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.
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)
- 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)
- 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)
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!