I’m a big believer in food as fuel. I pay attention to macros, and I do supplement when I know that I am—or I’m going to be—short on particular nutrients that my body needs. What I take in does not always look appetizing (my infamous “green sludge” smoothie), and it’s not always something that others would like to share. (It’s called green sludge for a reason.)
During the holidays, however, I recognize that our meals feed more than our bodies. It’s a time for nourishing relationships, and we prepare and serve foods with the intention of pleasing everybody. And literally, every body: Our Thanksgiving table often divides between the carnivores and the plant-based eaters. It got me thinking about the food choices we make and how food makes us feel physically, and more.
Gut health (specifically the population of healthy microbes that help with digestion) and the brain-gut connection have generated a lot of attention in recent years. Some experts espouse the elimination of grain from our diets, others promote consumption of more healthy fats and still others promote entirely plant-based diets.
But I know how I feel when I skip the green stuff and how I feel when I eat a grass-fed steak—and it’s not the same way my wife or my kids feel when they eat the same foods that I do. As I prepared to try out fermented foods for November’s “Try This!” challenge, I came across intriguing research pointing to the possibility that probiotic supplements might have unintended consequences, from growing too much of a good thing to having no effect at all.