Coconut Kefir- The Easiest Fermented Food You’ll Ever Make

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Coconut kefir is probably the most simple fermented food to make. My body just can’t digest dairy milk kefir, so I opted for the coconut milk version instead. I have previously tried to make coconut kefir with kefir grains, and failed both times. Miserably.

I don’t feel too bad because while looking on Meghan Telpner’s health blog for another coconut kefir recipe, she mentioned she has never made a successful batch of coconut kefir with kefir grains either. Instead she uses a probiotic capsule. I tried this out and the next morning I was happy to find a fresh batch of delicious coconut kefir. I was so happy, I juuuuust may have done a little happy dance.

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Coconut Kefir:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (2 cups) full fat coconut milk (make sure to buy one without all the funny sounding ingredients. Arroy-D is a good choice, as well as Thai Kitchen Organic)
  • 1 probiotic capsule (about 1/4 tsp of powder). Any live kind will do.
  • 1 clean one litre mason jar.

Instructions:

  1. Stir together the coconut milk and the probiotic. If the cream and water in the tin are very separated, you may want to toss it in the blender or warm over low heat first and then whisk in the probiotic.
  2. Transfer to your jar and put a breathable cloth or folded paper towels on top. Secure with a rubber band.
  3. Let sit at room temperature for 18-24 hours. You can taste periodically with a clean spoon until desired taste is achieved. If you live in a tropical climate 8 hours is enough. 6 might even be sufficient. Just keep an eye on it. Note that the longer it ferments, the more sour it will taste. It all comes down to personal preference.
  4. Once ready, reserve 1/2 cup of coconut kefir for your next batch in a new mason jar. Place your coconut kefir in the fridge.
  5. Will keep 3-4 days, or freeze for a couple of weeks.

Second Batch Instructions:

  • Mix together your reserved 1/2 cup of coconut kefir with 2 cups (1 can) organic full fat coconut milk. Repeat steps 2-5 above.

Enjoy!

Health Coach Jenna

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5 Health Essentials to Bring on Vacation

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” –Saint Augustine

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Traveling has enriched my life in many ways. I have learned valuable life lessons, experienced new cultures, and I even met my husband while spending a year in Honduras.

But traveling isn’t always glamorous; the Instagram shots from backpackers and jetsetters might make it appear so, but the truth is, there’s a flip side. Jetlag, constipation, diarrhea and food poisoning many times accompany travel. This is inevitable due to foreign bacteria, different degrees of hygiene, and to being at the mercy of someone else preparing your food.

But please don’t let these things discourage you from traveling my friends! From my experience, I’ve found that some people are less vulnerable than others due to lifestyle choices, habits, and a little preparation. And by bringing these five travel essentials on your next trip, you will feel light, energized, and ready to sight see!

So don’t cancel your flight just yet. Continue packing your bags-just make sure to include these five essentials to avoid getting that Delhi Belly.

5 Health Essentials to Pack for Your Next Trip:

1.Probiotics

Probiotics promote good gut health, which is crucial because it’s the key to overall wellness. I’ve been on the road for the past year and a half, and have only fallen ill with food poisoning twice (very mild cases). I contribute my strong constitution to taking a high-grade probiotic and eating fermented foods daily. My probiotic of choice is Green Vibrance because it not only includes 25 billion probiotics, but it also includes an array of greens and vitamins. Look out for their individually sealed travel packs. If you prefer the convenience of a pill, I recommend Ultra Flora Spectrum.

2. Grapefruit Seed Extract

This is a lifesaver. If you have a parasite or have been introduced to bad bacteria from food, this stuff will flush it out pronto. Eating papaya seeds first thing in the morning also helps kill parasites*.

3. The Airplane Combo Pack

One of the best ways to combat jetlag is to get rest on the plane. I know this isn’t always easy, but I have found that bringing a neck pillow, eye mask, and lavender oil helps me get more ZZZ’s. The eye mask blocks out the light from my neighbor’s movie screen, the pillow adds more comfort, and the lavender oil helps with relaxation.

4. Healthy Snacks

When traveling you are many times at the mercy of restaurants. Seeing as you can’t always predict when the next eatery will pop up, carrying healthy snacks with you is crucial. Things like unsalted almonds, cashews and walnuts are excellent for balancing your blood sugar levels and keeping your hunger at bay. Rx Bars are also easy options, as are individual protein powder packs.

In addition, I always travel with an emergency supply of oats in case I find myself in a pinch. I make a few individual servings in Ziploc bags with oats, cinnamon, goji berries, chia seeds, and walnuts, and I always carry a tin cup and spoon so I can make a meal wherever I go. When I find myself starving and without healthy options, I simply pour my prepared bag of oats in my handy cup, add a little hot water (or cold if not available), and lunch is served.

