Ditched the soda and miss the fizz? Try kefir!

homemade kombuchaI used to drink at least one Diet Coke a day, sometimes two if I could find Diet Cherry Coke. I used to think that I was being “healthy” only because I wasn’t drinking my calories. Now, after learning the harmful effects of aspartame (headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue, anxiety attacks, depression anyone?), I only drink diet pops on occasion, meaning two to three times a year.

One of the things I liked most about pop was the ice-cold fizz. In my search for a low-calorie fizzy drink I discovered kombucha, a fermented “tea” made from a culture comprised of yeast and bacteria.

My favorite brand is GT’s (made famous by the infamous Lindsay Lohan, but at more than $3 a pop (pop…get it?), it was starting to break the budget. I tried making my own, but each batch — which takes over a week to fermet and includes a long, involved brewing process — either ended up too vinegary or not fizzy enough.

Then, my friend introduced me to water kefir. The brewing time is about three days and it’s quite simple to make. After ordering my kefir grains online, I followed my friend’s recipe and ended up with a nice fizzy batch of kefir.

What Is Water Kefir?

Water kefir is a probiotic, and contains many strains of friendly bacteria, including Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus , Lactobacillus alactosus, Lactobacillus casei casei, Lactobacillus pseudoplantarum, Lactobacillus plantarum, Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus cremeris, Leuconostoc mesenteroide, Saccharomyces florentinus, Saccharomyces pretoriensis, Kloeckera apiculata, Candida lambica, Candida valida and possibly others. [Source]

If you’re looking for a dairy-free way to incorporate probiotics from a food source, this is a cost-effective, green and tasty way to do it.

Have you ever tried making your own kombucha or water kefir? How was it?

[Photo: mikewarren/Flickr]

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About Julie Hurley

A married mother of two young children, Julie Hurley is a freelance writer with a strong interest in natural living and is the Director of Public Relations at Principia Media. Visit her personal blog at: ourlunchbox.blogspot.com.

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  • meansoybean .com

    Your kombucha didn’t work out because you probably chose a very warm spot for it and it only needed a few days to ferment, rather than a week. That’s how you get a brew that’s too vinegary — the SCOBY fed on the sugar and tea very quickly.

    To get a fizzy kombucha, you need to bottle it after it’s done fermenting. I suggest swing-top bottles from IKEA. Keep that in a warmish/room temp area for a couple of days and when you open it you’ll have a nice fizz. Just do it over the sink in case you get super fizz.