Tag: probiotics

The Best Natural Probiotic (Hint: It’s Not Yogurt)

apple core

I recently talked about how important it is to have good gut health. Your gut plays such a huge role in your overall health. But in the article, what I didn’t really focus on was how to achieve a healthy gut. And we’re not talking about crunches so you can have chiseled, six-pack abs here. Rather, we’re talking about hosting a multitude of good bacteria and a diverse amount of different bacteria species inside your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiome). 

So what’s the easiest and best way to do that? In the article on gut health, I mentioned taking a probiotic. If you eat a low-fiber diet rich in processed (junk) food, then you should definitely be taking a high-quality probiotic. 

But there’s an even easier, and perhaps healthier way to achieve a healthier microbiome. It turns out that the best probiotic source is …. Wait for it … wait for it…..

Best natural source of probiotics

So, is the best way to get lots of friendly, diverse bacteria in your gut by eating lots of yogurt? How about kombucha? Or is the best source of probiotics some other fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut or kvass? 

Turns out it’s none of these. 

An article in The Atlantic, which references a study in Frontiers of Microbiology, suggests that the single best natural source of probiotics is: an apple. 

The average apple, the study says, contains about 100 million bacteria. 

Now, after I read that fun fact, my first reaction, I’ll admit, was the following, “Big deal, my probiotic supplement contains 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).” That’s right, my probiotic supplement, in just one tiny little capsule, contains almost 10,000% more bacteria than an apple. 

But here’s the thing. It turns out that eating the apple might be better for you than popping a pill. The reason why? For the same reason eating unprocessed whole foods (especially fruits and veggies) is better for you than vitamin supplements. 

Makes sense, right? After all, whole foods offer the whole puzzle of interlocking health pieces, from micronutrients, antioxidants, as well as fiber, which the good bacteria feed on. On the other hand, supplements, perhaps probiotic pills included, represent, only a few pieces of the total health puzzle. 

In other words, just like in many other aspects of life, it’s quality that usually matters, not quantity. The 100 million or so bacteria in the typical apple are comprised of a myriad of different types of bacteria. Compare that to the average probiotic supplement, which contains maybe a few different friendly microbe species.

Work On Your Core – Apple that is

Now, before you rush out to your local supermarket and stock up on apples, there is a catch. Approximately 90% of the bacteria in the apple is contained, not in the skin, or the juicy main part of the flesh, but in the core. 

If you’re like most people, you probably throw the core away. And when you do that, it’s like throwing away the world’s best probiotic pill down the toilet. 

So from now on, it’s all about the core. Eat the seeds, too. They actually contain a trace amount of the natural toxin, cyanide. But if you eat an apple or two a day, core included, it’ll still keep the doctor away. 

Do you struggle to get enough vegetables in your diet? If so, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company. Approximately 9 out of 10 people don’t eat enough veggies, especially green leafy ones, which most nutritionists (like myself) consider the healthiest kind. 

The good news is that if you’re not getting enough leafy greens in your diet or can’t stomach the thought of eating apple cores, I have an easy solution for you….

Organic Green Drinks (Core Included)

Chef V’s Organic Green Drink is the easiest way to get your full day supply–and then some–of dark, leafy greens veggies. Containing two kinds of kale; collard greens; green leaf lettuce; curly parsley; green chard, and dandelion greens, Organic Green Drink is raw and cold-blended. This means the fiber and micronutrients are preserved for optimal nutrition and, yes, gut health. Fresh produce, suggests The Atlantic article, might just be the best source of natural probiotics in general. (But that finding seems like a no-brainer in my opinion.)

And guess what else is in Chef V Organic Green Drink? That’s right … an apple! Core and all. 

For every 16 oz of Green Drink you consume, you’re gut benefits from hundreds of millions of good bacteria. And remember, it’s not just the quantity of good bacteria that matters, it’s the diversity. 

As Dr. James Hamblin, author of The Atlantic article on probiotics puts it, “Food is the main way that our gut biomes are populated throughout our lives, and microbe-rich foods [especially the 7 certified organic greens in my Green Drink] seem to be important to maintaining diversity.”

Best Source of Natural Good Bacteria: Conclusion

Remember, when it comes to eating apples, don’t think if you throw away the core that you’re still getting a decent amount of probiotics. In fact, it’s only by eating the core that you’ll get the same strains of bacteria that are sold in pricey probiotic pills.  

Eating a plethora of fresh produce every day supports the intricate interconnectedness of the immune and digestive systems. By eating a wide variety of fresh produce, we feed our gut microbes the fiber and sugars they need to support our health. We scratch the bugs’ back, they scratch ours. 

And whether you eat a huge fresh salad everyday or not, Chef V Organic Green Drink is the perfect way to gently wake up your digestive system in the morning, and gently cleanse your vital organs, and, of course, feed the friendly microbes in your gut.

