Probiotics

FAGE TotalSo far as a search of the blog goes, I appear to never have mentioned probiotics in a post (others have brought it up in comments a coupla times).

There's a good reason for that. For one, I never noted any benefit from drinking acidophilus-spiked milk. And, I've tried a few supplements from time to time and never got any benefit that struck me in particular.

But now I'm convinced on a whole number of levels, at least for myself. Your mileage may vary.

A while back I started buying fresh -- neither caned nor bottled -- sauerkraut, both from a local supplier to Whole Foods and at a farmer's market (from wooden fermenting casks, no less). The problem is that the various sauerkraut dishes I make (spareribs, pork roast, or sausages) require cooking, which kills the bacteria. So, I noticed I really liked the fresh sauerkraut raw, and it seemed to like me too, particularly if I had a few fork fulls with breakfast.

And then I discovered FAGE Total Yogurt (pronounced "fa-yeh"). You've gotta try this stuff, and only get the full fat version, unsweetened, of course (they have: 0%, 2%, 5%, and Total; 35% fat, 90% of that being blessed hearthealthysaturatedfat). Realize: whenever you use dairy and go for the crappy, shitty, awful, reduced fat garbage -- for any volume you are ingesting -- you're trading fat for carbs, i.e., something critically healthy and nutritious and filling for: SUGAR. Yes, you're trading real nutrition for sugar. Even if they don't add any, just in removing the fat, the same 1/2 cup is going to have far more sugar to make up for the void created by removing the good part.

Modern ignorance. Don't be fooled. Never, ever get any sorts of real food that removes natural fat. I guarantee you that the void that remains will almost certainly be filled with cheap shit that's generally bad for you and good for profits.

Alright, didn't know I was going to rant, but there you have it. Moving on...

So, my favorite ways to use FAGE are very simple. One is a heaping tablespoon or more in a smoothie, or often just right out of the tub by itself, and my favorite of all: about 1/2 handful of frozen berry medley, 1/2 handful of mixed nuts -- or just fruit or nuts -- and about 2 massively heaping tablespoons of FAGE. Mix it up and let sit and the berries thaw, mix again. I have been having something on this order every night. Last night was berries only; 1/2 handful of the medley, 1/2 handful of just blueberries, my favorite.

As I have continued to do this, trying to get some form of probiotic from real food in the morning and evening, and doing it for several weeks now, I'm just sold. It seems like everything is better, even mental attitude. Certainly, some digestive issues have also completely resolved.

FAGE TOTAL Yogurt is 100% natural. It contains no added sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives. We do not use powder milk, powder cream or powder protein in FAGE, just raw milk, raw cream and live active cultures which come together for a naturally blissful taste experience. In line with our All Natural approach to yogurt making, our milk and cream supply comes from farmers who have pledged not to treat their cows with rBGH*. FAGE is an excellent source of protein due to its unique straining process. Vegetarians can eat FAGE TOTAL and is also suitable for diabetics, pregnant women and people on gluten-free diets. It can also be used to cook with in your favorite recipes since it will not separate in high heat. FAGE is pure, creamy and can be enjoyed without adding anything to it. It is simply delicious and nutritious.

I'm really sold on it.

So back to sauerkraut. Last evening I decided I wanted a hearty meal. Bea's out of town, so I considered going out, but then decided I absolutely should fix a good meal. But, I'd also downloaded two movies on Apple TV, so didn't want to take a lot of time.

Raw Sauerkraut Uncured Frankfurters
Raw Sauerkraut & Uncured Frankfurters

Yep, grassfed franks from La Cense. Now, how to prepare while keeping the good bacteria?

Franks in their juices stock cooling down
Franks in their juices & stock cooling down

So I cut up the franks, added water & chicken stock just to the top of the franks, brought to a boil and simmered a few minutes. Then I removed the franks to a dish in the oven, warming at 140 while I reduced and concentrated the stock. Took maybe 10 minutes or so, I reintroduced the franks and set the whole pan in cold water to cool it to where it was hot to the touch, but not scalding. I then took it out of the cold bath and introduced the kraut.

Sauerkraut Grassfed Frankfurters
Sauerkraut & Grassfed Frankfurters

I like with both Dijon & yellow mustards. This was so very satisfying and the feeling of well being fantastic for hours. I had my yogurt later and ended up fully alert until 2am. Got up at 8am this morning feeling just fantastic in every respect.

So, any other experiences, positive or negative? Anyone think it's all hype?

Comments

  1. I’ve been eating creme fraiche which sounds pretty similar to the Fage. Luckily, we have a dairy that brings raw dairy products to town once a week for direct sale to consumers (State Law, can’t sell raw dairy through a grocer). I just get cream and ferment it with the bacteria already in there (similar to making yogurt). It sets up much thicker and voila, creme fraiche! High fat, near zero carb and protein. Also heat stable and a mainstay in French cuisine and sauces. Great with berries as you mentioned. I wonder how far off Fage is from creme fraiche when you break down the macronutrients.

