Mind Shift – The foods we need to make to stay healthy

Prebiotics & Probiotics

Too much of a good thing.

Years ago the big thing was antibacterial soap, antibacterial, whips, antibacterial this and that, and we started to see increases in things like auto-immune diseases, skin problems, neurological issues and increase number in cancers. I can not for sure say that all these issues can be linked to our obsession with being too clean, but I have a gut feeling that whole story has not been told as related to the antibacterial craze.

I have always had a fascination with how plants can heal us. It probably goes back to when I was very young watching my grandmothers and mother cook and care for the family and friends. I was always surrounded by family that loved to grow things, house plants, vegetables, and fruit trees. The family was always being given something from some yard or seeds because everyone knows how we enjoyed plants. For me, that grew in an agriculture degree where I was exposed to forest and microbiology. Yes, I have a BS in Agriculture and a minor in microbiology. My world was expanded by the forest and shrunk by microbiology, from the very large and vast to the very small and densely populated world. I have been most recently fascinated by the gut flora.

Science has evolved, and where we could link infections to certain bacteria, we now can like specific conditions to bacteria. Many of the bacteria are good for us, and our body and daily living keep them in check. However, you can take too much of a good thing. I just read one article that there are side effects from overpopulating the gut with probiotics. The side effects may include, skin rashes, headaches and migraines, a higher risk of infection, allergy symptoms, digestive issues, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth ( you can read more here ). I do not necessarily agree with all the information, in my way of thinking, there is most likely an under the lying factor of health that causes these symptoms. If you have had a round of antibiotics and failed to repopulate the gut bacteria, it could lead to an overgrowth of bacteria like Clostridium difficile which can cause any number of symptoms, especially in the very young and older population, all of which can be life-threatening. The underlying cause was the previous infection and the antibiotics taken for it. I am sure I will be called down for saying so, but it goes back to the doctor that prescribed the antibiotics as he/s should have also prescribed a probiotic to be taken when the antibiotic round was completed, starting the first day. If you are suffering from diarrhea, a good place to start is a good probiotic like Raw Probiotics 5 day Max Care for adults or coming off antibiotics. This probiotic contains 400 billion and 34 strains of bacteria. For those upset digestive systems, bloating I like Renew Life – Ultimate Flora Probiotic 100 billion bacteria. As a holistic health practitioner, I keep on had activated charcoal. The charcoal can absorb up to 100 times its own weight. So charcoal can absorb toxins and gas. Activated charcoal can provide you with quick relief. For bloat mint tea and or ginger work very well to help relieve the discomfort. There are several books on the subject of Activated Charcoal (see list).


Is most convenient and at the time become necessary however on a day to day basis they are not and you need to re-prioritize to live a long healthy life. I will make a broad statement and say canned goods are convent but are bad for you. Why sodium is high, and that is because it inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria, preservatives are not a natural part of any diet. This is another thing where the jury is still out, but in my book preservatives are bad, and they rank up there with additives that just make the food look more appealing, like colors and whiteners brighteners like titanium dioxide. I think they are going to link titanium dioxide to some neurological disorder, just my opinion and time will tell. No matter what they say all the preservatives are not natural, OK, maybe they can be found in nature or at least extracted from nature in a lab but found in nature and created in a lab are two different things.

Fermented Milk

Yogurt and kefir is a good source of calcium and a good probiotic. I would suggest making your own yogurt, that way you know exactly what goes into what you eat. Making yogurt is easy. Making kefir is a bit more time consuming as it requires the starter called kefir grains. Kefir is better for you as it contains a broader variety of bacteria. You will have to purchase kefir grains or freeze-dried kefir powder.

Yogurt Recipe:


1/2 gallon of fresh, organic 2% or whole milk
1/4 cup organic yogurt with at least five bacteria (this will be your starter)


Supplies you will need:

One pot larger than a ½ gallon
One thermometer

One thick towel or blanket

Put the milk in a pot larger than a ½ gallon ( 8 cups or 2 quarts ). I say this because if you don’t watch the milk heat it may boil over and that is a big mess.

