Now you can get KEFIR GRAINS from GreenSmoothieGirl.com

I have been working for a long time on a way to get you quality kefir grains. It’s hard because they are live organisms, and so we cannot mass-produce them.

I’m happy to announce that Melinda (GSG staff) and I have been growing them, both WATER grains and MILK grains, and we have them up on the site HERE.

See the photos and instructions on that page, how to use your grains to make infinite batches of kefir, and what to do with your kefir.

Please note that we will likely sell out after I post this on the blog.

But if you try to get some grains and we’re sold out, just make a note of the page on the GreenSmoothieGirl.com site, and come back. We’ll have more later.

When people ask me what the two most important steps in 12 Steps to Whole Foods are, it’s kind of like asking who my favorite child is when I love them all. But with so many people with gut issues, I say Step 1 and 8.

Step 8 is all about making fermented foods to replace the probiotics missing in anyone’s diet who has EVER been on antibiotics, or who eats processed food, or who has ever eaten animal products from animals fed antibiotics.

When you start eating kefir every day, you may find you don’t get sick any more. It’s a critically important habit to keep your immune system strong. Most of your immune function is in your gut. Your helpful microorganisms in your body outnumber your body’s cells 9 times over.

Beet Kvass

I recently taught you how to make Rejuvelac. If, like me, you’re looking to increase lacto-fermented, probiotic foods in your diet, today I’ve got another idea for you. (Try to get at least two cultured foods in your diet every day! This is Step 8 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.)

Have you ever heard of Beet Kvass? I recently had some when a vendor wanting me to sell his stuff mailed me samples. Too expensive to buy on the internet and ship—but I loved it. I am going to plant even MORE beets next spring. I have lots of jars of cultured beets in my food storage, which are 3 years old, but now I’m making them into a probiotic drink. I remember how shocked I was to learn that you could “put up” raw vegetables that “keep” for long periods of time, using lacto-fermentation. Now it seems common and easy, a “lost art” that people have done in virtually every culture of the world for thousands of years.

One of my employees, Melinda, said to me the other day about a pile of beets from my garden, “I love how beets look!” Kristin just saw this photo on my computer and made the same comment. ME TOO! They’re so ruby-red!

That juice staining your hands is potent pigmentation with high levels of carotenoid and other antioxidants that protect your eyes, normalize blood pressure, and cleanse your blood and your liver.

If beets make your urine pink, please read more detail about that in Chapter 5 of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods manual.

Cultured Beets / Beet Kvass

2-3 large beets

1/4 cup whey (the clear yellow liquid, separated from the milk solids in yogurt or kefir) or 1 pkg. Vegetable Culture from Body Ecology. Or, double the salt and refrigerate for longer to cut the saltiness.

2 tsp Original Crystal Himalayan salt

2 quart jars

water

Peel and chop beet in 2″ pieces. Place beet chunks in your jars. Add salt and ¼ cup whey (or 1 pkg. Body Ecology Vegetable Culture).

Add enough filtered water to fill the rest of the container, leaving 1″ headroom.

Stir well, cover, and let it sit at room temperature for 3-5 days. Put jars in fridge or cold storage. They will keep there indefinitely (I have kept my cultured beets for 2 years in cold storage, which is not nearly as cool as refrigeration).

Remove from fridge and blend in high-speed blender (with extra water if you prefer it to be thinner).

Enjoy chilled as a drink, mixed with a little bit of fresh lime juice,  or freshly ground pepper. You can use kvass in recipes to replace vinegar.

Drink in small quantities with a meal, to facilitate digestion and build up healthy colonies of good bacteria in your gut. You can drink 8 oz. if you are used to probiotic foods and have a healthy diet. If not, start with just a few ounces and work your way up.

Thanks to reader Christy White for suggesting I write about beet kvass. Christy is a fan of Kristen Bowen’s site livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Kristen recently wrote about beet kvass, and I have incorporated some of her ideas.

More info about Rejuvelac, part 3 of 3

Question: You said to use quinoa or soft white wheat berries. Can I use hard red wheat? What about other grains?