5. Magnesium Citrate

It’s very easy to get constipated while traveling. This is understandable as travel routines can be unpredictable, and your body isn’t getting the same food it’s used to. A simple solution is to take a few Magnesium Citrate (around 300-400 mg) at bedtime, and constipation will not be an issue.

All right folks, if you follow these five tips, you are more likely to enjoy your trip without all the not so glamorous side effects.

And don’t forget to bring a BPA-free, or stainless steel water bottle along with you. Fill it up religiously and keep track of how many you are drinking a day. I cannot stress how crucial it is to get your two liters (or more if traveling somewhere hot!). Trust me, it’s all too easy to get dehydrated while traveling, as you are distracted with all the new exciting sights and smells.

Happy Travels!

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*If you are pregnant, do not consume papaya seeds, as it could terminate the pregnancy.

Miso Tahini Soup

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We all know that fermented foods are our best friends, and that we should eat at least two servings of them everyday. Fermented foods provide our gut with beneficial bacteria that help us stay healthy, vibrant, and happy, as good gut health is the key to our overall mental and physical wellness.

Check out this fun miso soup recipe from fellow health coach, Katarina Saxton, for a meal that will make your taste buds (and gut) happy.

Miso Tahini Soup

Serves 4
Prep time 10 min – Cook time: 15 min

 

Ingredients:misotahinisoup

1 delicata or butternut squash, seeded and cut into cubes
1 medium white turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
4 cups water
4 tbsp white miso (or any miso you like and adjust the amount accordingly. Some misos are saltier than others).
1/4 cup tahini
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

 

Optional accompaniments:

3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 avocado (sliced or cubed)
1 bunch of chives, minced
Toasted nori (or kale), crumbled for serving
Toasted sesame seeds

 

Preparation:

1. Toss the squash and turnip in oil, salt and garlic and broil in the oven for 10 minutes. This step is totally optional. Recipe did not call for it, but I feel that the flavors intensify when roasted.
2. Once roasted add the squash and turnip to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil.
3. Simmer for few minutes (or 10 if you didn’t roast them i the oven) so the stock gets flavored. Remove from the heat and let cool just slightly.
4. Pour a few tablespoons of the hot stock into a small bowl and whisk in the miso and tahini. This step is to avoid clumping. Stir the thinned miso back into the pot along with lemon zest and juice. Taste, adjust the broth to your liking by adding more miso (for saltiness) or tahini, or something else. I added some sea seasoning for saltiness and cayenne for a little kick, because I like spicy foods.
If you have leftovers and need to reheat the soup, you’ll want to do so gently, over low heat, to preserve the qualities of the miso.

About Kat Saxton:

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Kat Saxton is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and owner of KS Wellness, holistic health coaching company. She was born and raised in Finland and now live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area. She is an advocate of whole food plant-based lifestyle focusing on digestion and detoxification. She loves yoga, Body Pump, long walks in the nature, pretty journals, farmers markets and cats. Check out her blog for recipe inspiration and wellness tips at www.lifeissweetinnyc.com
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How To Repair Your Gut During and After Taking Antibiotics

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These days antibiotics are prescribed for just about anything. You have a cough? Well take some antibiotics! Your ear hurts, Sally? Oh no problem, just take some antibiotics. Oh no, little Joe has a boo-boo on his finger? Let’s give him a Z-Pak just for good measure!

Oh the insanity!

While antibiotics are necessary for treating life threatening bacterial infections, their overuse has led to health problems and autoimmune disease. Yes antibiotics do their job by killing the bad bacteria, but unfortunately they kill all the beneficial bacteria as well. The exact same beneficial bacteria that we need to protect us from the overgrowth of yeasts like Candida albicans that can attach to our gut wall, resulting in “leaky gut”.

This is why we should use antibiotics with EXTREME reservations.

Antibiotics are sometimes necessary and when the situation arises, it’s important to protect yourself both DURING and AFTER the antibiotic treatment to prevent fungal or yeast overgrowth in your gut, as well as replenish your beneficial gut bacteria.

In the last case resort that you have to take antibiotics, here are some steps that can help minimize the damage to your gut, as well as help you restore your gut flora.

How to repair your gut….

DURING Antibiotic Treatment:

1. Take probiotics

While taking antibiotics make sure you take a high quality probiotic.  Take one capsule a day. Make sure to take them at least 2 hours after taking your antibiotic.

2. Take Saccharomyces boulardii 

Take one capsule a day to discourage yeast overgrowth.

3. Eat plenty of fermented foods.

Eat plenty of lacto-fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir (organic if possible, as non-organic is full of antibiotics and hormones – gross!), or if you are lactose intolerant or vegan opt for non-dairy yogurts. Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. One of my favorite fermented foods is coconut water kefir. Get at least 2-3 servings daily.

