#JAKWellness12 Week 4: Hydration + Probiotics

Happy Monday friends! Craig and I are en route to New Hampshire, a little work and a little play, but definitely some time to unwind, recharge and disconnect (is that actually possible, we shall see). I can’t wait to hear how all of you made out in last week’s challenge. Honestly I had fun trying some new recipes, the roast chicken I made from The Beauty Chef was probably my favorite because it was SO good and really easy. I made a modified version of the smoothie bowl recipe as well and it was delicious. I made a few over the weekend too so I will share some recipes soon. I also took a spin class on Sunday and loved it. If you’re new to the wellness challenge, get the lowdown here. Don’t forget to comment with your progress from the previous week to be entered into my monthly and massive end of year giveaway. I’m really impressed with all of your commitment to this, it’s keeping me motivated!
Jess Ann Kirby looks for healthy new recipes to try this week as part of her 2018 wellness challenge

This Week’s Challenge: Hydration + Probiotics

Image via (tee, jeans, mug, cookbook, bracelet)

One of my goals for 2018 is to drink more water. I know, sigh. This has been a goal every year since I started making goals. And I always fail. I am the WORST about staying hydrated. The thing is staying hydrated and drinking enough water can have incredible health benefits. It can help with everything from energy levels and brain function to preventing headaches and improving your skin. The typical recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses per day. You can also get fluids from beverages like juice (and yes even coffee) as well as fruits and veggies, but alcohol and sodas will have the opposite effect. Be careful with juices as they can contain a lot of sugar. In addition to drinking more water I’ve recently started taking probiotics (please note I am not a physician and you should consult your doctor if you’re unsure about taking probiotics). Probiotics can be good for your digestive system, immune system, gut health and skin. I’ve been struggling with hormonal acne (more on that soon) and both of these things, hydration and probiotics can help with that. So this week’s challenge is to stay hydrated and incorporate probiotics.


-Reusable water bottles. Having water with you at all times will almost certainly force you to drink of it. When I’m home I fill up a large bottle, I have this glass bkr bottle and a few S’well bottles. I make sure to bring one if I leave the house, particularly if I’m going to work out. I like the 32 oz bkr because if I drink one full bottle that’s already half of my daily requirement.

– Eat more fruits and veggies. Foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, spinach, strawberries, watermelon and grapefruit have a high water content.

– Drink Kombucha – Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. I’ve tried MANY and honestly haven’t really liked any (a lot of them taste like fake sugar to me). I recently discovered Aqua ViTea and I’m addicted. They have a ton of really great flavors and it’s pretty easy to find (they have a product locator on their homepage).

– Probiotic supplements. I recently started taking The Beauty Chef Glow Powder and Collagen Inner Beauty Boost. It’s too soon to report back on it but I like the taste which is half the battle.

-I also add Vital Proteins collagen powder to a glass of water once a day (the lavender lemon).

-Foods with probiotics. There are some great ways to get probiotics from foods incuding, apple cider vinegar (add it to a dressing, recipe or water with lemon), tempeh, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut.

Image via.

Jess Ann Kirby recommends Beauty Chef inner glow beauty powder as a great supplement to your diet

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  1. mackey wrote:

    I’m excited about this one! I have been trying to drink more water, I usually end up chugging water at the end of the day. When I realize that I have only had 1 coffee.

    I tried a couple new recipes my favorite is an easy salad, which is my go to when I want something easy to make, but want to feel full and fresh.
    Avocado, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro. So easy and fresh.

    I also made my first batch of granola this week!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  2. Sara V wrote:

    I struggled with the new recipe challenge as I still eat like I am 14- example: excessive amounts of mac and cheese. We also eat out almost once a day. Normally, we don’t go out for breakfast and did last week. I ordered an amazing omelet with chorizo. Last night, we ate instapot chicken with broccoli, rice, cheese, bacon that was delicious.

    Thank you for these challenges, even if I don’t perform perfectly!!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  3. Christina wrote:

    The new recipe challenge was a fun on! This week we made: a new chili recipe, Smitten Kitchen’s rye English muffins (obviously not the healthiest, but we’re also doing 30 days without processed or added sugar, so gotta get creative) and a cauliflower soup from Bon Appetit! I really want to make your vegan breakfast cookies this week.