Traveling With Kids

Traveling With Kids

Traveling With Kids? These 5 Essentials Will Keep Your Kiddos (And You) Safe

Disclaimer: As the parent of a furry kid named Coconut, it might seem disingenuous for me to be writing about traveling with kids. However, a couple mommy friends of mine recently came back from overseas trips with their little ones (one family went to Ecuador, the other to Cancun). Unfortunately, in both families, the kiddos got sick. So it got me thinking, if I were a momma to a human kiddo, what would I do to protect them?

The answer: the same way I protect myself when I travel, regardless if I’m going away for a weekend or to the other side of the world. And the remedies and tricks I’m about to share with you are totally safe for kids.

If you’re traveling with kids, bring these essentials along….

Traveling With Kids

Probiotics

More and more people are aware of the importance of gut health. Your gut not only dictates the well-being of your digestion, it’s closely connected with your brain. In fact, the gut is often referred to as the second brain. If you have poor gut health, your won’t be as happy. That’s a fact!

Green leafy veggies, such as the 7 different kinds in my Organic Green Drink are great for feeding the good bacteria in the gut. However, the bad news is that there are so many different probiotic supplements, it’s hard to know which one to get.

So what does this fact have to do with traveling with kids? Here’s what….

Traveling With Kids

There is one particular kind of probiotic that’s an absolute must when you travel. You see, not any probiotic will do. Not even the one you use everyday that might be working great for you.

When you’re on a trip you need Saccharomyces Boulardii. Sounds like a mouthful, right? When you take a mouthful of this probiotic it’s the best thing to either prevent or treat diarrhea. As this article on a children’s hospital website says, “Saccharomyces boulardii is  effective in treating diarrhea in babies and children.”

A mainstream medical institution wouldn’t dare conclude that unless there was enough evidence to back it.

Any brand of S. Boulardii will do. It’s easy to take. You just take a couple capsules a day when you’re travelling. I like Jarrow formulas. Jarrow is a trusted brand.

S. Boulardii is the only probiotic that’s a yeast strain. All other probiotics are bacteria. This means that this special probiotic can help kill harmful fungi that your kids’ immune systems aren’t used to.

oregon grape root - Traveling With Kids

Oregon Grape Root

Sometimes you need to call in the big dogs (no offense to you, Coconut). If you’re Traveling With Kids to a developing country, S. Boulardii will protect you and your kids from travelers diarrhea. But if you develop something more serious like a stomach bug, Oregon grape root is the natural remedy you need. The medication, Cipro, is famous for treating stomach bugs. Oregon grape root is the natural equivalent.

Studies have shown that berberine, a compound in Oregon grape root, kills parasites like amoebae. It can also be used for treating giardia infections (which can be picked up by ingesting untreated water). OGP also kills harmful bacteria. And if you’re eating rich food that causes heartburn or indigestion, OGP can help with those conditions as well.

tea tree oil

Tea Tree Oil

Essential oils are Mother Nature’s first aid kit. There are lots of essential oils that have therapeutic benefits, but if I’m taking one specific oil with me that’s highly versatile, it’s gotta be tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is good to carry with you at all times when you’re traveling because God-forbid your kid gets a bad cut or wound, tea tree (also known as melaleuca) is great for wound healing.

The oil will help kill any harmful bacteria that may otherwise lead to an infection. There’s nothing wrong with taking regular antibiotics when you really need them. But you can also use tea tree oil for extra protection.

Plus, TTO is great for relieving itchiness from insect bites. Your kids will think you’re a hero for making them feel better!

sugar free lollipops

Traveling With Kids #5:
Sugar Free Lollipops

Besides being a somewhat healthy snack for kids while traveling, there’s a more specific benefit of carrying these with you.

Because kids have developing ear canals, they are more vulnerable for experiencing ear pain when flying. Especially when landing.

Licking on a lolly activates the muscles that open up the eustachian tubes in the middle ear. Another helpful thing for your kiddies when flying is earplugs. Filtered earplugs equalize the pressure against the eardrum when the plane lands (and during takeoff; usually, though, ear pain is more of a problem during the landing phase).

The company, EarPlanes, has plugs for both kids and adults.

And besides lollipops, you should stock up on healthy snacks before you go. Bring a carry-on suitcase full of them. You don’t know if where you are traveling will have healthy snacks for kids, especially if it’s a developing country.

I’m not including obvious essentials like a first aid kit, baby wipes, sippy cups and entertainment. I’m only including a few essentials here that aren’t common knowledge. But if you bring these with you, you’ll feel secure that should a bout of traveller’s belly or flying ear strikes you’ll be well prepared.

Happy, safe traveling!

P.S. My favorite TSA secret is that you can bring anything frozen through. So freeze your green drink overnight and bring it through TSA to your destination.

Chef V and kale

4 Tools for a Summer Slimdown (without hardcore exercise)

summer weight loss

Oh my what months of social distancing has done. Summer clothes show all – especially the Covid-10 pound weight gain. The beaches are open (with precautions) and feeling and looking good means taking off the flab.

