We are super excited to have another guest blogger this week here at Contraband Ferments! Robbi Bianchi-Pray is a Nutritional Therapist, Fermentationist, and GAPS practitioner based out of Chicago, IL. She's passionate about food and healing through food, has some killer tattoos, and is an all around bad ass! Enjoy this amazing post!
Pickle Juice, Probiotics, & The Bad Bugs
I remember drinking the pickle juice as a girl. My desire for that salty and tangy brine was always stronger than my craving of sweets like other kids. After becoming a Certified Nutritional Therapist, Fermentationist, and a Gut and Psychology Practitioner; I discovered why…
My desire for this deliciously salty and tangy brine, was actually one of the first signs of my stomach acid deficiency.
Stomach acid serves as a first line of defense against invaders in the body. Destroying pathogenic bacteria onsite and keeping the bodies precious ecosystem in balance while saving you from experiencing digestive and stomach distress. You know what I am talking about… the screaming shits? Ever came down with Medusa’s revenge?
In addition to the need for hydrochloric acid, I think my poor little body new it was in dire need of fermented foods. Fermented foods help to repopulate the gut. Humans used to receive soil based organisms daily from their food. Since big agriculture has now began sterilizing the soil with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; the number of these monumental little allies have dropped exponentially.
Not only does the body require an acidic environment in the stomach to break down fats, proteins, along with vitamins and minerals; the body also requires a strong community of bacteria to ensure proper breakdown and absorption of all those tasty organic ingredients that you call dinner.
We now know that 90% of the cells and genetic materials in our body consist of gut flora. That means that we are simply a 10% shell to house this incredible inner ecosystem. They outnumber us 10 to 1! In order to have a healthy and balanced inner ecosystem or Microbiome as they have termed it today; we are required to consume a plentiful amount of these beneficial bacteria daily.
Grocery store shelves are lined with so-called healthy probiotics supplements to choose from. Unfortunately, many of these products do not contain what the labels claim. When tested, many of them did not even contain the bacteria species they claimed on the label, nor did they have the claimed bacterial strength!
A good probiotic should have as many different species of bacteria as possible, and there should be a mixture of them in order to derive maximum benefit. A mixture of strains is most beneficial and it is best to have a combination of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and soil based organisms. It should have a concentrated amount of at least 8 billion bacteria cell per gram. You need to provide the body with enough organisms per dose to actually feel an improvement or healing reaction. I recommend working with a qualified practitioner when ordering supplements period. This ensures a professional and therapeutic grade product. Ordering online or purchasing from big box discount stores is risky because you never know how old the product, how it was stored, or if the product even contains what is claimed. For example, probiotics and fish oil are very heat and age sensitive… Do you want your supplements to be rancid or expired upon purchase? In addition, many supplements available are rip offs or rejects containing no health benefits at all, along with potential serious risks. Check out this link to hear more about the risk of gluten, heavy metals, and other reasons to always purchase supplements from a qualified healthcare professional. To order your therapeutic grade probiotics now, visit my store.
As you introduce probiotic bacteria into your new health regimen at a therapeutic dose, you will likely produce the so-called “die off” reaction. These bacteria will begin to kill off and destroy pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When these bad boys begin dying off, they will produce a large amount of toxicity! These toxins are often the cause of your previous symptoms. The characteristics of symptoms you experienced prior to, are likely to present themselves and may temporarily get worse. You may find yourself more tired than usual or generally of color. In addition, you may experience any number of possible new symptoms like an unexpected rash, feeling emotional, or even flu like symptoms. This is a temporary reaction and typically only lasts a few days to several weeks depending on the individual.
To make the experience as bearable as possible it is important to build upon your doses to reduce the onset of an extreme healing reaction. Build the probiotics slowly starting with a very small dose. Observing for “die-off” reactions and settle on each dose prior to increasing the dose again. If you have a strong reaction, you may choose to grin and bare through it or back of to the previous dosage for a week before trying again. You may find that it takes a several weeks to a number of months to reach a therapeutic dosage. Some people even take years…
According to world renowned neurologist, neurosurgeon, nutritionists, and author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a therapeutic probiotic dosage for an adult is 15-20 billion bacteria cells per day. Her research, Gut & Psychology Syndrome or “GAPS” protocol connects the brain with the gut and is what I would consider a 3 legged stool approach. It combines diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes to maximize healing and sealing of the gut, eliminating food allergies, starving out pathogenic “bad bacteria” and repopulating with beneficial flora along with addressing other physical symptoms like autoimmune disorders, psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, autism, and ADD/ADHD along with various digestive disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, constipation, and diarrhea as well. To learn more, please refer to her book for a complete guide to probiotics and the supporting diet protocol and book your free 15 minute consultation today.
Once a therapeutic dosage has been reached, it should be maintained for a minimum of 6 months to rebuild normal gut flora and remove the pathogenic bacteria. Adhering to the GAPS nutritional protocol is paramount to your success. One must starve out the “bad bugs” to allow our beneficial friends to predominate. After the therapeutic period is completed the therapeutic dose may be slowly decreased at the same rate it was applied. Observe for reactions. The maintenance dose is individual and may take quite some time to discover.
My favorite way to receive these beneficial buddies is with the addition of delicious, unpasteurized, probiotic rich fermented foods into the diet! Sauerkraut and lacto-fermented vegetables along with homemade milk kefir, yogurt and creme frais are a delicious way to daily receive the beneficial probiotics and yeast into your the belly that keep pathogenic and opportunistic microbes at bay.
These beneficial microbes or “probiotics” will aid in digestion and even employ other opportunistic bacteria. Believe it or not they will even multiply the vitamins C in your cabbage by 200%! Creating loads of lactic acid and B vitamins, breaking down fibers and protein, they transform a simple cabbage into an absolute superfood! These fabulous friends then stimulate your immune response and will absorb toxins.
Probiotic supplementation is paramount to vibrant health and vital to treating any form of digestion, psychological, and physiological disorders. Enjoying that tasty sauerkraut will pay off in folds stimulating your hydrochloric acid production in the gut, aiding in the breakdown of foods and boosting the immune system along with the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that keep you happy!
For more information on how to work with me and implementing GAPS protocol, please reach out for your free 15 minute consultation to see if GAPS is right for you! GAPS week long immersion training and retreats are now available.