Kefir is a cultured milk drink that after fermentation acquires a wonderful sour, and sometimes effervescent, taste. This tanginess brings a whole new flavor to smoothies, lassis, and other drinks just as you would use yogurt or regular milk.
What are the health benefits of drinking Kefir?
Milk kefir is full of probiotics, similar to yogurt and other cultured and fermented products. The probiotics aid in healthy digestion. The fermenting process also changes some of the protein structures in the milk, making it easier to digest. Some people who can’t tolerate milk feel better drinking milk kefir.
Ingredients for making Kefir:
One tablespoon of Kefir Grains
2 cups of whole fresh Milk (raw milk is the best option, however, unhomogenized is also acceptable. Never use skimmed or low fat)
Directions for making Kefir:
Place both the milk and kefir grains into a wide-mouth, quart-size jar. Toss the mixture by gently shaking the jar to ensure that the grains are completely coated in milk.
Loosely place the lid on the jar and cover with a fine cloth.
Store in a cupboard for between 24 hours (at least) and two days (for an excellent sour, tangy flavor!) – the longer you leave the milk to ferment the more lactose is consumed by the grains, and the more enzymes are created.
This is the fermentation stage. During this time, the healthy bacteria and yeast in the kefir grains will ferment the milk, preventing it from spoiling while transforming it into kefir.
During this stage, it is important to gently shake the jar every now and again to ensure a proper and even fermentation.
Don’t be alarmed when your milk separates into a thick white yogurt (on the way to becoming curd) and a yellowish clear liquid (whey). This is a sign that the process is successful.
Strain out the kefir grains from the liquid: Place a small strainer over the container you’ll use to store the kefir. Strain the kefir liquid into the container and catching the grains in the strainer.
The whey liquid it the finished product that you will drink or add to your favorite kefir smoothie recipe.
Once you are satisfied with the consistency of the kefir (thickness and fermentation) you can either drink it immediately in its natural state or turn it into your favorite smoothie! Check out my kefir smoothie recipe with bananas.
The good news is that as long as they stay healthy, you can reuse kefir grains indefinitely to make more kefir. The best way to keep them healthy is to keep making kefir! You can make a new batch of kefir roughly every 24 hours (the temperature of your kitchen can affect the exact time) just by putting the kefir grains in a fresh cup of milk.
Over time, the grains will multiply and you can either discard the extra or share it with friends & family. You can also take a break from making kefir by putting the grains in a new cup of milk and storing it in the fridge.
Want to know more about the health benefits and differences between kefir and buttermilk? Read my post Kefir vs. Buttermilk.
Kombucha is a living probiotic tea packed with beneficial bacteria that help detoxify the body and energize the mind. Kombucha aids the body in healing and restoring gut health and integrity. Fans often tout it for having a fuzzy effervescent quality like a natural soda. The fuzziness is a result of the fermentation process.
“Death begins in the colon” ~ Dr. Bernard Jensen
The intestine is sometimes referred to as the second immune system because of its content and potential for harmful bacteria growth. It has such an active role in our health and immunity. The beneficial bacteria in kombucha help keep harmful bacteria in check resulting in a clean digestive system and well-functioning intestinal track.
Similar to apple cider vinegar, it’s an excellent digestive tonic, which is produced by a similar process. Taken around mealtime, it helps assist stomach acid with breaking down proteins and digest in other foods and prevents bloating, heartburn, and indigestion.
Some people notice a cleansing effect with kombucha that it aids constipation with its gentle laxative action.
It’s not a magic elixir
People who drink kombucha regularly claim that after one week of drinking it daily they notice an improvement in immune system function and energy levels.
However, if you continue to eat foods that are toxic and poisonous to your bodies such as junk foods and highly processed food then just adding the kombucha tea alone will probably not be enough to experience the benefits.
The best way to heal your body is to remove as much of the toxic things that go into our bodies and are around bodies, and then nourish it and feed it with all it needs to give it every opportunity to rebuild itself.
I’ll step down off my soapbox now.
The tea portion of the kombucha, whether it’s from black tea or green tea contains l-theanine, a compound which naturally counteracts the tea’s caffeine content with a calming effect.
Both green and black tea come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference is in the process; Black tea is roasted and aged longer than green tea. Tea (especially green) is also high in antioxidants and is often used in natural weight-loss formulas.