    I did a yoga fusion class, a lot of walking, the elliptical and a stretch class (which was amazing). I’m really struggling with motivation to get moving again after being sick the first week of the month, so that is my focus this week!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  4. Melissa wrote:

    Love this! Probiotics are so important! I also really struggled to find a Kombucha that I liked but have been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar every morning in a glass of water when I wake up for a few years now. I’ve really noticed a change in my digestion. It’s also important to remember that ACV can affect tooth enamel so always dilute it, never just drink it straight.

    I’ve tried a few recipes in the form of Blue Apron, an easy/risk free way to get started haha! I’ve really been enjoying getting into the kitchen and understanding exactly what I’m eating! This is certainly inspiring me to search around online for other things I can make too!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  5. Sam wrote:

    My boyfriend definitely struggled with the new recipe challenge (he may have ordered a BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza) when I made a healthy spaghetti squash dish with lots of veggies. But me and my little one stuck with it!

    I love how hydration is your next challenge, just last night I was washing lemons so I could make some hot water with lemon and honey to bring to work! I always have my Rtic Tumbler everywhere I go, it keeps my iced drinks cold for hours and my hot drinks warm all day!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  6. Kristene wrote:

    Drinking at least 64 oz. of water is one of my resolutions, so I’m excited about this! I track my water intake on My Fitness Pal, and I feel like I’m checking things off my to-do list each time I add a glass.

    I didn’t make a new recipe from a cookbook last week, but I did experiment with adding an egg to my quinoa and veggies (made at home) and to my cauliflower rice. I also just bought the Trader Joe’s everything bagel seasoning, so I’m excited to start using that!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  7. Katy wrote:

    Ugh water intake is something I’m worst at. I keep a 30 oz yeti on my desk at work and TRY to fill it in the morning and then again after lunch. most of the time I forget to fill it until lunchtime and then I’m struggling to get through it.

    I did try a sweet potato/apple porkchop recipe that actually turned out really good! I made a light “sauce” that was cinnamon, apple juice, and dijon mustard that was super easy too. the apples and cinnamon made my house smell heavenly too 🙂

    1.22.18 | Reply
  8. Briana wrote:

    I so need to work on my hydration methods!


    1.22.18 | Reply
  9. Jherell wrote:

    I’m really excited about this challenge! I was JUST saying that I need to stay on track with my water consumption. I’ve also been thinking about how to add more probiotics to my diet (I plan on trying Kombucha soon!).

    To be honest, I struggled with last week’s new recipe challenge. I only tried one new recipe (delicious mozzarella and broccoli stuffed chicken breasts!), and I toyed around with adding different ingredients to my salads (like hummus and chickpeas). I plan on killing this week’s challenge, though!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  10. MELISSA wrote:

    A huge water bottle is KEY! I started out a few years ago trying to drink 64 oz/day and now I can’t get by with less than 96 oz. I know, crazy. I promise you won’t feel like you have to pee all the time forever 😉

    I made some really good new recipes, but also found some healthy salad kits at Trader Joe’s and added one of their turkey burgers on top for a quick lunch. I usually just have leftovers for lunch, and I looked forward to the salads a lot more!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  11. Meg wrote:

    I had to stop consuming most caffeine and all alcohol at the end of 2017 (GI issues) and switched to herbal tea and kombucha, so I’m gonna ROCK this fluids challenge. 🙂 I’m also totally on Team Probiotcs (I take two different ones by Jarrow). The positive effect they’ve had on my health is ??. Adding in some probiotic foods, too, like miso and kimchi.

    I made all my planned recipes from last week: a dry-roasted mushroom and garlic sauce with gnocchi, a warm farro and roasted carrot salad with pistachios and apricots, and a gluten-free cookie without processed sugars (we used sucanat).

    Exercise is going pretty well. Got about an hour four or five days this week. Mostly elliptical, yoga, brisk dog walks, and kettlebell weight workouts, but I’m hoping to try Barre3 this week for something new!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  12. Amanda G wrote:

    I had a lot of fun this week trying new recipes. I made shrimp and grits, bangin’ good shrimp with cabbage, and beef & broccoli. I also tried a new smoothie recipe which I am going to try to have daily in the morning.

