Water Kefir

carkeys

A Disturbance in the Force
Hello all, this is my first time posting on your forum although I have been following sott.net since 2000 or so. I wanted to know if anyone here ever used water kefir. I started about 2 months ago now and it works well for me. I was able to find alot of information of the subject, but nothing from my usual sources.
thanks
 

Vulcan59

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Hi carkeys,

There is a mention of "water kefir" here but not much else. Perhaps you can share your findings with us. In the meantime, welcome to the forum. :) We recommend all new members to post an introduction in the Newbies section telling us a bit about themselves, and how they found their way here. Have a read through that section to get an idea of how others have done it. Thanks.
 

carkeys

A Disturbance in the Force
Hi Vulcan59,

Thanks for the reply and the link, yes indeed I was able to find a lot about water kefir. Here is some of the info I have. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibicos
http://www.waterkefirgrains.com/

I have been doing allot of research on lacto-fermented foods which is something that is helping my digestive system. The reason I decided to put up a post on your forum is because the other two websites I go to for health and nutrition, have nothing on water kefir. The sites in question are Naturalnews.com and mercola.com. Dr. Mercola has milk kefir, but I cannot use it because one needs raw milk to make it and it is illegal in Canada. Since I have been following sott.net for over 10 years and just recently started putting up information regarding nutrition I just thought that maybe someone would know about it. As far as general info on the web regarding water kefir, it is pretty easy to come by. I always want to confirm those findings with a trusted source and for me you are one of them.

I will not be posting information on the newby site because I am a very private person. I have been debating for a while whether I should register for your forum or not. I am just not the type of person who will post things on the net. I am very familiar with your site and read it everyday, I also bought a few of your books. Hope you understand, I am just one of those people who likes to be informed, but at the same time I do not want my information on the web.

thanks!
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Hi carkeys,

Welcome to the forum. I was wondering, did you actually read any of the postings in the Newbie thread? There's not much need for personal info of an intimate nature if that's what you are shy about.

Before deciding definitely you also might want to read through this thread (just in case you don't know about it): http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,13842.0.html to possibly reconsider and become a full fledged member.

As for the subject at hand, I never heard about water kefir before nor milk kefir for that matter. So thank you for bringing it up here. I read about your subject yesterday once you mentioned it and from one of the illustrations I encountered, I remembered long ago visiting someone who had something similar on her window sill - but it wasn't topic of conversation then and later on I forgot to ask about what it was. From what I've read so far it seems an intriguing way to provide for healthy beverages.
 

Gandalf

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
carkeys said:
I will not be posting information on the newby site because I am a very private person. I have been debating for a while whether I should register for your forum or not. I am just not the type of person who will post things on the net. I am very familiar with your site and read it everyday, I also bought a few of your books. Hope you understand, I am just one of those people who likes to be informed, but at the same time I do not want my information on the web.

thanks!
Hi carkeys,

As it has been said by others, you don't have to write personal info in an intro post. You can just tell the members of this forum, if you are familiar with the work of G, the work of Laura, if you have read the waves...

By the way, if you have read regularly this forum and if you have read the SOTT website, you should know by now that their is no privacy on the web.
 

reborn

The Force is Strong With This One
Aloha, carkeys!

I made water kefir for a few months last year while attempting to eliminate carbohydrates from my diet. This allowed me to continue drinking coconut water, which seems to contain more sugar the more mature the nuts are. At times when I did not have coconut water, I maintained the grains in plain water with sugar added. I did not want to use cane sugar, and the best alternative I discovered for this purpose actually turned out to be granulated coconut sugar :D It was necessary to tend to the process on a daily basis to keep the grains alive, which I was usually able to be disciplined enough to do. However, at some point, some moldy stuff developed while making a batch, and I chose to discard the whole mess rather than have to deal with that. I considered getting more kefir grains, but by that time I was not as determined to be "zero-carb", and have not replaced them since, although I do still continue to drink coconut water regularly.

As to the health benefits, I cannot say for sure how much drinking coconut water kefir contributed to my physical well-being, because I also made other significant dietary changes around the same time; all those changes combined were definitely an improvement. At any rate, I do not remember sensing any negative reactions from the water kefir. And I remember being grateful that I could continue drinking coconut water without worrying about consuming carbohydrates at that time.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Btw, I am a newbie here, too, and I'm glad I joined in. I hope you will realize some benefit from interacting here as well.

