Na­ture’s Soda

Wine & Dine Cookbook - - EAT WELL - WORDS CELINE ASRIL ART DI­REC­TION UR­SULA DENISE LIONG PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JAMES LIANG

WHAT IS KE­FIR?

Pro­nounced “keh-feer”, these are semi­translu­cent, ed­i­ble crys­tals or ‘grains’ which are clus­ters of good bac­te­ria and yeast held to­gether by a polysac­cha­ride (dex­tran) pro­duced by lac­to­bacil­lus hi­garii. They are not ac­tual grains like wheat or rye, and they feed off sugar to pro­duce pro­bi­otic bac­te­ria, ben­e­fi­cial en­zymes, or­ganic acids, vi­ta­mins, and bio-avail­able mi­cronu­tri­ents.

KE­FIR CRYS­TALS ARE ALSO KNOWN AS SEA RICE, AQUA GEMS, AFRICAN BEES, JA­PANESE WATER CRYS­TALS AND GRANTES VIVANTES. WHERE DID THESE VER­SA­TILE CLUS­TERS COME FROM?

The ex­act time mankind has been cul­ti­vat­ing these grains is un­known, but our ances­tors, all over the world, have con­sumed this re­puted cul­tured drink for cen­turies. Its ex­is­tence was first doc­u­mented in the sug­ary water of the op­un­tia cac­tus (the prickly pear) in 1899 by M L Lutz.

WHAT ARE WATER KE­FIR'S BEN­E­FITS?

It sup­ports a healthy gut, bal­ances in­ter­nal mi­croflora and pH, and pro­motes stronger im­mu­nity and foun­da­tion for over­all well­ness.

Water ke­fir has been gain­ing trac­tion in the re­cent years due to the wave of in­ter­est in clean and whole foods, as well as the in­crease in knowl­edge of pro­bi­otics and gut health. I be­lieve water ke­fir will be more than a trend, as it can be eas­ily in­cor­po­rated into our life­styles. It is also a great soda re­place­ment, and likely a good can­di­date as the bev­er­age of the fu­ture, other than water of course.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO WATER KE­FIR?

I went through a tough seven-year pe­riod deal­ing with leaky gut is­sues, which sparked off a jour­ney into the world of gut health, pro­bi­otics and cul­tured foods. I was ap­palled at the in­clin­ing statis­tics of gut-re­lated con­di­tions and how they link to other is­sues in­clud­ing brain and emo­tional health. We Are Cul­tured was born, out of my pas­sion to am­plify the move­ment of gut and in­ner heal­ing, with a restora­tive range of nat­u­ral, al­ler­gen- and preser­va­tive-free, pro­bi­otic water ke­firs.

WHAT AD­VICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEO­PLE WHO ARE JUST BE­GIN­NING TO EX­PLORE WATER KE­FIR?

If you are not a fan of con­sum­ing sup­ple­ment pills like me, this is a tasty so­lu­tion along­side other pro­bi­otic-rich cul­tured foods.

Visit wearecul­tured.com

We talk to Sh­eryl A Tan, founder of water ke­fir brew­ery We Are Cul­tured, to learn more about the tart, fizzy drink’s taste and ben­e­fits, and also got an ex­clu­sive recipe for those look­ing to nur­ture their own cul­tures

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