cottage cheese. If it does not list a strain of probiotic, it doesn't contain it. I am still looking for one since the store brands I generally buy don't contain a one.
Some buttermilk also contains "friendly bacteria." Again, its not always easy to to find this. Look for ingredients that only say "cultured buttermilk." Nothing else. Most have a bunch of "junk" in them that aren't beneficial. As you might have guessed, I make my own of this, too. (Yes, I'm showing what a "food nerd" I am in this post... and how I am super thrifty! Again, I can do a tutorial if there is interest.)
As you can see by this two day post, I feel very strongly about the benefits of probiotics. Until I was working to clear up Tyler's eczema and get him totally healthy, we didn't worry about these sort of things. In fact, I had never even heard of kefir! (I bet this post is the first time many of you have, too!!)
In our home, Tyler (eczema problems) and I (respiratory problems) both take a supplement every day and we try to eat yogurt or kefir daily. This ensures we are getting the probiotics we need to stay as healthy as possible.