WATER KEFIR: What is it? Where do I get it? How do I make it?

WHAT IS WATER KEFIR???

You may have noticed the new surge of products in the grocery store (yogurts, drinks, milk, etc.) that boast 'kefir' on the label. Although this product has been popular for those who know it for some time now, recently it has become respected by the mainstream as a an excellent health product. I started drinking water kefir products roughly 6 months ago, and I absolutely love them. I received my first package of kefir grains in the mail, and since then my husband and I have had a lot of fun making different types of drinks. So what exactly is it, and why should you be enjoying it??? Water kefir/ Milk kefir is a fermented drink that is meant to supply the body with healthy bacteria. There are two types of kefir grains: water, and milk. Simply, water kefir grains are meant to be fermented in water, and milk kefir grains are meant to be fermented in milk products. Water kefir grains are small, jelly like substances that are created by 'friendly' bacteria. I am sure you have heard a lot about probiotics, as well as the benefits of having healthy bacteria in your system (think of the many yogurt campaigns that publicize these benefits). That is exactly what water kefir (and milk kefir) is meant for: to supply our bodies with an ecosystem of bacteria to promote a healthy functioning digestive system. Healthy bacteria is important because it feeds off of the unhealthy bacteria that lives in our digestive tract. Although both water kefir, and milk kefir grains carry the same benefits, I prefer water kefir not only because I am vegan (and do not consume animal milk products), but I also find 'water' easier to consume in larger quantities.

So, what are the BENEFITS of kefir grains? The list is exhaustive, but here are some of the 'highlights' :):
  1. Strongest natural remedy against any allergy
  2. Strongest natural antibiotic without side effects
  3. Treats liver disease
  4. Treats gallbladder, dissolves gall bladder stones
  5. Clears the body of salts, heavy metals, radionuclides, and alcoholic products
  6. Cleans the body of chemical antibiotics
  7. Treats kidney stones
  8. Good bacteria in kefir are able to fight off pathogenic microorganisms
  9. Lowers level of LDL cholesterol
  10. Cleans the gastrointestinal tract
  11. Helps cure IBS
  12. Treats gastritis
  13. Treats pancreatitis
  14. Treats ulcers
  15. Prevents and treats colon cancer
  16. Improves digestion
  17. Improves the body functions
  18. Improves the human immune system
  19. Cures Candida
  20. Cures hypertension
  21. Stops growth of cancer cells
  22. Speeds up healing process
  23. Treats psoriasis
  24. Treats eczema
  25. Treats inflammatory diseases
  26. Reduces size of tumors
  27. Treats heart disease
  28. Reverses calcination of blood vessels
  29. Clears the blood vessels
  30. Boosts the bodies energy
  31. Natural “feel good” food
  32. Treats lung infections
  33. Normalizes metabolism thereby can be used as for weight loss
  34. Cures acne
  35. Has anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties
  36. Nourishes hair
  37. Treats the gum disease parodontosis
  38. Lessens effects of medicines
  39. Replenishes body of good bacteria after antibiotic
  40. Balances the microflora of the body’s digestive system
  41. Regulates blood pressure
  42. Lowers blood sugar
  43. Lowers blood lipid levels or cholesterol and fatty acids
  44. Treats diarrhea
  45. Treats constipation
  46. Promotes bowel movement
  47. Anti-stress properties
  48. Treats sleeping disorders
  49. Treats depression
  50. Treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  51. Improves the brains neuro functions like reflexes, memory retention, attention, the five senses
  52. Reduces flatulence
  53. Lactic acid fermentation enhances the digestibility of milk based foods. People who cannot otherwise digest milk, can enjoy the vital calcium rich Kefir.
  54. Treats yeast infection
  55. Eliminates vaginal odors
  56. Cures wrinkles
  57. Treats arthritis
  58. Treats colitis
  59. Treats gout
  60. Cures migranes
  61. Treats rheumatism
  62. Treats other stomach disorders
  63. Detoxifies the body
  64. Improves protein quality of milk, and enhances absorption and digestion
  65. Good bacteria manufacture B vitamins such as B3, B6 and folic acid.
  66. Aids in treating tuberculosis
  67. Treats stomach cramps
  68. Treats chronic intestine infections
  69. Treats liver infections
  70. Treats asthma
  71. Treats bronchitis
  72. Treats sclerosis
  73. Treats anemia
  74. Treats hepatitis
  75. Healing effects on catarrh, digestive nodes, astral nodes, bilious complaints
  76. Treats leaky gut syndrome
  77. Prevents metastasis
  78. Cures bad morning breath
  79. AND MANY MORE...
 * This information was taken from the website "Your Kefir Source"

WHERE DO I GET IT??? and HOW DO I MAKE IT???

