Grow your own natural probiotics to reclaim your health
Fifteen years ago, I found the answer I was seeking to turn around my poor health — although, it felt more like the answer found me. It came from the most unlikely place and it has changed everything in my life.
I was 40-years-old with diabetes, high blood pressure, and a four-pound newborn preemie that was delivered early due to my health problems. It broke me that I had caused her to struggle because of my own health issues, and I was seeking answers mostly to help her thrive. It’s funny how as mothers, we will climb over mountains to help our children while we put our own health struggles on the back burner. And yet, I had to remind myself that the very love that propelled me forward to give her the life that she deserved healed me, too.
It all started with a book that I pulled from a shelf in a health food store. The page I turned to in this book was a recipe for a fermented food called kefir. The words jumped off the page at me and I was immediately intrigued. I picked up another book and much to my surprise it, too, opened to a page that had a recipe for this probiotic food called kefir. Right at that moment a store employee was walking by, stopped next to me and said, “That’s one of the most important books you will ever read. You should pay attention.” And then he walked away. Standing there I felt shaken up. I bought both of those books and proceeded to go find this fermented drink called kefir.
Invisible microbes controlled my health
Three weeks later, after having kefir daily, my little daughter started to thrive and my diabetes and high blood pressure had normalized. I felt such gratitude that I spent the next fifteen years studying the marvels of bacteria and all they do to keep us healthy each day. Discovering that I was made of 100 trillion bacteria and that I could work with these invisible microbes to control my health and my family’s health changed everything for me.
Every day I would make cultured probiotic foods that were filled with good bacteria. I watched these special microbes change the food and increase the vitamins and minerals, as well as load them with probiotics. It was an amazing thing to behold. All I had to do was place food in a jar, add a probiotic culture, cover it, and then let the microbes do their thing while I went about my day.
Consuming these foods changed me…dramatically, and then it began to change my family and friends. I stopped buying probiotic supplements because the cultured foods worked better, worked faster, and were sustainable. These cultures could last forever, and my love for all things cultured grew and grew. This love arose from appreciation that they had made me (and many of those around me) well. From that came hundreds of recipes, three books, and a website filled with my gratitude for these powerful foods.
The key to having a strong immune system
The process of fermentation is an old tradition that has contributed to people of many cultures living long, healthy lives. These microbes govern many of our body’s key functions that are essential to our overall health. They are the key to having a strong immune system, balancing our hormones, digesting our food, supporting mood and brain function, making necessary vitamins that we can’t make on our own, and much more. The healthier and more diverse your microbiome becomes, the healthier you become.
Good bacteria train your immune system to distinguish among the good guys and the pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and then they train them how to respond. This prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is what happens when your body develops allergies. Surprisingly enough, researchers are discovering that the basis of food allergies is a loss of certain strains of good bacteria. By replacing those strains, the food allergies subside and the gut is normalized. I have seen this again and again with thousands of people who have introduced these probiotic foods into their life. Food allergies subside, as do a host of other ailments.
Does all disease begin in the gut as Hippocrates, one of the earliest physicians, stated so long ago? I have seen so many people heal that it has made me a believer. Life experience is the best teacher and researchers are finding more and more evidence each day of just how important our microbiome is to living a long and healthy life.
Click to view the ABC video with Donna Schwenk
Let microbes change you from the inside out
You are made up of more bacteria than anything else. Your bacteria outnumber the cells in your body 10:1 — so it’s important that you pay attention to this. An easy way to embrace and work with your trillions of microbes is to eat probiotic foods. Let them grow and multiply and change you from the inside out. This is an easy thing to accomplish and it’s quite delicious, too.
Never did I think that the answers to my health issues would be found in a jar loaded with billions of microbes. Out of appreciation for all they have done for me, my family, and thousands of others, I created a book that makes growing your own delicious probiotics fun and an easy adventure.
My new book, Cultured Food in a Jar, allows you to easily incorporate probiotic foods — kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables — into your life. Kefir is similar to yogurt (with much stronger and more diverse probiotics) and will help you reestablish good gut flora, reduce inflammation, and much more. Kombucha is a delicious fermented tea that is bubbly and can help you detoxify from unhealthy eating since it assists the liver in detoxification. Cultured vegetables are superfoods and can fix many kinds of stomach distress with just a spoonful. Water kefir is a fantastic replacement for soda pop. You’ll not only get a bubbly probiotic drink, but also one that isn’t loaded with sugar. I teach people how to make this a lifestyle by just adding a few things to their diet with fun and easy recipes all made in a jar.
Maybe you’ve forgotten how good your body is designed to feel. Don’t go through your life not feeling good. You don’t know what you’re missing — feeling good changes everything. Just you wait and see.