Two things that came up today down at the box that I thought worth mentioning. The first item: friendly bacteria. We have all heard of the benefits of yogurt and the variety of “good” bacteria, aka, probiotics, found in those cultures. The fact is that there are many fermented foods that carry these good guys—miso, natto, and sauerkraut to name a few. So why do we need this? What good does it do? Well, the benefits of these bacteria is surprisingly broad and profound.
There is a saying that “80% of our immune system is in our gut.” In fact our GI tract is a pretty amazing place. The conservative estimate is that there are about 500 strains of bacteria that inhabit our gut. That’s some serious #&^$%. Well it is. And here’s the deal, all of that microflora has a role. The wiki on gut flora states:
Though people can survive without gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin k) and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats.
So this gut bacteria is a pretty big deal. So how can we insure that we keep our GI tract loaded with these good guys? As long as we’re eating a good array of fermented foods, we’re covered. However, if you find that you’re a little short on sauerkraut, you can always pick up a bottle of probiotics at your local health food store. These capsules are loaded with a nice broad spectrum of billions of these probiotics. Jarrow is a company whose products I have used for years. So I would suggest getting a bottle and give it a try if you’re a little short on fermented foods in your diet.
Now item number two. There was a telling comment that came up in a discussion with one of our members regarding a “Paleo Challenge.” So here’s the thing…a Paleo Challenge that is designed to last 30 days, should be conceptualized as a “strict” regimen. My opinion: the benefits are profound that when you run a very strict program. However, that is not sustainable for most people. There’s no need to imagine an on-going regimen of “perfect Paleo” in order to benefit from the guidelines of the Paleo blueprint. There is the 80/20 concept that we need to remember: 80% of our food choices should be as “clean” and “primal” as possible while 20% might be a little less than healthy. And? That’s life and that’s reasonable. My personal weakness is wood-fired pizza. I mean, there’s just nothing better than a fresh slice of wood fired pie. Come on.
So if you’re working a Paleo program or you’re embarking on a Paleo challenge, hit it. But be realistic with what you can manage long term. Keep it realistic people. It’s a lot more enjoyable.
Peace. We out.