What is water kefir? Is it alive? What does it taste like? Is it even good for you?
This Tuesday, our Cancer Fighting Food recipe comes from pro snowboarder and breast cancer survivor Megan Pischke, with her favorite recipe for water kefir. Megs shared with all of us the incredible health benefits, and how she used water kefir to build up her immune system following her chemotherapy treatments. Haven’t heard of it? Read up!
For more about Megan’s story, be sure to join us this Sunday, April 26th, 2015 for the Southern California debut of B4BC’s documentary Chasing Sunshine at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
My new favorite drink. After chemo the first thing I wanted to do was to start rebuilding my gut flora. One of the many things I had learned is 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. I knew it was going to take awhile to rebuild this for myself—my Chinese medicine doctor even said two years! But I had to start somewhere: constipation was ruining my life, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was popping more pills. Even if it meant adding powdered probiotics to my smoothies, what I really wanted to be doing was eating probiotic foods.
Kimchee, kraut, kombucha are all great gut builders, but my favorite is water kefir. I add it to smoothies, or add pureed fruit to it, or just drink it on its own. The little grains were hard to find for me. Although offered by several websites (in freeze dried form), I was told that it was difficult to get them started when freeze dried, and the best way to get them was from a friend. Grains are for sharing, and if they are in the proper environment they multiply quickly. In my first batch they only survived a few days, and I discovered the problem was most likely the chlorine in my water—so I now filter AND boil the water.
Water kefir grains are a bacterial starter. You “feed” them sugar, the live active yeast actually “eats” the sugar during fermentation, and you end up with a very low sugar, super healthy beverage. They are similar to the dairy kefir grains, but lighter in flavor and there is obviously no lactose. However, strangely enough, the dairy kefir actually can help you digest lactose better.
You can also add water kefir grains to coconut water, which is delicious. All you need to do is add sugar to them (I use an organic coconut palm sugar for the mineral content), good clean water, and let them ferment in your cupboard or on your countertop (out of direct sunlight).
I was nervous about my first fermentation, so I had to run over to my girlfriends who has cupboards full of the stuff, and do a taste test. It’s light, fizzy, and delicious—almost like a gingerale, minus the sugary aftertaste and cavity factor. The fermentation is when the healthy bacteria grows. A few of those bacterias include: bifidobacteria, lactobacillus acidphilus, lactobacillus bulgaricus, and the list goes on and on. Kefir is one of the most probiotic foods you can eat.
Water kefir boasts multiple health benefits, like the kind you cant ignore: it kills candida, boosts immunity, fights cancer, supports detox, builds bone density, heals IBS and IBD, and the list goes on.
There’s even been a published study in the Journal of Dairy Science that evaluated the immune cells in mice and discovered that regular kefir consumption helps stop breast cancer growth! But don’t take my word for it—do your own research, see what you come up with, and track down some grains to trade and share in your community.
Make sure: you have clean water. You store your grains in glass or stainless steel containers, organic if possible! Don’t do dried fruits- as there is often preservatives. And handle them with love, and share ☺