In a society of waterless hand sanitizers, lysol, antibiotics, wet wipes, and paranoia; bacteria gets a bad reputation. But bacteria can be a very good thing. It is bacteria that creates wine and beer. It is bacteria that decomposes wastes and thereby fertilizes the ground. It is bacteria that digests the food that we eat so that our body can absorb nutrients. Bacteria also balances out harmful yeasts. Much good comes from bacteria. The health community has started embracing this idea and thus the birth of the concept of “probiotics.”
Probiotics is good bacteria that our guts need in order to properly digest food and keep yeast in check. Without this necessary colony of micro-organisms, our bodies cannot breakdown food and needful nutrients are wasted. You can eat a very healthy diet, but unless the proper gut flora is established, it will do little good.
Probiotics (good bacteria) can be purchased at health food stores. It is expensive and it’s potency (likely hood of being active once eaten) is unreliable. Even the best of store-bought, powdered probiotics much be kept refrigerated.
But there is another way. The way our grandparents and great-grandparents did it:
…eat live bacteria in your food.
Pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, komboucha, yogurt, and more.
Not the store-bought, pasteurized foods we think of today. But by making these yourself and forgoing the pasteurization progress, you can eat yourself back to good health. Each of these creates or is given a “mother.” The “mother” is the source of beneficial bacteria. It may be in the form of “grains” or a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts).
You can purchase a “mother” online or be given one by a friend. I got my milk kefir grains from a friend and have already given some to others. Here’s a good website to buy grains from if you don’t know anyone to get them from. http://www.kefirlady.com/
Kefir is sour-tasting, fermented milk. It can be fixed with fruit to make a smoothie or drank without any additional preparation.
Recipe for Milk Kefir
milk kefir grains
jar with a lid
wooden or plastic slotted spoon
Step 1: Add kefir grains and milk to a jar. I use about 1/2 cup of milk for 1 tablespoon of grains. The ratio of milk to grains will determine how powerful the kefir. More grains and less milk means it will ferment faster, will have more bacteria and be more sour. More milk and less grains means it ferments slower, has less bacteria, and is less sour.
Step 2: Screw lid onto jar
Step 3: Leave in a warm area for 24 hours. Shake the jar periodically.
Step 4: Using a wooden or plastic spoon, strain the grains out. Do not use metal. It will harm the grains.
Step 5: Store in the fridge to stop the fermentation.
Any milk can be used. I use coconut milk for myself. If using a non-animal milk (like coconut, almond, or soy), periodically ferment the grains in an animal milk (like cow or goat). This helps to repopulate the good bacteria. I grow my kefir in coconut milk. I make it every day. On Sundays I grow it in goat milk. I use the goat milk to add to my home-made baby formula for the week. Then on Monday I return to coconut milk.
When first beginning to drink kefir, your gut is not used to the presence of good bacteria. The good bacteria begins to kill the overgrown yeast population. As the yeasts die off, they release 79 different toxic chemicals. This will cause gas, bloating, stomach cramps, etc. You may want to start off with a shorter fermentation time or drinking less to prevent this.