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Fermentation – It’s Good For the Gut

Fermented foods are all the rage these days. Just go to any farmer’s market and you’ll find at a least a few vendors selling fermented vegetables, pickled kimchi’s, kombucha and gut ciders.

How do these fermented foods help improve your gut health?

It helps to think of the process used to create fermented foods as the same process your gut uses to digest foods. Think of your digestion as your internal fermentation system.

Historically the fermentation process was used as a method to preserve foods. It’s history goes back thousands of years and across many cultures.  The fermentation process works by producing short chain fatty-acids which prohibit harmful bacteria from growing.

At the same time these short-chain fatty acids produce the ideal pH to encourage good bacteria to grow.

This is the reason adding fermented foods and probiotics to your diet is a great way to improve the environment in your gut.

One probiotic on the market, Dr. Ohhira’s Professional Formula, takes this fermentation process a step further by feeding their 12 strains of bacteria for five years.

We talked with Ross Pelton, the scientist for Dr. Ohhira’s probiotics, about the fermentation process and how it works in our digestive system.


He says that the first step in changing your ‘pathobiome’ (unhealthy microbiome) into a healthy microbiome is to change the environment.

You need to replace the environment by changing the acid balance so it’s no longer favorable to bad bacteria.

Listen to more of Dr. Ross Pelton’s interviews on the microbiome by clicking here.

Stay tuned for our next segment in a few weeks.


When Clean Eating Doesn’t Cut it: Gut Health for Better Fitness

Gut Health for Better Fitness


You dedicate your life to a healthy routine: clean eating, supplementation, workouts, and a 10:30 pm bedtime. But what if all that hard work is being undone by poor gut health?

The digestive system is really the engine of our well-being, as it is involved in so many processes. If our digestive system is in check, we feel awesome, we can perform at the top level, and we even can push ourselves harder to make bigger gains in the gym.

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Probiotic Supplements vs Yogurt: The Battle for Best Bacteria

Probiotics vs Yogurt

Whether you just heard about the benefits of probiotic bacteria, or you’ve known about it for years, you can expect to hear a lot more about it in the future. But before you frantically stock up on yogurt, miso soup, and tempeh – all foods that are known for their belly-calming probiotic benefits – consider the benefits of choosing a probiotic supplement over yogurt as your main source of good gut bacteria.

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Winning the Battle with Lactose Intolerance

Woman Drinking Milk

The growing prevalence of lactose intolerance coupled with the appearance of lactose in food groups outside dairy products creates a larger problem for those fighting against the condition. Lactose intolerance simply means that the body has a difficult time or cannot digest lactose, which is the natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. Approximately 65% of the world population develops an inability to digest lactose, causing a collection of uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.

Lactose intolerance tends to appear at the age of adolescence, but can begin in adulthood as well. The crux of the difficulty stems from the small intestines inability to produce a single enzyme, lactase, which permits the body to process lactose. In the struggle with lactose intolerance, treatment options include the need to increase lactase, address diet, and watch for attacks from unexpected sources.

Add the Enzyme and Probiotics

While the body produces lactase in the intestinal lining, those with lactose intolerance struggle to produce enough of the enzyme. An easy solution is to take a supplemental dosage of the enzyme and probiotics. Sufferers take a capsule or tablet while consuming dairy products. The boost in lactase and probiotics mixes with the lactose sugar, breaking it down preventing symptoms like bloating, excessive gas, and abdominal pain. The simple pill is effective when the person knows about the presence of lactose.

Dietary Concerns

The greatest tool people with lactose intolerance have is to alter their diets. Most sufferers start with the removal of all dairy from their diet including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, and butter. Though a good first step, some try to add a small amount of dairy back to determine their threshold for tolerance. This process, though potentially painful, allows the sufferer to add vital calcium and vitamin D back into their diet to combat osteoporosis and other bone weakening issues. Those unable to add any dairy back need calcium and vitamin D replacements for optimal health.

Hidden Lactose

Those struggling with lactose intolerance, especially ones with the greatest sensitivity, must be on guard for places where the sugar hides. Read labels searching for products with whey, curds, milk byproducts, dry milk solids, and powders. Like their dairy counterparts, these ingredients create pain and distress associated with lactose intolerance. Other foods hiding lactose include bread, margarine, lunch meat, and salad dressings. Also, check in medications such as birth control pills and over the counter acid controllers.

If you’re fighting lactose intolerance, remain vigilant; a healthy life is within your grasp. When you take steps to improve your life with knowledge about lactose intolerance, making dietary changes, and adding supplements, lactose intolerance is one battle you can win.

Image: Flickr

Dominica Applegate

Featured Guest Blogger:

Dominica Applegate is dedicated to the art of self-discovery and creative expression. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked in the mental health field for 12 years before starting her own business. A sought-after author and freelance writer, her work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck and unleashing massive happiness and potential.

