All about water kefir!

Okay so if you are reading this, you probably want to know what the heck water kefir is, or better yet, how to make it yourself! I'm going to break it down for you, so I hope this helps you on your journey to building your gut health. 

Why Water Kefir? 

Because who doesn't like a drink that eats up most of the sugar, and it still tastes bubbly and delicious? Water kefir is a probiotic rich beverage that is a sweet, and slight fermented taste. It has more probiotics than yogurt or buttermilk. Eating sugar, processed food, Skin issues, food sensitivities, and auto immune diseases are a manifestation of needing probiotics for your gut. Probiotics are only part of the answer for many of those, but it’s a bigger part than many people consider. Having really great gut health can also help prevent cancer. You start with kefir grains, which really is just a combination of bacteria and yeast that create a culture. The fermentation process releases additional vitamins and minerals too. Here they are below, they look like little grains (no bread at all, just a name). You know those probiotic pills everyone is taking these days? Well this is a food version. 
And I'm all about food versions when I think it is better to do in the long run than just  doing what is easy.

How do you do it? 

It's really, easy. Once you make it a habit!
& if you want to buy any on occasion, I love Kevita Brand in the Coconut Lime MoJito. You can find that brand at sprouts, harmons, Redmond Farms, and most natural grocery stores.

You take 4 cups of hot water and dissolve 1/4 C sugar in it. 
I use unrefined sugar so that I don't have to add extra minerals--Water kefir need minerals.

Add your grains to the mixture (1 T for 4 cups of water), then cover with a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Put rubber band around it so it will stay.
Let it sit on the counter for 24-48 hours. I know, real hard. Once it turns cloudy or lightens in color, you are done with the first ferment. It will culture much faster the warmer it is in your house. 

If you like your drink bubbly, and want to add some juice to the mix, you would then do the 2nd ferment. This is where you would pour the liquid from the mason jar over a strainer to catch the grains, and put the water into a flip top bottle. I then would add 1/4C-1/2C of juice to the water. You can use frozen concentrate or regular juice. I love doing grape juice (right before I drink it I love squeezing fresh lime in my cup), orange juice, or acai juice. Make sure you close the flip top bottle well, and then leave this mixture on the counter for 24-72 hours. Then you put the grains in new sugar water and repeat the process

Mine are usually done after 1 or 2 days, but I'm sure it will take longer in the winter. You will know when it is done, because it will get lighter in color similar to the first ferment. You will also see bubbles forming at the top. Be sure to pop open the lid, and be prepared for some fizz. I've exploded mine before leaving it out too long, so just be careful!

First off, Water Kefir grains do not like metal. So you don't want any supplies to let the grains have any contact with metal. Here are the supplies I use, 

I don't have one, but this collapsible strainer would save space in your drawer! And it's silicone, so better for you health wise!

Cheesecloth or Coffee Filter

Water kefir vs Milk Kefir?

Both are awesome, and probiotic rich! Milk Kefir wins in the amount of probiotics, it has 50! Water kefir has about 15. But these are the two best probiotics to take in my opinion. I use both! Milk kefir is tangy, and more like yogurt. It's not as thick as yogurt, but I have used it in a lot of different ways. You can use coconut water every once in a while with water kefir grains, and coconut milk with milk kefir. Milk kefir is great for those that are lactose intolerant, as 99.9% of the lactose is gone. Water kefir can also be used in non-dairy milk to make a non-dairy kefir. I've never tried that yet! 

But, Alcohol? 

Yes, fermenting foods creates alcohol. But this is a lost art, and something I firmly believe we need to have back in our daily culture. It's about as much alcohol as a ripe banana, so I really wouldn't worry. It's truly such a small amount. 

What flavor of water kefir do you think you'd like? I can't wait to see what you come up with, please share if you do! I also love this site whenever I have any questions. 


Alice Mae || Birth Story

The whole week before Alice was born was a bit crazy. It all started when I went to a friends (new friends might I add) to have a juicing party. We drank juice, listened to a podcast, shared some laughs, etc. While sharing laughs I kept feeling like I was peeing my pants, which isn’t unheard of during pregnancy.

When I finally got up to go to the bathroom, my pants were soaked through. It didn’t smell like pee at all. I went home and I went to the bathroom again, but when I got off the toilet more liquid came out. I felt panic set in. Could this be my water? I was so worried. I was not ready to have a baby. I had 6 weeks before my due date, and had planned a lot to get done in the next 4 weeks. I literally had hardly any clothes or new baby items for her arrival. So much for wanting to feel ready with this one, both my labors I end up in active labor while I'm trying to pack. Peter was born on Christmas, and I even forgot to pack an outfit to take him home in. I also really wanted maternity pictures with Peter, almost as a last portrait session with my only child. Something special, but I'll have to get over that not happening.

Tuesday I put myself on bedrest, and just took it easy. I still leaked a little bit but not very much. Wednesday I went into my dr office, tested if my waters broke, and checked the fluid levels with an ultrasound. The test was negative, and my ultrasound still showed a good amount in there. I was told to take it easy.

By Thursday at 1pm, I had a small trickle of water happen. I told peter mommy needed to lay down and take a nap, and he walked into his own room and put himself to bed. I love that little boy.

By 5 pm my early labor had started. I was thinking it was just false labor or Braxton Hicks (I had never felt early labor with peter) I laid in bed hoping they would stop.

