2 Easy Ferments for Good Gut Health
Modern day families have a lot going on, I get it, but gut health is so important—playing vitals roles in your mental and physical health. Several studies have shown gut health has an affect on behavior and can possibly prevent depression, and it’s somewhat common knowledge that eating a well balanced diet encourages a healthy immune system. The average American diet is filled with foods that feed the “bad guys”— the gut bacteria that leads to problems like digestive issues and feeling crummy and tired all of the time. So you may be wondering, “What are some easy ways to encourage more of the ‘good guys' in my gut flora?” Well, here are two super easy ways my family maintains healthy gut flora while satisfying a sweet tooth. Despite their sweet tastes, both ferments have relatively low sugar content by the time they are done! They are all very easy to maintain and kid-friendly. I’m sure older kids would love to help as well.
Water kefir is the ferment that Justin and I have together been playing with the longest. The favors you can create are super versatile and the possibilities are endless. Not only do we use it to make the juice sodas seen above, Justin also uses the water kefir in vegetable ferments as well. There are lots of great resources out there for water kefir, but I have really enjoyed Cultures for Health’s website. I just recently made some water kefir popsicles using a recipe from their site and can’t wait to try them! All you need are water kefir grains (we used Florida Sun’s water kefir grains and they worked very well) and sugar water for the first ferment and then either dried or fresh fruit or juice for the second! It’s amazing how tasty and easy this is.
coconut milk kefir
Coconut milk kefir is so delicious. We’ve been making it and using it in smoothies and yogurt bowls. Today I even make sourdough waffles and drizzled some on top—highly recommend!! Coconut milk kefir is very similar to water kefir, however, instead of sugar water we use canned coconut milk with kefir grains (not water kefir grains). After the coconut milk kefir has finished fermenting with the grains, you can flavor it however you’d like or just eat it in all of its coconut-y goodness! Justin recently made a key lime flavor that’s just divine. We bought our grains from a local farmer. If you can find them not dehydrated, that’s the most ideal.
**Coconut milk kefir does require a dairy milk ferment every now and then, unfortunately. Since Justin and I don’t drink milk, we gift those ferments out to family.
For both types, the grains grow and multiple on their own so I recommend starting small and either slowly increase your output as you grow more grains or gift the grains out to friends and family members to keep your batches small. The turn around times on these range from up to four days with water kefir and one day with coconut milk kefir. Because the turn around time is relatively fast for both, I also recommend being creative and having fun with your flavoring ferments. If one doesn’t work out, well you can try another in a few days!