Emanuel Jal talks about the Body’s Acid Alkaline Balance

Emmanuel Jal, surviving child soldier, interview with Pamela Nathan

The interview we’ve been waiting for….. Emmanuel Jal, child soldier of war from South

Emmanuel Jal, Soldier of Peace

Emmanuel Jal, Soldier of Peace

Sudan, now soldier of peace, rapper, musician artist, constantly travelling around the world, tells us what he has found to be a workable way for him to manage his health challenges by paying attention to the pH acid alkaline balance of his body.

Worth listening to …lots of good advice. Less than 20 minutes.
Here’s a general reference list of foods as they fit to each of the acid and alkaline categories.

And if you’re interested in keeping track of your acid alkaline balance, just for fun, the easy pH test using a litmus paper roll will do the trick – very easy to do, first urine stream in the a.m. – some say testing can become additive after a while!

But, on a more serious note, you are able to adjust your choice of food on a daily basis, as a result of what color you see… if its yellow – too acid… if its green? Yay! However, is it green enough? …at least 6.4 they say…. though everyone has a slightly different opinion about that.

Topics Covered:

 00:00:04 – Importance of Acid-Alkaline Balance

00:03:16 – An Alkaline Diet

00:05:42 – The Cons of Acidity

00:08:24 – Emmanuel Jal’s Favorites

00:09:23 – What an Alkaline Diet Can Do for You

00:11:34 – Warchild, a Film of a Child Soldier

00:14:11 – Gua Africa and Lose to Win Challenge

00:15:53 – Monitoring Your Alkalinity and Acidity

Full Text Transcript:

 Importance of Acid-Alkaline Balance

Pamela Nathan:  So thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this quick interview. Our readers and our listeners would love to know more about you. And you’re now known in the world as a former child solider, political activist, inspirational musician and artist with a positive message. So my curiosity is how did you come to recognize the importance of the acid-alkaline balance?

Emmanuel Jal:  Well, I was sick at one time, so… And most of the time when I’m on play, I get tired a lot. And so getting up in the morning, I always have a headache throughout the day. And then I came to realize I also had high blood pressure. I’m beginning to develop signs of getting diabetes and all of that. And then I say, “Why do I have high blood pressure?” so I started researching, and I did more research, and then from there, by researching, I realized, actually, we need a balanced diet. Our bodies need to eat properly.

And so I went to our people who eat traditional. We never used to have diabetes. We never used to have high blood pressure. We had someone who had up to 120 years old. One of our old person who died recently. So in short, we can live, we have people who can live that long, and this must be something about our diet.

And so I realized our people used to eat in seasons. So there’s a season where we can consume a lot of milk, and there’s a season where we are just vegetarians, and there’s a seasons they have fish. And then I realize we used to eat a lot of sorghum, milk, which is a great source of antioxidant. And so I started bringing that back into my life. So I started cooking sorghum. I made my own drinks, and I said, how can I empower these drinks more? And so I made myself super drinks out of sorghum, and then I started researching about more vegetables. And I realized, “Oh! There’s something about vegetables and fruits.” So when you have vegetables and fruits, they can actually… The way you take them, when your body digests them, it becomes alkaline.

And so alkaline are salts that easily dissolve in your blood or maybe are soluble. And then acidity are foods that are corrosive, and so there is no balance in your blood where your pH level, which is your blood pH level at the heart should always be 7.41. So if it’s altered, then you’re going to be sick. And so I realized, like a lot of people become sick because of the food they eat, and so I decided, “So okay. Fine. How can I heal my body? How can I get my body better?”

An Alkaline Diet

So I started searching about the fruits, then I went to vegetables, then I went to meat, and so I realized I used to eat a lot of red meat. So a lot of red meat also give my body a lot of problems, and so I started cutting red meat. So if I have red meat, maybe it’s twice a month, then I can have white meat maybe twice a week. That could be the fish or chicken, but most of the food that I have, I cook, are more vegetables.

So in short, what I do is, if I want to wake up early in the morning, so what I eat the night before will affect my day. If I’m taking a flight, and I’m going to have a long flight, so if I want to get down on the other side without headaches, so I realized if I eat an alkaline-based diet when I’m taking off a plane and just maintain… In the plane, I just drink water, and then if I find things that are more close to alkaline, then I eat that. Then by the time the plane lands, I’m more fit. I’m more okay. I’m more fresh. But when I want to sleep the next day that I want to be healthy, I don’t want to wake up, then I eat a diet that is not alkaline. So it makes my body heavy, so more of protein, so which means more of red meat. But it’s not nice, but I like it. So a balance is good.

So in short, if somebody’s sick, if you are sick, you need to eat a more alkaline-based diet, and then, when you get better, you can now have maybe like 40% acidic and 60% alkaline.

