Healthy, Natural Living

Posts tagged ‘water’

Drinks, Drinks, and One More Drink Water Kefir

Water Kefir, oh, how I love thee! Seriously, this in my favorite fermented beverage. Between kombucha and water kefir, I do prefer water kefir. Water kefir is much more reliable, the taste is repeatable, and timing is consistent. It is also a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine that is present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink. But unlike kombucha it really is not a detoxifier. They both have a place in the Ward home.

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Water kefir is dairy free and just as beneficial as milk kefir. It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast that make up your gut flora. Your internal gut flora supports proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. It simply is another probiotic beverage option which has its own strengths. It offers a nice replacement to those who enjoy soda.

Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugar in the sugar-water. Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic acid producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol. It also contains millions of probiotics, and is more nutritious than milk kefir in some regards because of the bio-available and digestible nutrients from the sugars including an increase in vitamin C and many B vitamins. Folic acid amongst other B vitamins increases as the length of the ferment increases.

Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice  is to listen to your own body’s response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).

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I’ve learned water kefir grains can go through many phases through the seasons from being small and more uniform looking, or large and full of strange shapes, angles and bumps. They can even become lumpy like cauliflower, or very smooth like glass. They are always semi-transparent, but will be much darker if used with less refined sugar. Their color will also be clear unless used with less refined sugar, in which case they will be light to dark brown in color. This will be an ongoing science of observation as I create different concoctions with various sugars and dried fruit.

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You can ferment minerals, herbs, fruits, grains etc. with the help of water kefir grains, thus really opening the doors to a custom blend of nutrients that you can create.

What you will need:
3 Tbs water kefir grains
1/4 cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unrefined sugar)
Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using)
1 Quart Jar

Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp.
Add the water kefir grains
Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band
Store out of direct light and away from other ferments for 24-48hrs. (I put mine in the cupboard) The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out. Don’t leave longer than 48hrs it can starve the grains. When the process is complete the water kefir will be significantly less sweet and the color will be lighter.

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Strain the water kefir grains through mesh strainer (don’t use metal if you can help it) pouring the liquid into a half gallon jar.

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Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water and adding Water Kefir Grains.

The Second Ferment not only creates the carbonation, but increases the B vitamins.
Mix 1 cup of your favorite fruit juice into the strained water kefir. Recently, we discovered we really like white grape!
Citrus is not recommended for this part, as it makes stringy yeast-like things that are not tasty.
Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid (I re-use old store bought kombucha bottles) and allow to sit at room temperature another 24 hours or when bubbles form on the top of the liquid, before refrigerating.

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I advise to not open your water kefir until it is chilled, warm water kefir is REALLY fizzy.
Repeat the process.

As your grains grow and multiply you will be able to share with your friends.

Check out yemoos.com for more info.

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Now, What Are You Drinking?

imageKombucha (kom-bu-cha)
What in the world is that? Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) also called mother or mushroom, tea prepared with sugar, and some kombucha tea from a previous batch. Kombucha is a traditional fermented tea that has gained popularity in the United States as it is increasingly associated with health promoting effects. Kombucha is a slightly sweet, acidic tea beverage currently consumed worldwide, but historically in China, Russia, and Germany
The beneficial properties of Kombucha have been well documented in past centuries. Early to mid 20th century, mainly German medical research, documented Kombucha primarily as an intestinal regulator and as having excellent effects on general body functions, but also progressively established specific efficacy in cases of digestive disturbances, constipation, hemorrhoids, kidney stones, gall bladder problems, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, cholesterol, high blood pressure, angina, gout, eczema, arthritis, rheumatism, atherosclerosis, irritability, anxiety, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, tiredness.
By the 1960’s kombucha research fell victim to the cold war, with the Russians withholding details of their research, with many known documents still remaining classified. Regardless of the lack of scientific evidence, the fact remains that this beverage has 2,000 plus years of tradition behind it. Although it may seem new to most of you, kombucha is not at all new, it is truly ancient. In fact the name derives from a Korean physician, Kombu, who was called to treat the Japanese Emperor Inkyo back about the year 415 AD.
The kombucha ferment contains various acidic metabolic by-products, including acetic, citric, malic, tartaric, succinic, pyruvic, ascorbic, butyric , glucuronic, hyaluronic, lactic, usnic and chondroitin sulphate acids, as well as glucosamines, heparin, beta-glucans (cell-wall only), B-vitamins, including B-12, more than a dozen yeast strains and also other active antibiotic substances.

