Totally Allergy-Friendly. Gluten-free, Dairy-free, and, of course, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free. And most everything else-free, too. It is a wonderful Vegan beverage option.
As I am finishing up my Vision Board for this coming year, I have determined that one of my goals on it is to Make More Kefir, especially Water Kefir, since it is so completely allergy-friendly.
Water Kefir is also so full of health benefits and a wonderful healing beverage:
- It is a natural supplier of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeasts (probiotics) to our digestive tract and can help to bring balance to your inner microflora
- During the fermentation process, it becomes an excellent source of Vitamins B1, B6, and B12
- It has a tonifying and cleansing effect on the intestines
- It is perfect for a Vegan Diet
- It has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties
- In addition to the good bacteria and beneficial yeasts, it also contains many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
- It strengthens the Immune System
- It has a cleansing effect on the entire body
- It helps to eliminate Candida issues
- It can help to normalize metabolism
- It helps to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne
- It can reduce inflammation in the body
- It can improve the function of the liver
- It can increase energy levels and lend an overall feeling of good health
- It is very inexpensive to make
**Do remember that by adding these wonderful live probiotics to your diet, you are going to be changing your internal ecosystem. There may be a brief period where you will experience “die-off” (such as headaches, diarrhea, body aches, etc) as some of the good bacteria replaces the bad bacteria. You body is just working on eliminating the bad toxins. This does not happen for everyone but it is a possibility. Just add the Water Kefir into your diet slowly and this will help your body to adjust without many side effects.
And it is so so easy to make, dairy-free or dairy-full (you just use Milk Kefir Grains for the Dairy version), that I thought I would teach you all how to do it, so you, too, can possibly make it one of your goals for this year too.
7 Easy Steps to Make Your Own Water Kefir:
1. Order Water Kefir Grains from Cultures for Health or another reputable source.
2. Gather INGREDIENTS once you rehydrate your Grains after they arrive:
- Quart or half gallon glass jar (I make a half gallon at a time)
- Plastic Strainer (not metal – kefir grains do not like metal)
- Wooden Spoon for stirring (not metal)
- Organic Cane Sugar or Sucanat or Rapadura (see **Sugar Note)
- Water Kefir Grains.
**Sugar Note: The grains will consume most of the sugar as they ferment. The longer they ferment, the more sugar they will consume.
3. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in a small amount of hot water in your jar (cut amount of sugar in half if making by the quart). Then cover dissolved sugar with enough cool water to almost fill half gallon jar (leaving about 2 inches unfilled at top) and stir with wooden or plastic spoon.
Spring water with good mineral content is preferable (instead of filtered or Reverse Osmosis water). If using tap water, however, you need to remove chlorine first by placing it in a bowl and letting the water sit over night – chlorine will evaporate. If using filtered water, you may want to add a few drops of liquid minerals back into the water (grains thrive on the minerals), such as Vital Earth Fulvic Minerals or add a half (rinsed) pastured egg shell to the jar.
4. Add 1/2 cup of kefir grains (use 1/4 cup if making in quart size jar) to room temperature water. Cover jar tightly with towel and then a rubber band to secure it in place.
**Kefir grains can multiply. A good ratio to remember is: 1/2 cup grains to half gallon water to 1/2 cup sugar. Cut amount in half for quart size containers.
5. Let kefir culture at room temperature for 24 – 48 hours. The longer you let it sit, the less sweet it will become as the grains consume more of the sugar. I find that just over 48 hours is good. Bubbles may appear as it cultures. This is normal (although does not always happen). If your family is used to a sweet flavor, start with a shorter period of time (like 24 hours) the first time, then try letting the grains culture a bit longer for each new batch.
**There is a small amount of alcohol that is produced as the microbes feed on the sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide. This is what causes the bubbles/carbonation. The alcohol content in kefir varies with the fermentation time, and is usually less than 1% .
6. Strain off the finished liquid into another container using a plastic strainer (remember-grains do not like metal), once you are done culturing the grains, and cover with an airtight lid. At this point, rinse your grains thoroughly and you can use them to begin your next batch.
7. Now you can flavor your prepared Water Kefir (or just leave it as is).
Cream Soda: Add 2 Tbsp of Good Quality Vanilla per half gallon to your Prepared Water Kefir
Fresh Fruit-Flavored: Add your choice of fresh organic fruit to your prepared Water Kefir. Change fresh fruit out every day and replace with new fresh fruit. Good choices (either alone or combined) are: strawberries, orange slices, kiwi slices, mango slices, sliced grapes, lemon slices, etc).
Dried Fruit-Flavored: Add your choice of dried organic fruit to your prepared Water Kefir. Change dried fruit out every seventh day.
Fruit Slushie: Blend your prepared Water Kefir with fresh fruit and ice cubes for a refreshing treat. Strawberries and kiwi are favorite combination in our house. Or add Water Kefir to your favorite smoothies in place of your liquid.
Cucumber Lemon Mint: Add Cucumber Slices + Mint Leaves + Lemon Slices to your prepared Water Kefir. Change out the fruit every 24 hours.
Ginger Lemon Flavored: Add 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice to prepared Water Kefir + lemon slices + 4 Tbsp grated fresh Ginger, and 1 Tbsp Good Quality Vanilla
To sum it up, Kefir is a wonderful healing aid. It provides so many benefits to our health and well-being. And for something that is so easy to prepare, we really should have no excuse for including it into our diets more often.
And it goes along perfectly with this month’s theme for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free being hosted by Maggie, from She Let Them Eat Cake.
Her chosen theme, and incidentally, one of my favorite topics of all: Foods That Heal.
She will be sharing information from wonderful bloggers that bring us ideas on how to bring health and nourishment to our bodies, our minds, and our souls.
I would definitely say that Kefir is right up there in that category. I am encouraging you to give it a try and come back and let me know if it helped to improve your health in any way!
Kim Maes, CNC, AADP, known as the Allergy Free Food Coach, is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Certified in the Practical Application of Food Allergy Guidelines.. She is also the creator of the Cook It Allergy Free iPhone and iPad Apps and the Cook It Allergy Free website, where she shares her passion for teaching others how easy and delicious it can be to eat whole, pure allergy-friendly meals that the entire family will enjoy.