I’m going to admit right off the bat that the topic of this blog post is not sexy. It’s not even something most people feel comfortable discussing among friends, let alone strangers
I’m going to talk about the microorganisms in our gut.
Until the last year of my life, I hadn’t given much thought to the little critters that live in my small and large intestines but after following the Paleo lifestyle for almost 2 years, I’ve been forced to do my own research on the topic.
Most Paleo books will have a section dedicated to gut flora and they specifically talk about the detrimental condition called a leaky gut. A leaky gut comes from eating grains and other foods that damage the lining of the intestines and this condition allows undigested proteins or pathogens to enter the blood stream. In case you’re wondering, this is not a good thing.
Good gut flora has also been recently traced to a healthy immune system and I believe that the bacteria in our gut have been under studied in medical literature and it does appear that this is changing.
But what I’m going to talk about is the relation of my gut flora on the quality of my bowl movements. Hey, I told you this wasn’t a sexy topic!
For some odd reason, about every 3 months or so my gut flora get out of whack to the point that during the evening I have bad diarrhea and I can’t pinpoint this to any particular food that I’ve eaten. This uncomfortable diarrhea is sustained and will not end unless I act to restore my gut flora to a level that my body needs.
Probiotics are advertised to help with this but on two different occasions I took a 30-day dose of a probiotic (I used the TruBiotics brand) to attempt to restore my gut flora but this didn’t work for me.
But on 3 other occasions I have successfully restored my gut flora by eating yogurt for 1-2 weeks. For the record, the yogurt I use is Atlanta Fresh Yogurt (Mixed Berry) and this yogurt contains cultures of the S. Thermophilus, L. Bularicus, L. Acidophilus and Bifudis bacteria and apparently at least one of these is what my gut flora needs.
Now you might be thinking right now that dairy is anti-Paleo so I shouldn’t be eating this! But I see no reason to exclude this food group especially if it has the power to heal my body. Remember, Paleo is a lifestyle, not a religion. You should consume foods that work for your body and no clinical study will be able to direct you to what works for you. The only answer comes from trial and error.
If you choose to use yogurt to solve your gut flora issues, be careful which yogurt you use. Unfortunately, most of the popular brands you’ll find on your grocery store shelves add sugar to the product and this is on top of the naturally occurring sugar in milk (lactose). Adding sugar (especially the kind from high fructose corn syrup) is bad and transforms this food into an unhealthy dessert.
The yogurt I chose from Atlanta Fresh Yogurt has minimal added sugar (and the sugar they do add is the pure cane sugar variety) and the milk they use comes from cows that are grass fed. In addition to being good for my gut, I have to say that this is the best tasting yogurt I’ve ever had. This product is hard to find and not available in many big box grocery retail stores but I buy mine from Whole Foods.
As a side note – I can’t explain why, only in the last year or so, I’ve had this gut flora issue but it has nothing to do with my health or immune system that has been rock solid while following this Paleo lifestyle. Since converting almost 100% to the Paleo lifestyle I’ve never had as much as a cold and this is amazing once you know that for most of my life I’d routinely have at least 2 upper respiratory infections throughout the year.
OK, that wasn’t so bad, right? If you have gut flora issues, try eating a 6 oz cup of yogurt every day for 1-2 weeks and see if that helps.
I’ve been reading much about intestinal bacteria too. I’ve eaten home made sauer kraut to help mine. It takes fermented foods as I understand. I, too, have had that awful diarrhea. It’s gone now.
Read just recently that people who live in urban settings have a different gut biome than those who live in rural settings. And, our paleo ancestors (checked out by analyzing their fecal deposits) had a gut biome closer in composition to those of us who live rurally than in cities. I’m a rural dweller. 😀
Thanks for reminding me about sauerkraut, I love that stuff and haven’t eaten it in a while. That is another great source of bacteria.