Why I Launched a Prebiotic Drink – Gist

Why I Launched a Prebiotic Drink

I’ve always heard you shouldn’t drink your calories. Cut the juices. Cut the protein drinks. Obviously, cut the soda. I have lived by that mantra for years, and for the most part still do. Which is why it’s a little curious that after ten years in a food/ag-tech company, I am launching a prebiotic drink. Let me explain.

When I was pregnant, here in the wild woods of western Wisconsin, my midwives kept recommending herbs. Herbs to boost my blood. Herbs to soothe my belly. Herbs to soak in. I found myself with an array of Ball jars, steeping nettles, elderberry, oat straw, and hibiscus by the tablespoon. I found myself sipping my herbs more days than not, and feeling measurably more centered and focused as a result (even with maternity brain).

And then the transformation really happened: I started adding prebiotic fiber to my herbal infusions. In the haze of caring for a newborn and a toddler, not to mention my first company, my farm, and the rest of my family, I hadn’t noticed how poor my digestion had gotten. I was not digesting effectively and that was causing a host of other challenges from mood to fatigue and back again. But why?

Digestion: how we process our food. Digestion: how we process our emotions and experiences. Digestion: how we remove and compost what we no longer need (take that literally and figuratively — I certainly do).

Each of us needs somewhere between 25 and 35 mg of fiber every day. Yet most of us get significantly less than that. I make whole grains regularly, from barley and rye to millet and fonio, and incorporate kale into almost every dinner I make so it’s not like I was skimping on vegetables and grains. But fiber is tricky! Most of us need more than we realize to feel balanced. Prebiotic plant-based fiber is soluble fiber that supports the body’s process of keeping the good — feeding it, in fact — and ushering out the bad. Tell me, who doesn’t need that?

Here comes the part where life takes off, my kids are growing up, the pandemic happens, time means nothing anymore, and I still need to keep myself and my family healthy. I keep wanting to reach for something that simply and elegantly solves my prebiotic fiber needs and my herbal rituals that were boosting vitamins and minerals in a most delightful way. I am looking for zero sugar (the “don’t drink your calories” part), which means no kombucha.

But I also wanted zero artificial anything. Stevia, erythritol, and their ilk show up far too often even in clean label food and drink because the food industry has conditioned us to think we need sweetness, and it turns out even those low- or no-calorie sweeteners mess with digestion. As a backseat farmer and wannabe homesteader, I can assure you that the innate goodness of plants, if prepared correctly, is more than enough to taste good.

Enter Gist. Gist is a sparkling prebiotic, made from brewed herbs and prebiotic fiber from sunflower roots. We don’t add any sweeteners, and instead let the goodness of the ingredients shine through. Gist contains 4g of prebiotic fiber, so it’s just enough to have a meaningful impact but not so much that it causes digestive discomfort. We have chosen herbal blends that promote digestive health, and you can find Chamomile with Rosemary and Ginger with Rooibos on our site now.

Why do you need fiber in a drink, you ask? And I’ll invariably answer, don’t you? Or, oh. Are you having a bowl of barley and beans for dinner?

Didn’t think so.

This post originally published on Medium in June 2021.