The caffeine in Kombucha tea is much lower than what’s found in coffee and does have some beneficial effects, which include a temporary boost in energy, alertness, and mental acuity.
There are so many unique and different health benefits that can come about from drinking kombucha regularly.
More Health Benefits of Kombucha
Kombucha tea contains a range of B Vitamins: B1, B2, B6, and B12 which provide the body with energy and helps process fats and proteins, which are vital for your nervous system.
Kombucha contains antioxidants that help fight molecules in the body that can damage cells. It has one of the few agents that can cope with the pollutive products of the petroleum industry, including plastics, herbicides, pesticides, and resins.
A study done in 2011, found that the antioxidant-rich kombucha reduces toxins in the liver, suggesting that kombucha may play an important role in promoting liver health and reducing liver inflammation.
However, these studies were conducted on rats, and more research is needed to say with certainty how kombucha can support liver health in humans.
It helps with the structure of cartilage, collagen and the fluid that lubricates the joints. Collagen reduces wrinkles and helps with arthritis.
It helps the body to make Glutathione, which is made up of 3 amino acids and is produced naturally in the liver. It is vital for cellular metabolism. It protects our bodies against oxidative stress caused by free radicals and is also required for the immune system to function correctly and is a potent detoxifier.
SCOBY’s and kombucha tea can be used to treat stings, bites, infections on the skin and rash, irritation, eczema and external fungi (e.g., ring work, nail fungi).
Kombucha and SCOBYs can be added to bathwater as the bacteria and goodness absorb straight into the skin. It’s beneficial for sick children, or just a relaxing, nourishing time in the bath. You can even use it as a probiotic gargle for sore throats and infections.
Afterward consider dumping the bathwater in the garden, instead of letting all that beneficial bacteria go down the drain.
SCOBY is useful in garden compost. The bacteria and minerals nourish the soil, and the goodness absorbs into your plants and vegetables.
How Kombucha can help around the house:
Like vinegar, kombucha has acetic acid in it, but in smaller amounts. Because of this, kombucha can be used as a surface cleaner (just pour some into a spray bottle) or even as a hand sanitizer by adding a little to your liquid hand soap.
How Kombucha can help you with cosmetics:
The SCOBY can be pulverized in a food processor and kept refrigerated to use as face mask applied directly to the skin allowed to leave for 10 mins or longer until dried and absorbed into the skin and thoroughly washed off.
How Kombucha can benefit your pet:
The SCOBY can be fed to animals. It will assist them with a variety of ailments such as arthritis, gut issues, cancer, skin issues, ear issues, and more.
How Kombucha kills fleas and ticks:
Kombucha will help eliminate fleas and ticks on your pets. However, a stronger batch of kombucha will be needed for this application. To make a stronger brew, merely let your kombucha ferment for two extra weeks. This will create an extra strength brew, similar to a tincture.
Next, apply your stronger brewed batch of flea and tick spray to the affected areas on your dog, cat, or livestock to decrease the irritation and discourage those pesky little buggers. For severe cases, you can also use it as a bath! It will also help them retain a shiny coat.
How Kombucha gets rid of your pet worms:
Kombucha is a natural way of getting rid of worms in dogs and cats. Dogs and cats get infected with roundworms by ingesting worm eggs found in soil or stool. Start by giving your pet a dried SCOBY as a chew toy. As you know cats can be very finicky if they refuse the new chew toy try mixing it with their food or in their drinking water.
More about the benefits of Kombucha tea:
May Balances hormones
Can help Lose weight
Improves Skin and hair
May help ease the symptoms of anxiety, eczema, food allergies if ingested and applied topically.
Behavioral issues, ADHD, Dyslexia, autism
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Kombucha is chock-full of trillions and billions of good bacteria that can strengthen the wall of the gut.
Vitamin C potent detoxifier and immune booster and enhancer of vitality.
Antibiotic qualities which help deactivate viruses.
Encourages the intercellular production of energy.
After researching the benefits of kombucha tea for several months and consuming it myself, I have found quite an array of claims and lists of benefits the tea can offer up. But let it be known I have not researched all of these claims individually and I am not suggesting the use of kombucha tea over anything your doctor has recommended.
If you are looking for help resolving any of these ailments or conditions it is always best to consult a doctor.
Simply delicious and nutritious, beet kvass is a fermented drink made from beets, sea salt, and water. Try this easy step-by-step beet kvass recipe.