Answer: At classes I taught in Washington and Oregon right after posting the original Rejuvelac video, I had a few readers tell me they’ve been making Rejuvelac for years, with hard red wheat, triticale, and even rye! One reader told me that Rye Rejuvelac is the best!

I love the idea of rotating our grains, for a variety of nutritional profiles and tastes, just like we rotate our greens.

One reader, Monika, who went to Hippocrates 16 years ago, said she likes Rye Rejuvelac the best as well, and she barely pulses the sprouted grains into the water (per Dr. Max Gerson’s instructions many years ago) to minimize damage and oxidation of the grains. She also uses the sprouted-grain bolus over and over for a week, after straining off the liquid, to drink, after the first 2 days. Then she adds more water, and covers it, and the fermented mass makes more Rejuvelac in 24 hours, over and over, for a whole week. This tip makes the whole process even easier, quicker (about 90 seconds a day!), and less expensive, and it keeps the habitual process going.

Question: I followed your directions, and this stuff smells like #&!$!! Should I still drink it?

Answer: I am cracking up at the thought of so many GSG readers, skirting their new, weird drinky-food, poking it, sniffing it. Like cats. Your anxiety is related to unfamiliarity. (If you hadn’t been raised with bacon cooking on weekend mornings, and hamburgers on the BBQ for dinner, those smells would be unpleasant to you. BTW, they don’t smell good to me.)

I had never sniffed my Rejuvelac, so because we got a handful of this question (I answered it but it’s buried in a couple hundred comments), I made a batch and smelled it. Just for you.

You’re right. IT SMELLS AWFUL. But I tasted it and it was just fine. Luckily, it doesn’t smell at all like it tastes. The predigested proteins and sugars may fizz, and you may smell that process, and the gases that occur, but it’s just a new smell. (Raw sauerkraut, another fermented food, smells bad, too. It tastes good, though.)

Just think, normally that digestion and fermentation has to take place inside you! (Think gas. Think alcohol. Many people have degenerative gut problems, most of them undiagnosed—and they do not digest many foods effectively.) Drinking a probiotic-rich food should quiet your digestion of other foods.

Question: Will my homemade Rejuvelac be alcoholic?

Answer: Only very small amounts of alcohol (like 10% or less of what there is in beer), is produced by the fermentation of grain in Rejuvelac—as is the case with many foods. Your gut produces alcohol as a byproduct of digestion, and if you have candida, or eat a lot of sugar, or both, you’re producing more alcohol in your gut than you’d get from a can of beer anyway. If you have a lot of undigested proteins in your small intestine, as many people on the modern diet do—causing a multitude of inflammatory responses—you will be tremendously benefited by probiotic-rich, fermented foods. So the small amount of alcohol produced naturally with homemade raw probiotic foods is a non-issue, health-wise. And it cannot make you inebriated. In fact, cultured foods will cause your body to produce LESS alcohol.

NOTE FROM ROBYN: Keep in mind that I am learning this new habit, myself. I have been making Rejuvelac only about 6 weeks. I may not have it completely figured out yet and there may be better ways of doing it. For instance, one batch I made, just this week, gave me some intestinal disturbance, even though I never had that at CHI with their Quinoa Rejuvelac. I have read and listened to, with great interest, the comments of those who have been making it for many years. Thank you for any information you have for me—usually I do something for a very long time before I start talking about it here. As I learn more (for instance, if I figure out why a batch had that reaction for me despite it tasting normal), I will share it here.

More info about Rejuvelac, part 2 of 3

Question: Are you aware that Dr. Brian Clement, director of Hippocrates Health Institute, with whom you are speaking in Florida early next year, discontinued Rejuvelac at Hippocrates long ago because they found it was “contaminated?” What do you have to say about this?

Answer: Yes, I’m aware. In fact, Dr. Clement’s opinion, circulated in a few books and on the internet, are why I never started Rejuvelac in the first place when I read about it 20 years ago. (That, and I needed someone to show me how to do it, let me taste it. I got that at CHI and am trying to do that for my readers now, too, leveraging the Internet.)

