Health Lifestyle

Probiotics: more is more

Who knew that healthy bacteria in the gut could be so important for such a diverse range of bodily functions? They’re not only involved in digestion, but also weight control, mental health, the immune system, skin health and sleep. For more information on gut health, you can read more here.

Probiotics are live healthy bacteria that you can consume to top up the good bugs. As a Japanese girl I grew up eating a lot of probiotics without even knowing.. we eat a lot of fermented, pickled vegetables, natto (which is fermented soy beans), and of course Yakult drinks.

(L-R): Beauty Chef’s Probiotic powder, Sauerkraut, Kimchi

I love kimchi. I could eat it from the jar. I do love making brown rice kimchi bowls with a range of vegetables, and when I was a meat-eater I used to make slow-cooked lamb and kimchi burgers, which were delicious! I’m new to eating sauerkraut and I bought this one from Green St Kitchen. This one is ginger and turmeric flavoured.

I tasted the sauerkraut and decided to come up with a healthy bowl that would go well with this flavour. Here’s my recipe:

  • Braised kale and baby spinach in organic butter (vegan option: any vegetable oil or coconut oil)
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Cherry bocconcini (vegan option: vegan cheese)
  • Avocado
  • Toasted sunflower seeds

I normally like to make a vinegar based dressing, but because the sauerkraut is sour, I didn’t need any vinegar. I just drizzled a bit of lemon-infused olive oil. I found this bowl to be well balanced in flavours. Please give it a try and let me know what you think! To increase the prebiotic level of this bowl, you can also add grated carrot (which I intended to do, but unfortunately mine had gone soft in the fridge!) Prebiotics are fibre rich foods that the good bacteria use to multiply. You can also braise the kale and baby spinach with garlic and onion to increase the prebiotic level.

I’ve been enjoying a few products from the Beauty Chef. I am a big fan of their Sleep powder, which you can read more about here. I’ve started having their Body powders as well, which are dietary supplements. I add it to my smoothies to make myself feel fuller for longer. It’s also been helping my digestion. I gave some to my neighbour Paige (hey girl!) and she can also attest to the effect on digestion – we both feel less bloated!

This is the recipe for the smoothie I make most days. It makes a large smoothie:

  • Greens (I use baby spinach and/or kale)
  • 1 banana
  • Half an avocado
  • 1 scoop of the Body Powder
  • Cow’s milk (I used to have it with coconut milk, but the Beauty Chef recommends having it with cow’s milk because it helps to activate some of the live bacteria in the powder)
  • Almonds
  • Dates (optional: this helps sweeten the smoothie, but I find that the banana makes the smoothie sweet enough)
  • Chia seeds (add after blending the smoothie, and let it sit for a while to absorb moisture before drinking)
Filmjölk and Kefir

We’ll start at the very left of the photo – this is kefir from the Culture Co. It’s a drink that originated in Russia and is made from cow’s milk and live kefir cultures. It tastes like a yogurt drink – just thinner and smoother. It’s easy to drink for me, as I normally have my yogurts plain. For others, a sweetener may be necessary.

Filmjölk is a Swedish probiotic drink made from cow’s milk and live cultures. This one is by Rokeby Farms and tastes similar to the Culture Co kefir. Due to the fermentation process, it is also slightly fizzy (although this is very subtle). You can eat it with your muesli or add to your smoothie, but I personally just enjoy it on its own.

My favourite of the three is the Babushka’s kefir. It is also made from cow’s milk, but unlike the other two, it does have flavouring added to it, as well as being fortified with inulin, which is a prebiotic fibre. It has more of a cheesy taste, which hits you when you first drink it, but then you get used to it and I ended up really enjoying it. If you like cream cheese or cheesecake, this one will probably be your favourite of the three too!

All three drinks are slightly sour, especially the filmjölk. This is because the fermentation process breaks down the lactose in the cow’s milk into lactic acid. For this reason, people who are lactose intolerant can often consume these probiotic drinks because the level of lactose is a lot lower.

I hope this helps you bring the “pro” in probiotics. Before you know it, your diet will be full of them. I am totally obsessed with kefir at the moment and my fridge is always stocked with it. Eating a plant-based diet and consuming more probiotics is really changing my health, and my life!

Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in me sharing more of my recipes on this blog!

Take care,

Miko xx

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  1. Andrew says:

    Hi, I was just wondering what your opinion on Inner Health Plus is. Being taking them for several months. How do they compare to the liquid version.
    Cheers in advance.

    1. Miko says:

      Hi Andrew,
      I can’t comment on that I’m afraid, as I haven’t tried inner health plus. I guess the best indicator is whether you feel better in yourself? There are so many forms of probiotics but we all respond differently to them so one person’s experience may differ from another’s. I personally like taking probiotics from food products rather than taking tablets which is why I choose to drink probiotic drinks.

      1. Andrew says:

        Thanks for the reply. I certainly feel better, but it just seems logically it would be better from a food product. Might give ones you reviewed a try.

        1. Miko says:

          Please do. I had some kefir just now, actually. I am favouring the Babushka’s brand over all the other brands so far. Hope you like some of the suggestions!

  2. Cathy O'Connor says:

    Thankyou so much for your information on gut health, well really all of your helpful information, Im so glad I came across you. I have a chronic illness. Gallbladder removed stones left behind, got pancreatitis, bile duct dilated. Suffering for 10years. Thankyou again.

    1. Miko says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. Have you considered seeing a Gastroenterologist? They may be the best people to advise on dietary changes for you. I know that the FODMAP diet is recommended by many Gastroenterologists, but without knowing your full medical history I’m not in a position to say whether this may help you or not. Please do try a Gastroenterologist if you haven’t already. I hope you will feel better with time. Much love

  3. Leo says:

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been drinking the green “hi-fibre” yakult and occasionally some yoghurt, but am still not sure whether it’s a good idea for my lactose intolerant body haha. I love kimchi and wouldn’t mind trying natto. Take care!

    1. Miko says:

      Hi Leo, thanks for your comment. I haven’t tried that green Yakult yet, actually! I think if you’re lactose intolerant, give probiotic drinks ago instead of yogurt. I use kefir as though it’s yogurt sometimes. For example, this week I poured some kefir into a bowl and ate it with some cut up bananas and muesli. Good luck with the Natto – it’s a pretty strong taste and it divides people for sure!

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