Category Archives: Fermented Foods and Digestion

Fantastic, Easy Recipe for Ginger-Lemon Water Kefir–Great for Digestion

Here’s a easy recipe for Ginger-Lemon Water Kefir. I have been making my own water kefir for over three years. Before that I made kombucha for four years. Compared to all the prep necessary for kombucha–water kefir is an breeze to make, is dairy-free and also helps to promote excellent gut-health.  It’s a great beverage to help with digestion at meals and is a good source of enzymes and probiotics. As a matter of fact, people have made fermented beverages like water kefir for thousands of years as a good supply of drinking water was not available.

You’ll need to order kefir grains first or get them from a friend. They double with each batch–so you will have lots to share.

Here’s what you need:

1 gallon glass jar with lid
1 gallon filtered water
1 1/3 c. organic sucanat (unprocessed brown sugar available at the health food store)
4 heaping T. kefir grains (reconstituted)
1/4 c. diced fresh ginger (use food processor–no need to peel)
1 1/2  diced whole organic lemons (process peel and lemon with ginger in food processor)

Put filtered water in jar with sucanat and kefir grains. Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon until sucanat is dissolved. (You don’t want metal to come in contact with the kefir grains.) Cover loosely and place on top of refrigerator for 24-36  hours. Then drain kefir water through a plastic strainer into a large bowl. Pour strained kefir water back into gallon jar. Save the kefir grains in a glass jar and feed them with 2 T. of sucanat (store in fridge) until you make next batch. (You will always double the grains with each batch–so you can share or put them in your garden.)

Add the lemon and ginger to the kefir water and stir. Cover lightly and place back on top of refrigerator for about 24 hours.  Drain the water kefir again through a strainer into a large bowl and discard the lemon and ginger. After this, pour finished water kefir back into the glass jar and cover.  Place jug in fridge. Enjoy!!

You can make lots of different flavors of water kefir.  Be creative! I also add fresh ground mint to this recipe. Try using berries or citrus fruit.

For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see my book, Performance without Pain and my e-book on healing acid-reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Quenching the Fire—Real Hope for Those who Suffer from Acid Reflux

After decades of being told by the experts that a diet high in fiber and low in fat is the key to robust good health, why is it that one in every 5 Americans is being treated for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, (GERD)?

Studies show more than 60 million Americans are currently being treated by their physicians for acid reflux. Last year there were 470,000 hospitalizations and 1.9 million visits to the emergency room as a result of GERD, commonly known as acid reflux. What’s more, GERD is now being diagnosed in children, birth to four years.

Since 1999 the majority of Americans say they are now following the dietary guidelines recommended by the FDA, eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains each day.  We are also following the advice of the medical community and eliminating from our diets traditional fats,(like butter) and decreasing our intake of protein—especially our favorite food-to-hate—red meat.

What is it, then, that such a large percentage of our population is doing that would promote the massive increase in this ailment? Should our entire nation succumb to popular medications that merely treat the symptoms but do nothing to remedy the underlying cause?

In my e-book, Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I pull back the curtain of misinformation to reveal the truth about why we are all chronically ill not only with GERD, but a variety of ailments including cancer, heart disease, allergies, dementia, even autism: see The Healing Diet for Acid Reflux Disease

Much of what we are told about good nutrition today is based on trends and faulty research funded by the Goliath factory farming industry. For 25 years I suffered from debilitating pain and chronic illness. Over that time I also suffered from symptoms of impaired digestion including persistent flatulence and at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with acid reflux that almost ended my career as a professional clarinetist. Even though I diligently followed popular health dictates as outlined in the traditional Food Pyramid and the resulting digestive illness and malnutrition nearly cost me my life.

If the Food Pyramid isn’t the answer, what is?  In Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I explain how our bodies actually work to digest and assimilate the food we eat.

Before the 1950s most of our foods came from small family farms. These high quality foods were from animals eating their natural diets.  Cows ate grass, chickens ate bugs and worms, and all fish were caught in the wild.  These are nutrient-dense foods our bodies need for optimal health and digestion, but unfortunately, this is not what we find at our grocery stores today.

Consider how many ads you see for drugs to address chronic health problems like acid reflux, gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Pharmaceutical companies expect to earn a whopping $400,000,000 in annual sales from going over-the-counter with the ‘little purple pill. This remedy for acid reflux is nothing more than a slow death.

Current information on so-called healthy eating will not heal digestive disorders and will ultimately lead to nutrient deficiencies, illness, and even death, it behooves us to learn the difference.

The principles of a truly healthy diet are but one aspect found in this exceptional e-book.  Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness also provides information on where to find nutrient-dense foods, shares delicious recipes and menu ideas, and makes the road to true healing informative and enjoyable.

For more information on healing and building health with nutrient-dense foods and seminars on this subject, see Performance without Pain and The Healing Diet for Acid Reflux Disease

Best in Health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Tradtional fermented foods–why everybody needs them for good health

Traditionally cultured and fermented foods like plain whole milk kefir and yogurt from grass-fed cows, homemade sauerkraut, kimchee and pickled beets, and beverages like beet kvass and  kombucha were common foods throughout history before refrigeration. They were a way to preserve foods worldwide. Would it surprise you to know that you absolutely cannot afford to live without them though?

