Recipes

What Is Water Kefir? How to Make It and Why Drink It

Have you ever seen kefir in the refrigerated section of your grocery store—or better yet, given it a taste? Kefir is a sour, yogurt-like drink that contains a healthy dose of probiotics. Kefir grains, which look a bit like cottage cheese, are actually colonies of bacteria and yeast that quickly ferment milk.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, however, there’s still a way to get these beneficial bacteria into your system. The answer is water kefir.

How to Make Water Kefir

Water kefir recipes vary, but the principle is the same: place water kefir grains in a jar of sugar water or juice, cover with a lid, and let sit in a warm room for a day or two. When the water or juice becomes cloudy and less sweet, you’ll know it’s time to strain out the grains and enjoy the finished kefir (or store it in the fridge). You can place the grains in a fresh jar of sugar water and repeat the process for a continuous supply of kefir.

It’s important to note that milk kefir grains and water kefir grains are not the same thing, and they won’t work interchangeably. The easiest way to get water kefir grains is to buy them online. Cultures for Health is a reputable source and they have a wealth of instructional videos and FAQs to help.

Worried about drinking sugar? Allow me to explain! The kefir grains break down the sugar, and this process is what produces the probiotic-rich properties. You can use organic white, raw or rapadura sugar. The sugar content will decrease as the probiotics and enzymes develop.

Once you’ve made water kefir a few times, you’ll find the process quite easy. There really isn’t much to do besides let the grains sit in the sugar water and do their work!

Take It Further

Water kefir recipes are less popular than milk kefir recipes, but they’re gaining popularity as more people discover they can get the same probiotics without the dairy. After your water kefir has finished fermenting, you can do a second ferment with fresh berries or other fruit. Simply place the chopped fruit back in the finished kefir and let sit for another day or two. The result will be a fizzy drink similar to soda—but far healthier, of course!

Curious to learn more about fermentation? I contributed an entire chapter of gut-healing recipes to The Secret Life of Your Microbiome by Susan L. Prescott, MD, PhD and Alan C. Logan, MD. These life-changing recipes were an integral part of my health and wellness journey, and I’m thrilled to share them with you. The book is out in September, but you can reserve your copy on Amazon today!

Fermented Chai Low-Carb Granola

My Fermented Chai Low-Carb Granola recipe is the perfect gut-boosting Keto Diet breakfast. One ¼-cup serving contains only about 2.3 grams of carbs, while traditional recipes and packaged varieties contain about 22 grams of carbs. That’s a big savings! It helps keep my insulin levels low, but I don’t miss out on my favourite flavours or textures.

This crunchy, satisfying granola is easy to make—and easy to adjust to make your own! The coconut oil is a good source of quality fat, which helps you feel full and satiated. The nuts, seeds and whey provide a healthy dose of protein to give you non-stop energy as you start your day. I also add fermented chai protein, which lends a complex spice profile, balanced with a kiss of (low GI) sweetener. 

I’ve been making this for my mom who has cancer, and it keeps her body in a ketogenic state. This enables her to starve the cancer of sugar, which it feeds on. I recommend it to anyone interested in the Keto Diet—or anyone who wants to feel happy and healthy all morning long!

Fermented Chai Low-Carb Granola

Adapted from Maria Emmerich’s granola recipe

Ingredients
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup vanilla whey protein powder (Genuine Health or any vanilla protein powder you like) 
1 cup Genuine Health Fermented Whole Body Nutrition with Greens+ Vanilla Chai Powder
½ cup erythritol (Organic Zero) or ½ cup xylitol
1 tsp. stevia glycerite (stevia glycerite does not have the bitter aftertaste) 
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. Celtic sea salt
1 ¼ cup melted coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the nuts, seeds, protein powders, erythritol, stevia, cinnamon and salt. Add the oil and combine. 
  3. Transfer the granola to a large cookie sheet and spread into a single layer. Place it in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. 
  4. Remove and let cool. Break the granola into bite-sized pieces and store in an airtight container. Serve with almond or coconut milk.

