Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Probiotics; The Healthy Bacteria

Today I have an blog post agenda. The agenda includes clearing up a few things about my last post, sharing with you my favorite part about the holidays, a little probiotic review session, a giveaway update, and my life update! Alright, here we go.....

Sodium and "Bloating"
It became clear to me, after reading all of your comments, that I did not make myself clear when I said that sodium causes me to be bloated. Here are two definitions of "bloat":

1. To cause to swell up or inflate, as with liquid or gas.
1. A swelling of the rumen or intestinal tract of cattle and domestic animals that is caused by excessive gas formation following fermentation of ingested watery legumes or green forage.

The bloat that I get from consuming too much sodium is the first definition.
It just causes me to retain water to the point that I am extremely uncomfortable. It does NOT give me gas and cause me gassy bloat, like many of you believed from my post. I apologize for that confusion. With IBS, many foods can cause gas and bloating, therefore the water retention caused by sodium just adds to the uncomfortable feeling.

Why I Love the Holidays

Although I'm a total Scrooge when it comes to starting to celebrate the holidays early, I became a fan of the early holiday celebration on Monday night when Nick and I walked to Kroger and found THIS:

Great Lake's Christmas Ale has been a favorite of ours since we worked together at an Irish Pub that used to sell this on tap. It's the best beer in the world, no joke. If you enjoy a good beer, you've got to try this stuff, and grab it while you can, it goes fast! We were tempted to buy an entire case, as we could remember last year when everyone had run out. But instead we only purchased two six packs. We walked home fast, and poured ourselves a cup of holiday cheer.

Beer is one of the worst things for my IBS (the gluten, the carbonation....) but sometimes you just gotta make an exception and live through that uncomfortable feeling.

Dietary Change #2; Probiotics

My diet already includes plenty of prebiotics (the food for the probitoics) so now I include probitics as well. They actually have a synbiotic relationship. The perfect product, which contains both pre- and probiotics, is kefir. I recently decided to start drinking Kefir again.

What is Kefir?
Wikepedia: Kefir
(alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep's milk with kefir grains.

How can kefir help?
(Source: LifeWay Kefir)

Dietary changes are often suggested as a first-line defense against IBS.
Many studies show that adding certain types of yogurt – specifically, those containing the bacteria (genera) lactobacilli and bifidobacteria - to your diet may alleviate the symptoms of IBS. These "good" bacteria, also known as probiotics, are normally found in the large intestine, but adding them to your diet can help with gas, pain and bloating, while reducing the time it takes for food to move through the intestine This, in turn, may be helpful in people with constipation; probiotics may also decrease the frequency of loose stools, improving IBS-related diarrhea.

My Extra Thoughts

** When you purchase a product that claims to provide helpful "probiotics", make sure it lists the type of probiotic, which is usually written with the genus abbreviated, and the species written out (ex: L. Lactis). If you purchase a probiotic supplement it should also disclose the amount of probiotic in the product, as well as the species. The species will tell you more specifics about the health benefits of the product, and the amount will disclose whether the product is even worth taking, as 1 to 10 billion units is what is necessary for clinical effects. If the product does not say, be sure to call the company to confirm.**

I bought this kefir the other day. Check it out, not only does this provide probiotics, but also more PREbiotics (inulin in this case) to feed the probiotics. Do you notice another important component of this product??

VITAMIN D!! Now vitamin D is more important than ever. Have I mentioned that before ??

Both of my dietary changes have made me a happier girl. I rarely get that uncomfortable bloat, or feeling that my food is stuck half-way through its absorption process, and I rarely have bad gas (Nick likes that part). The reduction in gas may have to do with the fact that probiotics are said to produce some beneficial enzymes for digestion. It's quite nice. Also, check out the post by Stephanie or "The Skinny Plate". She reviewed LifeWays probiotic bars, which is another great way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

If you would like more specific information about probiotics and prebiotics, click on this link. It will hopefully answer all of your questions that I could not describe in this post (or it would have been a mile long!)

Giveaway Update
Jessica of How Sweet It Is is giving away a Cusinart Food Processor! Check it out.

Life Update
Well I'm still really busy with the new job. Our company is growing, very slowly, but surely. We've decided to create some webinars and maybe even write a book! I will also be including an option for some personal and group dietary consulting within the companies we are working for.
All together, I still love the job and I can tell it's only going to get better!

Stay tuned for my next post, which will include my Biggest Loser review! Thanks for reading, and have a great day.


  1. It looks like things are going really great for you!

  2. Aw, thanks for the link! I have never tried kefir but I always see it at TJ's!

  3. thanks for clarifying the confusion, I was in that group of confused people :)
    I need to take my probiotic supplement that is sitting in fridge lately, thanks for remind me. I hope it gives me those benefits that you were getting! :)
    glad to know that your new job is going well... write a book? wooo!!!

  4. I'm glad your job is going well!

    I also needed a reminder to take my probiotic, it helps me a lot too!

    I also took Calicum and Vitamin D the other day with no major stomach problems. I am slowly easing into it and will probably take another one tonight.

  5. Wow, sounds like your job is going great!! Good for you. Thanks for the probiotic update.. since I cant do dairy is a supplement the only way to go???

  6. I'll keep an eye out for that beer :)

    I'm glad you're enjoying your job, and thanks for the probiotic info!

  7. Yay, great review Gina! I just posted about the same thing...great minds think alike!

  8. If you haven't joined the NE (nutrition entrepenuers...seriously how do you spell that, LOL) DPG yet, you may want to since they provide a lot of resources for writing, speaking and running a business. I enjoy the stuff I get from them. Thanks for the info on kefir, which I love, but don't have access too.