In order to function properly–that is to break down our foods into usable components and detoxify our body– the human digestive system needs ample probiotic bacteria and enzymes. Fermented and cultured foods naturally provide these components. Without these kinds of foods, we may develop many serious digestive problems like candida overgrowth, which chemically change the way our foods are processed and we will not be able to get rid of toxins. Ultimately, poor digestion equals poor health. In fact, acid reflux, inflammatory conditions of all kinds and cancer can be linked to poor digestion and a toxic overload.

Do your health a big favor–devote time to learning to prepare these delicious cultured and fermented foods. As your digestion improves so will your health!

For more information on preparing cultured and fermented foods see our website at Both of our books, Performance without Pain and our e-book on healing acid reflux are wonderful guides to optimizing digestion.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Great Holiday Recipe for Traditionally Fermented Cranberry Chutney

Historically, traditional lacto-fermented foods were a mainstay of people’s diets worldwide before refrigeration. The lacto-fermentation process was very important in preserving foods. There were countless recipes from all cultures that created a wide array of delicious condiments like sauerkraut, pickles, pickled beets, kimchee and chutneys–and beverages like beet kvass, kombucha, kefir and ginger ale. Consuming these foods will help to maintain good digestion as they are high in enzymes and and probiotics. Sadly, when we buy these foods from most grocery stores today, they are pasteurized and will lack the wonderful health-building components.

Here’s a wonderful holiday recipe for a traditionally fermented cranberry chutney.

Lacto-fermented cranberry chutney

* 3 cups of cranberries
* 1/2 cup of nuts (pecans was suggested in the recipe I found, we used hazelnuts)
* 1/2 cup of rapadura
* 2 teaspoons of salt
* 1/2 cup of whey (easy whey can be made by draining 2 cups of plain organic yogurt through a smooth dish towel or cheesecloth-the drained liquid is the whey)
* 1/2 cup of prune juice or other juice (I used apple juice)
* 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
* juice from 1 orange
* juice from 1 lemon
* 1/2 cup of raisins (optional–I like the chutney without raisins better)

Pulse all, except raisins, in food processor. Stir in raisins. Place ingredients in a 1 quart glass jar. Leave 1 inch room at the top of jar. Cover. Ferment 48 hours, then refrigerate. Serve with meat or poultry.

Usually the fruit ferments are good for 1-2 months. My chutney is still excellent after one year!!

For more information on healing and building health with traditional foods, see

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Enzymes in our foods–why they are so important

Eating a diet that is high in enzymes is very important to healing and building optimal health. Enzymes are not only necessary for digestion of our foods, they play an important role in every process of the human body. Dr. Edward Howell’s research on enzymes determined that we have an “enzyme bank, ” and for good health and longevity, it is important to eat foods that will not draw upon these reserves. (See  his books Enzyme Nutrition and Enzymes for Health and Longevity.) Eating a diet where the foods themselves are high in enzymes keeps the pancreas from having to secrete them for digestion, thus saving them for the repair and maintenance of cells, organs, tissues, muscles and tendons.

High-quality, naturally raised raw proteins like raw and cultured dairy, raw egg yolks, raw meats and fish are the highest in enzymes. However, eating cooked foods with high-enzyme fermented vegetables like unpasteurized sauerkraut, pickled beets and kimchee as well as cultured beverages like beet kvass, kombucha and lacto-fermented drinks also saves the body’s enzyme reserves.

Some raw foods  have anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors, and require special preparation to digest well. Nuts, seeds, grains and legumes all contain these difficult-to-digest elements in their raw form and need to be soaked in acidulated water to break down these components.

Our book, Performance without Pain, contains a wealth of information on high-enzyme foods, preparing cultured foods and the proper preparation of foods containing enzyme-inhibitors. It can get you started on understanding how to maximize the healing energy of your diet. For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle

Kefir or yogurt–Which has the most benefit for digestion?

Of course, the best kefir and yogurt in the world is made of whole-fat raw milk from pastured animals.  Both kefir and yogurt are wonderful sources of enzymes, probiotics and nutrition. People who are lactose intolerant can most often tolerate cultured dairy–especially if it is from raw milk, as the lactose is nearly gone.

However, kefir has some benefits that yogurt lacks. The beneficial bacteria in kefir will colonize better in the intestinal tract where that of yogurt tends to move through the system. Also, kefir has a beneficial yeasts that eat candida such as Saccharomyces Kefir and Torula Kefir, which help balance the intestinal flora by penetrating the mucosal lining. They form a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and helps strengthen the intestines. Kefir is therefore an incredible partner in overcoming  compromised gut flora.

Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria may provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. The curd size of Kefir is smaller than yogurt, so it’s also easier to digest

It’s very easy to make your own yogurt and kefir with a good source of whole raw milk–see If you cannot obtain that, you can use a high quality whole organic milk–preferably unhomogenized. You can obtain fantastic cultures from Just follow the instructions on the package. Our book, Performance without Pain, has recipes as well.

For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods, see

Best in health,

Kathryne Pirtle