    I have finally gotten into a workout routine which I hope to continue this week!

    I love Kombucha! We have a local brand called Mother Kombucha which has amazing flavors, my favorite is the Lavender Mojito. They are based in St. Petersburg, make sure you try one when you head there on vacation!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  13. Jackie wrote:

    I didn’t get in three new recipies last week but I got in one and it was good! Kale quinoa salad. Getting the ingredients together for it helped with just general meal prep and keeping more veggies in the house.

    Love the probiotic goal! I am awful with taking these and I have a full fresh bottle of them in the fridge. Time to get on it. Hydration ✔️ . I always try to get a minimum of about 64oz a day.

    1.22.18 | Reply
  14. Morgan wrote:

    This week I tried buffalo chicken meatballs, banana chia seed pudding, and meat sauce with zoodles. All Whole30 compliant and all delicious (the meatballs blew my mind; I’m making them again next week). I try to get enough water, but I’m definitely not successful every day. This is a good way to stay focused on the goal this week! Also keeping kombucha in rotation; I can’t tell if it’s/the probiotics are making a difference, but I do like the taste and it’s a nice treat at night when I’m not drinking.

    1.22.18 | Reply
  15. Serene wrote:

    For last week’s challenge, I don’t think I quite made it to 3 new recipes. But you did inspire me to do a smarter grocery shop run! 🙂 I tried to not just buy a bunch of random stuff, but actually planned meals in my head and bought enough for several meals. Woohoo! Before, I was going to the grocery store literally every day to get a couple things (grocery store is right down the street from my house).
    I’ve also been working on hydrating more and probiotics are such an essential!
    Xo, Serene

    1.22.18 | Reply
  16. Lacey wrote:

    I should literally tattoo “Drink Water” on my wrist, because I am under doctor’s orders to bump up my fluid intake and I suck at it. It’s slightly embarrassing, but…. I don’t like drinking water. So I bought those little Mio electrolyte + flavor concentrates to throw in my purse, and it definitely helps me stay more hydrated because it’s yummy (I try to make my own iced herbal tea at home but it’s hard to remember to take with me).

    If anyone has any Kombucha tips for me, please share! The brand that’s been around for a few years gave me horrible cramps for an entire week, but I’m willing to give new brands a try!

    Last week, my husband conveniently forgot to cancel our Blue Apron order, so we had some interesting meals to make (steak with garlic kale, Tuscan lentil soup with chicken, and tacos that I should make tonight). I feel a little guilty because I love cooking and I’m good at it, but my husband has been picking up my slack with that lately. Getting groceries delivered (I use peapod) helps me plan meals because it’s easier to order everything online and not get way too overwhelmed at the grocery store and forget things. I’m going to stay motivated and try to at least do meal prep on Sundays when I have time!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  17. Caitlin wrote:

    I tried a new recipe for those little “power balls.” They were so easy to make. Peanut butter, oats, honey, chocolate chips, chia seeds, and sliced almonds. Other than that, I fell into making the same recipes we usually do but made a few tweaks so they were healthier. Like using brown rice instead of white and grilled chicken with no breading!

    I want to try collagen peptides as well! The ones I’ve seen are so expensive though so I may need to hold off. Looking into it more! I also found that using a straw in my cup helps me drink more water! Will be doing that all week!!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  18. Corrie wrote:

    My recipe week went well. I even managed to get my husband to eat a veg and chickpea stew #winning I also (drunkenly) agreed to run a half-marathon in April so there’s that. Am off to fill up my water bottle!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  19. Love this! So important to stay hydrated!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  20. Beth wrote:

    I’m terrible at drinking only coffee and green tea! Although I do switch to Chamomile tea in the evening- I’ve made a pact with myself to not drink caffeine after 2pm.
    Last week convinced the family to two vegetarian dinners and a super vegan curry (the kids didn’t spit out) also became obsessed with roasted swede!

