Probiotics: for Health, Well-Being, and Even Losing Weight

Probiotics – whether taken as supplements or from foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and raw milk – are a hot topic this year and one of particular interest to those on a personal weight loss journey.

Probiotics

Of course, beneficial additions to a diet like probiotics need a positive diet to begin with for lasting results! Here, we favor the tried-and-true Weight Watchers program and community. If you’re on board and want to begin a journey toward weight loss and lifelong health, save yourself $10 with my special Ebates link here.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are naturally occurring good bacteria in our digestive tract that aid in digestion and absorption of our nutrients. They’re the “good bugs.” And because they are crucially important to consume, and should be included regularly in a well-rounded diet.

Why Do I Need Probiotics?

As mysterious as probiotics may seem, they are powerful, natural additions to a good diet and contribute to overall health in numerous ways. According to Dr. Axe, their wide-ranging benefits include:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
  • Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
  • Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduced cold and flu
  • Healing from leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Weight loss

Do Probiotics Aid in Weight Loss?

Encouragingly, in one study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, overweight participants lost a significant amount of weight with probiotics. Those who consumed a cup of a fermented milk product for 12 weeks experienced a 4.6 percent reduction in abdominal fat and a 3.3 percent reduction in subcutaneous fat. There were no significant changes measured in the control group.

Does his mean that probiotics help the process, burn, or flush away fat? So far, the research is inconclusive as to why probiotics and maintaining a healthy weight are related. However, it is interesting to note that those struggling with weight have been found to have strong imbalances of bad vs. good bacteria, while those of a healthy weight were far more balanced in their gut flora.

Probiotics in cultured foods kimchi

Probiotics occur in cultured foods like kimchi

Food and Drink Sources of Probiotics

Traditional cultures around the world have long prepared special fermented foods to aid in digestion, increase immunity, and promote balance. There are many and varied rich sources of probiotics occurring in fermented foods to choose from! They include:

Probiotic Rich Drinks

  • Kombucha: made from fermenting black tea and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha can be made in different ways, including continuous-brew and bottled for more fizz. Comes in a rainbow of flavors with the addition of juices.
  • Kefir: originally from the Caucasus Mountains, this popular drink is made from fermenting milk and kefir grains, which are a bacterial/yeast fermentation starter.
  • Coconut kefir: made from fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains. Does not contain as many probiotics as milk kefir, but is a dairy-free option that is great-tasting, too.
  • Kvass: popular in its homeland of Russia and Ukraine, kvass is made from either beets, sourdough bread, and/or fruits. A slightly sour, refreshing red beverage that tastes like beer but is non-alcoholic.
  • Apple cider vinegar: add a spoonful in a glass of water or incorporate into virtually any homemade salad dressing.

Drink rich with Probiotics

Raw Milk

  • Raw milk products such as raw cheese, raw sour cream, etc.
  • Yogurt: look for organic, grass-fed, and unpasteurized yogurt in the store or make your own!

Cultured & Fermented Vegetables

  • Sauerkraut: the German staple alongside bratwurst, made with cabbage and salt. An easy introduction into the world of homemade fermented foods.
  • Kimchi: the Korean version of sauerkraut made typically with napa cabbage, daikon radishes, and a variety of seasonings.
  • Gherkin pickles, also called by their French name, cornichons. Cute, nubby, and tasty.

Sauerkraut sandwich

Traditionally Fermented Soy Products

Soy products, when traditionally fermented and in moderation, are a wonderful compliment to a healthy, traditional, iodine-rich diet. They include:

  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Soy sauce: an accompaniment to so many tasty Asian foods, look for products made with truly health-promoting ingredients and methods like this one.

Supplements with Probiotics

If you’d like to begin incorporating probiotics into your diet right away, the easiest way may be through high-quality supplements. An excellent, comprehensive article about how to select probiotics through supplements is here, at The Healthy Home Economist.

Probiotics for Lifelong Health

Which probiotic-rich foods and drinks sound appealing to you? I know I will definitely be trying the cultured sodas soon, especially at the onset of warmer weather. Cheers!

Is Fasting Part of Healthy Weight Loss?

Losing and Maintaining Weight Naturally

As we’re now firmly into the season of Lent (Easter is April 1st this year), many people are taking time to reflect, slow down, and sacrificially give up something they enjoy. Coffee and chocolate are among perennial favorites. Maybe you’ve considered occasional fasting, and perhaps you are wondering if fasting is actually a help or a hindrance to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.

In this post, we’ll also explore whether occasional fasting is compatible with a healthy diet such as Weight Watchers. Personally, I love Weight Watchers’ method of gradual, healthy weight loss through proven means and great community. If you’re interested in joining, save yourself $10 with my Ebates link here.

Purposes and Traditions of Fasting

Fasting, or abstaining from food and often drink besides water, is a common tradition in Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam. The traditional purposes of fasting are many, but unsurprisingly, are not connected with weight loss. First world, modern day problem, am I right?

