Ever since I went vegan for a month in September 2009, I’ve really cut back on dairy. I drink non-dairy milk (either soy milk or almond milk, unsweetened). I cut out cheese entirely for a while, but I have been eating more of it lately, just in smaller portions. I have also stopped eating yogurt.
Once upon a time, I ate (plain, non-fat) yogurt every day for breakfast with frozen blueberries. It was a great way to get healthy bacteria into my diet. These days, even the high quality yogurt is no good for my body: it gives me a sore throat every time I eat it. That’s really unfortunate, because I happen to enjoy yogurt very much. I haven’t tried non-dairy yogurts, so I may test one of those out, but dairy yogurts full of healthy probiotics are out of my diet.
Consequently, I take a few probiotic capsules each week. I don’t like the idea of eating the capsule itself because it has weird ingredients in it, so instead I open up the capsules and pour the powder into my green shakes. I’m sure it could easily be poured into any drink or sprinkled on top of cereal, too (I expect that adding it to hot oatmeal would destroy the live active cultures, however).
Digestion has also become a bit of a problem for me: I believe that it is due to eliminating whole food groups and ways of eating during my month-long veganism and my month-long raw food diet that I now have to be more careful about what I eat. My tummy is more sensitive these days than it ever used to be – or perhaps I am simply listening to my body more. Either way, I keep a bottle of digestive enzymes in my cupboard in case my stomach isn’t happy with what I put in it.
Enter Align Digestive Care Probiotic Supplement. I was offered a four-month supply of these capsules (one to be taken each day) by Procter & Gamble*. I have only been taking a couple week’s worth, but I like them already!
The capsules themselves come in packaging labelled with the days of week so that it is that much easier to remember if you have taken your probiotic that day or not. I love the organization of it!** The package also comes with a cute little Tracker & Guide to monitor your progress of how you feel and to make a note of what triggers may have impacted how you felt. It is a very clever idea.
Because I am already used to taking a probiotic supplement fairly regularly, I didn’t notice any major differences in my body. But I see this as a good thing: Align must be of similar quality to my regular probiotics (Natural Factors, which is another great brand) if there appears to be no real affect on my body by changing brands. The one thing that I did not approve of with the Align capsules is that there are some extra ingredients, such as blue #1 (unnecessary and very unhealthy). I am uncertain as to whether this ingredient is in the powder within the capsule, or if it is instead in the capsule shell. It would be nice if that was made more explicit on the packaging – and it would be even better if more natural ingredients could be used in place of those kinds of artificial ingredients.
Even so, I think that Align is a wonderful way for everyone to get their probiotics into their diet and to help with digestion if you have any digestion problems. If you are like me and cannot comfortably eat yogurt, taking a probiotic supplement might be the best way to go. I strongly promote consuming whole foods in their natural state, but sometimes we need a supplement to give us the extra boost if we have intolerances or sensitivities to certain foods. In that situation, a combination probiotic/digestive enzyme is an excellent choice.
*I received this product for free and did not receive any compensation for writing the review; the opinions expressed in this blog post are entirely my own.
**Admittedly, the individual packaging is not very eco-friendly.