Lassi (Not Lassie) to the Rescue: The Delicious Probiotic
Okay, so I know that Lassie is some famous collie dog that the humans get all soft and mushy about as soon as they hear the name. Well I can tell you that we Aussies get pretty soft-eyed and wiggly when we hear the same magic word: lassi. Well, it sounds the same. And it’s almost as delicious as a dehydrated liver treat.
Lassi is a traditional fermented drink of the Punjab region of India, made from yogurt and water, sometimes with salt or spices added. It dates back thousands of years, and is a well-known Ayurvedic beverage for GI tract health, which makes it an excellent probiotic treat for us canines.
The brand of Lassi that we get has not been homogenized. This is important because the purpose of homogenization is to break down fat molecules in milk so they resist separation…no cream rising to the top, so to speak. Because it is not homogenized, my human has to shake the bottle really well. Sometimes she does this while singing: “Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake Your Booty.” Its kind of fun to watch your human gyrating at the sink singing a silly song. Of course, what we Aussies want to know is: what’s a booty?
According to our human, lassi is a balancing probiotic for all three of Ayurvedic medicine’s body types: vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (water and earth). Due to its heavy nature, it pacifies the air of vata; because of its cooling properties, it balances the fire of pitta; and, because no sugar is added, it is balancing to the water and earth of kapha.
Lassi can be mixed into a meal, but we love it so much that we’re always happy to just lick from a big spoon! Whatever drops on the floor, Crockett vacuums up. He is pretty convenient to have around for floor cleaning.
Differences between kefir and lassi
We also get kefir as an alternative probiotic. Lassi contains several strains of bacteria, while Kefir contains more—up to 36 different microorganisms. Also, the fermentation process differs between these two probiotics. Lassi is fermented with bacteria only, while kefir is fermented with bacteria and yeast.
Because kefir contains yeast cultures, it can be heating to the GI tract. If one of us has diarrhea, we won’t get kefir, we will get lassi. Sometimes our human mixes lassi with organic pumpkin meal if our stools are too loose. The pumpkin gives us more fiber, and the lassi is cooling to the GI tract. Likewise, when Buckaroo’s GI tract slows down and his stool is a little hard, he gets kefir to add more heat to the digestive system.
Our human believes in rotating probiotics; some days it’s good to get kefir, some days it’s good to get lassi. We also get BioStar’s Terra Biota K9 once or twice a week because it contains microorganisms specific to the canine GI tract. She just sprinkles it in our food, and those microorganisms go straight to where they’re needed most.