I am speaking with Dr. Clement at two events in Florida this coming February (if you want to help us find a location for 200+ in Ft. Lauderdale or Orlando, please write amanda@greensmoothiegirl.com). Dr. Clement told me personally last week that Hippocrates tested and found “unfriendly bacteria” in Rejuvelac 30 years ago.

I think this “contamination” issue is an oft-repeated opinion that has gotten more attention than it deserved. Few surfaces, foods, and body systems will be found to be without unfriendly bacteria. They are everywhere. The idea, as Dr. Bernard Jensen used to teach, is to maintain a 10:1 good-to-bad bacteria ratio in the gut. (The vast majority of Americans he tested had 10:1 bad-to-good bacteria.)

I believe that, no different than other fermented foods (all of which could be called “contaminated”), Rejuvelac is an outstanding drink / food. All cultured foods could be said to be “contaminated”—in that they are teeming with micro-organisms. None are exactly sterile, and that is simply not a achievable goal.

If you want to eat only sterile items, you can get on board with the U.S. government’s agenda to irradiate and pasteurize virtually everything. We co-exist peacefully with the billions of tiny critters in our environment when our internal terrain is in harmony with a strong defense system, and when good bacteria in our gastrointestinal system outnumber the bad bacteria 10:1. Not when we hide away from the life all around us and wipe everything with chemical cleaning agents.

(Leaving in a clean environment is important. There’s a fine line between the reasonable and sensible habits of keeping our home clean, and washing our hands after touching a grocery cart in the winter or using a public bathroom, and the less-reasonable paranoia about microorganisms.)

Dr. Clement and I don’t necessarily line up on every issue. Hippocrates is the Cadillac of “rebuild and detox” programs, and they do so many other good things. Other Ann Wigmore institutions, though, have retained the Rejuvelac habit.

(Brian Clement also calls green smoothies a “recreational food” and doesn’t recommend them.) I am reaching out to the mainstream with habits that are radical for the average American. I’m teaching habits that an average person can adopt, with a dramatic impact. Nutrients oxidize a little bit upon blending, over time, but nutrients are also lost when greens are chewed and swallowed because the narrow modern palate doesn’t break them down. Pick your poison. I could teach people to eat a giant platter of plain greens daily–what you get in your quart of green smoothie–but no one would actually do it. Green smoothies are nutritionally superior to 99.9% of what 99.9% of Americans are eating all day.

Brian Clement is saving people on a daily basis from cancer and debilitating auto-immune diseases. He is a purist, more extreme than I, for that obvious reason. (If I believed that I could get everyone to drink wheat grass several times a day, I would teach that. I have to live both feet on the Earth, though, because I’m not dealing with inpatients trying to turn cancer around—for the most part, I’m dealing with regular people trying to prevent disease in their ultra-busy schedules.)

I don’t agree with everything that all my colleagues say, even though I’m highly supportive of their work and I align with them and honor them in their mission. For instance, Victoria Boutenko’s idea that too much of one green “poisons” us. (I believe you’d have to work pretty hard to get too much of one green, nor do I believe the scientific evidence exists.)

For example, Donna Gates aligns herself with food-combining theory, which has little if any scientific grounding, but gives a list of 19 exceptions she takes to food-combining theory. (A list of 19 falsehoods in the theory begs the question: is the theory even valid?) That said, Donna is dealing with people who often have seriously diseased gut issues. There’s value in getting very detailed, even “extreme,” with people who have not responded well enough to a live, plant-based diet. Certainly individual people have problems with specific foods in combination. And Donna has helped many people who are seriously ill, survive and thrive. (She is walking proof of the efficacy of cultured foods, as she was once terribly ill with candida.)

I think that David Wolfe’s recommending eating deer antler and deer placenta supplements, and his eating moths and ants, is going a bit afield, and I don’t plan to do it. But maybe David will be at my funeral when I’m 100 and he’s 97, and he’ll be shaking his head and saying, “If only she ate the deer placenta.”