Because Kefir is becoming more and more popular, you would be surprised at how easy it is to find. Several health food stores will actually have it in stock in their cold section, or you can ask the owner directly if they would be able to purchase some for sale. There are several great websites that actively sell water kefir grains, including Ebay, Kijiji, and strictly 'kefir grain sales' companies. Furthermore, kefir grains grow at an incredible rate, so many people are willing to share their grains, or sell them at a small fee (check out "Finding Kefir Grains" for more links). Once you have the grains, you will not only see how quickly they multiply (literally doubling in a matter of weeks), but reap the amazing health benefits, as well as try out all kinds of delicious drinks.

So, how do you make water kefir???

There are several websites that have many different recipes for you to try. One of my favorites can be found at the following link: Dom's Water Kefir Site. Once you start you will quickly learn how easy it is to make, and begin creating your own recipes. This is because water kefir grains truly only need two ingredients to thrive: water and sugar, which means you can add any other flavors that you like! When made properly, water kefir is a slightly bubbly drink which carries the flavors of any fruit that you decide to ferment the grains with.   The following is a very basic water kefir recipe, that will not only make a delicious drink, but brings out the optimal benefits of the kefir grains:


Ingredients (makes 6 cups):
1 Glass jar with a lid (if you want a fermented drink, buy a jar with a tight fitting lid)
1/3 cup of water kefir
6 cups of filtered or spring water
6 tblsp sugar (I use an assortment of brown, white, cane, etc.)
1 tsp unsulphered molasses (optional, it puts iron into the drink)
1/8 tsp baking soda (helps with the alkalinity)
1 slice of lemon, or lime (optional)
2 pieces of dried fruit (my favorite is dried peach); I also enjoy ginger. 

1) Fill glass jar with water. Gently stir in all other ingredients (until the sugar dissolves).
2) Place jar in a dark area (such as a closet or cupboard). Let the drink ferment for a minimum of 2 days. Once finished, strain kefir with a plastic strainer (VERY IMPORTANT, metal kills the kefir). Use kefir again and again! Enjoy your drink!

I hope you will consider trying water kefir today! :)
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8 comments:

  1. Hi, love this post. I'm vegan as well. Question about the kefir starters: Do you know if you can use water kefir grains to make coconut kefir pudding or would l have to use the milk kefir grains? I would prefer to use the water ones, since I am vegan and don't want to use milk products. Thanks!

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  2. Anonymous2:02 PM

    We use water grains and coconut milk in cans to make coconut kefir. Once you refrigerate after first ferment it thickens up like yogurt

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  3. Anonymous7:35 PM

    I just made my first coconut milk kefir with full fat canned organic coconut milk. I found the perfect tip for us *vegans* :D on how to make totally non-dairy coconut milk kefir: don't put the actual grains in the coconut milk. Instead, use 1/4 cup kefir water (already made from the grains) for 2-4 cups of coconut milk.

    Since it was my first time and i only had one 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk, i poured it into a clean glass jar, added ~1/8 cup of kefir water (purchased at health food store cuz i didn't know you could make your own yet) and set it on the counter with a cloth over the top. 24 hrs later... YUMMO!!!!!

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  4. Anonymous6:27 PM

    I read that water kefir grains are unsuitable for vegans because they are derived from eggshell. So how are water kefir grains produced, do you know?

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  5. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Where'd you hear that?

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  6. I thought kefir grains were made from gelatine, so how can they be vegan?

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  7. Water Kefir is a natural supplier of Probiotics to our digestive track. Probiotics refers to the healthy bacteria that usually feed on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. Bacterial overgrowth can lead to many illnesses some of which include fungi, yeast infections, indigestion, obesity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome + Crohn’s Disease (my autoimmune disorder stems from these), skin disorders, etc. By drinking water kefir you will bring natural balance to your internal microflora. By contrast, there is milk kefir [review comparison], however the dairy in it could be problematic and thus the reason I use water kefir.

    Source: Fresh Kefir Starter

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  8. @sam kia although they may look like gelatinous ice cubes they are bacteria and yeast. Some will add eggshells to give more nutrients but they definately do not come from eggshells. They are actually thought to originate in mexico growing inside of the optunia prickly pear cactus.

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