I fight tummy issues daily. Between the internal inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis (which causes nausea) and the side effects of being sensitive to eating too many dairy foods thanks to Celiac Disease, I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep my stomach happy.
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So, a few weeks ago when Robert Rose books sent me their new health book, The Complete Prebiotic & Probiotic Health Guide (A Vegetarian Plan for Balancing Your Gut Flora), I was thrilled. I’ve been reading, studying and taking notes from this incredibly informative book.
And, I’m eating more pickles.
What are Prebiotics and Probiotics?
The medical doctor and registered dietitians who put together this guide explain how the digestive system works, which medications affect its functioning, why bacteria is actually good for us and ultimately how our food choices affect what’s happening in our stomachs. I’ve learned that I really need to pay more attention to what types of prebiotcs and probiotics I’m getting in my vegetarian diet — and that I’m getting enough of them!
So, what are prebiotics? They are foods that naturally encourage the growth or introduction of good bacteria to the gut such as asparagus, garlic, onions, bananas and whole wheat flour.
And those probiotics? They’re simply live bacteria and yeasts that are also good for your digestive system. Think of foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, sour pickles and kimchi (a fermented cabbage condiment).
How to Eat More Probiotics and Prebiotics
I am sneaking more of these foods into my day to keep my tummy troubles to a minimum. You can too. Here’s how.
- Enjoy a cup of yogurt with your breakfast. I like Greek yogurt from Chobani or Annie’s Organic Whole Milk Yogurt. They’re both rich in live active cultures to keep your intestines working smoothly. (2022 Update: I’ve now found that I do better enjoying non-dairy cashew milk or coconut milk yogurts!)
- Add a sour ingredient to your plate. Top a burger with sauerkraut or have some spicy kimchi on the side with your next home-cooked meal.
- Snack on pickles. They’re crunchy, simple to take on-the-go and so good for your digestive system!
- Indulge in asparagus. If you’re not a green veggie fan, try spreading fresh asparagus spears on a cookie sheet, then drizzle them with olive oil and a bit of garlic. Roast the asparagus in a hot 425-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes or until tender with crisp tops. They are so good!
- Make some sweet tea. Try a recipe for kombucha, a black tea that’s fermented.
- Experiment with tempeh. This soy-based protein is similar to tofu, so I use it in Asian dishes or fry it until lightly crisp and use it as a salad topper.
If you need more ideas, the second half of The Complete Prebiotic & Probiotic Health Guide contains recipes for everything from breakfast and snacks to homemade soups and how to cook with legumes. I’m anxious to dive into a few of these recipes and find new ways to love lentils and work with tempeh.
What do you eat to keep your digestive system happy?
Until next time,
Disclosure: The book mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge for review purposes. All thoughts expressed on Cupcakes and Yoga Pants are solely my own. If you’d like to work with me, click HERE. ~Angela
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Note: This post was last updated on June 27, 2022.