Natural Health Blog

Making Natural Soda at Home; With Water Kefir!

I've been making Water Kefir for several years now.

What the heck is Water Kefir, you ask? 

Water Kefir is a probiotic beverage. It's carbonated, sweetened with fruit, provides beneficial bacteria to our intestinal tracts (TOTALLY necessary to heal the gut and for our immune health), and in a FUN and inexpensive AND dairy-free way!

Water Kefir grains are these rubbery looking nuggets lets call them. You can buy them online or get them from a hippied-out friend of yours who does stuff like this. They are inexpensive and last for years in the fridge - even when your not using them! When you place Water Kefir grains in sugar water, the grains feed on the sugar, creating a fermentation process that imparts healthy bacteria into the water and creates carbonation naturally. Strain the grains, add whatever fruit you fancy and wait a few days. Voila´- Water Kefir, Pro Style! 

Below are step by step instructions for Water Kefir Making - Enjoy! 

Step 1:

Purchase Water Kefir Grains - Make sure they are water kefir and not dairy kefir!

There are two places that I'd recommend.

RawfullyTempting.com OR CulturesforHealth.com. Neither of which I have ordered from because I got mine from a friend. BUT - they both look like reputable and genuine natural health-loving businesses. It takes one to know one! But if you do put an APB out of Facebook - I think you'll find them pretty darn easy to find. A friend of mine even got hers locally on craigslist. Totally cool! 

 

Step 2:

Boil Purified Water. Dissolve Organic Sugar in it to make Sugar Water; cool over night.

The lid should be tight; showing that there is pressure in the jar. This took about 7 days.

The lid should be tight; showing that there is pressure in the jar. This took about 7 days.

Step 3:

In the morning, add your Water Kefir Grains to the Sugar Water. Secure your ball jars with air tight canning jar lids and store jars in a dark, warm place for 7 days OR until the lid to the ball jar becomes tight. This indicates that pressure is building in the jar. 

I like to keep my jars in a warm cupboard near a heat vent in the winter time. Check them at 7 days, they are almost certain to be ready.

You may also see bubbles in the jar if you swish the jar gently from side to side. The top of the lid should have NO give at all; this indicates that the fermentation process has happened.

Strain the grains and set them aside. 

Strain the grains and set them aside. 

Step 4:

Open your jars carefully - they shouldn't explode or anything, perhaps just fizz a little. Strain water kefir grains away from the liquid with a fine mesh metal strainer. NOW, most people will tell you that you shouldn't use metal with fermentation processes. But I've been doing it this way for years with no ill effect. Strain the grains and sit them aside. 

You can either store the grains in the fridge in a bit of sugar water to use for later, or immediately prepare another batch. In my experience they can keep in the fridge for years. I've never managed to kill mine despite not brewing for long periods of time. It's great for the lazy Water Kefir maker that I am! 

Step 5:

Prepare the fruit mash! You can use whatever fruit you like for the most part. It must be sweet, ripe and ideally more on the sugary side to continue the fermentation process and make the Water Kefir Soda really yummy. 

In the past I've made Water Kefir with oranges, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon, tangerines, satsumas, peaches, pears - it's SO fun to try different flavors. Grape and Raspberries are a few of my favorites. Always do organic fruits! Today's Water Kefir was made with Blackberries and Lemon - wow, it's likely the most beautiful color I've ever seen - Crimson red!

I simply mash the heck out of the fruit with either my bare hands (like a cavewoman) or with a potato masher as shown. The idea is to make a lot of juice so your fruit must be super ripe and sweet for best results! 

Step 6:

Wait 3 days or until the jars begin to bubble at the top. You should see fruit gathering at the top of the jar. It will be very active looking when it's ready - it might even be seeping air out of the top of the jar with all the pressure that has built up. 

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I feel the need to warn you - with sweet fruits like oranges, I've had a few bottles (not canning jars), but other types of bottles I've experimented with build so much pressure that orange soda was squirting out all over my kitchen. I have not had this happen with canning jars. And I only ever had it happen with oranges, presumably because they are so sweet. You've been warned! Keep an eye on it and if it starts to do this, refrigerate it. This will stop the fermentation process.

Once your Water Kefir is super bubbly at the top, strain the fruit away from the liquid. I like to eat the fruit because usually it's so good - and likely loaded with healthy probiotics! Carefully (with the use of a good funnel), pour your water kefir into jars or bottles of your choosing. I like to let them sit on the counter for another day after straining. This furthers the fermentation process and makes them super carbonated. Then refrigerate for 6-8 hours before consuming. 

Water Kefir is so fun to make - I hope you enjoy it too! 

Cheers to your health friends! 



Spring Cleaning For The Bowels

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Cleansing the bowels with these suggestions will help encourage elimination. Ever think about doing a bowel cleanse?

There are SO many ways that you can do it. You can get kits, you can take pills, powders, oils and so on. This blog post contains a custom made bowel cleanse that I created for a client and I decided to share it! The main goal of a bowel cleanse is to ensure stagnant waste is moved out of the bowels, to bombard the bowels with healthy substances it needs to function well, and to establish healthier habits for continued bowel health. Spring cleaning really does apply to more than just your house! 

You can do any combination of these suggestions; the more you implement and adhere to, the more effective bowel cleanse will be achieved. 

For this cleanse I suggested a duration of 1 month in preparation for a liver cleanse the following month. Now is a great time to do a bowel cleanse as March is an excellent month for liver cleansing. You can also do two weeks on, two weeks off; essintially breaking up the cleanse so it doesn't seem so long. 