Aloha,
Renee
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lys

carkeys

A Disturbance in the Force
Hello Renee,
Thank you very much for your reply. So far I have been very successful with my water kefir. I have also reduced my consumption of carbohydrates and that too has helped. I was able to find a reliable source with more information on water kefir at The Weston A. Price Foundation, here is the link: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/who-needs-soda-pop-with-these-bodacious-beverages

Thanks
Carkeys
 

reborn

The Force is Strong With This One
Aloha, Carkeys!

I'm glad to hear of your success :D I hadn't come across that article at WAPF, but I have found other information there that was helpful in my transition from a raw-vegan diet to a low-carb meat-based diet, especially regarding the value of healthy fats and liver in the diet.

It looks like there is plenty of information here to support your low-carb aspirations. For example, I'm currently reading the "Life Without Bread" thread here http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,22916.0.html, after reading the book, which I also recommend.

Wishing you continued success :)
Renee
 

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I came to this thread because I'm thinking of experimenting with water kefir. The problem is, I'm concerned about the sugar in it.

I've been researching about the fermentation process, and everybody says they need sugar, claiming that it will become very low in sugar once the kefir have eaten almost all of it during fermentation. Some people use fruits as food for the kefir, but others say it can damage the bacteria.

So what I'm wondering is if this would be beneficial, considering that it will have some sugar in it anyway.

Has anyone tried different methods of making water kefir already? Did you observe benefits from it?
 

ashu

Jedi Master
I believe kombucha is a similar beverage to kefir in that it also serves as a curative brew. However I have not researched much into it as I once brought a bottle of kombucha and it was really too sweet for my tastebuds! I personally prefer sauerkraut.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lys

Goemon_

Jedi Master
ashu said:
I believe kombucha is a similar beverage to kefir in that it also serves as a curative brew. However I have not researched much into it as I once brought a bottle of kombucha and it was really too sweet for my tastebuds! I personally prefer sauerkraut.
I am currently making my first kombucha beverage. I have buy a refractometer for testing the sugar content.

Yesterday was day 10 after the starting of the fermenting process. There was still 6% sugar (meaning 60 gr by liter). I have put 70 gr of sugar by liter in the initial preparation.

I will test it again next week. In the meanwhile I am buying different brands of kombucha found on shops around my place. The one I have found that indicate the lower sugar content indicate 20 gr by liter. Another one don't indicate the sugar content but seems much lower in sugar by the taste. As the refractometer is accurate at 20°C room and product temperature I will test this other product when the ambient temperature will be lower. Probably before going to bed or tomorrow morning.

Also some says that the longer the product as fermented the more it is beneficial (I don't know if this is true as one person on the internet looked at bacteria on sauerkraut after 4, 8 and 12 weeks of fermentation and said there where no beneficial bacteria left after 12 weeks). At some point it as a very acidic taste and you could use it in place of vinegar, or so some says.
 

Goemon_

Jedi Master
Goemon_ said:
I will test it again next week. In the meanwhile I am buying different brands of kombucha found on shops around my place. The one I have found that indicate the lower sugar content indicate 20 gr by liter. Another one don't indicate the sugar content but seems much lower in sugar by the taste. As the refractometer is accurate at 20°C room and product temperature I will test this other product when the ambient temperature will be lower. Probably before going to bed or tomorrow morning.
Test result : 1% sugar
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lys

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Goemon_ said:
Goemon_ said:
I will test it again next week. In the meanwhile I am buying different brands of kombucha found on shops around my place. The one I have found that indicate the lower sugar content indicate 20 gr by liter. Another one don't indicate the sugar content but seems much lower in sugar by the taste. As the refractometer is accurate at 20°C room and product temperature I will test this other product when the ambient temperature will be lower. Probably before going to bed or tomorrow morning.
Test result : 1% sugar
Thanks Goemon_, that's low indeed. I will do the experiment with kefir...

According to some people:

It is important to realize the difference between sugar and sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohol doesn't digest. If you test the mixture with a ketone strip, you will see a high register. However, if you test your blood sugars afterward, you will likely notice no difference at all. That is the key! Homemade Kombucha batches will vary in the amount of sugar alcohol they contain, but they will all likely be extremely low in carbs (if not zero carb) as far as your blood stream is concerned.
And also:

How Fermentation Lowers the Carb Count of Foods

One of the beauties of the fermentation process is that it actually lowers the carbohydrate count of the food you are fermenting.