The good news is you don’t have to do high-intensity, American Ninja Warrior-type exercise to have a hot summer bod. All you need is a reboot of your digestive system. Here are my 4 top tips for improving digestion and getting lean for summer….

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar

Can your “mother” help you achieve a summer slim down?

And by “mother” I mean the cloudy film that rests on top of a bottle of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)….

Raw ACV bottles such as those sold by the brand, Bragg (the same company that sells liquid amino acids, a soy sauce alternative) prominently advertise “with the mother” on the product label. As well they should. That’s because the mother is tiny bits and pieces of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria.

ACV helps increase stomach acid production. And because of the friendly bacteria it contains, it also acts like a probiotic.

Honestly, I tried to find some research on humans that shows ACV can help with weight loss. I hit a brick wall, but I did find some research on animals (rats and mice) that support using it for the following: reducing fat storage; lowering blood sugar; improves metabolism and suppressing appetite.

The only downside to ACV is it tastes really harsh. But you can add it to a Green Drink to mask the taste.

ACV is also good for skin. In fact, many people use ACV to treat skin conditions. Drinking a little bit every day can help clear your skin from the inside-out. And because of its beneficial bacteria and enzymes, it can help cleanse your body.

apple cider vinegar

#2: Bone Broth/Collagen Powder

Pretty soon, it’ll be too hot to sip bone broth.

But collagen protein powders have become very popular. And you can easily add a scoop of it in your blender with almond milk and my Organic Protein Shake if you’re doing a Chef V Cleanse.

If you don’t know the difference between the two: Bone broth is animal bones with herbs and spices cooked in water for 24 hours in a slow cooker. The long-simmering process of bone broth releases collagen protein from the bones.

I admit that there’s a lot of hype surrounding bone broth and collagen protein. There are claims that it can cure just about everything.

There is research, however, that shows supplementing with collagen protein can help repair your gut. Gut health is crucial for burning fat. It’s not easy to get ready for a summer slimdown if you don’t have a healthy gut.

In fact, some people have a condition that’s known in the alternative medicine field as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is when the tiny junctions of your gut lining tear, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your detoxification system  slows down. Not only that, leaky gut can also cause an autoimmune disease.

Sipping on some fresh bone broth every day can help repair your gut and improve your body’s detox system. I do not believe in store bought bone broth, it is like trying to get your vitamins from Hi-C. Store bought bone broth is not real bone broth and does not have the same benefits. The only way to get the full benefits of bone broth is fresh made or fresh bought. It should expire in a week.  An alternative to bone broth is to take a collagen protein powder supplement.

probiotic flora

#3: Probiotics

I’ve mentioned probiotics at least a couple times recently, including the best one to bring with you if you’re travelling.

I’ll just quickly rehash here why probiotics are so important for getting or staying lean. The healthier your gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, etc.), that is the more friendly bacteria you have in your gut, the easier it will be to digest your food. And the easier it is to digest your food, the less likely it will be that you’ll have difficulty getting rid of unwanted body fat.

There are a few problems with probiotics….

First is that many people forget to take them everyday. Set yourself a daily reminder on your smartphone to take them in the morning or before bed.

Second, some people don’t buy a strong enough probiotic. Look for a supplement that has several different strains of bacteria and has a minimum count of 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per capsule. The reason you need a high count is that a lot of the bacteria won’t survive the harsh trip through the digestive system.

And third, not all brands of probiotics are of good quality. Do your research before you buy. My favorite is Bio-K – they have a dairy or non-dairy version and it is fresh.

#4:  A Chef V Detox with my Green Drink, Detox Soups, and Protein Shakes

So this last tip for a summer slimdown isn’t exactly a supplement. But it’s a great way to to make sure you’re looking and feeling great when you’re ready to take your first dip in the ocean or pool….

If you do my 21 Day Detox, you’ll be amazed by the transformation your body will undergo, (not to mention your skin, mood and energy levels).

Here’s how it works: you alternate between following my Healthy Routine and doing a 3 day cleanse. During the 3 day cleanse, you get 4 servings of my Green Drink plus 2- 16 oz. Protein Shakes and 1 detox soup for dinner. And during the Healthy Routine phase, you’ll get a 16-ounce Green Drink and 1- 16 oz. Protein Shake for breakfast. Then for lunch and dinner, you’ll use my healthy eating and meal planner guides, which contains delicious recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees.

The best part is I deliver the Green Drinks, Protein Shakes and Detox Soups to your front door (Well not personally, but my company does.)

Doing a 21-Day Detox is the easiest, most affordable, and safest way to lose 30 pounds or more.

You can also try a 3, 5 or 7-day Cleanse if you just want to dip your pinky toe in the shallow end.

Good luck with your summer slimdown. Even if you don’t want to spend any money on supplements, rebooting your digestive system by doing a Chef V Cleanse or Detox will get you bikini ready!

Love,

Veronica (Chef V)

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.