This year, I have spent a fair bit of my time trying to figure out what could have made my daughter so ill and then using what I had learnt to help her get better. Early on, I recognised the signs of Chronic Fatigue and although the doctors talked about that illness being a neurological condition, Tula’s intestines were clearly not in a good state. When my partner Elli, put a post on Facebook asking our friends for advice, various people suggested that Tula may have a ‘Leaky Gut’ and that we should try giving her probiotics. So I investigated what a Leaky Gut is and how to get a good source of probiotics.
As far as I understand, a leaky gut is a permeable intestine, which in very simple terms means that undigested food can leak through the intestines walls into the blood stream, and this can cause all sorts of horrible problems.
The intestines can be irritated by a variety of different things, including an indigestible substance found in wheat known as lectins. Also, Ibuprofen can cause considerable damage to the intestines and as Tula’s health deteriorated, and her pain increased, she was taking regular Ibuprofen.
So, on starting to understand the damage we could be unwittingly inflicting inside Tula’s guts, I started to find out about probiotics. Our stomachs should be full of good bacteria because it forms a key part in our immune system. If our stomachs bacteria become depleated, then this weakens our immune system and we become more likely to become ill. Therefore it make sense to regularly top up our system with good quality probiotics. This is when it started to become fascinating because it turns out, if you want a variety of probiotics in your diet (and whether we know it or not, we probably all do) then the best way to get them, in my opinion, is to make them yourself. I have found a number of ways of doing this. The one that produces the largest variety of probiotics is milk kefir, which is what I initially started to produce. The list of probiotics in milk kefir fills a page of A4, but I’ll save that for another post. Today I’ve been bottling up a batch of kombucha and then putting the next lot on to brew.
The process is very simple; make some sugary tea and then put it in a glass jar with a kombucha culture, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) loosely cover and leave it for between 8 to 10 days. Then syphon off into bottles and add more sugary tea to the jar for the next batch.
I got my SCOBY from happykombucha and it works great. Another great thing, other than making your own tasty drink with possible health benefits, is that the SCOBY grows babies and so production gradually increases. Today I bottled up fifteen 330ml bottles and then put on another 7 litres to brew.
Check out the Wikipedia on kombucha to find out all about it, it’s interesting reading. I gather so people even make shoes and clothes out of the dried out scoby’s. Maybe I’ll have a go at that next.