Fermentation occurs when bacteria feasts off of the carbohydrates found in a food. In making kombucha that food is the sugar. In making sourdough bread that food is the flour. In making sauerkraut that food is the carbohydrates in the cabbage. In making yogurt that food is the lactose naturally occurring in milk.

In fermentation, the sugars and starches are eaten up by the bacteria cultures, and converted to lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and more bacteria. So, by definition, fermentation is a process one could use to lower the dietary carbohydrate levels found in various foods.

It is difficult to know the exact carbohydrate count of a fermented food, but there is one principle to keep in mind if you are concerned about the carbohydrates in your fermented foods:

The longer the fermentation time, the more carbohydrates eaten up by the organisms, the more sour the ferment, the lower the dietary carbohydrate count.

So by controlling the culturing, you control the carbohydrates found in fermented foods and in this way you can eat low-carb and enjoy many fermented foods.

Low Carb Fermented Foods

Kombucha. Allow it to ferment a bit longer and achieve a nice tang before consuming. A second ferment will further reduce sugars and develop flavor.

Water Kefir. Allow this also to ferment longer until good and tart. In order not to stress the grains, remove them after 48 hours, and continue with a second ferment to further reduce sugars.

_http://www.culturesforhealth.com/low-carb-fermented-foods
There's also a discussion in a forum which I've found very interesting. It concerns milk kefir, but the fermentation in water kefir also turns sugars into lactic acid.

Q: Lactic acid calories?

Some months ago I started doing my own yogurt and kefir at home. I also successfully converted the milk kefir grains into water kefir ones, which I use for many things, just to name some: to trigger the fermentation of sauerkraut or to prepare a carbonated drink with little to no sugars but which tastes great and is a bomb of beneficial bacteria.

But... I've always been wondering about the metabolism of lactic acid. To start with, does it bring calories? How many (if any, I assume they are less than the sugar it comes from)? Or has it negative calories as the body must get rid of it somehow? Does it interfere with insulin? With ketosis? Is lactic acid safe in quantities, or just something to assume from time to time?

I have been looking for answers but with little success: many different contradicting opinions and no definitive, scientifically proven, response.

Anybody?

Thanks in advance!!!

Answer 1: 2 molecules of lactate require 6 ATP to be converted into 1 molecule of glucose:

Cori cycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 molecule of glucose yields 36 molecules of ATP via glycolysis when burnt aerobically.

So, 1 molecule of lactate requires 3 ATP to convert it to half a molecule of glucose (equivalent to 18 ATP).

So 1 molecule of lactate has the same calories minus 1/6 as 1 molecule of glucose. So lets say ballpark approx 80% of the calories by weight as glucose, as I can't be bothered to calculate the exact relative molecular masses right now.

Answer 2: It was indeed the Cori Cycle I was looking for and could not find, thanks a lot! That's a good starting point for my research. Now I have to understand if the lactate we eat, not the one we produce under anaerobic conditions, follows the same path. That would give an estimation of the real calories of yogurt.
From what I see so far it seems that it may cause insulin release: lactate -> glucose -> glycemic index -> omg An explanation why the periods in which I eat more yogurt/kefir I am not in ketosis???

P.S. I think you mixed the two words lactose and lactate, but not problem.

Answer 3: Assuming that you assimilate lactate from your digestive system, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, it would enter the portal vein on its way to the liver. Your liver would have no way to differentiate that lactate from the one produced endogenously in muscles when there is insufficient oxygen to process pyruvate in the Krebs cycle.

Now, since lactate is produced by glycolysis in the muscles, I doubt very much that insulin would enter the picture because this would effect a net transfer of glucose from muscles that need it to tissues that do not, like adipose tissue, for instance, or other muscles that were not actively being used ( think quadriceps when you're doing pullups ).

Insulin causes muscles cells to translocate GLUT4 glucose transporters from within the cell to the cell membrane where they can bind plasma glucose. Exercise does the exact same thing in a non-insulin dependent way. So, here is the scenario:

- You are cranking through some intense pullups, generating boatloads of lactic acid, feeling the burn, going for broke.
- Your lats, forearms, biceps are all screaming hoping for either more oxygen to be delivered, or glucose, and they've all sprouted GLUT4 receptors to try to soak up whatever is available in the blood stream.
- Your liver sees a bunch of lactate in the blood stream and starts extracting it to run that substrate through the gluconeogenesis cycle.
- The proceeds from hepatic gluconeogenesis hit the blood stream on their way to those hard working muscles.