Beet kvass is a traditional fermented drink full of many probiotic health benefits, much like kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi.
The health benefits of beet kvass stem from its excellent probiotic content and are often considered a tonic for digestion as well as an excellent thirst quencher. Our beet kvass recipe is genuinely a beet kvass recipe you will actually want to drink.
It is known for having an acquired taste, but in time, you will end up craving it due to the nutritional benefits it offers. In this recipe we add apples, oranges and ginger to give it that tangy, earthy, salty (and a little sweet) flavor that will leave you wanting more.
Beet kvass is an excellent blood tonic that promotes regularity, aids indigestion, alkalizes the blood, and cleanses the liver. With benefits like that, isn’t it worth it to try a variety of recipes to find one you enjoy?
Homemade Beet Kvass Recipe
In the recipe I’m sharing today, I added one cup of chopped apples. Other fruits and spice options to consider are strawberries, orange juice, pineapples, lavender, fresh or dried mint leaves, raisins, ginger and/or cinnamon.
But, don’t stop there, get creative and add fruits that are local to your area. You can even double up on the fruit.
The secret is in the fruit. This is how I hide the dirt (earthy) taste and can wholeheartedly call it a Beet Kvass recipe you will actually want to drink!
After the beet kvass is ready to drink, pour it over some ice and mix in a little orange or apple juice to make it even more delicious. Start out with a 50/50 mix and then lessen the fruit juice amount until you come to a satisfying mixture that is right for you.
Beet Kvass recipe you will actually want to drink
Fermented Drink Recipes, Recipes
2 medium beets, wash, peel and chopped into 1 inch cubes
¼ cabbage, finely sliced, grated, or chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
2 tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt
¼ cup whey or juice from sauerkraut – this is optional so don’t worry if you don’t have any.
Enough purified or filtered water to cover the beets
Add apple, ginger and cabbage to a 2-quart glass jar
Add the beets on top
Optional: to sweeten the recipe consider adding raisins, strawberries, orange juice, carrots, pineapple, lavender, fresh or dried mint leaves, or cinnamon.
Weigh the beets down with a rock, pickling weights or a leaf of cabbage rolled up.
Dissolve salt and optional whey in water separately and then pour over the beets. Add enough water to cover the beets, leaving an inch between the top of the jar and the top of the water
Cover tightly and shake well to ensure the salt is fully dissolved.
Place jar in a cool dark place
Burp the jar periodically, otherwise, carbon dioxide levels can build up and create pressure. Check the metal lid every day, if you can’t push it down than unscrew the lid a bit and then immediately tighten it back down.
Transfer to the fridge after 5-7 days
Before drinking the beet kvass, smell it and look at it, if it looks bad or has mold growing in or on it then throw it out and start over. Fermentation can sometimes go wrong, so be safe!
If the beet kvass smells sweet and earthy it is safe to drink.
When the beet kvass is fermented to your taste, strain the liquid into jars and label them. Beet kvass can be stored in the fridge for up to three months.
Fermented foods are full of gut-healthy probiotics and beets are considered one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables available.
During the fermentation process, the sugar is eaten up by the good bacteria (probiotics) turning it into a low sugar food while leaving the healthy stuff, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals still intact.
Beet kvass is full of beneficial enzymes, probiotic bacteria, and higher levels of vitamins.
There are many studies on how probiotics help balance the bacteria in your gut and contribute to a healthier mental, emotional, and physical state.
Benefits of beets:
Many athletes drink beet juice before a workout because of its nitric oxide-boosting benefits which can boost stamina by up to 16%.
Beets have a high amount of a natural chemical called phytonutrients, which is common in many fruits and vegetables. It protects them from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.
The phytonutrients contain powerful anti-cancer properties.
When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they may help fight diseases such as pancreatitis, breast and prostate cancer.
Lower blood pressure
Beets have high levels of nitrate; which in your body is converters into nitric oxides which helps naturally lower blood pressure.
Side effects of beets:
“In every seed of good, there is always a piece of bad.”
~ Marian Wright Edelman
There is no denying the fact that beets either fermented or raw have quite a number of beneficial effects. But there are several drawbacks as well.
If you are prone to kidney stones, it is recommended to avoid beets, along with spinach, Swiss chard, rhubarb, okra and more.
Beets have a high level of oxalate. The oxalates can cause crystallization and make a person who already has kidney stones produce even more.
