There are just two months left of winter so to get you ready for spring and summer (it is never too early to start planning), I am providing you with a winter smoothie recipe. It contains a very special winter fruit – pineapple.
Why is pineapple a winter fruit? Because you would have to go somewhere warm in winter like Hawaii or the Caribbean or Mexico to find one growing – somewhere some of you may be going. And for the rest of us – we can drink this smoothie.
So why is this called the double whammy smoothie? Because I am daring to go where I have never gone before. I am not adding just one fermented food to the smoothie, I am adding two. That is right – two. I know it is shocking but hear me out.
If you think adding fermented foods to smoothies is strange, then you really need to try it because they actually add flavour.
However, that is not why I am adding them.
The big talk right now is about diversity of strains. We need to have them and our western diet and lifestyle does not provide them.
Now don’t get me wrong – fermented foods, just like probiotics, do not increase your good bacteria. That is why prebiotics foods are essential for building your gut bacteria – they are food for the little guys. However, the good bacteria in the foods or supplements do help you while they are there by doing some of the same work that your gut bacteria performs. So fermented foods can help you, if you do not have enough of your own.
There many reasons why we lose diversity of strains but one the key reasons is consumption of junk food and lack of fibre in the diet (which is often food for your good bacteria).
How bad is junk food and lack of fibre on diversity? On recent study found that just eating junk food on the weekends (while eating properly during the week) lowers the number and diversity of the good bacteria in your body. Who was eating this junk food on the weekends? Rats – party animals that they are.
Another study with mice found that feeding them a diet without fibre also lowered the number and diversity of bacteria. And not only did adding fibre later into their diets not build the numbers back, they passed on the lower levels of bacteria and lower diversity to the next generation.
Hmmm, could this be what is happening with us? Well, we are not mice or rats, which may or may not be a good thing – only time will tell if we are more resilient than they are. We live longer so maybe we are.
Also, we can apply a number of strategies to help the gut like supplements, strategic foods like fermented and prebiotic foods and this was not done for the poor mice and rats.
Fermented foods deliver strains that are unique to the food which means they are not the same as the ones in you (even if they are from the same group). For example, lactobacillus acidophilus strains in you are not the same as the strain in kefir or in sauerkraut. Some fermented foods have strains that are not found in us (that we know of) And this all helps diversity.
For this smoothie, we have milk kefir and sauerkraut. There are 13 strains of good bacteria in sauerkraut and 32 beneficial bacteria strains of bacteria and yeast in milk kefir. That is the addition of 45 strains. Can’t beat that.
Now if you are new to fermented foods, be sure to use less and let your system get used to the fermented foods and work you way up.
So give this a try and don’t be afraid to adjust it to taste. I think ginger or cayenne might be nice in this smoothie and if you like it a little sweeter, add a couple of dates. Enjoy!
To Make The Smoothie:
½ cup pineapple, fresh or frozen (about 1 1/2 sliced pineapple rings)
2 tbsp milk kefir (or coconut kefir or coconut yogurt*)
2-3 tbsp sauerkraut plus (include some of the juice)
1/2 cup cold spring water
1/2 – 1 cup spinach leaves
2-3 tbsp avocado
1 tbsp hemp seeds (optional – 2 tsp chia or 1 tbsp flaxseeds can also be used)
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend. Adjust the flavour to taste by adding more pineapple or sauerkraut, if desired. More water can be added if too thick. Serve and drink right away.
*Yogurt only has two strains of good bacteria but it is a good option if you do not have access to coconut kefir and cannot do milk kefir. Do not assume that because you have an issue with milk, that you will have a problem with milk kefir – try it to be sure as this is easy to find in the market place. Coconut kefir would have to be made with kefir grains to have the 32 strains strain and good bacteria and yeast that milk kefir has (be sure to ask – not all milk kefirs are made with kefir grains only kefir grains have the 32 good bacteria and yeast strains). You would have to make you own coconut kefir as I am not aware of any brands on the market that are made with the kefir grains but then you never know…
- Alternating or continuous exposure to cafeteria diet leads to similar shifts in gut microbiota compared to chow diet, Nadeem O. Kaakoush1,†, Sarah I. Martire2,†, Mukesh Raipuria3, Hazel M. Mitchell1, Shaun Nielsen1, R. Fred Westbrook2 and Margaret J. Morris3,*Issue Cover image for Vol. 60 Issue 1, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201500815
- Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations, Erica D. Sonnenburg et al, Nature 529, 212–215 (14 January 2016)