At this point, if there is a significant insulin response, that undermines the entire process as all insulin sensitive tissues will do their best to extract the glucose from the blood stream thereby essentially robbing the working muscles of what by all rights is their glucose as it is being produced from their lactate. If there is no significant insulin response, then only those muscle cells that are expressing GLUT4 due to exercise will extract glucose from the bloodstream, which is what we want.

So, from a physiological point of view, I would not expect a strong insulin response from ingesting lactate, unless we are talking about massively supra-physiological levels. However, it is well known that dairy proteins are highly insulinogenic in and of themselves, quite independent of any carbohydrate contents, which might explain why eating yogurt knocks you out of ketosis, although that shouldn't be a cause for concern.

_http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread56210.html
I've also found that water kefir grains can be eaten and they would be very low in sugar, maybe that's the way to go... :huh:

Can you eat the kefir grains too?

Yes. They are rather bland - flavorless except for the lingering flavor of the kefir (or sugar-water) that they are in (unlike delicious milk kefir grains which are like sour gummy worms). They are however very benificial for your health because they're chalk full of probiotics. Many people choose to eat their extra grains, or feed them to pets. What's even better is the option to eat just the grains, if your body is not tolerating the acidic nature or the sugar content of your kefir drink. Just blend up some grains into a normal smoothie or any drink that isn't boiling (which will kill the microflora). You can also dry them and eat them dried as a seasoning (crush them into powder and sprinkle on your salad or pasta) or treat as well. The dried form is not as flavorful as dried milk kefir grains either, but can make for an excellent home-made probiotic. Just dry your grains, throw them in a coffee bean grinder or food processor/blender and you will have your own probiotic powder supplement! Some small studies have shown them to have anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and blood pressure normalizing properties. They have also helped some people in the reduction of high blood cholesterol as well as proven for some to be a beneficial treatment for IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and gastric ulcers. You can try taking as much as 1/8 cup a day for a short period for medicinal purposes (or daily for overall health if consuming just a few grains). Moderation is always key - be sure to allow your body a rest once in awhile, even from this!
Regarding the acohol content in kefir:

How can I reduce the amount of alcohol in kefir?

There isn't really a way to reduce alcohol save boiling the kefir (which then negates all the healthful properties of the living probiotics). To discourage increases in alcohol simply keep your lid on loose while fermenting and during storage as well. This oxidation encourages acetic acids (which turn wine into vinegar) to balance the process. Alcohol is formed by yeast in a mostly anaerobic/no air environment. Lactic acid is formed by the bacteria in a low-oxygen environment. Store with ample room between the kefir and the lid to provide more oxygen. This will encourage the various bacteria to be as balance out the yeast, and diminish the amount of alcohol it is able to form. The alcohol produced will also depend on the type and amount of sugar, grains and fermentation time. More sugar will create a higher alcohol content (especially if bottled in an air-tight container). A shorter ferment will also be too high in sugar and not high enough in the acids that help to counter balance the alcohol activity.

_http://www.yemoos.com/faqwamain.html
About the strains found in water kefir:

Strains of bacteria and yeast found in Kefir Grains (and kefir itself):

Water kefir is typically composed of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly other minor yeasts.

Bacteria

Species Lactobacillus
L. acidophilus
L. alactosus
L. brevis
L. bulgaricus
L. casei subsp. casei
L. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
L. casei subsp. rhamnosus
L. casei subsp. tolerans
L. coryneformis subsp. torquens
L. fructosus
L. hilgardii
L. homohiochi
L. plantarum
L. psuedoplantarum
L. reuterietc
L. yamanashiensis

Species Streptococcus
S. agalactiae
Sr. bovis
S. cremeris
S. faecalis
S. lactis
S. mutans
S. pneumoniae
S. pyogenes
S. salivarius
S. sanguinis
S. suis
S. viridans

Species Pediococcus
P. damnosus

Species Leuconostoc
L. mesenteroides

Species Bacillus
B. subtilis
B. graveolus

YEASTS

Species Saccharomyces
S. bayanus
S. boullardii
S. cerevisiae
S. florentinus
S. pretoriensis
S. uvarum