Glucuronic acid in the liver binds up all poisons and toxins both environmental and metabolic and rushes them to the excretory system. Toxins once bound by glucuronic acid cannot be resorbed into the system, they are rendered water soluble and made capable of being passed through the kidneys and eliminated with the urine. Kombucha appears to offer an abundance of this key detoxifier.image
Because of our polluted environment, processed food, chemicals in our water, medicines, and stress our liver is overloaded with toxins. A healthy liver producing adequate glucuronic acid is critical to rid toxins that can accumulate. To ensure our liver is healthy and functioning properly, detoxifying the liver is important. Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer. Because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987.
In my post What Are You Drinking, I cover the importance of good gut flora. Kombucha is also a probiotic beverage that will promote good gut health.
I will be covering water kefir too, but before you start wondering, what is the difference? I’ll say this, when comparing water kefir versus kombucha, it seems that water kefir acts primarily as a wide spectrum probiotic, whereas kombucha acts as a digestive aid, a probiotic and detoxifier.

How to ferment Kombucha tea:
I make a 1/2 gallon, but this can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc
You will need:
1/2 gallon glass jar

4 tea bags-The type of tea used to brew kombucha is one of the most important influences in how the finished kombucha will taste. However, not all teas are appropriate for use when making kombucha. Click here to read more about which teas are best to use for the health of the a scoby

1/2 cup sugar (this is a good place to use the white stuff  and the only place I recommend using it).

Water-While tap water can be used, it is recommendeed that filtered water free of as many contaminants as possible is used. Contaminants such as chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride can be detrimental to a batch of kombucha and the health of the scoby.

SCOBY  along with 1  cup of kombucha tea from a prevous batch

Brewing Tea & Dissolving Sugar

Brewing Tea & Dissolving Sugar

Put sugar and tea bags into the jar. Fill a third of the way up with boiling water.

Brew tea 10-15 minutes.

Remove tea bags and be sure sugar is dissolved.

Add cold water to jar until it is 3/4 of the way full.

Add your SCOBY and kombucha tea from previous batch

Add more cold water if needed to fill jar.

Cover with a breathable cover (cheesecloth, coffee filter, towel)

Place jar in a spot out of direct sunlight, at room temperature, and several feet away from any other cultures you may have going. Now, forget about it for 7 days. As the kombucha ferments, the scoby consumes the tea and sugar producing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, carbon dioxide, etc. After 7 days using a straw sample your kombucha tea. If it is still too sweet,, allow it to ferment couple more days or until it gets to a flavor you like.

Mother Under the Baby SCOBY

Mother Under the Baby SCOBY

Remove the SCOBYs-You will have two, because there is a baby every batch. You can use both in your next batch, give one to a friend, or search the internet for other ideas. Never use reactive metals when handling your SCOBY.
Bottling your kombucha tea-Whether  you’re keeping your kombucha plain or flavoring with juice, fruit(fresh, frozen, or dehydrated), extracts, or herbs a second ferment is recommended. A second fermentation period allows the flavors to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor. When bottled in an airtight container, the live yeast and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to consume the tea and sugar that remaines, and a byproduct of second fermentation is that the sugar is turned into carbon dioxide giving the kombucha the fizzy texture it is often known for. Allow the kombucha to remain bottled for 2 to 14 days at room temperature. Cultures for Health is a great resources for all things fermented and has several flaovoring ideas.

Frozen Blueberrie

Frozen Blueberrie

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This batch I used frozen blueberries. 1/4 berries to 2 cups Kombucha….YUM!

More science of kombucha check out the Happy Herbalist posted study from Cornell University.

gaiaresearch.co.za
kombu.de

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