    Love the new challenge

    1.22.18 | Reply
  21. Virginia wrote:

    I love this weeks! It was a huge goal for me last yaer so I’ll just make it more challenging :). I drink lots of water but this week I want to focus on making sure it’s filtered. It’s about time I got one for home. I use to make Kombucha every week but got busy. I’m going to start a batch this week! And also eat more veggies.

    Last week I tried a new smoothie recipe and I cooked a beef and broccoli dish but substituted jack fruit for beef. It was great!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  22. Bitsy wrote:

    We ate out more than usual this week but can’t hate on some extra date nights. I did do some meal prepping yesterday, so that counts right? I usually make a rotation of the same recipes. This week it was Smitten Kitchen’s Every Day Meatballs (which are life changing) NYT’s turkey chili, and a new recipe for cheesy cauliflower soup that will be added to the rotation.

    I drink so much water. I always purchase kombucha with best intentions but never drink it. Could definitely work on incorporating more pickles and fermented foods, which I love!

    Thanks for keeping the challenges going. While I may not follow to a T, it has helped me be more conscious about the healthy choices I make each week.

    1.22.18 | Reply
  23. Katie G wrote:

    Last week went well! It was good to cook some new recipes, even though I already cook frequently, the challenge last week got me to try some new ones! I made salmon burgers that turned out awesome 🙂

    This is another great challenge – can’t believe we are already on week 4! I feel like water can vary so much for me – depending on the day. I need to be more consistent with it, especially since I am pretty active already. I take Garden of Life vitamins and they contain probiotics in them already! I also love the Synergy kombucha brand, I think you just gave me an excuse to by a couple of them for myself this week!

    Hope you have an awesome time in NH and get to relax a bit.


    1.22.18 | Reply
  24. Emma wrote:

    Happy Monday Jess!

    I’m excited about this one! I always say I’m going to drink more water then never do #typical

    But today you inspired me and I drank 3 bottles while at work, and actually managed to hit 64oz! I made a couple new recipes last week mostly curtesy of a HelloFresh trial box, can’t say I love the service itself but I’m definitely going to re-make the recipes.

    I struggled with exercising last week but am going to re-prioritize for this week. Hoping to keep the cooking up and continue with meditating (on day 22 now).

    1.22.18 | Reply
  25. Nancy wrote:

    Yessss!!! More water is exactly what I need in my life.
    Hormonal acne is something I constantly struggle with, and I think change from the inside is exactly what I need.
    The recipe challenge was not my best, I work late nights and don’t cook in general. So it was not my cup of tea. Can’t wait for this one though!
    And I’m still committed to working out 6 days a week. The water challenge will go hand in hand with that!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  26. Stephanie wrote:

    I didn’t do very well with trying new recipes, but I did do a pretty good job of convincing my husband that we should make better food choices and we did! Way more veggies last week which is huge for my husband who eats like a 7 year old. I really need help with the hydration reminder so looking forward to this week! Super cute water bottle, I’m going to get one!

    1.22.18 | Reply
  27. Desiree Catalina Warren wrote:

    This is a great one! The importance of having a healthy gut microbiohm cannot be overstated. Sacchromyces boulardii (Jarrow brand WF carries this) is also a great probiotic supplement that helps build the gut lining so that any brand of probiotic can colonize more effectively (there are white papers you can research about this- pretty neat). Also, a new study just confirmed that excercising regularly contributes to positive gut health biohm. Good thing that is already a goal we’re working on!

    For that goal I’ve been doing something new- Tone it up workouts. They are really fun! And totally different from what I’m used to.

    As far as the cooking- I’m always cooking. Always eating 😉 not too much new last week but I will try some more recipes from Kayla’s “motivation” fitness cookbook. Looking forward to it.

    Really loving this #jakwellness12 thing ?

    1.22.18 | Reply
  28. Beeta L. wrote:

    So.. I failed at this week’s challenge. I’ll be super duper honest and say I didn’t even try one new recipe. It’s not for lack of wanting to.. but it’s “lack of time.” I put it in quotations, because I know that we can always make time for the things that matter to us. So I need to make time for this. However! I will say I only dined-out for one meal, and the rest were home prepared, and that felt good (even if none of the recipes were new)

    PS – looking forward to week four’s challenge because that’s one of my goals, too!

