Just seven years ago, I have never heard the word “probiotic”. In fact, if someone would mention the word probiotic, my mind would immediately autocorrect to “antibiotic”.
So how did I get to this position where I can stand before and audience of millions and lecture them about probiotics? It is a long story that borders on surrender to ill-health, obsession, naivety, and never-ending hope. And I will tell you all about it….
By the time I was recommending probiotics for my 85-year old grandmother suffering from paranoia and schizophrenic episodes….
By the time I was urging my sister to try some probiotics for her kids with chronically poor appetite….
By the time I was volunteering to buy my mom her first dose of probiotics to see whether it will help her with persistent feeling of fatigue…
By the time I saw just a single dose of probiotics calm one of my twin daughters down like some form of a magic pill…. It kind of dawned on me that I, being of sound mind and out of my own volition, without coercion or intimidation, had become a Probiotic Jockey.
Well, You do not know me that much but you should know that I am not that “irrational”, just a little bit wayward …like I am pro-vaccination but I do not have the urge to burn anti-vaxxers at stake… I get my food from ordinary stores but I would not mind venturing into those hyped organic stores
You see, I am just a chill dude who happens to think that when my grandmother starts to claim that she is seeing people surrounding her house with crude weapons…that is an issue that can be solved with probiotics.
Could I be lying to you…. and I am kind of a low-key nut job?
Granted, my first encounter with the word “probiotic” was in the year 2016….
If you are still willing to give me the benefit of doubt at this point, I would like to give you a blow by blow account of how I became a Probiotic Jockey
How It All Started
The year is 2014 and I am in my best years of my youth…free and with some little monies to misuse without any discernable responsibilities. Obama is also President, there is no Corona to prevent us from breathing all over each other’s faces, and to my best belief, I am as healthy as a clam.
One day in 2015, I am working from home and my stomach issues have flared again. I drink a lot of water and hope for my situation to improve. I am also feeling quite tired so I go to sleep early.
I wake up the next day, and I am feeling so dizzy. In fact, I believe I will pass out in a few minutes. I am living alone so I make a split-second decision to leave the door wide open. In fact, I have to crawl to the door because every time I stand, the room starts spinning, and I feel like I will hit the ground. I think opening the door increases the breeze into the house and I do not pass out although the dizziness persists. I also get a chance to call someone for help.
Here is the thing, in 2015, the last time I had been to a hospital floor was in 2004. So this whole development is very scary and disorienting for me. As far as I was concerned, I could have been living the last minutes of my life because. Before becoming a Probiotic Jockey, I never found myself in Google searching for medical solutions for anything…worse still, I did not even have any viable medical history to go by at this point.
At the hospital, the doctor ordered some few tests and apparently arrived to the conclusion that I had some form of stomach bug that had “deteriorated”. That was all I needed to hear and I was alive and well again. They give me some medicines and I went home to recuperate.
As it turns out, that was just the start of my troubles with “stomach issues”. A week or so after, I was back to the same hospital and was given another dose of stronger antibiotics. This keeps happening and by the end of 2015, I would get the most terrifying night sweats. I must have taken about four or five different courses of antibiotics in the span of about one year. And were it not for me following my instincts, I would have continued to fight all those imaginary infections.
In 2016, I had also developed the most terrifying skin condition. I was later to learn that it was psoriasis that had colonized my body from top to bottom. I could not seem to catch a break. I was always tired, my stomach was perpetually bloated, my appetite was nowhere to be seen, and I had the strongest sugar cravings.
I also had some other weird things happening to my previously serene life… My temper became an issue and I could go off at a store clerk at the slightest provocation. I was angry and depressed for nothing…foggy feeling in my brain…could not think straight…could not concentrate…
In the course of my work, I started to gain a reputation as some kind of an angry unpredictable character. I was also always tired. I went to bed tired and woke up tired. I went from needing 7 hours of sleep just a few years earlier, to needing more than 10 hours and still waking up tired.
Now you get it why in 2016, when everyone is worried about Brexit and Trump, future Probiotic Dan is mostly worried about losing grip on his health. Like I said, I have not had any health issues in most of my adult life up to this point…. On the flipside, the Google machine was not holding back with its terrifying possibilities even after I had asked it the most innocent of questions such as “Why am I always tired?”.
My research skills are quite top-notch, but it took me some time before I finally discovered that the right name for my skin condition was “psoriasis” and not “eczema”.
So is this the moment I became a Probiotic Monkey? … No, not in 2016 …but 2016 is the first time I came across the term “Probiotic”.
At my lowest moment in 2016, having lost faith in finding a medical solution for my condition, the Google machine finally introduced me to terms I have never heard of such as “candida”, “leaky gut”, “candida overgrowth” and yes “probiotics”.
This was when my journey to becoming a probiotic Monkey began in earnest…
Reggae Music Icon, Culture, once sang:
“A big question posed to me daily on the street
Many want to know the reason why
I am a Rasta man”
To which he answers “It’s because of the Babylon and the situation”
A big question posed to me daily on the internet streets; Why am I Probiotic Dan? …Well it is because of the nature of the human body and the health situations
I cannot give it all to you in one post, but I can give you seven highlights in my journey to becoming a Probiotic Monkey.
Through the assistance of Dr. Google, I finally get round to having a basic understanding of what I have been going through. It turns out that after years of having the sweetest tooth…them cakes, them soft drinks (how much sugar is in my drink?), them juices, and about a million and a half chocolate bars…and surprisingly, even them sweet sweet fruits, have all contributed to a thriving colony of “bad” bacteria in my stomach, and have also driven the “good bacteria” out of dodge.
