A lot of my life I've had tummy troubles. I always chalked it up to eating something too rich, too greasy, or perhaps it was nerves. But believe me, it ain't funny when you're leaving a restaurant and you can't even make it home before pulling over like a crazy woman at the nearest gas station. No one wants to mess their new Gap Body paisley panties. Not cool and totally embarrasing.
After my twins were born, my gut woes got worse. I basically had to stop eating out and about. As soon as I put something in, I immediately had to run to the bathroom. I was miserable and sick. After tons of reading, and researching I discovered my CURE!
Probiotics saved me. I began taking the pill form. They worked great. But only if I took a really high quality brand. This can add up fast if you plan on taking them regularly (which I recommend). I then discovered one of the best ways to get more probiotics into your diet was to eat foods that are rich in probiotics. Go figure:) They're called fermented foods.
Fermented foods are an absolute powerhouse of nutrition. Full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics. If you and your family are looking to take your health up a notch, fermented foods are where it's at.
Around 70% or our immune system is in the gut. So you can see if you have an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in your tummy, it's hard to be at the top of your game.
Tummy issues, acne, inflammation, yeast infections and constant colds are just some of the symptoms telling us we need to fix our gut health.
Fermented foods can help! They have this amazing ability to heal the tummy and repopulate it with the good kind of bacteria (probiotics, my friend). It's a beautiful thing.
There are a few different avenues you can go when it comes to fermented foods. Fermented vegetables (think sauerkraut), Kombucha (a fermented tea that is super tasty and fizzy), and Kefir (a fermented yogurt like drink). There are others, but these are my three favorites!
We'll start with kefir because it's probably one of the simplest to make at home.
Why don't I just buy it at the store? Well...
1. If you choose to drink it on a regular basis (which I recommend) it's a whole heck of a lot cheaper to make at home.
2. Most commercial brands are loaded with extra sugar, which kinda defeats the purpose since sugar is a main culprit in creating havoc in your tummy and letting that bad bacteria and yeast take over.
3. Commercial kefir is pasteurized which means it's heated to high temperatures which kills a ton of the good enzymes and probiotics. I've read a statistic that homemade kefir has 30 times more probiotics than store bought! Heck to the Yeah!
Ready to get started?
Here's a list of what you will need:
-Kefir grains: It's super awesome if you know someone already who is making kefir. You can just get some grains from them since kefir grains multiply like gangbusters after each new batch. If you don't , they are totally easy to purchase online. My favorite source is CulturedFoodLife.com. Donna is a fermenting fanatic. Her website is full of amazing recipes and how to's. Her new book is actually on my birthday wish list this summer! Love her and all she does.
-1 qt Mason Jar with lid
-Cows milk: (I also use coconut milk every other batch) You have to always go back to cows milk though because the kefir grains stay healthy and thrive only with dairy.
-Plastic mesh strainer: I got mine here. Don't use metal! It reacts with the live cultures and is super bad for them.
Ok, Let's make some kefir!
Take your grains (a couple tablespoons worth) and 1 1/2 cups of milk. I use 2% or whole. Place them in a half quart mason jar and add the milk. Close the lid, place the jar on your countertop out of direct sunlight and wait for about 24 hours.
After 24 hrs you'll see that your milk has thickened and possibly the whey is separating. The whey looks like l clear-ish light yellow liquid. Strain it with your plastic mesh strainer and spatula into the glass container you will be storing it in. Then either drink it up or place it in the refrigerator.
Next, take your grains and a clean jar and start the whole process over again! So easy, so simple, so fun!
A lot of folks drink it strait, but I'm a big fan of putting kefir into my smoothies every morning. My little ladies love kefir popsicles. I'll be sure to post the recipe soon! They probably eat at least one a day. One of my gals has had issues with loose stools a lot of her life. Since adding kefir into her diet I'm extatic to say that her poops are solid and soft. Yes! Gotta love it.