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    Kombucha, Kefir and Root Beer, Oh MY! How My Family Gets Our Probiotics

    Healthier Hydration with Probiotic Sodas

    Having been either pregnant or nursing babies for the last two and a half years, I get really thirsty! And water doesn’t always cut it.

    We started to fall back on store-bought drinks like canned sparkling water and Kombucha from Costco, but I don’t want to drink from aluminum cans or miss out on the benefits of live ferments. 

    So Olivia and I got into the kitchen this month and finally made probiotic-rich (and hydrating!) Kombucha and Root Beer.

    I used to make Kombucha frequently and just fell out of the habit, but this was my first attempt at Root Beer. Ross inspired me when he bought some Virgil’s Root Beer last summer (it’s full of sugar) and I wanted so badly to have the real, fermented, probiotic-rich traditional soda on hand for him instead. 

    We also made some of our favorite: Grape Soda Kefir! This was Olivia’s first drink (diluted 50/50 with water) after breast milk and plain water, and she still prefers it to anything else! We call it Juice, and she won’t let us do anything else in the morning until she gets her “Jus! Jus!”

    Health Benefits

    All of this trouble in the kitchen is for our gut health – and whole body health. These drinks are rich in gut-healthy probiotics and contain trace but significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. We take Hyperbiotics daily, but instead of just using probiotic supplements, we also like to get friendly bacteria from our food and drink. Some would say these probiotics are heartier, and even more tailored to heal your body when they are grown in your own environment. 

    I’m realistic – I know about 99% of you won’t go make your own probiotic drinks. But, hopefully this will inspire you to stock your fridge with some of these drinks from your local health food store! Just ask the customer service counter where the raw, fermented sodas, kombuchas and kefirs are are.

    If you do want to brew your own, you can get all the home-brewing supplies that you need at www.KombuchaKamp.com

    For our Kombucha, I used Hannah Crum’s Kombucha recipe from www.KombuchaKamp.com and Alex Lewin’s Root Beer Recipe from his book, Kombucha, Kefir and Beyond, but the way I make Grape Soda Kefir was one of my own ideas, so I’ve written the instructions below.

    Basic Kombucha

    Here is the direct link to Hannah’s easy Kombucha Recipe, which you can also find in her book, The Big Book of Kombucha.

    It took us about 10 minutes to make this batch of Kombucha, excluding the time it took to boil the water. It’s so easy! I also used one of her scobys, which she also sells on her website store.

     

    Root Beer

    I used Alex Lewin’s recipe for Root Beer from his book Kombucha, Kefir and Beyond, but you can also use the recipe links below if you don’t have the book!

    First you have to make a Ginger Bug (very easy), and you can get the directions for a Ginger Bug from Nourished Kitchen and the recipe link is on there as well. You can get a Homemade Root Beer Recipe from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp as well, although it has a slightly different fermenting method than what we used from Nourished Kitchen and Alex Lewin.

     

    Grape Soda Kefir

    This is one of our family favorites, and so quick to make.

    Ingredients:

    1 jar of Organic Concord Grape Juice
    *Raw (Coconut) Water Kefir
    Filtered water

    Method:

    1. Pour half of the jar of grape juice into an empty jar of equal size so that you have two jars half-filled with grape juice. 
    2. Add filtered water into each jar until both jars are almost full. Leave 2 inches of empty space.
    3. Pour 2 oz of water kefir into each jar. Close the lids on each jar and gently swirl to mix everything together.
    4. Let sit overnight and taste in the morning. If it’s fizzy and tastes like soda, put it into the fridge. If not, let sit another 6-12 hours, checking once or twice on the carbonation to make sure it doesn’t get too fizzy.
    5. This part is tricky because you kind of have to make this a couple times to know how to catch it right when it’s fizzy enough to taste like soda, but not so fizzy that it’s bitter and foamy. Usually checking it every 4 hours after the initial overnight sitting is a good way to start. Once you do the recipe a few times it will become easier.
    6. As soon as it tastes like soda, put it into the fridge. Once in the fridge, you want to drink this within about 4 days or it will ferment too much.
    7. Save 4 oz of the original batch to use to make the next batch.

    *The water kefir has to be unpasteurized. They can be hard to find – usually in a health food store that specializes in local products. 

    Have you ever made any of these drinks? Do you plan on it? Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts. And I’ll post some photos on my instagram as we enjoy our creations!

     

    Keep taking back your health,
    Robin

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    Take Back Your Health with Robin Shirley