Water Kefir for Autoimmune

Water Kefir Grains

Water Kefir Grains

What is Water Kefir?

Water kefir is made from kefir grains, also known as sugar grains, tibicos, tibi, or Japanese water crystals. The grains make up cultures of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast, held together in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. The symbiotic relationship of the microbes produces a stable growing culture. The microbes feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide, yielding a fermented carbonated beverage. The alcohol content is usually very minimal, less than 1%.  In a nutshell, it’s a large dosage of Probiotics in the natural form.  

What are the Autoimmune Natural Health Benefits of Water Kefir?

They are a natural supplier of Probiotics to our digestive track. Probiotics refers to the healthy bacteria that usually feed on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. Bacterial overgrowth can lead to many illnesses some of which include fungi, yeast infections, indigestion, obesity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome + Crohn’s Disease (my autoimmune disorder stems from these), skin disorders, etc. By drinking water kefir you will bring natural balance to your internal microflora.  By contrast, there is milk kefir [review comparison], however the dairy in it could be problematic and thus the reason I use water kefir.

UPDATE 7/3/13 – CONFIRMATION THAT WATER KEFIR WORKS FOR GOOD BACTERIA – Review the  Metametrix Gut Ecology Test Results for bacteria levels within my system.  You will see the predominant levels of bacteria (the good ones) are high and the pathogenic / opportunistic bacteria (the bad ones) are low and this is due strictly to the water kefir.  The only bacteria I need to supplement are the Bifidobacter and am taking a one month dosage to bring those levels up.

What are the Side Effects of Water Kefir?

Although some have reported candida-like issues, it usually stems from detoxification and only lasts for a few days.  In my research, I have not come up with any significant side effects nor have I developed any major flare-ups while taking water kefir.

UPDATE 4/12/13 – Taking water kefir every morning 4-8oz. with no side effects except mucus with stool if I have too much water kefir.  My body has improved since taking it and is one of the few enhancements / supplements I take now.  Kefir grains stopped growing 3-4 weeks after shipment but that makes it easier to manage.

UPDATE 10/21/13 – INCREASED FUNGUS LEVELS:  Review the  Metametrix Gut Ecology Test Results for Yeast / Fungi and you will see an elevated level of Saccharomyces.  If you read the various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast for water kefir, you will notice it contains Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  After stopping the water kefir for over a month, I have seen no significant side effects or improvements taking away the water kefir.  Therefore it is safe to say that the water kefir is benefiting me (due to increased good bacteria levels) and that this test shows I have an overgrowth of the good bacteria Saccharomyces cerevisiae and not the bad Saccharomyces.

UPDATE 5/17/15 – ACIDITY:  After 5 months of being only on Humira 1X/mo, HCL tablets (scroll to item #3 after clicking link), and water kefir, I noticed higher levels of acidity in my esophagus, some heartburn (especially if I don’t take enough HCL from my other meals), and more burping due to carbonation.  However, I solved this issue by diluting the water kefir, combining the drink with meals, and not letting it ferment more than 2 days (especially the more months you continue to ferment it).  And I also determined that as each month goes by, the water kefir alcohol strength increases (drinking 1/4 – 1/2 mason jar in the morning will almost always give me a buzz in the morning).

How to Make Water Kefir

Tools Needed (Only use plastic / glass, no metal):

  • Plastic strainer
  • Plastic measuring spoons
  • Plastic spoon or knife
  • 4-Cup Glass Measurer
  • Ball Mason jar 3 Glass Ball Mason jars
  • Small coffee filter
  • Rubber band

Ingredients Needed:

  • Filtered or spring water
  • Water kefir grains
  • Organic cane sugar
  • (Optional) Unsweetened, unsulfured dried fruit (apricots, figs or raisins)
  • (Optional) Organic lemon / lime

My Simple Instructions:

Cut lemon / lime in half & then cut again to make 4 pieces. Add 4 Tbsp of organic sugar to 3 cups of spring water.  Stir with plastic knife until sugar dissolves.  Add in strained water kefir and 4 pieces of lemon / lime.  Cover with the coffee filter and wrap with a rubber band for 48 hours in a cool, dry place.