    1.23.18 | Reply
  29. Jesse wrote:

    I really enjoyed last weeks challenge 2/3 recipes were a hit!

    I definitely need to drink more water. I normally drink a pretty good amount, but since the holidays it has been hard to get back into my routine. I’m also kind of a water bottle enthusiast and out of all the different brands I’ve tried, Hydroflask is definitely my favorite. I really enjoy drinking cold water and it keeps your water cold all day, plus they’re really durable. I’m gonna try tracking my water intake in my bullet journal.

    I really want to learn more about probiotics and how to incorporate them more into my diet as well. I actually really like Kombucha!

    1.23.18 | Reply
  30. Amanda wrote:

    Think I did good on last weeks challenge. Worked out everyday, this week going to add in walking again (weather in western pa has been ugly to say the least). Got some new healthy cookbooks for Christmas and using them for inspiration. Really bumped up the veggie dishes this past week as well.

    1.23.18 | Reply
  31. Kayla wrote:

    Last week was a total FAIL for me- unless you count trying out new restaurants as new recipes ??‍♀️ I had a girl friend from back home visiting and it made it tough. I did try a new smoothie recipe and it was delicious!
    This week I’m excited for this challenge- I am always drinking a ton of water! I also try to limit myself to one cup of coffee in the morning and a cup or two of green tea. I’ve also been using Vital Proteins Collagen powder and adding a scoop of that into my coffee. This past week I started adding Apple Cider Vinegar to a cup of water a day to help. I have been contemplating using the glow inner beauty- have you noticed any changes after using it Jess?
    The crappy rainy, cold weather lately has had be super down & not wanting to exercise, but luckily my boy dragged me to a hot yoga class at his studio last night and it was AMAZING! Also core power yoga has a promo this week if you sign up you get a week free!

    1.23.18 | Reply
  32. Elizabeth Jones wrote:

    Cooking ended up being more difficult than I anticipated this past week because it was my birthday! I ended up eating out a lot. I did make Chrissy Teigen’s vegetable tortilla soup and had it for lunch multiple days, it’s so good! I also made pineapple and mango salsa. I’m looking forward to cooking more this week!

    1.23.18 | Reply
  33. Rachel wrote:

    This is great! Probiotics is always something I’ve thought about taking but haven’t ever gotten into the habit. Maybe I should start…
    Balance – had a good week of 3 workouts, no caffeine two days (I’ll try to increase that to 3 days this week)
    Being more present – I’ve been on social media too much BF is out of town so I’ve been on most nights for a couple of hours. I need to hide my phone or something!

    1.24.18 | Reply
  34. This has also been a goal of mine every year, and every year I fail! I just stumbled upon this challenge and am so excited for it, I love the idea. Can’t wait to get started, thanks for the inspiration!

    Shann Eileen | http://www.shanneileen.com

    1.24.18 | Reply
  35. Taylor wrote:

    This is sooo me! I hear you about the water – and it should be the easiest thing – but it’s not. I’m not usually persnickety about water but we don’t have a water softener rn and it tastes bad ? in all seriousness, I am with you on this goal. I am not working out 4-5 days a week quite yet, which I would love to achieve, but I am doing 2-3 hiit sessions right now with 1 day of yoga (per week). Did my burpees last night and my arms and back are feelin the burn!

    1.24.18 | Reply
  36. Shloka wrote:

    These are great goals to have and I have a similar goal with my eating habits and hydration! I find ti makes such a huge difference!! You are totally totally inspiring me right now!


    1.25.18 | Reply
  37. Andrea wrote:

    I put raw sauerkraut on errythang…salads, burritos, even avocado toast. I love the Wildbrine brand. The color is beautiful – it’s like a bright hot pink.

    1.25.18 | Reply
  38. Erin wrote:

    I am all about hydration recently. It really makes a huge difference when I drink more water, so I excited to join you in this challenge!

    As for recipes, I tried a new dish, Skinny Taste chicken fajita pasta. It was super yummy when I first made it, but not as delicious when reheated. Oh well, can’t knock it till you try it ha. Also tried a few other new recipes, like making adult grilled cheese with frozen bread – super yummy and so crispy crunchy.

    1.30.18 | Reply

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