  9. Great post! I always look forward to reading your posts because I learn so much -- thanks for explaining everything simply and without judgement.

    I have yet to try kefir but one of these days I will be brave and buy a bottle.

  10. i do enjoy kefir! I certainly do not have it enough! I love learning all sorts of impt nutrition info from your posts! BUT I can;t wait to hear your Biggest loser update! I only watched half, thten I had to go to bed for work at 5am this morning! Counting on you gina :)

  11. I haven't tried kefir yet, but it definitely looks interesting. Thanks for explaining its benefits!

  12. I keep seeing Kefir all over the place, but didn't know the benefits until now. Thanks Gina!

  13. What?!?! I couldn't even find that in stores here! I am so jealous! :)

  14. Thanks for the Kefir description. I've been wondering what it is. While I'm not a huge milk-drinker, I'll have to give this a try. I really notice the effects of probiotics, and it definitely helps to make your bowel movements regular.

  15. I have irritable bowel and have to stay away from dairy.Doesn't the kefir bother you stomach?

  16. Thanks for the info on probiotics. Very interesting information.

  17. I've never had Kefir before but keep seeing it on blogs - maybe I'll have to give it a try soon!

  18. Thanks for the shout out on the Kefir Wellness bars. I've been drinking the Lifeway Kefir as well and I like it a lot.

  19. I've been meaning to buy Kefir for a while now but always forget when I am in the market! Now I have to! Glad things are going well at work!

  20. I have probiotics in the fridge, but I always forget to take them. I must try to remember more often!

  21. The beer looks and sounds soooo good! I usually enjoy a glass of wine, but a good beer once in a while is so nice! :)

    And thanks for the kefir and probiotics reminder; I used to drink kefir but haven't for a while. I think it's about time to pick some up again...

  22. Hey honey! I am glad to hear that you are enjoying your new job! It is so important to love what you do

  23. This is so weird! I was just talking to someone at work about probiotics. I think they might really help me with my GI issues.

  24. Hi Gina! Love your blog! I recently attended a local dietetics association meeting in my state and they did a presentation on a new concept for treating IBS called FODMAPS. It was really interesting and apparently 70-80% of this RD's client's reported almost no symptoms after altering their diet! Definitely google it if you're interested! Can't wait to read more :)

  25. I wouldn't waste the money on buying kefir from the store, it's incredibly easy to culture at home: Put kefir grains in milk, wait 24 hours, strain, repeat.

    Not to mention commercial kefir only has about a dozen probiotic cultures; kefir prepared at home has about four dozen.

  26. oooh i love the holidays <3 That beer sounds great :D im not much of a beer drinker.. but I will enjoy a few sips here and there.
    i someties take acidophlious with bifadous.. that what my dad takes for his IBS..

  27. ooh...i want to come over to your place to try the great lakes ale. i have not seen that brand here in california. the frosty glass just adds to my temptation.

    thanks for sharing your IBS experience. i'm always trying to incorporate more probiotics and did not realize the benefits of kefir.

  28. Hey dear Gina!

    Sorry I took so long to reply to your comment, but you can find kimchi in any Korean stores..and if you don't, then it's not Korean. It's getting pretty popular, so you might find it in Japanese stores (apparently it's more palatable to foreigners when made by the Japanese), and I saw a jar even in WF, though I doubt it's authentic...
    Another place you can find kimchi: MY PLACE! Come visit! ;-)

    As for kefir: I've never really tried it seems that since probiotics got the hype, everything's with probiotics now...and more expensive! ARGH companies and marketing!

  29. I understood what you meant about the sodium. I feel the same way, I am bloated enough from IBS without the added water retention!

    I take Align which is advertised as a probiotic for IBS. It is pricey, but it seems to help.

  30. You are such a great resource. I learn something new from you every time you post. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us.

  31. Ha thanks for the info about Kefir, I did not know much about it!!

    That beer sounds nice!

  32. Oooooh I haven't watched TBL yet! I gotta watch it first before I read your post haha so it maaaay or may not be delayed a day.

    I definitely gotta keep a look out for the priobiotics shiznaz too!

  33. Is that beer only local? I want to try it! I'll have to try kefir again, I don't know I've tried those probiotic products and it seems they give me more gas and bloat? hmmm
    I am so glad your job is taking off, that's is so awesome!!! You know I think you have my ideal job girl! I wonder if there are any companies like yours in Vegas? I would really like to go that route, could I ask what a typical day is like, pros and cons of a position like yours, experience that would benefit? I don't think I would want to be my own contractor, but would rather work for a company that provides services or work for the corporation itself. Thanks!
    I am so going to make a ginormous batch of your granola with pistachios and cranberries and send it out for xmas gifts :)

  34. great post! I've never tried kefir. I might have to try it out

  35. Can't wait to hear about your Biggest Loser post - poor Shay! :(

  36. I used to drink kefir all the time when I was little but I haven't had it in the longest time. I'm so glad to hear that your job is going well! I wish I liked beer, but I just can't get into it!

  37. My mom just asked me what probiotics are...I will now have her read this post because I could not explain it as well as you did here!
    And kefir, I have never tried it. But it seems like a great product.
    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on BL. I was devastated with Shay leaving!

  38. Oooh, thank you for telling me about the Christmas Ale! It sounds amazing - I'm definitely going to keep a close watch for it in our area! :-) I think it's SO cool that y'all can walk to Kroger - I wish we had a Kroger within walking distance! :-)

    Thank you for all the great info about Kefir, too - it's another product that I had been very curious about! Looking forward to trying it!