Have you ever just woke up and your body was just craving “sustenance?” I went to the store to get cereal for breakfast, but my body said it wanted grits, turkey bacon, fried eggs in grassfed butter, and toast, with a side of strawberry jam. Lol! And you know I had to oblige, because I had not had a hearty breakfast lately. It is amazing how your body will steer you into what it needs, if you listen. I needed a good dose of protein and carbs, and now I feel like I am off to a good start!
It dawned on me the other day – I have not taken antibiotics in two years. Without question, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics have weakened our immune systems down to the point where it is not able to defend itself without assistance. At the first sign of discomfort, we go straight for the big guns. Have you ever considered that just as antibiotics are used to pretty much kill everything in sight (the good and bad bacteria), it will in some fashion weaken the host (you) as well? Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics have their place, especially when it comes to super-infections like MRSA and the like, but it should not be our first line of defense when it comes to a sinus infection, cold, or even feminine health, especially when there are safer, healthier, and more beneficial alternatives, which brings me to today’s food is medicine product – yogurt!
A balanced system is a healthy system, and our bodies thrive when the bad bacteria is kept in check by the good bacteria. When the ecosystem is disturbed, meaning you have an overpopulation of bad bacteria in relation to good, it will manifest itself in uncomfortable symptoms from gastrointestinal problems to yeast or bacterial infections. Seventy-five percent of our immune system is in the colon, so if we keep the colon’s ecosystem healthy with good probiotics, our overall health will tend to run more smoothly. You want to know how healthy you are – look in the toilet! Yes, even a cold, which is most likely due to a viral or bacterial infection, can benefit or sometimes be prevented by using probiotics. “Pro-biotics are FOR you; Anti-biotics are AGAINST you (get it!) You want to replenish your body with healthy, live cultures that will go in and nourishingly supply you with a natural defense against toxic substances and organisms. Your body is a living organism, and it needs “living” things – like fruits, vegetables, and live cultures found in foods like yogurt to keep it running optimally. For this reason, I think every person should strive to take a probiotic, and what easier way than to get it through enjoying a cup of yogurt, which is recommended daily by some doctors to help prevent recurring infections, like yeast. Yogurt helps to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria, which is always a good thing!
Now I must preface this by saying that all yogurt is not created equal. I am talking about yogurt with “live and active cultures,” preferably organic. I highly recommend organic because it is free of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides, which is what you want, right? If you are trying to rid yourself of the toxic overload of antibiotics and chemicals, it makes sense to eat dairy that is free of it, including yogurt. Most quality yogurts have at least 5 to 6 “live cultures” in it, and should definitely say so on the carton. If it doesn’t clearly state it, put it back on the shelf, as it will be of no benefit. And please try to get a brand with low sugar in it, preferably from natural sugars found in milk or fruit. I steer clear of the ones touted as a dessert…besides, a real apple pie tastes much better than a yogurt mimicked to taste like one! Lol! My personal preference is if I am eating the yogurt, I go for a whole milk or low fat variety (I’m sorry, fat-free anything does nothing for me). I love Stoneyfield and Horizon organic brand yogurt, and I usually will buy it in the larger tub size as it is much cheaper than buying the individual smaller size. Chiobani is my favorite brand of greek yogurt, followed by Dannon’s all natural yogurt (although, my kids have me hooked right now on Liberte lemon yogurt…OMG)! My stand alone favorite flavor is vanilla, as I can eat it plain, add it to granola, put it in my smoothies, or add it to my homemade macaroni and cheese! Yes, macaroni and cheese – we’ll talk more on that secret ingredient in a future blog post
So the next time you are on the dairy aisle, by all means pick up some yogurt. There are even varieties of yogurt for those who can’t consume dairy that are made from soy, coconut milk, or kefir. You will find this to be one of the most healthiest and nutritionally sound products that you can buy for your health. Tune in next Wednesday for part 2 on yogurt, as we will talk about yogurt as it applies to feminine health. Yes ladies, we going “there”…
See you in the next blog on Friday, where I will update you on how the second pillar of health – rest and sleep, is working for me. See you then!