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4 Unusual Probiotics You Need To Try

4 Unusual Probiotics You Need To Try

Probiotic rich foods are very popular among health food buffs, but have you added them to your diet?

Most adults experience a decline in these beneficial bacteria as they age, and everything from obesity to diet and use of antibiotics can also cause these bacteria to die off. That’s why it’s important to supplement our diets with probiotic rich foods – they aid in digestion, can provide a boost to the immune system, and even help with weight management.

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So where can you find probiotics? Though some prefer to get their probiotics in pill form, many focus on foods like yogurt when looking to supplement their diet – but yogurt can get boring pretty fast. Luckily, there are dozens of other foods rich in these healthy bacteria, most of which are much more flavorful than those endless cups of yogurt. Instead, consider these four unusual sources of probiotics. You’ll be thankful for the added variety and punch of flavor in these high impact foods.

1. Poi’s Powerful Properties

You’re unlikely to encounter poi anywhere outside the Hawaiian Islands, in part because there aren’t reliable ways to mass produce the food, but in Hawaii you’ll find poi available everywhere. Made from the cooked taro plant, poi varies in consistency between liquid and a thick, doughy paste, and is usually eaten with the fingers. But what really makes poi so great is that it has more probiotic bacteria than the much-touted yogurt.

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If you want to get a taste of poi, you’ll likely have to make it yourself, but luckily, taro itself is widely available in supermarkets. From there, though, you’ll have to master the cooking and fermenting process. In terms of your health, it will be well worth the effort.

2. Say “Kimchi”

Did you know that in Korea, many say “kimchi” instead of  “cheese” when taking a photo? While linguistic differences may be at play, the primary reason seems to have more to do with the venerated place of kimchi in the Korean diet.

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So what is kimchi? Kimchi is a kind of fermented cabbage product that tastes something like a spicy pickle due to the inclusion of vinegar, chili peppers, and other spices in the fermenting liquid. Not only is it a great source of the probiotic lactobacilli, but kimchi can also reduce your cholesterol levels and reduce the likelihood of stomach cancer. It really is a powerhouse of a food, and a delicious side dish at that. And if you want to add a twist, a few breweries are also experimenting with kimchi beer.

3. A Taste Of Fermented Bean Curd

Tofu took the health food world by storm many years ago, but few people outside of Asia pay attention to the incredible flavor and healthy qualities of fermented bean curd. Known alternatively as su fu or dou fu ru, the process starts by adding bacteria and mold to the tofu and then adding it to a mix of tofu, soy paste, rice wine, salt, and spices.

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It only takes a little bit of fermented bean curd to benefit from its probiotic qualities, which is why most eat it as a seasoning component in other dishes in place of salt, or as an added taste in simple porridges. This spicy, creamy version of tofu is a treat, but perhaps an acquired taste.

4. Cool Cultured Kefir

Although kefir is also dairy-based like yogurt, it’s a much more complex food, and has a more liquid-like consistency. Though it uses a similar process to yogurt, combining milk with bacterial yeast, kefir also contains something known as kefir grains that blend sugar, proteins, and fats with the bacteria. Adding a glass of kefir to your diet is a great way to get the nutritional punch of yogurt with an added tang.

Next time you’re looking for a nutritional pick-me-up with digestive benefits, consider grabbing a jar of kimchi or tossing some fermented bean curd into your next batch of quinoa. Spicy, sour, and full of probiotic bacteria, you’ll have a taste sensation on your hands and a nutrient-packed meal in your stomach.

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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