Chef Hans Rueffert’s stage 3 gastric cancer led to him losing his entire stomach, and changing the way he eats forever, an irony not lost on him considering his career. Since Hans has no stomach, his food is literally ‘fast tracked‘ through his system and thus knows first hand what makes him feel good or bad. Which is why he adds probiotics to his diet.

“I had a partial gastrectomy, and then a full gastrectomy. All surgeries, even non-major gastric surgeries, affect gut flora, so you must rebuild those gut bacteria to get the benefits of your food.

“Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, and you can also find cultured sour cream and cream cheese. It will always say on the package ‘contains live and active cultures’ and it will be refrigerated. I have three children, and in the eleven year gap between the first one and the last one, baby food changed, with some including probiotics. There is a difference in the diaper when you add a probiotic food to the diet early on, not only in the output but also in their overall health.

So many things now say ‘contains yogurt, contains Greek yogurt’ and they are shelf stable products. While they are not lying, the Greek yogurt was added before it was processed and then it was brought to a temperature to make it shelf stable, killing off the good bacteria. People must understand once you raise foods above certain temperature, you are killing off those bacteria, and they are what you are looking for.

yogurt probiotic - cook for your life

TIP: Work your way into fermented foods as they can be difficult on your system if you are not used to eating them. When you first started eating processed foods, you probably had problems with tolerance, with gut distress and skin issues which you have forgotten about. Once you eat those foods for a long time, they populate your body with bacteria which know how to break those foods down, and these bacteria can also influence your cravings. When I crave my annual fish meal from a fish and chip place, which I know will make me ill, I’m like an addict. It happens once per year, and it’s not me having this weakness, but these bacteria which are wanting the bad food. They release chemicals that trigger the receptors to the brain saying this is what we are craving.

One thing I’ve learned from other cultures, such as the Persian culture, is that even if they eat overcooked food, they always eat a live fresh component with every meal. When you ask why they are doing this, they say it’s to aid digestion. For example they will have fermented cheese with meals. They’re not thinking about the bacteria but they are having it, as they have the probiotic connection. Indian food is similar. You don’t have to eat one hundred percent raw food, just make sure you’re having some of that good bacteria whenever you can. With a name like Hans, my favorite probiotic food has to be sauerkraut! You can buy dead sauerkraut in a can, but this is not full of the benefits that fresh, refrigerated sauerkraut has. The same goes for Kimchi. If you’re not already incorporating probiotics into your diet, give them a try.”

Read more about our interview with Hans Rueffert here.



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