    Love this stuff, and chock full of bacteria. Good ones, from what my gut tells me. Have to get in on some sauerkraut now that you mention it. Have to test drive some Fage if my local grocer stocks it. This high fat dairy is the sort that is endorsed by Peter at Hyperlipid and Dr. Harris at PaleoNu.

  2. john fitzgibbon says:

    So I’ve been making my own sauerkraut for a while, really really like it. Recipes in the Nourishing traditions cook book. Really easy and tasty, along with other fermented vegetables and such as well.

  3. I hate reading this site because I simply do not have access, in this small Canadian mountain town, to any of these amazing whole foods that people can get at… Whole Foods, in the city. Raw milk? Fageddaboughdit.

    Speaking of fermentation, I had a dream last night that McDonalds started selling a Kefir drink. Ha! (My brain has no idea what Kefir tastes like, but I liked Micky D’s version).

    • @Arlo, you really need to just start making your own. It’s about 1,000 times cheaper to boot.

      If you make these foods without modern equipment (like food processors) it’s a pretty damn good workout also.

      Ever wonder why the women from way… back were a ton thinner than they are now? Well, I think it’s because they literally worked their asses off preparing food (+ better diet). Just my theory. Think it’s a stupid theory? Try it day in and day out. You’ll be singing a different tune.

  4. I love the Fage yogurt with berries and raw coconut, delicious. I got the idea from the Healthcare Epistemocrat blog. I began increasing my use of fermented foods after reading Seth Roberts blog. Mostly sauerkraut with bauernwurst at least once a week. Also, the yogurt and the occasional kombucha. Also picked up a coconut milk based plain Kefir the other day that was amazing.

  5. Glad to hear, Richard.

    We can learn by grace or by hard knocks; let my brother’s experience with Clostridium Difficile serve as ample venture capital startup funding for self-experimenting with ‘good bacteria’ in your diets:

    http://epistemocrat.blogspot.com/2009/04/clostridium-difficile-weed-inside-your.html

    It’s the proactive (probiotic), preventive approach (like Vit D and H1N1) to strengthening your immune system against the microbes that antibiotics have created (MRSA, for instance).

    I also suspect that there may be a ‘satiation’ mechanism linked to good bacteria; the more we eat, the quicker we will feel satiated. With FAGE, I cannot tease out the satiation benefits from high-fat versus high good bacteria, but either way, FAGE has helped me reduce food intake during low-energy intake periods–a little bit goes a long ways, and coats my stomach quite nicely.

    To good bacteria,

    Brent

  6. John Speno says:

    FAGE is great stuff. I use it as a starter culture for making my own yogurt, which is easy to make as good as the original and cheaper.

    I find yogurt makes a great condiment for ground beef patties and probably would have gone well with your kraut and sausage too.

  7. Seth Roberts has been harping on the alleged benefits of fermented foods for a long time. He claims/suggests it cures all that ails us.

    I remain unconvinced, but open-minded.

  8. MDA had a link to a NY Times article on probiotics.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/health/29well.html

    As for me, I eat and cook with Fage regularly, mostly as a conduit or as “cement” to mix things together, like berries, etc. Fage is fantastic as a base for sauce and dressing.

    Dressing for dipping or mixing into all kinds of vegetables:
    2 dollop of Fage
    2 table spoon of olive oil
    1 table spoon of balsamic vinegar
    a dash of salt and pepper
    garlic powder

  9. I love fermented products. I eat natto, which is fermented whole soybeans, regularly. The fermentation kills the bad stuff in the soybeans and it creates is the most abundant source of vitamin K2 (the MK-7 form) on the planet. Many folk say they hate the taste of it, but I rather like it and always have.

  10. Arlo

    Kefir is easy to make. Some good videos on youtube. I have been using some Kefir I
    got at Kroger as a starter. You can buy Kefir grains on ebay etc. Kefir reduces the sugars
    in the milk.

  11. Glad you like the Fage. I like it but every time I eat it I get a stomach ache. So that means I have to make my own yogurt, kefir, and creme fraiche which is no big deal because it means I can keep the final product raw. I also have a video on my site for making sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. It is very easy to do and doesn’t take much time. My favorite fermented veggie is kimchi.

    As for the value of fermented foods I am absolutely sold. They seem to be a mainstay in traditional diets. The Masai for example would milk their cattle directly into a fermenting vessel. But as you note the proof is in the pudding. These foods enhance my physical well-being and add valuable nutrition. I would be poorer without them.

    Michael
    Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  12. Richard,

    I’m with you on this one.
    2 years ago I took some antibiotics, I bought some probiotics to help the gut.
    Felt NOTHING. I had soe left over a month later, and took some more, nothing.

    When I eat natto, sauerktaut or fage I notice a distinct sense of “well being”. From mood to physical……only made that distinction for those that might not be convinced yet that mind and body are truly one.