So most of the food that people eat outside today, most of the food, the fastfood, are acidic. So people just go and eat. You take sugar. You drink alcohol. You eat bread. You eat all the things that are delicious: sweets, carbonated drinks, most of them like foods that have been put on bottles for people to drink. So you’re just acidifying your body.

The Cons of Acidity

And so when the body becomes… if you eat more of an acidic diet, what happens is, with time, your body’s going to run out of… How do you call it? Reserves. Reserves which mean like all the minerals that are stored in your body. Maybe, for example, I’m going to begin to be used up, and the immune system is going to be weak. So when the immune system is weak, then what happen is we begin to have… The main three things that you’ll get first would be maybe diabetes, maybe high blood pressure, and arthritis. So those are the first steps that affect your body faster.

And then when you continue being acidic, then your body’s going to be exposed to cancers. So cancers are results of not having enough oxygen regulating in your body. And so the acidic food actually act like a catalyst to speed it up, or they create a way for it to happen, and they create more free radicals into your body, and the free radicals are molecules that are not paired electrons. And if there are not paired electrons, what actually happen is they begin to attack healthy molecules that are already good and creating more unpaired molecules. And so that’s when your immune system become weak.

And so what happens is you could eat acidic food that even have antioxidant, which are good. So not all protein which is acidic is bad. Even if you eat… Blueberries are acidic when it’s digested, but it has got antioxidants, so things that help fight these free radicals roaming in your body to destroy you.

And so learning that knowledge is what is actually helping me in the day-to-day way of life. So I’m using food as medicine. So when you eat healthy, you give your body the right nutrients, you’re actually going to live a much better life, because when you’re stressed, it’s like you’re poisoning your body. So when you eat certain foods, they help stress to happen even more and more and more. I don’t know if I’m explaining it, but I’m not an expert, but that’s how I can [crosstalk].

Emmanuel Jal’s Favorites

Pamela Nathan:  No, that’s wonderful. You explained it very well. Do you have certain foods that are your favorites?

Emmanuel Jal:  Yeah. I have… I use… Okay. My favorites are kale, [unclear], ginger, lemon, and beetroots. So for example, if I’ve eaten really, really bad, and I want to clean myself, and sometimes, if I want to go too alkaline, I can eat seaweed. I can eat more of… What do you call this one? I forget. I can have spelt grass.

Pamela Nathan:  Oh, okay.

Emmanuel Jal:  Yeah. Wheat grass is also cool. It’s like so alkaline. There’s a lot of foods that are more… Most of the foods are alkaline.

What an Alkaline Diet Can Do for You

Pamela Nathan:  Yes. So how can you get this message across to the younger people? How can you educate them?

Emmanuel Jal:  Well, I think people just eat, but they don’t know why they’re eating. We need a balance. You need all the colors of foods together. If you have them, it’s beautiful. Like, if you have green, if you have yellow, then you have red, then you have white. So if you mix those, you are able to have a balanced diet. And a balanced diet is something that consists of protein, vitamins, vegetables, and carbohydrates. Most of the people go for carbohydrates that are really nice and taste to your mouth. So I would say is what taste to your mouth does not necessarily mean it’s good to you. The one that tastes… It may not taste that amazing, but it has a lot of health benefits to your body.

So what I can tell young people is you are what you eat. Even when it comes to beauty, and the image, and how you look, alkaline diet plays a big, fat… I mean big, fat thing. I mean I’m trying to speak not a good like… Alkaline diet actually plays a good way in which you can even lose weight faster. It can make your skin glow and look better. So most of the food… People don’t know. A lot of diseases, a lot of stomach problems, health problems, your immune system, you know, you can actually use foods to actually use as a medicine. I haven’t used pain killer since December.

Pamela Nathan:  Really?!

Emmanuel Jal:  I used to have a lot of pain killers all the time because I always have traveling headache, this and that, and my stomach, and then I have high blood pressure. Since I started eating properly and choosing what I have to eat, since then, I didn’t suffer. No break down up to now.

Warchild, a Film of a Child Soldier

Pamela Nathan:  That’s wonderful! It’s so encouraging to hear that really. And so if I can just switch to something else?

Emmanuel Jal:  Okay.

Pamela Nathan:  Like, talk about the DVD that I saw, Warchild, and you talk about yourself as… that you were a soldier of war, and now, you’re a soldier of peace. Can you tell us what that means?

Emmanuel Jal:  Well, Warchild is my film. It’s my childhood story, me explaining how the wars affected me and my family. And so it goes back to those dark days, and that’s what I try to bring to the world and sharing my experience for social and emotional learning. Leaving my home, everything that we own, leaving it behind, and seeing how the war has torn us internally. Mostly, people only know about the external, physical injury, but the internal image… internal injuries pain more and take long to heal.