Species Kloeckera
K. apiculata

Species Hansenula
H. yalbensis

Species Candida
C. gueretana
C. lamica
C. valida
*does not contain C. albicans - the yeast associated with human yeast infections and 'candida' in
general

Species Torulopsis
T. insconspicna
*does not contain T. glabrata, also associated with yeast infections and 'candida'


The above research is largely from the work of Dolores Sanchez-Penalver, Aidoo, Dominic
Anfiteatro, and Ronald S. Brown, with additional resources from Abosluteastronomy Encyclopedia. We have not personally verified the list.
And finally a publication in NCBI:

Water kefir as a promising low-sugar probiotic fermented beverage

Background
Water kefir is a slightly sweet, acidic, fruity, sparkling, and slightly alcoholic fermented beverage produced with water kefir grains, the latter consisting of polysaccharides and micro-organisms. The micro-organisms involved in water kefir fermentation comprise yeast, lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, and acetic acid bacteria. Some strains of micro-organisms in water kefir might possess probiotic activity. Also, water kefir is a beverage with relatively low sugar content, providing an interesting alternative to sugary soft drinks. To be able to exploit water kefir for its probiotic potential or as a low-sugar soft-drink, in-depth research is needed to unravel the species diversity and community dynamics of water kefir fermentation. In particular, substrate consumption and metabolite production in water kefir have not been studied until now.

Results
Species diversity analyses indicated that the most important microbial species were Lactobacillus casei/paracasei, Lactobacillus harbinensis, Lactobacillus hilgardii, Bifidobacterium psychraerophilum/crudilactis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Dekkera bruxellensis. This microbial species diversity was similar in the water kefir liquor and on the water kefir grains, and remained stable during the whole fermentation process. Some strains of these species, such as Lb. casei and Bifidobacterium spp., might possess probiotic activities. Sucrose, the major substrate of the fermentation was completely converted after 24 h of fermentation, which coincided with the production of the water kefir grain polysaccharide. The main metabolites of the fermentation were ethanol and lactic acid, whereas glycerol, acetic acid, and mannitol were produced in low concentrations. The most prevailing volatile aroma compounds (relative to their threshold values) were ethyl acetate, isoamyl acetate, ethyl hexanoate, ethyl octanoate, and ethyl decanoate. These are fruity esters which might have a positive impact on the aroma of the end-product.

Conclusions
In this study the species diversity, community dynamics, substrate consumption, and metabolite production during water kefir fermentation were described in detail. This work provides a basis for further developments of water kefir as healthy, low-sugar, probiotic fermented beverage.
So... I guess I'll give it a try.

I'm sorry for the long post but I guess it can be useful for those willing to experiment with it. I also read you can use the kefir as a starter for Sauekraut, so that can be an option too, it might add more beneficial critters to the normal sauerkraut, OSIT.
 

shijing

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In case it's a useful alternative, Sarah Myhill also mentions coconut milk as a viable medium for making your own kefir:

http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Kefir

The joy of using Kefir is that one sachet can last a lifetime. Furthermore, the best results for probiotics come from using live cultures. I have been growing Kefir and it grows well at room temperature. Because dairy products are not evolutionarily correct foods, Kefir should be grown on non-dairy foods such as soya milk or coconut milk and who knows what else! Start off with one litre of soya milk in a jug, add the Kefir sachet and within about 12-24 hours it should have semi-solid, junket like consistency. Do not expect it to look like commercial yoghurt, which has often been thickened artificially. Then keep the culture in the fridge, where it ferments further. This slower fermentation seems to improve the texture and flavour. However, it can be used at once as a substitute in any situation where you would otherwise use cream or custard. I often add a lump of creamed coconut which further feeds the Kefir, imparts a delicious coconut flavour and thickens the culture. Once the jug is nearly empty, add another litre of soya milk, stir it in, keep it at room temperature and away you go again. I don’t even bother to wash up the jug – the slightly hard yellow bits on the edge I just stir in to restart the brew. This way a sachet of Kefir lasts for life! One idea I am playing with is the possibility of adding vitamins and minerals to the culture. The idea here is that they may be incorporated into the bacteria and thereby enhance the absorption of micronutrients. You could try this if you do not tolerate supplements well.
 
Top Bottom