Gut Girl Note: Opt for organic ingredients to reduce your exposure to chemicals and pesticides. 

Are you excited to try this recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below. Or, contact me to schedule a complimentary Breakthrough Session, and let me help you create a delicious dietary plan that works for you! 

 

5 Ways to Make Your Greens Gorgeous + 8 Recipes!

You’ve probably heard this a million times: it’s important to eat greens every day. But how many times have you heard that the greens can be the most delicious part of your plate? That’s right; you should be getting a serving of green veggies with every meal, but that doesn’t mean it should be seen as a chore. Dark leafy greens are perfect as they are, but there are a few easy ways to dress them up—so everyone at the table is actually excited to eat them (even the kids)!

Below, I'm sharing some of my best ideas. Then, download a copy of my FREE mini cookbook...

Glamorize Your Greens with: 

  1. Toasted Nuts: From pine nuts to slivered almonds, they add protein and crunch to all of your side dishes. Use any nut you like or have on hand. 
  2. Sweet Raisins: Raisins lend a sweet flavor and chewy texture that make your greens more colorful and palatable. You can also try dried cranberries for a little tartness.
  3. Pops of Lemon: Citrus helps cut down on the bitterness of veggies like dandelion, mustard and arugula greens. Drizzle it on or serve your sides with lemon wedges. 
  4. Sesame Seeds: These are most often used in stir-fries, but I think they look stunning on any vegetable. Or, try black sesame seeds to really make an impression. 
  5. Bold Spices: Spices and seasonings can ramp up the flavor profile, so go on and get creative. I love cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. And sometimes, just sea salt and black pepper is all you need. 

The most important tip is to focus on the presentation of the greens, so they look as good as they make you feel. Are you ready to get cooking?

Gorgeous Greens Cookbook!

I’ve put together a mini cookbook, featuring 8 of my favorite leafy green recipes, that you can easily download and print out. Use it for menu planning during the holidays, easy entertaining or last-minute inspiration for weekday dinners. A few of the highlights: 

  • Sautéed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins
  • Gayatri Greens with organic yogurt
  • Swiss Chard Salad with Asian Dressing
  • Sautéed Broccoli with sesame seeds
  • And more!

Download my Gorgeous Greens Cookbook here, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Fancy Ferments: 11 Elegant Herbs & Spices

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than my Essential Sauerkraut, made with nothing more than cabbage and sea salt. But when you eat as many fermented foods as I do, or feel like you’re falling into a food rut, I encourage you to elevate your recipes with my list of elegant herbs and spices. 

A hint of lavender, dash of lemongrass, pinch of peppercorns or kick of cardamom, can transform even the simplest jar of pickles. What makes these ingredients so special is that they’re not often used in everyday cooking, and usually of superior quality. It’s like popping into a gourmet shop for artisanal cheese or Belgium chocolate; it’s a fun and sophisticated way to divert from your regular routine. 

And let’s not forget about aesthetics. Adding beautiful colors to your ferments will make them look gorgeous in the jar and on your plate. Just think about how stunning your rice bowls will look (and taste) topped with a fancy ferment. Not only will you want to eat more of these gut-boosting bacteria, you’ll probably want to share your bliss. 

In fact, beautiful ferments make a great homemade gift for all the (health) foodies in your life! With the holidays just around the corner, make up a few batches. Then, transfer them to mini Mason jars, label each one and add a ribbon or bow. Nice and simple… just how I like it! 

Whether you’re making sipping vinegars, traditional pickles, or sauerkraut, try one, two or all of my... 

Elegant Herbs & Spices:

  1. Kefir lime leaves
  2. Pink peppercorns
  3. Cardamom pods
  4. Fennel pollen
  5. Lilac
  6. Lemongrass
  7. Lavender
  8. Lemon or orange peels
  9. Juniper berries
  10. Sumac
  11. Saffron

Not sure how to incorporate herbs and spices into my fermentation recipes? Contact me and I’ll help you out. Or, if you have a favourite, let me know in the comments below. I’ll work on a special recipe and feature it on my blog.