Pass the Switchel… and Cheers!

Switched on to Switchel!

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What is Switchel you may ask? I have to admit that I only discovered this wonderful drink a couple of months ago but it has fast become a favourite. Switchel has quite a few nicknames including Haymaker’s Punch, Ginger-water and Swizzy. One might call it a fermented drink, but it is so simple to make and falls into the “fermented” category only because one of the main ingredients used to make it, is Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother), and you do leave it to “brew” for at least 12-24 hours in the fridge. The story goes that it may have originated in the Caribbean, or perhaps from an ancient Greek medicinal elixir, but wherever its origins, by the 18th century, “haymaker’s punch” was guzzled down by American farmers during long work days to keep cool and stay hydrated in the heat. Perhaps the first ever electrolyte sports drink LOL!

The beauty of switchel is that you can make it so many different ways, alter the amount of any of the ingredients to suit your taste, so there is sure to be a recipe that works for you and your family!

The basic ingredients include Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh grated or sliced ginger, a natural sweeter (I use raw honey and a little maple syrup), lime (optional), and filtered water. Apparently in the original recipes from the West Indies they used Molasses to sweeten their brew, so if you like molasses – then go for it! I happen not to like the flavour of molasses so you won’t find it in my elixir!

What a power packed list of ingredredients!

Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs): A great natural source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, as well as beneficial bacteria and acids. While many people don’t love the strong flavor of vinegar by itself, it is perfect in this recipe when balanced with ginger, honey and lime. ACV balances your body’s pH levels and, as a liver and lymphatic tonic, detoxes your body. Not bad eh? I have written a post just on the benefits of ACV (Braggs) so if you want more info click here. Continue reading

The wonders of Kombucha

History

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The ancient Chinese discovered the health benefits of Kombucha tea more than 2,000 years ago; they called it an “immortal health elixir.”  Today, this tea has gained recognition around the world as a potent health beverage.  It is known to be effective in reducing the risks of certain health problems like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases and promoting overall health.

Kombucha tea is made from the fermentation of a mixture of sweetened tea and SCOBY, which is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast (a.k.a. “mother” because of its ability to reproduce, or “mushroom” because of its appearance).

The benefits my research uncovered

Health Benefit #1 – Detoxifies the Body

One of the most important health benefits of Kombucha tea is that it can detoxify your body, which keeps your liver healthy.  It contains many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Regular consumption of Kombucha tea can help you maintain a healthy liver.

Health Benefit #2 – May Prevent and Treat Cancer

Along with Kombucha tea’s detoxifying properties, it contains a high content of glucaric acid, which recent studies have shown, can aid in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Some people have managed to fight cancer into remission by taking Continue reading

Whey

whey-yoghurt-cheesewheyMaking whey is a very simple process.  All you need to do is put some yogurt (home made or store bought – but good quality with active culture) in a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place it over a glass bowl.  Leave for a few hours for the whey to drain off the yogurt. Tada, done!  Then you can use the remaining yogurt as Greek yogurt, or if you leave it to drain for a longer time period, what remains will be quark, a form of cream cheese.  Both are yummy.  The whey will last for a few weeks in a tightly capped glass jar in the fridge and can be used to make Beet Kvass and other lacto-fermented foods.

Beet Kvass – benefits and recipe

There is nothing earthier than a glass of beet kvass!  

Beet juice

Even better when you have made it yourself and feel a sense of accomplishment as you lovingly gaze at the beauty of your creation LOL!

Kvass originated in Russia and was traditionally made with stale sourdough rye bread. It was known to have great immune boosting qualities, and although it wasn’t an alcoholic drink, it was similar to beer in taste. Kvass can also be made with beets, and traditional homes in the Ukraine always had a bottle on hand.

The health benefits of lacto-fermented foods are undeniable and becoming ever more popular among health conscious families today. Beets are truly a super-food with an extensive nutritional arsenal and when fermented, the nutritional value increases.

A few benefits of Beet Kvass:

  • A tonic for the blood and liver
  • Beets are high in betacyanin which can dramatically increase the oxygen-carrying ability of the blood
  • Alkalizes the blood
  • Helps to prevent heart disease, stroke and even cancer
  • Known to help “Morning Sickness” in pregnant women
  • Remedy for heartburn, chronic fatigue, kidney stones, and allergies

Let’s get started with what you need and how to create this beautiful beverage! Continue reading