I don’t know about you guys, but my gastrointestinal tract (GIT) has taken a little bit of a beating over the last couple of weeks! Too much sugar, booze and gluten has had a noticeable effect on my gut, leaving me bloated and gassy. Luckily I have a secret weapon in the battle of ‘December diet’ vs. normal gut homeostasis. Oh, and that secret weapon is also delicious, cheap and easy to make…
Okay, so you know that your GIT is full of trillions of probiotic or ‘good’ bacteria right? If you didn’t know that, you probably haven’t watched commercial TV in a while because the market for probiotic supplementation is huge – think Inner Health Plus, Yakult or brand name yoghurts.
Now the evidence for having a good environment for gut ‘flora’ is fairly strong but the claims around supplementation are often exaggerated beyond what the science tells us. My standpoint is that our modern diets are too often lacking in the ‘good bugs’ that are actually supposed to be in our food; given the strict food safety, hygiene and industrial ‘cleaning’ protocols that protect us from the ‘nasty bugs’. Throw into the mix a diet too high in sugar, gluten and unnecessary medications and we’re just asking for (tummy) trouble!
My preferred way to get some extra probiotic in my diet is through water kefir – a naturally fermented, slightly fizzy, mildly sweet drink. The best thing is that water kefir is simple; add ‘grains’ of bacteria and yeast to sugar water, let it ferment and you end up with a low sugar bevvy loaded with probiotic bacteria and yeast.
The only tricky part is sourcing your grains. I found mine on the internet for around $10 for 10 tablespoons worth. It is also important to not confuse WATER kefir grains with MILK kefir grains. Milk grains can only be used with milk and water grains with sugar water OR coconut water. This recipe will only focus on the water kefir.
So you’ve got your squishy little grains of probiotic goodness, the next step is to prepare your water kefir. Here is my recipe for kefir ginger beer but you can add any kind of flavouring you want – passionfruit is really popular in our house.
I love water kefir because it is delicious, cheap, easy and is a natural – some may say traditional – way of probiotic supplementation. If you’re trying to limit soft drink and juice intake it is also a fantastic substitute – I will add a little soda water for more fizz.
There is plenty of info out there on water kefir, but if you have any questions just ask!
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