All that said….D. Wolfe, V. Boutenko, D. Gates, and B. Clement, as examples—they’re on my team! They teach a million great things to a million people. I’m a fan of each of these, my friends and allies. Each of these examples (David eating ants, Brian saying green smoothies aren’t good enough, Donna suggesting there is merit in considering what foods we eat in combination, Victoria warning against anti-nutrients in raw foods)…..they all have a ROOT in fact. However, I prefer to focus on the larger issues, the larger good, and not overcomplicate or “sweat the small stuff” with dubious evidence at best.

I look for ways to help regular people tap exciting, time-minimal, inexpensive ways to get to profound health.

Tomorrow’s Q&A: Can I use other grains? Why does Rejuvelac smell weird? Will it be alcoholic?

More info about Rejuvelac, part 1 of 3

[Because many people are asking: group buy has not kicked off, hopefully early next week, stay tuned here and we’ll announce it!]

We got more comments about my Rejuvelac video and blog than anything I’ve written about in a long time. The main reaction was, “This is so easy now that I’ve SEEN it, can’t wait to try it!”

Rejuvelac is a probiotic, enzyme drink made from sprouted grain. It costs about $0.25 for half a gallon and it takes about five minutes. Here’s my original video and blog about it.

Keep in mind the fermented Rejuvelac (“done” to my liking in about 24 hours, here in Utah in September where my house is 76-78 degrees) will taste tart, lemony. Another day or two would likely make it naturally carbonated and highly tangy.

Here are questions I’ve been asked, with answers.

Question: What do I do with the stuff at the bottom and top of the jar?

Answer: I failed to show that you can strain the solids (sprouts) out of the Rejuvelac, with a nut milk bag so that it’s just a drink, no floaties or sediment. What I do is drink a glassful from a half-gallon jar of it, but if I’m using it in my green smoothie, I go ahead and use the sprouted-grain solids.

Several of you asked if they should drink it if it smells bad. So I made a batch and smelled it. Since I have no fear of cultured foods, I’d never smelled it before. I agree, it smells pretty bad! But it tasted fine–like Rejuvelac. Tart/tangy, not unpleasant. So my advice is, don’t smell it, taste it!

(That’s the one thing I can’t do for you in my video—reach out and give you a taste.)

Bobby Morgan, the director of CHI, reminds me, “You can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless your body is able to actually absorb them, they’re useless. Dr. Ann Wigmore taught us that Rejuvelac is full of the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, destrines, caccharins, and phosphates that our bodies need to be healthy. In fact, she felt that ‘Although a beverage, Rejuvelac is actually so nutritious, it could be classified as a food by itself.” (Quoted from “Rebuild Your Health with Dr. Ann Wigmore’s Living Foods Lifestyle.”)

Question: When should I drink Rejuvelac?

Answer: At CHI, we were told NOT to drink Rejuvelac after 4 p.m. Why? Because it gives you so much energy, and if you drink it too late in the day, you might not be able to sleep! Now there’s an exciting answer for those of you who use caffeine to get through the day! Like I am constantly teaching in my classes, get your energy surges from critically needed plant nutrition, rather than a chemical stimulant that hurts you in the process. So, try drinking it on an empty stomach, in the low-energy part of your day. It will cost you $0.05, and if you try it for a few weeks, you may start to really enjoy the lemony taste. You’ll save $4.45 over a Starbucks latte, and you won’t have to stand in line, and it will help rather than hurt your health.

Fermenting foods: it’s freaking me out!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I really like the idea of adding the Rejuvelac as my green smoothie base, but I’m honestly totally freaked out to leave something perishable on my countertop in an unsealed container for several days. What are the chances that “bad bacteria” get in there and make me sick? I really appreciate any feedback you have. It sounds like a great opportunity to make green smoothies do even more for me, but I can’t get over the initial concept. –Grace

Answer: Grace, I think it might help if I explain the concept a bit more. Fermented foods are part of your diet already, if you eat yogurt or sauerkraut, or even beer. The manufacturer had to let it sit at room temperature for a time, to grow the cultures.

