Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dairy-free Probiotic for Pennies a Day! Water Kefir

I've been enjoying a cool and refreshing drink this summer, called water kefir and sometimes called Ginger Beer. There's not alcohol in it, but there are some powerful probiotics.

Here is what Mike Adams from Natural News says about Water Kefir and its health benefits:
Probiotics are living microorganisms that have been found to provide many health benefits. Benefits include boosting immunity, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, preventing colon cancer, preventing irritable bowel syndrome and colitis, and reducing inflammation. Although yogurt is usually the first probiotic food to come to mind, water kefir is an excellent, dairy-free way to get in more probiotics without much expense. In fact, water kefir is one of the top ten dairy-free probiotics available today.

Kefir water is made using special water kefir grains through a simple fermentation process. The resulting liquid is slightly fizzy, similar to soda pop. Many people are able to finally break free from the soda habit by replacing it with water kefir and getting the added benefits of probiotics!

Learn more:

There are a lot of comparisons between yogurt and kefir. Kefir, however, is considered the probiotic powerhouse for several reasons. Yogurt provides several strains of beneficial bacteria that benefit the gut. Kefir has a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria that have a more potent effect on the GI system and mucous membranes of the body.

I hope you enjoy making your own water kefir, it’s really easy to do.

WATER KEFIR (Ginger Beer)

Add these ingredients to a spotlessly clean 2L jar. 
Alter to suit volume of grains given:

3 cups filtered water or well water (tap water will kill the grains)
¼ cup water kefir grains
¼ cup maple syrup or raw sugar (I have used Palm sugar (organic) 2 lg. tbsp.)
A knob of fresh ginger sliced
½ slice of lemon
1 dried fig (to introduce beneficial bacteria)

If and when you wish to increase the quantity of grains add these as well:

½ teaspoon baking soda and 1 cm square of egg shell boiled and rushed (or 1 tsp/ molasses)

Seal jar airtight and let stand for 2 days at room temperature. Stir contents after 24 hours and again a few times when possible thereafter. Strain liquid water-kefir and store in airtight sealable bottles. Best enjoyed chilled after 1-2 days refrigeration. This increases carbonation to give a nice refreshing fizzy ginger root-beer.

Try storing the sealed bottle at room temperature for one day before refrigeration. This should increase fizz and reduce sugar content faster than fridge storage.
Sometimes the grains rapidly increase in quantity. Initially it might take more than 2 days for the water kefir to be ready, but in no time you’ll have plenty of grains and be giving ginger beer and water kefir grains to your friends and family.

How to keep the kefir alive while away
All you need to do is sit the kefir grains in a container with some of the kefir liquid and store in the fridge. This is called “putting them to sleep”. After that it may take a couple of batches for its fermenting power to get back to normal, but that is all. They won’t die, just lose a little fermenting power, but can be nurtured back again.

Thanks to Roxanne at Dr. Robert Kidd's office for supplying a starter kit of granules for me. 


  1. "Although yogurt is usually the first probiotic food to come to mind, water kefir is an excellent, dairy-free way to get in more probiotics without much expense."

    Yes, Kefir is a fermented food right? Am I correct? I love fermented foods but I prefer yogurt as a source of probiotics.

  2. Yes, Kefir is a fermented food. Not everyone tolerates dairy Kefir and so water Kefir becomes an option as a way to get probiotics safely.

    To your health
    Dr. Barbara Powell