By 10pm, they were consistent and getting a little stronger. I tried to go to sleep, but that wasn’t happening. From 11-2 I started more real labor. I put the shower head on my tummy, swayed my hips on the exercise ball, and tried to focus on my breathing. It's funny, when you are in labor it's almost like you forgot how it works, how it actually feels. I kept questioning if this was intense, or if this was starting to be hard. It felt hard, and I thought it had to be active labor, but still doubted! Don't worry, I was! I knew with Peter's birth that my breathing was what made my labor. So luckily I had already been practicing for a few weeks before I started this labor.

By 2am I was ready to go to the hospital, knowing that this was probably the real deal, and trying to stay positive and that this was what needed to happen. That my baby needed to be born right now. I had been praying all week to be able to be brave, that I could feel peace. And it was so wonderful because when I went into labor and was at the hospital, I wasn't emotional or worried about Alice at all. I felt such peace that everything was okay.

Once we arrived at the hospital, they checked me and my test was positive. My water had definitely ruptured. I was dilated to a 4. They took me into the delivery room at 3am.

The charge nurse in the nicu came up and helped explain a little bit about preemie babies and if I wanted the steroid shot for her lungs. They usually administer 2, but I’d at least get 1 for her.

I didn’t know what to decide but decided to have them check me before I made my decision. It was now 5am and I was at an 8! No turning back now, I was doing this unmedicated. Although, I still ended up with an epidural with peter after pushing for 3 hours haha. So the truth is, you just never know!

Starting transition. Everyone was a bit surprised I was at an 8. I guess I was pretty quiet and calm during contractions, even though it felt super intense to me, I was trying to just relax through them as much as I could. Taylor was constantly helping with pressure points on my knees, and that stuff is heaven. There wasn't any time to do the steroid shots, but she prepped me a bit on what I could expect when Alice was born. She could need respiratory help, feeding help, maintaining temperature help. There was a possibility that she would be transferred to Utah Valley if she needed more intense care. They also told me how there would be a lot more people in the delivery room to care for Alice.

Pretty soon things intensified. Holy cow, labor is crazy! Our bodies are amazing. I still was breathing through them, and then I was at a 10 at 6am. I found giving in and accepting each contraction helped so much to progress my labor and keep me relaxed from fighting it. She wasn’t quite descending and I wasn’t feeling the need to push like I did with Peter.

But I started pushing, and doing little pushes here and there. It felt a little better. It was starting to feel like so much pressure everywhere. It was hard to find a good position as things intensified. I was on my knees, than put into thrown position. Then I went on the floor for a second. Then I settled kind of on the bed angled into Taylor.

It was about 6:45, and my midwife said I really needed to start getting her out. So I started giving all my might to each push. It really was so intense and crazy. It didn't really feel like I was getting anywhere but when I pushed I could feel the pressure lighten almost. It was so crazy and intense and I could feel her inside of me, which actually helped a lot with my labor.

The other nurses and respiratory team arrived. I was pushing my guts out, her heart rate wasn’t doing great, and my midwife said I was going to have to push her down. One of the nurses told my midwife to give me an espisiotomy and to just cut me (without any numbing shot or anything). I would have been so mad if that would have happened. Luckily my midwife was just as peeved a nurse was just yelling that out, and she said I was already tearing on my own and it looked good. I also didn't want an episiotomy and knew I was now on the clock and had to get her out in the next 1-2 contractions. Crazy pushing and trying to get her out, and my midwife also helped grab her a bit to come all the way out. It was soooo intense, and so amazing at the same time to feel her descent and come out. .....Although my only thought immediately following the birth was that I never wanted to feel that again. hahaha. I was so glad I was done!

My placenta had actually ripped off and came out right behind Alice, so I didn't end up pushing that out at all. I guess that can be scary, but it all came out in one piece, and my midwife just said I'd be a lot more bruised and kind of like a rug burn where it ripped off.

Alice was doing pretty well once she was out, I was able to hold her for a few minutes before she had to go to the NICU. Taylor left with her, and I started getting stitched up. This always feels like the longest, and it is a bit easier while holding a newborn baby I think. My midwife gave me lots of shots, as I tore in two places, but what a blessing I didn't tear all the way. I do have to mention that because of my SPD pain I had during pregnancy, for some reason it was a million times worse following the birth. Like I had broken every bone in my pelvic area. It was excruciating, and I really couldn't walk or get out of bed without wanting to cry for the next week. ....So I think now that's what I'm most scared of for future pregnancies and recoveries. My midwife had it too, and she warned me it gets worse with each pregnancy. Eeek! Luckily after two weeks postpartum it felt better enough it wasn't bothering me to do any daily tasks.

It was definitely a different experience being in the recovery room with a pump machine instead of a baby. I am so grateful for the NICU care we received, and so grateful for so many of the wonderful nurses. I still can't believe how small Alice was when she was born, and we are so grateful nothing major has had to happen with her. It's been wonderful to have access to oxygen, heat, and a feeding tube at the beginning. She has breastfed super well since day 2 of being born, and she really just seems to not think it's a big deal she came early. She is a trooper, and we are so happy to have her in our family. Peter is very sweet to her always saying "Baby Alice, so cute." & showering her with lots of kisses, and wanting to hold her often. Can't imagine our family without her now.