Regular and daily consumption of probiotics is an important component of the Clean Cuisine lifestyle (we will explain more about the reasons why on the 24th day of the Challenge.)
However, the average person does not have a good handle on which foods are rich in probiotics. For example, whenever Andy suggests to one of his patients that they should be eating probiotic-rich foods almost inevitably the first thing they ask is, “So does this mean I should I eat a lot of yogurt?” No, is the short answer.
Although yogurt may be the most familiar and popular source of probiotics (thanks to multi-million dollar marketing campaigns), that does not make yogurt the best source of probiotics. For multiple reasons we discuss in our Clean Cuisine book, dairy is not a health food…and neither is yogurt. Additionally, dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir are not the best choice of probiotics from a stability or bioavailability standpoint.
Below is a list of non-dairy fermented superfoods loaded with probiotics. Aim to eat (or drink) one non-dairy fermented food a day.
- Traditional miso served in Japanese restaurants is an excellent vegan source of probiotics made from fermented soybeans, barley, or rice. For the healthiest miso, look for a brand that is unpasteurized (we like Miso Master). It is easy to find unpasteurized miso in the refrigerated section of natural foods stores or in Asian markets. By the way, a mild miso such as Miso Masters Chickpea Miso diluted in water makes a great substitute for vegetable broth in soup recipes.
- Pickled carrots, beets, and cucumbers are rich in probiotics and very tasty too.
- Kombucha is a tart and tangy fizzy and detoxifying beverage made from fermented tea and a great vegan source of probiotics as well as antioxidants and B vitamins. We think it’s a bit risky to make your own kombucha unless you really know what you are doing; our family likes GT’s Synergy brand (Find it on Amazon) instead of home brews. We also love Kevita (Find it on Amazon) brand sparkling probiotic beverages. Read more about the benefits of Kombucha HERE.
- Nama shoyu is an unpasteurized soy sauce made from cultivated soybeans and wheat; it is aged for months or even years. Nama shoyu is free of preservatives and full of enzymes and probiotics. Look for it in the natural foods store. Note: If you have problems with wheat or gluten avoid Nama Shoyu.
- Tempeh is another vegan food rich in probiotics. Originating from Indonesia, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It has a nutty, slightly mushroomy taste and makes a good substitute for meat. It is particularly tasty when crumbled and used as a ground beef substitute to add into chili or as a meaty filler for stuffed peppers. You can also slice tempeh super thin, marinate it and then sear stovetop and eat it as a meat substitute. (Note: If you have the Clean Cuisine book be sure to try the recipe for “Mexican-Style Seared Tempeh with Salsa Verde.)
- Fermented vegetables such as raw sauerkraut or kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics. Please note, raw sauerkraut is not the stuff squatting unrefrigerated in the can on the supermarket shelf; you’ll find raw sauerkraut (and kimchi) only in the refrigerated section of your natural foods or health foods store. Fermented vegetables such as raw sauerkraut and kimchi are delicious Clean Cuisine condiments when eaten alone or paired with savory dishes. And you would be amazed at how many different ways you can work kimchi into your diet! For inspiration and delicious recipe ideas check out Lauren Chun’s The Kimchi Cookbook
It is also a great idea to supplement with probiotics for digestive health. Learn more by clicking here to discover the benefits of our Clean Cuisine Probiotics Blend.