4. Avoid sugary and processed foods.

Stay away from refined sugars, white breads, white pastas, sodas, cookies, etc.  This is all Candida food. Remember, if you don’t feed Candida, it will not grow.

AFTER Antibiotic Treatment:

1. Take probiotics.

Up your dose of probiotics to one capsule twice a day. Do this for 60 days and then go back to one capsule a day.

2. Take Saccharomyces boulardii

Up your dose to one capsule twice a day. Do this for up to 60 days after taking antibiotics.

3. Eat plenty of fermented foods

Continue to get 2-3 servings of fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, etc. Do this forever  🙂

4. Continue to avoid sugary and processed foods. 

Wishing you a quick recovery.

Love,

Health Coach Jenna

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10 Reasons to Start Drinking Kombucha Today

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Kombucha is a fermented tea that is naturally carbonated and holds TONS of healing properties. The fizzy beverage is loaded with goodies like amino acids and probiotics (probiotics re-establish the natural ecology of your gut flora, boost immunity,  fight allergies, detoxify and rid the body of disease).

Kombucha is  the perfect beverage to aid in weight loss as it keeps your digestive system regular and boosts your metabolism.  

Kombucha does have an acquired taste which is similar to vinegar, but I find infusing it with fruit takes away the edge, and makes it quite tasty! [Click HERE to find out how to make your own kombucha] If you don’t like it on your first try don’t stop there. Give it another try, because it’s easy to get used to it if you drink it on a regular basis.

I personally LOVE the taste of kombucha and it is excellent to drink in addition with your daily probiotic supplement. I drink the stuff everyday (I like to have mine mid- afternoon for the energy boost) and here is why you might want to as well:

1. Chock full of healthy probiotics, so keeps your gut flora healthy and happy

2. Reduces inflammation

3. Detoxes the liver

4. Alkalizes the body by balancing internal pH

5. Increases metabolism

6. Improves digestion

7. Alleviates constipation

8. Boosts energy

9. High in antioxidants

10. Aids healthy cell regeneration

Hey you! Yes you! Have you tried kombucha? What is your experience with the beverage? Do you make your own or buy it from the store?

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How To Make Your Own Kombucha

kombucha If you are like me and drink kombucha every day for its amazing health benefits, then you might have figured out already that buying the stuff can get VERY expensive. This is why I brew my own at home! It’s much more cost efficient and I can play around with different flavors. Making kombucha takes some patience at first,but once you’ve found your groove, it’s super easy!

How to Make Kombucha: What you will need:

  • 1 gallon GLASS container  with lid
  • 8 tea bags (green, black, oolong, or herbal. Do not use Earl Grey as this contains oils which can cause mold.)
  • 1 cup of refined white sugar (this is the ONLY time it is okay to use refined white sugar!)
  • 2 cups starter tea (kombucha from last batch or from a friend) or apple cider vinegar
  • 13-14 cups of filtered water
  • 1 Scoby (live culture) Get one from a friend or if this is not an option you can order online.
  • 1 wooden or plastic stirring utensil (metal compromises the live culture)
  • 1 coffee filter
  • 1 rubber band

Directions: **VERY IMPORTANT** Wash hands before and make sure all materials are clean. If they are not this bacteria could cause mold on your kombucha and you will have to throw out your batch and start from scratch.

1. Heat  water and pour into glass container

2. Add 1 cup sugar and stir with plastic or wooden utensil  until all sugar is dissolved.

3. Place tea bags in the water to steep and place lid on top.

4. Cool the water to 68- 85°F  (I usually let it sit overnight).

5. Remove the tea bags.

6. Add the 2 cups of starter tea or apple cider vinegar.

7. Add the active kombucha scoby. IMG_1460   IMG_1462 8. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and a rubber band. IMG_1463 9. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 14-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste. I let mine ferment for a full 30 days so it is not so sweet, but you can experiment to see what works for you.

10.  After 14-30 days, remove the coffee filter and put the scoby along with 2 cups of your newly made kombucha in a sealed glass container to save for your next batch.

*Optional- Add fruit to the kombucha at this stage. I like to add chopped ginger (gives it a spicy kick and adds more of a detoxing element) and lemon to mine. IMG_1459 11. Place the lid on the jar and put the jar back in it’s spot out of the sunlight for 2 more days. This is the fizzing process and creates more carbonation. It also gives time for  the fruit to infuse if you have chosen to add it.

12. Strain the fruit from the liquid, and place your fresh batch of kombucha in the fridge. You can even bottle it in individual glass jars ( I like to use old store bought kombucha bottles) for convenience.

Happy Brewing!

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