After 48 hours, uncover & strain into a new Mason jar.  Make a new water sugar solution  into the 3rd Mason jar and repeat the steps shown above.

Here is a general video on how to make natural water kefir and what to look out for:

There are many varieties of making natural water kefir and changing the taste.  Look at the video below for more info:

Where Do I Find Natural Water Kefir Grains?

I originally purchased the grains from Green Mom Zoe.  Feel free to order from her & let her know you ordered from my site.

Photos of My Water Kefir Process

Sugar Water - Before Adding Kefir

Sugar Water – Before Adding Kefir

Before & After Water Kefir with Dried Figs.

Before & After Water Kefir with Dried Figs.


Water Kefir with Apricots.

Water Kefir with Apricots. Dried and Fermented Versions at the Bottom.


Day 20 Food Reboot

“Uniqueness” of the Day:  This is my hardest day.  My head isn’t in doing this that much after last night’s horrible smoothie.  Most of today is smoothies and tomorrow are soups; knowing makes it even tougher.  And what makes it the hardest is I’ve gotten the worst shooting pains today from my AS (getting in & out of bed is like getting out of a bed of nails) I’ve had in weeks.  I got an encouraging phone call today from Jamie and got some fantastic recommendations from her new doctor – Dr. Furhman.  I learned that I need to really amp up my Vitamin d3 intake (more than the sun) + you can do up to 300 billion Probiotics per day (currently doing 10 billion) in smaller doses.  Basically, you can’t have enough of those since my gut has a lot of work to do in repairing.

Waking Up:  Went to bed at 11:30 and got up at  4:45am, got water & stretched until 5am, went back to bed & got up at 7:15am.  Stiffness in mid-lower back & left hip sends pain when I twist too much (it’s not much though).  Right hip, behind the right leg & right buttocks area are inflamed + I’m getting the worst shooting pains I’ve had in over a week.

Breakfast:  Green Smoothie
  • 2 bananas, peeled (subbed 1 banana, 1 kiwi)
  • 1 cup pineapple, cubed
  • 1 cup papaya, cubed (papaya not ready, subbed 1 mango)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of dulse flakes
  • 1 tablespoon bee pollen
  • 1 small slice of turmeric (look at #11) & ginger root – both reduce pain & inflammation
  • 6 to 8 ounces filtered water
Directions:  Blend together water, bananas and papaya / mango. Then add romaine lettuce and pineapple. Bend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Synopsis of Breakfast:  Tastes fine & much less thicker than yesterday dinner’s smoothie.  Also a little ginger & tumeric goes a long way.  So don’t cut too big of a piece when you start out.  Also some smoothies will mask it better than others.  Makes around 30 fl. oz. or 2 glassfuls.  Lastly, I’ve noticed my stomach making lots of noises.  Maybe it’s due to the turmeric / ginger root?

Lunch Menu: Green Smoothie
  • 3 bananas, peeled (subbed 1 banana, 1 mango, and 1 kiwi)
  • 3 cups pineapple, cubed
  • ½ avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • 6 to 8 ounces filtered water

NOTE: If this smoothie is to big for you to drink all at once, drink half
for lunch and the other half mid afternoon.  I decided to make a 1/2 smoothie for lunch & half for the afternoon.  I cut the recipe in 1/2 and made one batch during lunch & one in the afternoon.

Directions:  Blend together the water, bananas and avocado. Then add remaining ingredients and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Synopsis of Lunch & Afternoon Meal:  The pineapple makes this too acid-like (especially since I had some in the morning).  The taste is fine overall, but doing 1/2 now & 1/2 later worked out well.

Dinner Menu:  Fruit Salad

Directions:  Slice bananas and mangoes. Add blueberries. Squeeze juice from orange over salad. Add remaining pulp.