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Just a few reasons to cleanse the bowels and liver:

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Implement the following bowel cleansing habits for the duration of the cleansing period:

  • High Quality Fiber such as ground flax, ground psyllium huskor chia seedsor a combination of all three. (2 tbsp per day in juice or water) Drink it quickly and consume at least 8 to 12 ounces of water with it! After 1 week, this should be increased to twice daily. Psyllium is available in capsules as well. Starting small is key. Begin with one capsule or tsp of ground psyllium husk and increase until 2 bowel movements are achieved daily
  • Chew ALL food very well, liquefying it prior to swallowing! This makes digestion easier from the stomach down
  • Eat a diet consisting in at least 50-75% vegetables, fruits, unprocessed whole wheat, grains, and legumes.
  • Half your body weight in purified water should be consumed per day. If your 150lbs, drink 75oz per day. 
  • Dry Brushing the skin at least 3 times a week towards the heart
  • Essential Fatty Acids should be consumed to lube the tube! (fish oil, flax oil, hemp oil) 2-4 tsp per day
  • Laxative teasor herbal laxative capsules (3 times a week at night for a movement in the morning)
  • Probiotics (30 to 50 Billion potency per day) Renew Life and Garden of Life are two great brands. I like to take these after a meal to ensure that the healthy bacteria make it through the stomach
  • 1 Enema per week. There is more information below on benefits of enemas
  • Herbal tincture of Dandelion and Burdock Root to cleanse the liver gallbladder and blood. 20 drops 2 times daily
  • Daily Juicing
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Foods to Avoid During the Bowel Cleanse:

  • Avoid Pork Completely. Pork is the meat that takes the longest to go through the digestive tract, therefore it contributes to stagnant waste in the bowels. Ham should be avoided for a healthy gut
  • Red meat (limit to 1 time weekly, if you consume red meat, only consume vegetables with it. i.e., a big salad, a pile of steamed vegetables and a grass fed steak. Do not combine potatoes with steak. Grass fed beef only is preferable in limited amounts
  • Chicken (limit to 3 times per week)
  • Avoid Dairy. Allow yourself to have it as a treat only (3 times per week maximum)
  • Avoid processed wheat such as bread (unless 100% whole grain, preferably sprouted grain bread)
  • Avoid pastries, donuts, cookies and crackers. If you consume these limit them to 3 times per week or so

Snacks, Breads and Dairy that are acceptable:

  • Raw Nuts (almond, Brazilian etc, these can be purchased at the health food store)
  • Ezekiel sprouted bread that can be purchased at the health food store
  • Raw snacks and crackers (health food store)
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Use hummus for spread on Ezekiel bread in place of Mayonnaise
  • REAL butter on toasted Ezekiel bread is ok
  • Raw Cheeses a few times a week is ok (this can be bought at the health foods store)

The main benefit of an enema is the cleansing of stagnant wastes from the body. Stagnant waste in the colon, leads to dirty blood. Dirty blood must be eliminated elsewhere; unfortunately the skin is the best place for the body to rid itself of toxins. People with acne, hormonal imbalance, candida or digestive problems can benefit.  Find Directions for doing Enemas here.  Additionally probiotics administered in enemas populate the bowels with healthy bacteria to encourage a healthy ecosystem in the bowel. This is going to encourage proper elimination. All this info and more is at the link above on enemas. 

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Always brush towards the heart!Dry Brushing:

Dry brushing is important as it will encourage lymphatic drainage in the body. We want to open ALL channels of elimination so that we can cleanse the organs, bowels, blood and skin. It’s simple, it takes 5 minutes and it FEELS SO GOOD!  Pick up a dry brush at any health food store or at the link above to vitacost.com. Begin with it each morning prior to showering, dry brushing on bare, dry skin towards the armpits, towards the heart, towards the groin. This will encourage lymphatic movement, and detoxification of the body.

Laxative Teas:

We must do laxative herbal teas or herbal capsules as it will purge the bowels several times a week. With dry brushing, eating better, juicing more and detoxing more than normal, purging the bowels periodically will ensure that stagnant wastes do not collect there. Try doing the tea (1 bag at first, steeped for 20 minutes). Do this at night when you don’t have to be anywhere in the morning prior to 10:00am. We need to see how quickly the tea is effective for you. I would recommend drinking the tea around 7:00 or 8:00pm at night. Everyone responds differently to laxative teas. You may wake up at 4:00am to go, or you may not go until 9:00am. You will need to experiment at first to find out what works for you. I do not advocate for people using herbal laxatives habitually. This creates a dependency on the laxative for movements. We must rely on our own natural peristalsis (wave like motion in the bowels) to move food through the intestine. The laxative herbal teas should be used 2-3 times a week at the most during the bowel detox.

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There are many variations of bowel cleanses. You can pretty much take or leave any of these options and STILL benefit the bowels in a positive way. As I mentioned before, you really get out of it what you put into it. 

Please reach out to me with questions or comments on bowel cleansing or any other natural health topics!

Thanks!

Defeating the Yeast Beast

This is the Renew Life Critical Care recommended by my Naturopath. I've trusted Renew Life for years. Pick this up at Better Health with a coupon if you can as it's pricey. Chronic yeast infections are not something to put a bandaid on...

...And by bandaid I mean Monastat, Vagasil or any of those other over the counter creams or suppositories. This will only suppress this illness for a short time, only to have it rear it's ugly head later. As it did with me. I used Monastat in my early twenties for yeast infections that I would get about once a year or so. 10 years later, here I am dealing with it for keeps, naturally.

For me this battle with yeast began with the removal of the mercury from my teeth late last year; just days later the yeast began to detox from my body, with a vengeance! Mercury toxicity actually impedes the body's ability to reduce yeast overgrowth. Now that the mercury is gone, the yeast is subsiding. I have flare ups but as long as I avoid beer, too much refined sugar and stick to the program below, I'm defeating the yeast beast. Healing is about perminant lifestyle changes, not temporary quick fixes. Ho Hum.

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