Guts & Us Part 2

If you’re coming in now reading Part 2, and want to find part 1 of this post click here.

The good news is you don’t need to part 1 to appreciate part 2.  Here is the highlight reel:

Over the past year Pat and I have undergone a lot of dietary changes a big part of that has been eating more fiber, but also making sure we are consistently incorporating prebiotics and probiotics.

And that’s it.

So what are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are like like the equivalent to your friend that gets to the bar 45 minutes before the game starts to save you a table.  Not a sports fan?  Ok, prebiotics are good gut bacteria promoters, they lay the ground work for probiotics to work optimally in your gut.  More scientifically they are non-digestible, natural food components.  There is some evidence that suggest that prebiotics alone may promote improved gut health, as well as enhanced calcium absorption.

Either way, prebiotics are found naturally in foods like asparagus, bananas, leeks, onions, garlic, soybeans, artichokes, and whole wheat foods.  This works out well, since we already eat a few of these foods, and don’t need to go out of our way to buy anything special.

They are also in foods that are already have nutrition value in their own right. So at the end of the day it’s a win-win. 

While prebiotics are good gut promoters, probiotics are the actual good bacteria (aka “live cultures) that rock out in our gut!  Remember not all bacteria are “bad”!!  These probiotics help promote balanced gut flora (aka a nice healthy gut), probiotics are actually used to help manage GI disease like IBS and IBD (in combination usually in combination with medical treatment, and other nutrition interventions).

So where might you find these bitchin gut bugs you ask?

Yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses are excellent sources- you will see this noted on yogurt labels and ingredient lists as “live active cultures”, and/or: lactobacilli, bifidobacteria.  Non-dairy sources include sauerkraut, kimchi,kombucha, miso, tempeh, and non-dairy cultured yogurts.

While I haven’t gotten Pat on the kombucha bus yet, he has taken a liking to (ok, an “acceptance of”) kimchi, and sauerkraut).

There is an amazing (and local) meat processing store where I grew up (Bellingar Packing), and I pick up a variety of meats anytime I am nearby! They make my favorite sausages and brats, and their burgers are awesome too- they make a perfect vessel for sauerkraut. I have yet to foray into the realm of making my own sauerkraut, but that is something I think will be happening soon. As for now I am a huge fan of Farmhouse Culture. Their Jalapeño kraut is my fav- but it does have a kick, sooooo we don’t have it a lot. 

I’m currently working on retooling my bulgogi recipe which is a perfect way to incorporate kimchi. I also like adding it to my salads (in lieu of dressing) but Pat isn’t quite their yet. 

And as opposed to just eating straight yogurt I have incorporated either that or kefir (sometimes both!!!) in my overnight oats. As long as it doesn’t get too “yogurty”he really doesn’t know it’s there. Another double whammy here as we get the fiber from the oats, and the probiotics from the yogurt and/or kefir.
As I mentioned above he’s not on the kombucha bus 

So in terms of evidence there is some evidence that supports all I have said about about probiotics and prebiotics. That being said some of the evidence is stronger than other aspects. However, everything I have discussed in terms of prebiotics and probiotics are already found in foods that offer up nutritional value outside of them being sources of pre- and probiotics. 

As a dietitian, I’ve worked with a lot of patients. I’ve seen everything from non-compliance to the overachiever.

But working with Pat has always been different. It has caused me to really rethink the way I approach a client. With Pat I constantly ask “is this something you want my advice on”. And I like to think if you know me personally, I’m not one to give unsolicited advice, or at least I try very hard not to. 


Regardless I hope this serves as a helpful guide to help you how to incorporate more of these awesome gut bugs 🙂  

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