Also, before refrigeration, human beings had a stronger inner terrain and microbes rarely harmed them. Of course, now we have antibiotics that have seriously damaged most people’s balance of beneficial microorganisms colonizing the digestive tract. We also have refined foods weakening us, and few, if any, cultured foods strengthening us. We now seem to believe that killing a couple million of the billions of microscopic critters around us will somehow do the trick.

It’s a weird modern concept that everything we eat has to be sterilized—ancient peoples lived amongst billions of organisms very peacefully for thousands of years. So maybe our food is sterilized, fumigated, pasteurized, irradiated…..but there are billions of organisms everywhere ELSE (which makes the antibiotic wipes a pointless waste of money).

So, it feels unnatural to you but only because of our strange modern traditions, and the fact that we’ve gotten away from eating foods that nurture our gut’s need for healthy colonization. Just ONE course of antibiotics can change the gut’s internal terrain forever.

Every culture of the world eats cultured foods. Some chew up a food and spit it, with their saliva, into an earthen pot, and drink it a week later. (I won’t be teaching you those methods, don’t worry.) There are literally hundreds of types of cultured foods, in traditional / indigenous peoples, and in people who have not completely adopted processed diets.

The most complete and well known work on this concept is Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, which has some good info but advocates for lots of meat and dairy and a very rich diet. My 12 Steps to Whole Foods program deals with it in a condensed way in Ch. 8 and uses what I feel are a do-able, moderate amount of probiotic foods that do not require us to purchase $10/lb. animal parts. My work focuses on culturing vegetables, optionally some raw, antibiotic- and hormone-free milk, or coconut liquid. (I now culture my coconut liquid before using it in Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie).

My blog on 9/15 talks about learning vicariously through others—the examples I gave were learning from others’ health disasters. But you can learn from my health victories, too. Does it help you to know that I have had a quart or a half gallon of raw kefir, or yogurt, or coconut kefir, or sprouts, or Rejuvelac, or sauerkraut, on my counter, pretty much every day of my life for the past 17 years? We have had zero instances of problems, illness, food poisoning.

It also helps if you understand the process of how food has historically been preserved. You can preserve foods a few ways. One, drying it to dramatically slow oxidation, which often involves lots of salt. Two, can it by killing all its lifeforce (enzymes and vitamins) so that there’s very little to oxidize, and then sealing it against air and bacteria. Third, utilizing lactobacillus and other beneficial organisms and lactic acid to break down the proteins and preserve the food (fermenting).

The way I make sauerkraut (see Ch. 8 of 12 Steps) is that the unrefined salt preserves it for a few days while the (slower) lactic acid begins to take over. I have two-year old raw sauerkraut (that I preserved with whey from my yogurt/kefir) that has been unsealed (but covered tightly with a lid) that we are still eating. It’s too soft, and it’s better, texture-wise, at six months old. But it’s preserved, and the healthy bacteria help my family stay healthy.

It might help to address the semantics. The word “fermented” has a negative connotation. (Although beer drinkers who wouldn’t be caught dead eating fermented vegetables drink PLENTY of fermentation.) When you think of fermented, do you think of ROTTEN? We aren’t eating any rotten foods at my house. We could mentally replace that word with a much nicer one: cultured!

So, don’t eat fermented foods. Eat cultured ones!

If “bad” bacteria gets into your cultured foods and makes them “go bad,” you will know. They will taste bad and/or mold. I have almost never had this happen. Once it happened with a bottle of sauerkraut. Never with kefir or Rejuvelac.

My Rejuvelac ferments in a day. At CHI, they told me 3-5 days, but mine tastes plenty tart 24 hours after I blend the sprouts and water, and put it on the counter to grow (aka ferment, aka culture).

Here’s my new video showing this easy, inexpensive habit that has the potential to see you through the winter without viruses or infections!