Synopsis of Dinner: This one was simple and a welcome change.  I ate the rest of the filling from the collard green wraps from yesterday along with some blueberries & strawberries.  The Day 19 filling had a bit too much cayenne pepper, so the berries offset the taste allowing a savory / sweet taste while making the meal neutral each time I had the berries.

Evening inflammation check:  Fought inflammation and shooting pains all day long.  If this continues tomorrow, I’m taking my Enbrel as it’s been exactly two weeks since my last shot (Day 7).

Gas / Bloating Check:  Had a few BMs today but gas & bloating was manageable.  As with a few days this week, the amount of food can make my stomach / intestines feel stuck or backed up.  This is due to all the food I’m eating.

Day 9 Food Reboot

Unique Events for the Day:  Found out my pineapple went bad & got mold all around the back side.  I’ll have to remember to buy pineapple as I need it & not to store it in the corner of my kitchen.  I’m also finding that nuts digest for me whenever I chew thoroughly, have a handful (maybe 2 at the most), or have with other food.

Waking Up:  Went to bed at 11:30pm & got up at 6:05am with the right leg / buttock area of inflammation with shooting pains – however it’s getting better.  At this point I’ll assume the Metamucil will be fully digested & released today.

Chiropractor: Head weights 2X per day (10 min. each) + Denny roll 2X (20 min. each) – morning & evening.

Morning Physical Symptom Check:  My normal stiff lower & less mid-back (less than moderate stiffness), turning my head all the way to the right I feel a tiny bit sore.  Shooting pains tend to happen whenever I get out of bed for an extended period of time or complete the Denny roll.  However, this pain goes away after about a minute of walking.

Smoothie Recipe (Banana Smoothie Recipe)

I’m still waiting on my papaya to ripen.  I think it’s 4 days & ends up being around 6 or 7.  Time to substitute…

•1 banana, peeled
•2 mangos, peeled and pitted
•2 Cups Dinosaur Kale, 1 Cup spinach
• Strawberries (handful)
• Almond Butter (1 Tbsp)
•3 to 4 ounces of filtered water
• Bee Pollen (1 Tbsp)

Synopsis of Smoothie:  I tend to find the berry & banana/mango/papaya mix quite well.  Next time I’ll try 1 mango as it’s a bit too sweet.  Made 2-2 1/2 glassfuls.

Good Belly Update:  The Good Belly that contains 20 Billion Probiotics per serving definitely tastes better (I am using the Pomegranate) than the Big Shot.  For me, I still want to get back right on the Big Shot as soon as I can.

Lunch Menu:  Fish with Mexican Salad (Tijuana Flats)
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard (1 Leaf) – I added
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Avocado / Guacamole
  • Pieces of Grouper
  • Black Olive
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (On the Side)
  • Red Onion
  • Walnuts (Handful) + Some Macadamia Nuts & Almonds
NOTE:  Heavily modified meal that took them 10 extra minutes to wrap their head around & prepare.  When you go to Tijuana Flats, ask them for a Fish Salad and tell them the ingredients I listed above.

Dinner Menu: Tomato Soup (Cold) + Kale / Avocado Salad

Kale Salad

  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 2 Capri, sliced or other tomato
Directions:  Shred Kale & mix with avocado.  Then mix in the lime juice.  Add the pepper, carrot, and any other vegetable you want.

Spicy Red Pepper Soup (Blend all ingredients below for 30+ seconds)

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 4 Campari tomatoes
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 mango, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (or cayenne to make it hot)
Synopsis of Meal:  The salad was pretty good, but I will add some fruit here, pepper and some dressing.  As for the soup, I have a real issue with cold soup – it’s not my thing.  This meal solidified my thought.  I have 1/2 of the soup left and I’ll reheat it to see how it tastes.

Evening inflammation check:  Right thigh & right buttocks area with shooting pains when I twist. Pain is less than yesterday (3-4 out of 10) with the continuation of shooting pain. Stiffness in lower back – not bad, but noticeable.
Digestion:  Gas and bloating are under control.  When it comes & goes, I can manage it better.