More and more people are consuming probiotics, whether it’s in supplement or food form. They have so many benefits and are so good for you that, if you ask me, everyone should be taking probiotics. (If you don’t know what are the benefits of probiotics scroll to the end my post).
After I had my daughter I knew I wanted our family to be as healthy as possible and probiotics seemed like a must. I spent hours researching what was the best probiotic supplement and that’s when I came accross Garden of Life Probiotics. I was ready to buy them however, probiotics are very delicate and during shipping they can get ruined. I also read that supplements don’t contain as many strains of probiotics as the fermented foods. So I knew what I had to do is make our own probiotics.
This is when I came accross Water Kefir (I don’t like milk, so water kefir seemed like a good option). Water Kefir is a fermented sugar-water beverage, it’s made by using cultures that create probiotics. Read the this Q&A if you’re not familiar with it.
What do you need?
- Water Kefir grains – you can get them in Amazon, Cultures for Health or find a person that is willing to send you some for free (usually you have to cover the shipping costs). I can send you some water kefir grains if you cover your shipping costs, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure I have some at the moment.
- Sugar – although you can use any type of sugar the best sugars to use are organic and the following types: Sucanat, Coconut sugar, Rapadura, Molasses, Turbinado, Maple Syrup (grade B). I use this Sucanat and they love it – my grain multiply fast with this sugar. The only type of sugar you have to avoid is Honey and any artificial sweeteners.
- Fido Jar – This is to make your water kefir in – I make mine in a 5 liter one. I know some people have other ways to make it but this is how I prefer it because it gives the water kefir a fizz and your grains never go bad. However, if you don’t want to do it this way, all you need is any glass jar.
- Water – It’s best to use 100% natural spring water or filtered tap water with a quality filter. Don’t use regular tap water has chlorine and fluoride, which can kill your grains, and it also lacks the minerals the grains need. If you can’t buy it, just boil some water and wait for it to cool down. This will kill some of the good minerals in the water so you will have to remineralize it (another reason why I just buy the water).
- Mesh Strainer – You will need this once the water kefir is ready so you can separate the grains and water.
- A glass container to store your water kefir in once it’s ready. I use Fido Jars or Hermetic lid pitchers to store it as is and Faceted Hermetic 17 oz Bottles(or a 25 ounce one) if I want to flavor it.
For every cup of water you need 1 tablespoon of water kefir grains and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I usually count how many tablespoons of water kefir grains I have and do the math. Don’t worry about the sugar, the kefir grains will “eat” it all and you’ll end up with a probiotic drink.
- Place the kefir grains in a Fido Jar.
- You need the sugar to be dissolved, so boil all the sugar in 2 cups of water.
- Wait for the sugar water to cool down.
- Once it cools, add the sugar water to the Fido jar (which already contains the kefir grains), and add any extra water you need to complete the amount needed (for example, if you are doing 10 tablespoons of kefir grains and boiled the sugar in 2 cups of water, you will need to add an extra 8 cups of water). Make sure you don’t put hot water with the water kefir grains or you’ll kill them.
- Close the jar and wait 48 hours.
(Note: If you are not using a Fido Jar, you will need to use a glass jar. Once you add the mix to it, cover the jar tightly with a napkin or paper towel and rubber band. By using this method your water kefir will not have a fizz and I personally don’t like it.)
Once 48 hours have passed your water kefir will be ready. Most likely you will see bubbles on top (look at picture), although not seeing bubbles is normal too. You have to use your mesh strainer to separate the grains and the water kefir. I strain my water kefir directly into one of these Hermetic lid pitchers and store it in the fridge.
Count how many tablespoons of water kefir grains you have now and repeat the procedure to make water kefir. Since your grains will multiply it’s important to count them every time.
Some people like to flavor their water kefir so they do a second ferment with it. If you want to do this don’t store your water kefir in the frigde right away, instead follow these directions:
How to do a second ferment?
A second ferment is a way to flavor your water kefir and make it like a natural “soda”. You will need either a Fido Jar or a Faceted Hermetic 17 oz Bottle(or a 25 ounce one) if you want to make a “soda”. If you don’t use a container like this it will not have fizz.
All you have to do is put the water kefir in one of the containers mentioned above and add 100% natural juice or fruit pieces to the water kefir. Leave it out on your counter 24 hours and it’ll be ready to drink. After the 24 hours it has be refrigerated.
If you added real fruit pieces make sure you toss them out or eat them after 24 hours. You can always add more but they can only be in the water kefir for 24 hours.
I usually add 1/2 – 1 cup of fruit juice or about a 1/2 of a fruit to a 25oz bottle of water kefir . This is the fun part and where you can experiment with different flavors and quantities. Here are some ideas on how to flavor your water.
Once it’s done you will have your own healthy soda!
How much water kefir should I drink?
There is not limit to how much you can drink. However, when you begin to drink it, just drink a few ounces a day and see how you feel.
The water kefir will help your intestines produce more of the good bacteria and if you drink too much at once they will kill the bad bacteria too quick and might make you feel a bit off. We didn’t have this issue but we did try a couple ounces a day for a week and now we drink all we want.
Oh! and water kefir is safe for nursing and pregnant women but you can always consult with your doctor to be safe.
This might sounds like a lot but do but it takes me less than 5 minutes to do it, it’s cheap, has more probiotics than what you can buy in a supplement and it’s tasty.
It’s soooo worth it! Give it a try! 🙂
Have more questions about it? Check out this FAQs.
Here is a great summary of why probiotics are good for you:
“What are the health benefits of probiotics?
Probiotics may seem new to the food and supplement industry, but they have been with us from our first breath. During a delivery through the birth canal, a newborn picks up bacteria from his/her mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by Cesarean section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.
Probiotics are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestive tract. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.
When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.
The idea is not to kill off all of the bad bacteria. Our body does have a need for the bad ones and the good ones. The problem is when the balance is shifted to have more bad than good. An imbalance has been associated with diarrhea, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, and fatigue.
The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Some believe that this role is the most important. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections). By maintaining the correct balance from birth, the hope would be to prevent these ailments. Our immune system can benefit anytime that balanced is restored, so it’s never too late.”