July 24, 2013 12 Comments
One of the frustrating things in dealing with most chronic illnesses is related to the gut ecosystem. TV ads are now extolling the issues of a bad gut ecosystem so the message about gut flora (the protective bacteria of the intestinal track) is getting much more widely accepted. The challenges I have experienced with many patients, however, makes this far more complex than merely popping a few probiotic capsules.
In previous blogs I have written about fecal transplantation or fecal bacteriotherapy (FBT). Recently the FDA warned doctors to not attempt this without FDA approval making it all but impossible these days. It has been a successful means of changing out a bad ecosystem in the got for a better one and in cases of life-threatening infectious diarrhea it has been published in the medical literature to be life-saving.
But given the impracticality and regulatory barriers, FBT is not a viable option. So what can we do? My choice is now Bravo and you can find it on the web at www.bravoprobiotic.com. Bravo is a complex multistrain bacterial fermentation process; it is not merely a probiotic and technically it is a fermented dairy product you make in your kitchen by using their system and culture blends. And if you have been around natural health very long you know most dairy is an issue for children with autism and many other health issues. However, tests on Bravo at a major university indicate it does not contain casein and other milk proteins after the bacteria digest the milk in the process of fermentation. In my population of sensitive children it has been very well tolerated.
After answering hundreds of emails about Bravo I decided it may be easier to just post this information with detailed pictures of how I make it for myself.
You will need a yogurt maker and I chose this one which I ordered from the internet for about $40 US. I also ordered extra jars because the standard volumes of yogurt suggested in the instructions yields more than the 7 jars will hold.
Extra jars for the yogurt maker I purchased. You can get any yogurt maker you like – although Bravo suggests you use one with an automatic shut off.
I suggest you read the instructions all the way through at least once prior to starting the process and make sure you have all the suggested materials you need. For me it meant a trip to Target to get a thermometer and a medium metal strainer and a other items like glass jars and special sized cooking pot for boiling the milk. The instructions give you a list of all the material you will need. The instructions talk about a smidgen as a unit of measure. Technically that is 1/32 of a teaspoon and before you get worried the Bravo starter kit includes a smidgen measuring spoon which you can see on the plate next the to ladle spoon.
The US still uses the Imperial measuring system so for many of you the metric units in the instructions require conversion. So her are a few tips: 1 liter = approximately 4.23 cups. The instructions ask you to boil 2.5 litters of milk so that is 10.5 cups (actually a bit more so like 10.6) and there are 16 cups to a gallon so that is more than a 1/2 gallon of milk. I recommend you use a non-homogenized milk but Bravo instructions don’t mind but they want the full fat milk (whole). I also suggest you use organic milk. You can use cow or goat or sheep but you cannot use non-mammal milk – meaning almond, rice, soy are all NO-NOs. You do not need to spend the extra money to buy non-pasteurized since you will boil the milk anyway. They suggest you NOT use the ultra-pasteurized milk now common in stores to increase shelf-life.
As you can see there is a bottle of Colostrum in the picture above. Kirkman sells a high quality colostrum (milk derived) but again no worries. The dose of colostrum is a little tricky. The initial suggestion is for 8oz (1 cup) of colostrum (not in the instructions) but that makes the yogurt a little runny. You need to work on this as time goes on but consistency is not that critical to culture results and health benefits. Temperature conversion are in the instructions.
Preheating the yogurt maker and cups without their lids for 2 hours is critical.
In the front is what Bravo calls compound 1 and behind that is compound 2.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, JARS, SPOONS ETC AND KEEP THEM CLEAN AND DRY THROUGHOUT TO PREVENT CONTAMINATION.
I find the taste good without any special flavoring required but then I like real yogurt which is not the sugary stuff we get in the US. You can add honey to it but not until you are ready to serve. If your child or you are unaccustomed to real fermented food I suggest you go slow and start with small amounts like a teaspoon and work your way up to large doses. I suggest adults and teens can have 4 oz a day and medium children 2 oz and little children 1 oz (2 tablespoons are 1 ounce).
Bravo is very responsive to emails so if you have any other questions please contact them about specifics. I hope this is helpful to you all.