Last week, I shared my initial reactions to the non-dairy diet experience I’ve undertaken with my co-editor, Samantha. It’s been another dairy-free week,

and I’m still feeling fabulous—my body, skin, and hair all seem to be in sync. And, I must confess: I don’t miss cheese as much as I thought I would.

Because I was used to eating a lot of yogurts (Greek-style, usually with granola or fresh fruit), I never thought twice about introducing additional probiotics into my system. The term “probiotic” is somewhat of a buzzword these days, and the foods that contain them are becoming increasingly popular. Probiotics—live microorganisms found in cultured foods and beverages—are primarily beneficial to the intestinal tract. They help regulate the digestive system; this includes relief from bloating, gas, constipa­tion, abdominal pain, bowel irritation, and heart­burn. These healthy bacteria also work to boost the immune system.

Besides yogurt, other common foods that contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and fermented milk. After one week of remaining dairy-free, both Sam and I decided to begin taking a probiotic supplement to ensure we don’t miss out on the benefits these friendly bacteria undoubtedly offer the body.

A word of warning: For those who have a healthy, properly functioning digestive system, taking a probiotic supplement may be slightly uncomfortable for the first few days. These side effects include gas, bloating, and even abdominal tenderness and/or pain, as well as the need to use the bathroom more often. Yes, I’m speaking from experience—but I stuck with the supplement, and my body got used to it mid-week. All the uncomfortable side effects I initially experienced subsided, and now I can say with confidence that my gut is healthy and happy.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for a formula that contains both lactobacillus and bifidobacterium bacteria. I chose the Supernatant Synbiotic Formula from BioImmersion. I just discovered this company, and, I have to say, these guys truly care about what goes into their supplements and how they are crafted. BioImmersion makes what they call “Therapeutic Food Supplements,” tapping into the idea that as our world becomes more toxic, our bodies require a variety of better nutrition. It’s not always easy to get a variety of nutrients into our diet, even if we generally eat healthy, so the folks at BioImmersion hope to make the nutrients our body is lacking more available to people who want—and need—them. Two of their most notable methods for ecological farming include wild harvesting and rich organic soil, which means it’s possible for them to create supplements that are super potent and nutrient-dense. I’ve been taking Supernatant for a week, and so far so good!

I’m going to stay dairy-free and stick with my probiotic supplement for one more week—but then, next up on the Dairy Detox to-do list is to *drum roll please!* begin introducing dairy products back into my diet one-by-one, keeping a food log of any sensitivity symptoms.

Stay tuned!

Erica Tasto is an editor for Natural Solutions and Alternative Medicine and the author of "The Natural Suite" blog. Follow her on Twitter @editorerica.

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