Heat the milk to 180 degrees, but not to a boil.

Once you’ve hit the target temperature, hold for 5 minutes at 180 F, remove from heat, and then wait for the milk to cool.

Cool to 108-115 degrees

add your starter.

Cover the pot and put a thick towel or blanket around the pot to keep it warm.

Let the pot set from 4 hours to overnight on the countertop warped in the towel or blanket.

The yogurt will form during that time. You can test it for thickness and taste with a clean spoon.

Ladle into jars and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.


Certain types of bacteria ferment faster than others. Yogurt that ferments quickly is more likely to leak whey (the watery substance that you’ll see in and around yogurt that is several days old). Slower fermentation results in a dense network of proteins that retain the whey better.

Typically the more types of bacteria used, the faster the fermentation process. You can use the yogurt you produce as a starter for the next batch, but after several cycles, the strength of the cultures decline.
A starter can be at least two tablespoons of the batch just made and frozen and kept up to 3 months — Thaw before using. I use an ice tray to freeze and retain my starter.

Once you decide if you want to make your yogurt, you may want to invest in equipment and supplies.

Yogurt cultures:

Yogourmet Freeze dried yogurt starter

You can turn your yogurt into Greek-style yogurt by straining in a fine mesh strainer designed to allow the whey to leach out. Don’t through the whey out it can be used as a drink or a starter for fermenting things like fruit.

There is a difference between how you make Yogurt and Kefir. I liken Kefir to sourdough starter in the fact you have to maintain the Kefir grains by feeding them while not in use. You need to change the food supply at least every seven days while not in use. You need to strain the Kefir to recover used grains to reuse for the next batch. You do not need to heat the milk like yogurt when starting a batch, and Kefir has a culturing time of 24 to 48 hours, unlike yogurt, which is 12 to 24 hours. Yogurt contains between 2 to 5 bacteria, and Kefir contains between 10 to 50 strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast.

Kefir with fruit.


  1. Add 2-4 tablespoons of live kefir grains or freeze-dried powder, in clean quart glass jar.
  2. Add 4 cups fresh milk.
  3. Cover the jar with a cloth or a lid left slightly ajar, keep out of direct sunlight.
  4. Allow the mixture to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours at room temperature.
  5. Strain to retain the grains for the next batch.
  6. Allow the Kefir to remain at room temperature for another 24 hours to develop full body and flavor, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to 2 weeks.

Fermented food is better for you as they contain live bacteria measured in colony-forming units (CFU). Yogurt contains between 90 billion and 500 billion CFU’s per serving. Kefir contains between 150 billion to 900 billion CFU’s per serving (1 cup / 8 oz). The average probiotic over the shelf contains 15 billion to 50 billion. A recent article I read tested over the counter probiotics and found that only 10% of CFU’s listed on the label was active.

Fermented foods:

Fermented foods are much better for you when you make them your self as they do not contain dyes, fillers, preservatives, and other things. It better for you to eat your probiotics than to consume a probiotic pill.


Now that you have ingested these probiotics you need to keep them healthy and happy, you can do that by ingesting prebiotics. This in its basic form is food for the probiotics bacteria that live in your gut. Prebiotics can be any fibrous food. The best of these are onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus, bananas, apples, legumes, barley, bran, eatable seaweed, chicory, and Jerusalem artichoke. The prebiotics is what help promote the good bacteria and flush the bad bacteria. By consuming prebiotics you are maintaining a healthy gut and there for a healthy body. The fiber from Jerusalem Artichoke and chickory is called INULIN. I will provide more on prebiotics and a breakdown on each in a future article.

Shortly I will do some recipes for Sourkrout, kimchi, Fermented Fruit & Vegetables.

To your health and wellness!

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