There are some “weird” things I started doing since taking up a plant-based diet…
I quote “weird” because really these things aren’t all that weird… they’re great… just different than what the average person would be doing on a given day, like making my own sauerkraut or sprouting at home (post coming soon!)
You don’t have to be into veganism to be into health, but for me, it was transitioning to a plant-based diet that led me to this point of next level health. When I decided to make the change I started to seek out as much information as possible via books, blogs, podcasts, etc., to make the transition in a healthy, sustainable way. Because of the significant relationship between food & health I was unavoidably led to a wealth of information on health & wellness.
One of the podcasts I really got into was actually not a vegan podcast. The Holistic Health Diary, produced by Ange Peters of Hol-Fit and Gillian Mandich covers all things health & wellness from ultra-marathon training to making your own body scrub. I absolutely love these girls and look forward to a new episode every other Monday.
The HHDiary is what got me really thinking about organic foods and GMOs, using coconut oil as a major part of my beauty routine, and wanting to improve my gut health….
You may have seen this stuff on the grocery store shelf:
This is a fermented milk product, known as milk kefir. Water kefir is similar but uses water instead of milk and still provides amazing probiotic benefits. Probiotics are essential to maintaining overall gut health.
So what the heck is water kefir and why are you brewing it in your laundry room…. ?
First off, kefir has more probiotics than yogurt or any other health drink. Water kefir can contain up to 453 different bacterial strains vs. yogurt which contains only 2 types (source). Most probiotic supplements also contain only a few of the vital bacterial strains, like acidophilus and bifidus.
What is water kefir?
Water kefir is a lacto-fermented beverage made from water, sugar, and kefir grains (SCOBY) They are called grains for their appearance but water kefir is gluten-free. When combined and left to ferment for 48 hours, the sugar is metabolized by the kefir grains and the result is a probiotic-rich drink containing wide variety of beneficial microorganisms, B vitamins & food enzymes. The sugar-content is also reduced to about 20% during the fermentation process.
The water becomes carbonated like soda (weird) and resembles the taste of slightly fizzy lemonade!
How do you say it?
Keff-er? Key-fer? Kuh-feer?
I’ve heard people say key-fir and some say kuh-fir… Tomato/tomato, right?
What are probiotics?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Simply, probiotics are healthy or “good” bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of microflora in the intestines (i.e. counteract the “bad” bacteria).
What are the benefits?
Whole food probiotics contain a wide variety of bacterial and yeast strains. “Water kefir grans include include 57 lactic acid bacteria strains, some acetic acid bacteria strains, and at least four yeast strains. Up to 453 different bacterial strains have been identified in water kefir!” (source). What can this healthy bacteria do?
- Improve digestion
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost immunity
- Reduce allergies
- Possibly slow/reverse some diseases
- Prevent diarrhea, gas & cramping
- Improve women’s health/promote maternal health (reduce UTIs, vaginosis)
- Possibly aid in weight-loss
- Promote overall health & wellness
A clean and balanced gut will and allow for better absorption of vitamins, nutrients and minerals!
Where can I get the grains?
If you’re in the Fredericton area, water kefir grains are sold by a nutritionist from Pepper Creek. It’s $10 for your first batch and an information pamphlet. I checked both health food stores and found that they do sell milk kefir grains but not water kefir grains. I can also hook you up with some of my duplicated grains 😉
Otherwise, check your local health food store. Many businesses take requests for products they don’t currently carry. The only place I’ve seen them online are at Cultures for Health. If you know of anywhere else to get them please share!
How long do the grains last?
If properly taken care of… forever! Once you’ve completed a batch,rinse the grains in spring water and either start a new batch or allow the grains to dry on a piece of parchment paper then store them accordingly (see FAQ link for storage information). Discard or store any multiplied grains.
Where can I learn more?
I learned most of the basic information from the nutritionist in Fredericton but the articles I sourced are linked up below. I highly recommend the Water Kefir FAQ link before getting started. There is an answer to almost any questions you might have.
Water Kefir FAQ
Composition of Water Kefir Grains: Bacteria and Yeasts
How to Make Water Kefir Soda (with recipe variations)
Probiotics Side Effects, Health Benefits, Types, Research, Food Sources
The internet is a wealth of information. There are numerous variations and “recipes” to help you make this probiotic packed power drink a part of your daily routine 🙂
Here’s the recipe I’ve been using:
DIY Water Kefir
Yield: 1 x 500 mL serving.
You can multiply the recipe and after 48 hours just strain, cap & refrigerate additional water kefir until ready to drink.
- 500 mL spring water
- 3 tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 organic apricot (available at Bulk Barn)
- 1 tbsp water kefir grains
- Combine all ingredients in a 1 L glass jar and cover loosely with a lid.
- Allow to ferment for 48 hours.
- Strain the water for drinking and rinse the grains. Discard fruit along with any multiplied grains or store grains as outlined on the FAQ page. Be sure to keep enough grains out to start a new batch if desired.
- Drink immediately or cap and refrigerate until ready to drink.
- Start all over again!
So easy. So good for you. I’ve been drinking this almost daily since the fall and I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone (including kids as a healthy alternative to soda!)
Happy culturing >:)