    There is another yogurt that I buy sometimes at Whole Foods. It’s a lot more runny then fage and it tastes more sour, but it’s perfect for tzatziki. Get the same feeling after eating that yogurt. I will let you know the brand next time I buy it.

    Marc

    • There is another yogurt that I buy sometimes at Whole Foods. It’s a lot more runny then fage and it tastes more sour, but it’s perfect for tzatziki.

      The reason it is thinner is that FAGE to my knowledge is the only yogurt on the market that strains out the whey. That is why the fat content is so high.

      Michael
      Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  13. Joe Matasic says:

    Love Fage, I don’t eat it often but my wife eats total every day. Its what she eats after I got her to give up cereal for breakfast. She usually just puts coconuts flakes in it and sometimes a tad bit of sweetener. We love it with berries.

    I also use it in cooking. Mainly in butter chicken dish. Maybe I should cooking with it some more.

  14. On the quote from the Fage USA website, it says it’s made from “raw milk” and “raw cream”. However on the main Fage site it says the milk is pasturised: http://www.totalgreekyoghurt.com/site/howitsmade_399.aspx . Maybe the stuff sold in the USA is raw but the European stuff is pasturised? And there was me getting excited :(

  15. I second checking out Seth Robert’s blog… I have been taking Acidophilus pills for a while, since I don’t have time to make home made yogurt any more and it has been quite nice.

    I love sauerkraut and all things fermented… Fermented is good, I feel good and my digestive system feels good.

    –Ed

  16. I’ve been a fan of Fage Total Yogurt for years now. Sadly, however, it’s becoming harder and harder to find. That seens contradictory as when I discovered it I could only find it in one supermarket. Now just all all of them carry it. But more and more they all only carry the 0% and 2% versions. Finding the full-fat version is almost impossible. :-(

    • I noticed that today in Trader Joe’s when it comes to the single serving size. That seems to be the norm. It is very difficult to find full fat plain yogurt in a single serving size from any producer. While Whole Foods does carry the full fat plain FAGE in the single serving size, it is not so with the other brands.

      However Trader Joe’s did have FAGE plain yogurt with honey, and the honey was not mixed in but in a separate tiny container of its own. So that is one way to get the plain yogurt but the only problem is that the amount of yogurt you get is 5.3 ounces versus the normal 7 ounces for the same price.

      Michael
      Nutrition and Physical Regeneration

  17. Ah I love Fage Total and Fage with frozen berry medley is my dessert du jour. So good!

    I got into making my own yogurt for awhile — ferment longer for more bacteria! Anyway, not as good as Fage to make it yourself – just a lot cheaper.

  18. Jonathan says:

    If you can use a knife, you can make sauerkraut. Chop cabbage and place in a bowl. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Let it sit for about twenty minutes, then squeeze the liquid out of the cabbage (retaining it in the bowl). Spoon it all into a jar and pack it down tight so it’s all submerged under the liquid. Cover, then let it sit for a week or two. Throw it in the refrigerator once you get the desired taste. Work with clean hands and vessels, but there’s no need for sterilization. Check youtube for visuals. Cheers.

  19. I love making me a big pile of chicken/veggie (and sometimes am even tempted to use legumes, ssshh) curry, then mixing a fat dollop of Fage Total just as it’s served

  20. FAGE rules. 15 g of protein with a great taste w/o any sugar. And ONLY get the total (full fat). This was one of the best new foods I discovered this past year. I went to a local wegmans and found they no longer sold the ‘total’ only the 2 and 0 percent. Damn food police. Give me my full fat. Anyway, I stop buying anything from them ever since.

  21. My local grocery store has the FAGE total so I gave it a try. Wow! Great with berries. I bet it would be good in curries also.

  22. Jonathan says:

    I have a question on the probiotic benefits of Fage. The two cultures it mentions are L. Bulgaricus and S. Thermophilus. The link you provided to Wikipidia lists these two cultures as having no known benefits. Are there other bacteria in the Fage or are there known benefits to these two, that wikipedia doesn’t mention?

    • I don’t know, Jonathan. I’m knew to this and my experience so far is that the probiotic supplements didn’t give me noticeable benefit while things like FAGE & sauerkraut have.

  23. Before I started living primally, I would never have thought to eat Plain yogurt. Now, I love the stuff! I generally eat Greek Gods yogurt, basically because it is made locally in Seattle, but from their website, I see that it is available nationwide. Great stuff! I love to make Tzatziki with it, or just add some garlic and scallions for a veggie dip. And of course, berries and yogurt is the best dessert. I haven’t really noticed a difference in “being” but now I am going to pay closer attention, since it is on my list to pick up this week.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] in many everyday foods such as; Saurkraut, Yoghurt, and Kefir. There is a great post on pro-biotics over here at Free the Animal. Immunity stems from a healthy gut that is why pro-biotics are so helpful and [...]

  2. [...] in many everyday foods such as; Saurkraut, Yoghurt, and Kefir. There is a great post on pro-biotics over here at Free the Animal. Immunity stems from a healthy gut that is why pro-biotics are so helpful and [...]