The high levels of oxalate can also contribute to gout, a type of arthritis that develops when too much uric acid builds up in the body.
Excessive consumption of beets may result in beeturia in some people. Beeturia is a condition where your urine may appear pink or red. Don’t be alarmed because it’s not blood and is actually harmless.
With all things, moderation is the key.
It is important to note that all of these side effects generally occur when someone is consuming a large amount of beets, beet supplements, or beet juice. If you are feeling any side effects consult a doctor and immediately stop eating or drinking beets.
To learn more about the benefits and side effects associated with beets both raw and fermented visit the following links. articles.mercola.com
Beets are especially beneficial to women during pregnancy: vitamin B and Iron are beneficial to new growth cells during pregnancy and replenishing iron in the woman’s body.
Beets are rich in Potassium, Magnesium, Fiber, Phosphorus, Iron, Vitamins A, B & C, Beta-carotene, and Folic acid.
Tired of morning sickness?
Beet kvass gives a real electrolyte boost which can help support you when feeling tired or overwhelmed with morning sickness.
It’s also more hydrating than water like many lacto-fermented drinks. This comes in handy during the breastfeeding stages of raising your baby.
They also offer support for the blood and liver thanks to the betacyanin in the beets.
The high levels of folate and folic acid in the beets and the probiotic qualities make this a perfect drink for pregnant women.
Side effects of beets during pregnancy:
Despite the numerous health benefits, there are a few side effects of beets during pregnancy that you should be aware of.
One compound in beetroot that causes concern for its use in pregnancy is betaine which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems during pregnancy.
According to studies (here), betaine has shown negative effects on animal testing. However, there are no clear studies on pregnant women to support their safety.
Beets are naturally high in nitrates which can make you feel weak when pregnant.
Its common knowledge that deli meats, bacon, sausages, and some hot dogs are high in nitrates and nitrites.
But, there are also many vegetables high in nitrates too, including lettuce, carrots, green beans, spinach, parsley, cabbage, radishes, celery, and collard greens.
Researchers believe the benefits of eating more nitrate-rich vegetables, such as beets probably outweigh the risks, as these nitrate-rich foods can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
** With that being said, it is always wise to consult your doctor first about what is a safe amount of beets to consume during pregnancy.
How much beet kvass should I drink every day?
Start out slowly with one or two teaspoons and gradually work your way up to 4 ounces twice a day. As always, moderation is the key.
Common side effects of consuming too many probiotics include gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then cut back on the amount of beet kvass you are drinking daily.
Your body may need a little more time to adjust to the sudden dose of beneficial bacteria. After your gut’s microflora begins to rebalance you can up the amount you drink.
Along with reducing the amount of beet kvass you are drinking every day, you should also:
Drink the beet kvass on an empty stomach – Probiotics can produce gas when combined with certain foods. Drinking the kvass on an empty stomach will prevent that from happening and ensures the maximum survivability of the beneficial bacteria. Drink it at least 30 minutes before you eat. If you are still experiencing problems, try drinking it on an empty stomach before bed.
Drink plenty of water – Because your digestive system is undergoing the process of detoxification, it is essential to stay hydrated. You need plenty of water to flush out the toxins, which is the bad bacteria. Remember, diarrhea is a sign of dehydration. So if you are experiencing diarrhea you know you need to start drinking more water and cut back on the amount of beet kvass you are drinking until the symptoms subside.
Kimchi is one of my favorite foods, and I’ve been thinking about making it for quite a while now. Beyond my own procrastination holding me back, I was also a little intimidated by the process and a little scared that I would end up just making myself sick by not doing it right.
After watching countless video tutorials and reading many recipes online, my mom found this recipe titled “The Best Korean Kimchi Recipe” posted on CiCi Paradise website. We watched the video several times, and it looked so amazing we had to try it ourselves. The bright red spicy sauce was calling our names.
We tried to get all the ingredients, but because we live a little off the beaten path, we had to do the best we could with what we found.
Our substitute ingredients included applesauce instead of apple puree and shrimp paste instead of salted shrimp. And since we could not find any lance fish sauce or dried cod, we just did without.
We could have ordered the other items online, but we really wanted to get started. Maybe next time.
First, we cut the napa cabbage in half and filled a large bowl halfway with water and mixed in about five tablespoons of the rock salt until it was completely dissolved.
I dipped the napa cabbage halves in water and salted them in between each leaf. It is important to salt each layer so that the cabbage can brine correctly.