Now, to make matters worse, all those antibiotics that they had prescribed to me in 2015 put the last nail on the coffin for any of the good bacteria that might have survived my sugar-rich diet. As far as the levels of good bacteria in my body were concerned, in 2016 I was running on near empty. Naturally, at this point, I only had one mission between me and happiness, repopulate my gut with good bacteria and continue to have a jolly ol’ time.
Still Early 2016:
I try to see what the “real doctors” thought about this candida and leaky gut business. Shock on me. Just so you know, 2016 internet is a lot different from the one that brought you here now in 2022. The doctors at the time, could hear nothing about most of these things. The best you could get from doctors as a solution to Candida overgrowth was a prescription for antifungal medication…. and I did take a few doses of antifungal medication….no help there. To cut the long story short, most of what I had just learned about probiotics was considered “experimental” science at the time. In fact the general consensus at the time was that there was nothing like leaky gut in the first place…just a buzz word for heath nuts. FYI the controversy persists and you can also get into it through this article here – Is Leaky Gut a Real Condition? Basically, it was out of the scope of conventional medicine… That could have made me turn back, but that is not how I roll.
Sometimes Later in 2016: After months of research and attempts to cut sugar off from my diet, (almost everyone agrees sugar and fungal conditions are like fire and gasoline…no controversy there), I was ready and willing to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Some two solutions were offered, buy probiotics from a store or eat probiotic-rich foods. Well, I chose to go with the store-bought things because I was really in a bad situation, and I would not wait to try this miracle.
So in 2016, I bought my first pack of shelf-stable probiotics…30 tablets in total. I had high expectations, most of which were not met, but this dosage allowed me to achieve consistent stool after years of all manners of inconsistency. Those 30 first tablets also solved my chronic bloating for good. Remember, I had diagnosed myself with candida overgrowth. Some of the other symptoms have persisted to date, but the stool and bloating issues were quickly solved by probiotics.
In early 2018:
I have been struggling with having the right diet for two years now. At first I was able to remove sugar from my diet, but I thought fruits were okay…you know has a fruit ever harmed anyone? Big mistake. As long as there is sugar in that beloved fruit, my psoriasis would flair like crazy, tired all the time, unable to concentrate, and all manner of problems. Check out the fruits that are leading in sugar in this WebMD article
It took me almost eight months to realize that a ripe banana was a wrench in the works. I only took that one dose of probiotics in 2016, and after feeling a bit better I thought I would solve the remaining issues with diet. In 2018, I resolved to buy another batch from a different brand. I do not think this batch did anything for me even, although it was a cheaper and more “recognizable” brand. I never even finished it. So what did I do, I learnt how to make homemade yoghurt with “live cultures”. Later on, I also learnt how to make sauerkraut, although the lazy me has not made it in over two years…But I will go back
I listen to my cousin complaining about how much different medications he has received without a solution to his stomach issues. I ask if the medications he is talking about are antibiotics. He says they are. I share my experience with him, and tell him what worked for me. I recommend to him that first probiotic brand I took in 2016. It is one of the more pricier ones at almost $40 a pack. But he is desperate, so he agrees to give it a try.
I never find out the results until much later, when we meet again. He tells me that his acid reflux and bloating issues cleared almost immediately after he took the probiotics. Just like in my case, some other symptoms have lingered, but the main ones were gone. FYI, I have turned on a few other people to probiotics and their feedback is almost always the same; “it helped a bit, but not all the way”. Which leaves me with more questions than answers
It is just before the COVID-19 thing happened. I have mastered the art of the diet, I am relatively healthy, even my immunity has improved tremendously. To the extent that I feel confident about my abilities to withstand this new flu.
By this time, I am also a strong believer in probiotics’ ability to solve most big problems, including acid reflux, bloating, and a variety of digestive disorders that mainly result from lack of balance in gut bacteria. However, I rarely buy probiotics, and I mostly rely on probiotic-rich foods and having a strict diet (that tends to freak out my family and friends).
Later in 2020:
One of my twin daughters has to be administered some antibiotics after birth, and then after a few infections. Now my already-forming probiotic religion has already told me to expect trouble ahead. And right on time, she is the twin with the most fuss, worse immunity, and appetite problems.
After some months of these persisting issues, I buy baby probiotics for the first time. Some few drops every morning. The first dose, then the second dose. Now it is like I have a new child…always lively, can even go for days without raising hell (trust me, it used to be more than ten unprovoked wailings a day… guaranteed), and she is now even the better feeder of the two munchkins.
The transformation of that little thing was the last straw. I realized there is something like a Probiotic Lifestyle. It needs to be heard not only in our family get-togethers, but the show needs to hit the road.
Anyway, that is the story of how I became the Fresh Prince of Bel Air…sorry, Probiotic Dan from a plain old Daniel.
Now, I want to fully commit to probiotics in the course of My Probiotic Lifestyle. I intend to take them for six months straight every day without fail, and I will give you a blow by blow account of how that turns out. If the initial results are good, I will extend my probiotic commitment to Two Years!
As I write to you, I have turned on about five other of my family members to probiotics, and the number keep on rising. I hope that I will get to bring you a case by case report of what happened after each individual took the probiotics. Like I told you earlier, I still have lingering health issues and this blog is my final push towards achieving perfect health…and probiotics are as a good place to start as any other.
My Probiotic philosophy is simple: Life comes from life. Therefore “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
This here is my Probiotic Lifestyle!