But we can still gain some perspective from looking back in history. In the Old Testament, we can see Jews observing a fast for several occasions and reasons. There were fasts on calendar-specific days of remembrance, in times of mourning, in times of seeking the Lord’s favor, for atonement, and for personal piety, to name the major ones. Did you know, some Medieval Jews even observed fasting after a bad dream, in order that it not come true?

Stages of Fasting for Your Body

Some health proponents of fasting discuss several stages of progress and change as fasting moves through days, and perhaps weeks in duration. The phases cited in a prolonged water fast include:

  • Hunger, lack of energy
  • “Battery save mode,” in which your body uses energy very efficiently
  • Increased heart health
  • Ketosis, in which your body burns primarily fat
  • Weight loss
  • Detoxifying
  • Clear-mindedness
  • Deeper healing and resolving of health issues

Types of Fasting

You may think, fasting is simply not eating, right? I thought so too, until I looked more into the wide world of fasting and various diets that employ it. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Dry fasts, as practiced during Ramadan
  • Water fasting
  • Cleansing fasts, such as for the colon, which employs only liquids with lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and cayenne.
  • Partial fasts, which requires abstaining from particular kinds of food. An example is The Daniel Fast.
  • Liquid protein fasts, often medically supervised for weight loss for obesity.
  • Diagnostic fasts, in preparation for a medical test or procedure.

Getting Back into Regular Eating After Fasting

After a period of fasting, it’s important for your body to ease back into regular, healthy eating with foods that are easy to digest. According to Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist,

“The correct way to break a fast after eating no solid food whatsoever for 10 days is gently and slowly with foods that are very easy to digest like homemade soup or perhaps eggs and fruit and maybe a slice or two of bacon .  .  .”

Fasting: the Takeaway

Bottom line, your body and your health are your own. If something in the health world sparks your interest, it could certainly be worth taking a harder look into.

People have had success treating Lyme disease with a raw milk fast? The GAPS diet, which begins with a bone broth fast, is employed to heal a range of issues from digestive to neurological?

It is fascinating to me after looking into fasting what a break from “regular” foods can do for our bodies. I for one now see fasting less as a fad or extreme way to lose weight but as an age-old way to reset and heal. When done safely and properly, fasting can additionally be part of a health regimen for long-term weight maintenance.

Inspiring People who Lost Weight and Gained Health

Who doesn’t love a story filled with only good news? With all the drama happening all around the world 24 hours a day, it can be refreshing to take a break and read or watch something inspiring.

Better yet, an inspiring story you can relate to! Have you been at a point in your life where you’ve wanted so badly to lose the weight once and for all?

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight and Gained Health

Maybe you are there now. Have you wondered, what would it really take to make a complete lifestyle 180? How can I lose weight without a fad diet and without dangerous results to my health?

Weight Watchers Inspiring Me

Here at One Badass Life, I enjoy the support of the Weight Watchers community. With its tailor-made plan for gradual, healthy weight loss that is individualized to you, the results are often positive and lasting. It has sure worked for me.

If you’re ready to begin a healthy road toward weight loss and would like to join Weight Watchers, I invite you to use our $10 off Ebates coupon!

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight and Healed their Lives

And now, on to those inspiring people we can celebrate with and perhaps emulate. They vary in age, location, and situation, but in many ways, their goal is the same: lose that weight!

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight

An Indiana Couple, Lexi and Danny

Couple loses 400 pounds in inspirational weight loss journey

What greater challenge can you overcome as a married couple than transforming your entire lifestyle and losing a collective 400 pounds?

But against all odds, this Indiana couple did it. Reevaluating their health, taking a hard look at how they used food as therapy, learning to meal plan and cook together, and pushing each other to hit the gym consistently – all were keys to their success.

“The hardest part of our journey was changing our relationship with food,” shares Lexi. But now, the gym is both therapy and quality time well spent for the now fit husband and wife.

Check out our recent article on the success Weight Watchers couples can share on the journey!

Celebrities Open Up About Weight

The Most Stunning Weight Loss Transformations Hollywood Has Ever Seen

An inspiring rundown of celebrities showing their real life battles and victories with weight and overall health. Kirstie Alley, Wendy Williams, Jennifer Hudson, Oprah, and so many more lovely leading ladies.

A Will to Walk Again

Arthur, with help from Diamond Dallas Page

From a disabled veteran 100 pounds overweight who was told he would not walk unassisted again, to . . . well, you will simply have to watch and find out. Many of us do not have nearly this far to go on our journey toward health, and it is inspiring to see someone like Arthur achieve so much. A beautiful video filled with hope.

What do These Inspiring People Have in Common?

In looking at all these healthy achievers, I discovered some commonalities:

  • Taking their “bad days” in stride. Not allowing a setback or even a seeming failure to give them the excuse to call it quits on their goals. Getting right back in the saddle!
  • Persistence in routine, whether with diet or exercise. Waking up every day and deciding, “I will continue to make healthy choices.”
  • Relying on relationships and the accountability of being real with others about your goals and dreams.
  • Developing healthy habits that become natural – rather than relying on will power alone.

Do You Have an Inspiring Story?

Perhaps you are an inspiring story . . . or will be in the near future! Share in our comments below!