Healthy Refreshing Summer Drinks–Lacto-fermented Beverages
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©2010 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
Traditional cultures around the world drank naturally lacto-fermented drinks after laboring in the hot sun to replace needed mineral ions that were depleted during the day. Today, we have largely replaced these traditional drinks with caffeine and sugar loaded drinks that further deplete our reserves and cause more dehydration, thus setting up an endless cycle of degeneration.
Could it be that our cravings for alcohol and sodas come from a genetic memory of these regenerating traditional drinks? Traditional drinks were fermented from grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and yogurt. The lactobacilli bacteria and lactic acid promoted the assimilation of rich nutrients for a healthy digestive tract. This summer, instead of soft drinks, fruit juices or other sugary drinks, make some traditional lacto-fermented drinks that promote health.
Traditional Beverages from Around the World
Beers made from corn, barley, wheat and millet are common throughout many countries.
Tesquino—Aztec beer from corn
Munkoyo—beer from Zambia has less than .5% alcohol and consumed by all age groups
Kaffir beer—South African beer from millet
Chichi—beer made by the Incas from balls of dough that they chew to inoculate with their saliva
Kvass—the national drink of Russia. It’s made from a variety of fruits and grains and is used for treating illnesses.
Kiesel—drink from oats or rye from Middle Europe
Wines and ciders are made from grapes, bananas, apples, pears or watermelon and other fruit
Pulque—Mexican drink from cactus
Palm wine—tropical countries from palm sap
Fly—a sweet potato and cassava drink from British Guyana
Fermented tea—Asia and Europe
Nuts—a soaked pecan drink was made by American Indians and European peasants made a drink from walnuts
Spruce beer—made in Colonial America. This drink prevented scurvy and Washington made sure 1 quart of spruce beer was in the Continental Army rations
Fermenting by whey and sea salt
Many drinks are fermented with whey and sea salt which minimizes the alcohol content and made a pleasant and bubbly acidic drink. These were aged for several weeks.
In traditional cultures, these lactic acid drinks were valued as medicine for relieving intestinal ailments and constipation. These drinks also increased lactation, gave strength to the sick and promoted stamina and well-being. They were also considered superior to water to relieve thirst. We now know that we can assimilate the electrolytes from these drinks faster and retain them longer than from plain water.
As we learn more about real foods, traditional preparation methods and use and produce more locally, our health will improve. Now is the time for change. This is the first time in history that our children will die at a younger age than us, due to dependence on processed foods. Every town needs to have its own local products to make lacto-fermented drinks and access to local real foods. When that happens, we will see a reversal in our health and the health of our children.
Ginger Ale Recipe
Makes 2 quarts
¾ cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼-1/2 cup sucanat
2 teaspoons sea salt (use only sea salt)
¼ cup whey (See Issue 10 on how to make whey http://thenaturallivingsite.com/tnlsn10dairy.html
2 quarts filtered water
Put all the ingredients in a 2 quart glass container, stir well and cap tightly. Set out on the counter for 2-3 days at room temperature. Then transfer to the refrigerator where it will keep several months.
Strain into a glass before serving. You can also mix the Ginger Ale with carbonated water. This is best sipped warm, not gulped down cold.
Ginger Ale is a refreshing drink. Take it in small amounts with meals or use as a pick-me-up after working outside in the sun.