(Guys, can you guys keep quiet a bit. I’m having an interview, so…)

So what happened is most people focus on the physical injuries than the internal injuries because they are not visible, but those are what pains the more, like something… When war happens, you run away. The pain of not knowing what happened to your brothers and sister, or your mom, or you auntie torments you. So this war took my mom, took all my aunties, took all my uncles except two, and in the process, I became a child soldier.

And so that past has really affected me in a big way. So I lost my childhood. And luckily, when I got rescued by a British aid worker called Emma McCune, who smuggled me to Kenya, that’s when I was able to find a new way of life and then a beginning to construct myself. And now, I don’t want to use… I don’t want to just be quiet. I want to use my story to shine a light in a dark place and make evil perform less.

Gua Africa and Lose to Win Challenge

Pamela Nathan:  Thank you. And so would you tell us about Gua Africa and your Lose to Win Donation Program?

Emmanuel Jal:  Well, Gua Africa is a charity I found that it walks with families, individuals to help them overcome the effect of war and poverty. And Lose to Win is a challenge that I ask people to take. You give up something for 30 days and give it to a charity of your choice. But mostly, I’m asking people here, “I’m trying to build schools back home. I’m supporting three charities. Would you join me on Lose to Win Challenge? Can you give up something for 30 days?” And come clear the value or maybe pick up a month and say, “In this month, I’m going to give up 5% of my earnings, and I’m going to donate it to a cause.” So that’s what the Lose to Win is all about.

Pamela Nathan:  That sounds very inspiring. And so I’m very happy to be able to donate to your cause. It’s wonderful.

Emmanuel Jal:  Thank you for joining Lose to Win. So you did a challenge that day.

Pamela Nathan:  Yes! And thank you for expediting that. I may not have been able to do it without you.

Emmanuel Jal:  Thank you, thank you.

Pamela Nathan:  Okay, Jal. I know that you’re busy, and it’s time to say goodbye, but I’m going to meet you somewhere in the world. You’re going to let me know where you’re performing, and I’m going to come there.

Emmanuel Jal:  I’ll come to your city again.

Pamela Nathan:  Okay!

Emmanuel Jal:  But if you have another question, it’s fine. I still have many, like three minutes, I can still answer.

Monitoring Your Alkalinity and Acidity

Pamela Nathan:  Well, so… I guess my curiosity is about how it is that you monitor it. How do you know? Is it just intuitively that you know that you need more alkaline foods? I mean I use a litmus paper strip, and I look at the color, and then I can see. When it’s yellow, then it’s too acidic, and when it’s green, it’s right. So I wondered how you know.

Emmanuel Jal:  I think you know by what you eat. So once you know the food… You see, our bodies are machines. Our body would try to connect the best nutrients we need for ourselves. So if I, today, if I eat chicken and vegetables now, chicken is acidic. I have vegetables which are alkaline. And so, when they enter my body, my body will process the vegetables, and also, it will process the chicken. So it would take what it needs for me to move on. But if I have too much, then you try to restore the excess of that.

So it means that your body is not going to run out of minerals because what normally happens is, if you’re not on alkaline-diet mode for a month and your body is beginning to run out of resources, you may get a cold as a symptom to show, “Hey. Something is wrong.” If your body can’t fight harder, then that’s a sign. So you could try to drink ginger. You could try to have lemon. You could try to have kale. You could try to have beetroots. You could have many foods, orange, or whatever you could have and put it… and maybe some honey, and then as you move on, then you realize your cold is gone. I don’t buy anything for cold. If I ever get a cold, I don’t buy medicine. I use food. I just go to the shelf and pick. What do I need to eat? And then I eat that, and that’s what I use for… to treat my cold. So I use food.

So when your body’s lacking something, you will know. I don’t test my body. I just… Before, when I started, that’s when I use to test the pH with my urine. So at night, it’s supposed to be acidic because it’s early in the morning. Early in the morning, your pH is supposed to be acidic when you go and urinate, which is normal, because your body is processing so much, like around 3:00 in the morning or 4:00 in the morning before you wake up. So your body is working a lot of intoxication because you’re asleep. Your body’s repairing itself, and it’s throwing away all the wastes in whichever way possible. But as the day goes by, it should reduce and become more alkaline. So in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, it should be alkaline. But when you go to sleep at night, early in the morning, I think it should be acidic.

Pamela Nathan:  Okay.

Emmanuel Jal:  And that’s how I do it.

Pamela Nathan:  Okay! Thank you.

Emmanuel Jal:  I hope that helped. That’s the best of it.

Pamela Nathan:  It does help a lot. Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Emmanuel Jal:  Okay. Thank you very much.

Pamela Nathan:  Okay. Bye, Jal.

Emmanuel Jal:  Thank you.

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