I've been researching a lot on how to heal my gut. Many articles state that diets which are rich in natural probiotics do help the gut to heal. I decided to try water kefir.
When I first heard that water kefir needs sugar to ferment, my mind revolted. I mean, sugar gives me PAIN! Excruciating pain. After researching about it, I understood that the water kefir grains needed the sugar to thrive. It will 'consume' the sugar and turn it into beneficial bacterial and yeast. It actually has a lot of beneficial microbes!
Here is a list of the beneficial microbes that water kefir can contain:
(*different grains and conditions may produce different kinds of strains)
Acetobacter. a. fabarum. a. orientalis.
Bacillus. b. subtilis. b. graveolus.
Lactobacillus. l. acidophilus. l. alactosus. l. brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide (dextran) that forms the grains. l. bulgaricus. l. casei. Produces lots of lactic acid; colonises well in the gastric tract; creates a favourable medium in which other beneficial bacteria can grow; inhibits putrefaction and harmful bacteria; increases immune function; helps protect against bacterial infections. l. casei ss. (subspecies) casei. L. casei ss. pseudoplantarum. l. casei ss. rhamnosus. l. casei ss. tolerans. l. coryneformis ss. torquens. l. fructosus. l. hilgardii. l. homohiochi. l. hordei. l. nagelii. l. plantarum. Produces lactic acid; fights listeria monocytogenes; makes plantaricin; inhibits a large number of Gram-positive bacteria - the type of bacteria that cause spoilage. l. plantarum. l. pseudoplantarum. l. reuterietc. l. yamanashiensis.
Leuconostoc. l. mesenteroides. l. citreum.
Streptococcus. s. agalactiae. s. bovis. s. cremoris. Has similar properties to s. lactis. s. diacetylactis. Produces carbon dioxide in the kefir; makes diacetyl, which gives kefir its characteristic odour; other properties similar to s. lactis. s. faecalis. s. lactis. Produces lactic acid, aids digestion, inhibits harmful microorganisms, produces bacteriolysins. s. mutans. s. pneumonia. s. pyogenes. s. salivarius. s. sanguinis. s. suis. s. viridans.
c. lambica. c. lamica. c. gueretana. c. valida.
Saccharomyces. s. bayanus. s. boulardii. s. cerevisiae. s. florentinus. s. pretoriensis. s. uvarum.
Longer fermentation will result in lesser sugar content.
I got my kefir grains from a very helpful friend. And she gave me a brief lesson on how to ferment the water kefir grains.
As I got to know the water kefir grains, I discovered that the grains ferment best for 24 hours. As the temperature of each person's house varies, the fermentation period varies. Once the first round of fermentation is completed, I will strain the water into another clean jug and add some fruit (apple, pear, goji berry...etc). I will put a lid onto that jar and let it ferment for another 24 hours. I will then place it in the fridge. The result tasted like a can of Heineken beer. Joel said that it tasted like 100 plus! There isn't any sweetness left after the second fermentation.
Here are some ground rules to fermenting water kefir:
1. DO NOT use chlorinated water. The kefir grains WILL die. No chemicals are allowed too.
2. DO NOT use metal spoons or strainers. Use plastic strainers. Apparently the metal will affect the kefir rendering them to be less effective.
3. DO NOT pour hot water as it will kill them.
4. DO NOT use honey as the antibacterial properties will kill the kefir grains.
5. DO talk to them as they thrive on sound. (I was told of this when I attended a workshop!)
6. Do use sugar which has a good amount of mineral content.
So far, I've only tested a tablespoon and I haven't really started drinking it. I'm still in the experimenting stage. By the way, the water kefir grains will ferment the sugar and produce alcohol! HIC! HIC! HIC!!!
It has been 16 months since I ditched sugar from my life. By that I mean that I do not cook with sugar, drink or eat sugar.
Why such a drastic step you ask.
Sugar actually gave me problems.
It gave me such excruciating pain in my shoulders and neck to the point that I couldn't move my arms without being crippled with acute pain. I even saw a physician who specialised in rheumatology. I had thought I had the 3-in-1 disease which were arthritis, fybromyalgia and rheumatism. I couldn't sleep or function. I felt I was losing my mind from the pain.
It went on for years as I never suspected that sugar was the culprit.
It was only after the emergency surgery that I had two years back that I stumbled upon the possibility of sugar being the culprit.
There are times where I crave for sugar so bad that I could KILL for it!
There are times where I was so desperate that I ate something with sugar and then spat it out and rinsed my mouth many times.
I miss desserts very, very, very, very, very much.
But you see, one day after many weeks of abstaining from sugar, it suddenly dawned on me that I was PAIN-FREE! I was sceptical of course. Hence, I started eating sugar again. The pain hit me and it was so bad that I felt that I had been run over by a tanker. I stopped the sugar immediately and the pain left again after many days.
These days, I would know whether the manufacturers of certain food (chips or gluten-free biscuits) which state they do not have sugar are telling the truth. The excruciating pain would come back. And I would know that I can't buy that to eat when my tastebuds behave like a pregnant woman.
Do any of you abstain from sugar? If so, why? And what do you use as a substitute for sugar?