So let's talk water kefir for a second.
What is it?
In short: fermented sugar water--but don't worry. The water kefir grains eat up the sugar and the longer you ferment the water, the more sugar is eaten up; so it's not like you're gulping down teaspoons of sugar (gross).
What's the benefit?
BILLIONS of bacteria. You know the pricey probiotics you buy at the store? They have only a fraction of the probiotics in homemade water kefir.
Basically, you're supposed to have about 6 POUNDS of good bacteria in your gut. If you're filled up with good bacteria, the bad bacteria aren't able to colonize because the good guys outnumber them and the good guys shall prevail! AKA, you won't get sick.
Why not milk kefir?
You've probably seen this at Trader Joe's or maybe you've tried the Lifeway brand at your regular grocery store. Milk kefir is awesome (and you can make that at home too)! But some people can't have dairy due to an allergy or sensitivity (Carter!) so water kefir is a great alternative. Also, if you have a picky kid who doesn't like yogurt--water kefir is much easier to disguise.
So how do I get started?
Order water kefir grains from a reputable place like this one (it's where I got mine). They include really easy instructions for activating your grains. Once you have activated grains, you:
1. Dissolve 1/4 C organic cane sugar in 1 quart hot water (in a large glass mason jar)
2. Let the water cool to room temp
3. Add the grains and cover with a cloth (I use cheesecloth and a rubber band)
4. Let the mixture sit on the counter for 3-5 days
5. The fun part! Add fruit, fruit juice (or I like coconut water--not from concentrate!) and let the mixture ferment for an additional 2-3 (or more) days in swing top glass bottles (like these). At this point, the drink will become fizzy AKA even more delicious
6. Drink it up and do it all again! You only buy the grains once and use them over and over. If you're lucky and your grains keep on multiplying, share with friends!
Let me know how it goes!