good morning spark friends. quiet here--weigh in was okay--i am down about .2 but i am happy with that--tuesday was a complete train wreck and i have been taking advil off and on this week, which makes me hold on to water. so i was hoping i would just still be where i was the week before, but i am down a hair from that, so the weight i am at now is holding steady and not bouncing upward. it wouldn't suprise me at all if i were on a little plateau--this is a weight my body has been at many times in the past.
i am getting "in the swing" with my water kefir. it is such an interesting little creature. originally from turkey, water kefir is a probiotic organism that looks like a little wad of milky colored plastic (sounds appetizing, doesn't it???). i ordered some "grains" as they are called from a gal on ebay. they came wrapped in a ziplock bag, and she emailed me directions when she shipped them. it's kind of like a sourdough starter in that you keep feeding the grains and they multiply. here's how it works:
you take 1/4 cup of the grains and rinse them gently in tepid water--we have well water which is fine. chlorinated water should never be used. you put the rinsed grains in a clean quart jar. now you need to feed them. they eat sugar. any kind of sugar except honey (which will injure the bugs--honey is highly antibacterial). i use what the seller recommended--organic evaporated cane juice. this sugar still contains molasses and some minerals that also help the grains to grow. if you use white sugar you can make the bugs a little snack by putting a couple raisins, a tsp. of unsulfured molasses, a bit of eggshell that has been boiled and cooled, or liquid minerals in the mix. once the food is all in the jar, you fill the jar to about 1" of the rim with tepid, unchlorinated water. if you use filtered water you need to be sure to add the extra "snack" because the filtering makes the water less "mineral-y".
now you shake the bottle up to mix everything thoroughly, and then cap it with just a coffee filter or napkin so air can get to it. set it in a room temperature spot and let it sit. in one or two days there will be plenty of bubbles when you tap the jar, and you will see that the grains have increased. its kind of like sea monkeys but not quite as entertaining
. you never want to let the grains go for more than 48 hours because they will have eaten all the sugar and begun to starve.
at the end of the first "fermentation, you strain the grains using a non metallic strainer, and save the water. the water will have much less sugar in it now because the grains have eaten most of it. you rinse the grains and begin a next batch. the activated water you have drained off can now be consumed. you can drink it now, but its a lot more fun and tasty to let it ferment a second time. now the fun begins. you take your liquid--about half of it goes into a 25-32 oz. bottle with a flip top that seals tight. i just went ahead and bought a bunch of homebrewing beer bottles with the swing snap tops. so half of the liquid fills the bottle up by about half. now you can top this off with fruit juice. any kind you like except citrus--although some people do make a lemonade out of it. i got a bunch of organic pomegranate juice on sale so that's what i am using. so you add this to the activated water, cap the bottle and put it back on the counter for 2 days. you have to keep an eye out for bubbles now--if they build up too much you need to open the bottle to alleviate some pressure. after 2 days the bottle goes in the frig. you need to keep an eye on the bubbles again--but what happens is the bugs in the water eat the sugar from the fruit juice and give off gas like yeast does in bread dough. the gas makes the drink fizzy, as if it were carbonated--and the fermentation gives it a VERY mild alcohol or yeasty flavor. my first batch tasted like a very mild sangria. just a hair fizzy--but now i have bottles that seal better i am hoping for more fizz. we drink a small juice glass each day--and i can say it has already done wonders for my gut. you can even eat the grains, and once the culture is up and running, you have excess grains because they multiply. i usually put 1/4 c. in the jar, but when i strain it out there are more like 6T. i give the excess to my chickens--or you can pass them on to a friend. the dogs and i tried eating a grain today--it kind of tastes like a piece of dry cheese that is a tiny bit sweet. not haute cuisine, but not awful. shambles ate her grain right down. dorijane spit hers out and looked at me with disdain.
when you begin drinking the kefir you need to go slow and let your body get used to it. my reading indicates that kefir will do a better job than yogurt in colonizing your gut with good guys. nutrient wise you basically consider a glass to be the equivalent of a piece of fruit.
there are a lot of health benefits to kefir, and i have found water kefir to be more managable than milk kefir--primarily because you have to feed milk kefir MILK which can get a little pricey. having done both, i can now say i prefer the water kefir. and rob much prefers it to the milk kefir because its a little bit fruity and fizzy.
if you would like to try some water kefir, just let me know and when i have enough i will send you a set of your very own little pets to grow!