After the cabbage leaves were salted, I submerged them in the bowls of saltwater and placed a weight on top to hold them down. I used a pie pan to do this.
We then let the cabbage sit in the brine for four hours. You can soak the cabbage overnight, it just depends how salty you like your cabbage.
While the cabbage was brining, we made the kimchi paste.
The next steps involved cutting the vegetables and making the sweet rice flour mix.
In the video, CiCi and Chef Esther talked about how it would take about 10 minutes of boiling for the sweet rice flour to reach a paste-like consistency.
Ours took approximately 40 minutes to reach the consistency of paste.
To make the paste we mixed the rest of the ingredients: matchstick-size daikon radishes, pureed ginger, garlic, onion, unsweetened applesauce, salted shrimp paste, anchovy fish sauce, plum sauce, Korean chili powder and two tablespoons of the sweet rice flour.
Next, we rinsed the cabbage halves to remove the excess salt and peeled each leaf apart layer by layer and rubbed each leaf with the paste.
DON’T forget to rinse out the salt, you don’t want to ruin the recipe by making it too salty. I found this out the hard way in a recent batch I made.
Remember, that you have three other halves of cabbage so make sure all the cabbage will get an equal amount.
Once we completed rubbing each cabbage leaf with the spicy paste, it was time to stuff them into the mason jars. We used two one-quart jars.
Pack the kimchi down tight and firmly secure the lid.
TIP: Next time I will definitely slice the cabbage into small pieces. The large leaves of cabbage rolled up are hard to remove from the jar. Small pieces would make it much easier to handle and remove individual size portions.
We left the kimchi out at room temperature for two days. Afterward, we put it in the refrigerator for a week. The cold refrigerator slows down the fermenting process.
From there you can leave it in the refrigerator for as long as you like if you like a strong sour flavor.
When we ate the kimchi, it was scorching hot, and I had to drink two glasses of milk to stop my mouth from burning.
TIP: My suggestion would be to use a lot less Korean chili powder and more plum sauce to sweeten it.
Korean chili is a spicier chili than what you would typically buy at the supermarket. Plain chili and Mexican chili don’t even come close.
After we made this batch of kimchi I still really wanted to eat the spicy kimchi, so I decided to make a batch of sweet kimchi without the chili powder and combine them.
Homemade Sweet Kimchi Recipe
I followed the basics of the same kimchi recipe. However, I went a little rogue and added zucchini, leaks, canned bean sprouts, and soy sauce. I also omitted the applesauce, just because I didn’t have any on hand at the time.
Here is my own Sweet Kimchi recipe that is truly kid friendly.
Sweet Korean Kimchi Recipe
Fermented Food Recipes, Kimchi Recipe
2 medium Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons of sweet rice flour
5 tablespoons rock salt
1 cup daikon radish, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
3 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
¼ cup onion, pureed
¼ cup salted shrimp paste (use less for a less fishy taste)
¼ cup anchovy fish sauce
¼ cup plum sauce
½ cup zucchini, sliced thinly
½ cup can bean sprouts
½ cup leek, sliced thinly
¼ cup soy sauce
5 tablespoons white sugar
In a big bowl, combine 1 cup of water and two tablespoons of rock salt, mix to dissolve the salt, put the Napa cabbages inside the bowl and rub rock salt on every leaf. Let the cabbage soak for 5 hours, then flip and leave for another 5 hours, or overnight. When done, drain all the excess of water.
Rice glue: add the rice flour and 2 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes (might take a little longer), continually whisking, until the liquid is thickened to a ribbon-like consistency. Set aside to cool.
Kimchi paste: In a big bowl, combine the daikon radish, sweet rice flour, ginger, garlic, onion, salted shrimp paste, anchovy fish sauce, plum sauce, zucchini, bean sprouts, leek, soy sauce, sugar and mix everything into a thick paste.
Place the cabbages in the bowl and rub the paste into every single leaf. Chop up the cabbage into 1 -2 inches pieces to easily place into the jars.
Tightly pack the kimchi into jars and cover with a lid. You can also use a plastic container, as long as it covered tightly to prevent air from getting inside and ruining the fermentation process. You can see in the picture I used plastic wrap with a rubber band.
Leave the kimchi out at room temperature for at least two days, or longer if you prefer a stronger flavor. Then put it in the refrigerator for another five days.