Lacto-Fermented Electrolyte Drinks
When the temperatures begin to rise, our first inclination is to drink as much water as possible. This is good, in fact it is necessary, but there is something else our body needs as well.
When we sweat a great deal, due to physical exertion or extreme heat, we lose electrolytes through that sweat. Those electrolytes are common minerals that we all need – sodium, potassium, magnesium and more.
If we are depleting these minerals through sweating and we continue to drink a lot of water we only exacerbate the problem by flushing our system of the minerals it needs to maintain the all-important electrolyte balance in which we can retain enough fluid for functioning while continuing to flush out toxins through our urine.
Now, one can reach for one of the many sports drinks on the market labeled as “electrolyte drinks”. They do contain various added minerals to help support that electrolyte balance when you need it most, but what they also contain is loads of sugar.
There is a beverage, however, that contains ionic minerals, small amounts of (needed) sugar, and lactic acid – all of which can perfectly maintain that electrolyte balance naturally.
The beverage I speak of is the lacto-fermented beverage. These beverages are naturally fermented through a process of lactic acid bacteria fermentation. The acids naturally present plus the sugars used in the ingredients produce a drink more hydrating than water because of its mineral content.
The General Lacto-Fermented Beverage Formula
There are various lacto-fermented beverages that one can consume on those hot summer days, which we will get to in a moment, but there is a basic formula for a homemade cultured beverage you can make in your home kitchen.
A simple combination of live whey (strained from cultured yogurt or kefir), sugars (juice and or sweeteners), and flavorings (herbs, fruits, extracts, etc.) can be combined with water to make myriad flavors of lacto-fermented super hydrating beverages. Experiment by using about 1/2 cup of whey per gallon of water combined with sweeteners and flavorings to taste.
A Host of Cultured Beverages
There are more specific lacto-fermented beverage recipes you can prepare as well.
Rejuvalac. This is age-old fermented beverage is made by sprouting a grain like wheat or barley and then soaking it once more. The water from the soaking process is then consumed for its hydrating properties.
Kombucha. This fermented tea beverage is regaining popularity for its delicious and healthful benefits. Because of its detoxing properties some find it slightly dehydrating so it is best consumed in smaller quantities along with plenty of fresh water.
Water Kefir. This is popular as an electrolyte beverage because of its light, sweet, fizzy flavor. It is delicious when flavored with various fruits, which makes it especially well-suited for those hot summer days.
Orangina. This is a lacto-fermented orange beverage made popular by the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
Lacto-Fermented Lemonade. This fizzy, sweet, and tangy version of lemonade is lower and sugar and higher in minerals and enzymes than the lemonade you may have grown up with.
A Note on Summer Fermentation
The catch-22 of these lacto-fermented electrolyte beverages is that you will be culturing them during the hottest part of the year. Fermentation is a fluid process, with the results depending greatly on environmental factors such as temperature and time.
So, if your kitchen is above 85 degrees in the summertime you may have to watch your ferments closely. Check them every day to be sure that the gases they produce will not explode your bottles. Also, realize that they will culture faster in the warmer temperatures and the rapid process can sometimes produce off flavors. So do try to find the coolest place in your home for culturing these beverages as well as all of your other cultured foods