Rejuvelac may have a weird name (and it is kind of weird), but this drink can give you a healthy energy boost, improve your digestion and has other health benefits, too.
You can easily make it yourself, although you can also buy it if you prefer. (Keep reading for product picks.)
What is rejuvelac?
Many people, particularly vegans, drink rejuvelac every day as a drink or a tonic, but what is it?
It’s a non-alcoholic, fermented liquid made from grains. The grain should be sprouted first for added nutrition. (How to sprout your own grains). The most common grains used are wheat berries and rye berries, although you can use any grains, including hulled millet, short brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and barley.
In the 1980s, holistic health nutritionist Ann Wigmore recognized the importance of enzymes and lacto-fermented food in the diet. She developed rejuvelac, which she made with wheat berries. She said, “Rejuvelac is actually so nutritious, it could be classified as a food by itself.”
When it’s done, the liquid should be yellowish, cloudy and slightly sweet and tart but not too sour. It will also be slightly carbonated, with a slight lemon taste.
Health benefits of rejuvelac
A healthy digestive system is essential to the body’s overall well-being, so improving your digestion is one of the most important steps you can take to improving your health — gut health has even been linked to Alzheimer’s, autism, ADHD and other behavioral disorders.
People in the health community have been talking a lot about probiotics, which provide healthy bacteria for our guts. Well, rejuvelac is a probiotic, so, to put it simply, it aids in digestion. (Here are some other probiotic options for vegans.)
If you have stomach or colon problems (including Candida,) give rejuvelac a try and see if it helps. And if you eat a lot of cooked food, which destroys enzymes needed for digestion, consuming rejuvelac will help.
But, this fermented drink isn’t only good for your gut. According to research by chemist Harvey Lisle, it is rich in the following good-for-you things:
- Proteins (by predigesting protein via sprouting and fermenting, you get amino acids in an easily assimilated form)
- Phosphates (involved in processes necessary for health, although excessive consumption can be bad)
- Lactobacillus (friendly bacteria; also good for cleansing your intestinal tract)
- Aspergillis oryza (breaks down glucose, starch and glycogens)
- B complex vitamins (including B12, which is often difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get)
- Vitamin C (good for skin and overall health)
- Vitamin E (an antioxidant)
How to make rejuvelac
- Whole (preferably organic) grain, preferably sprouted for health
- A two-quart, wide-mouth mason jar
- Sprouting lid or cheesecloth
- Purified or filtered water
Measure 1/4 of a cup of grain, which have been soaked, put them in a jar and cover them with water. Some people say it’s a good idea to add a squeeze of lemon to help it ferment.
Cover the jar with a sprouting lid or cheesecloth and place it in a dark place at room temperature (70 degrees) for about three days.
Check out the rejuvelac each day, as it could take two to five days to ferment, depending on external temperatures. When it smells yeasty and sweet, it is done. If a layer of white foam forms at the top, lift it off with a spoon.
Strain the rejuvelac and drink immediately or store in the refrigerator. If you did not use sprouted grains, discard this first batch of liquid.
Repeat these steps each day, adding more water to the grains. Only repeat for a couple batches. You can also pull another 1/4 C of grain (from the fridge if you’re using sprouted grain) to start a new batch. Then, add 1/4 C of the finished rejuvelac to help the fermentation process.
How to use rejuvelac
- Drink it daily as a drink or a tonic for improved digestion and health. To take it as a tonic, drink about four ounces or less at different times per day to improve digestion; taking it 20 minutes before a meal is suggested.
- If you don’t want to use it daily, drink it at least one week of every month to renew your intestinal flora.
- Drink it as a sports drink for energy.
- Use it as a hangover cure.
- Use cooled boiled water for soaking, rinsing and fermenting. It’s also a good idea to boil your jars before using.
- If you’re rejuvelac develops mold or it has a putrid or very sharp odor, throw it away.
- Use homemade rejuvelac in five to seven days.
- Add ginger, cinnamon, mint, lemon, lime, honey, stevia or fruit before drinking to improve the taste.
- Rejuvelac can be used to replace the water in smoothies and blended soups, as well as homemade breads and nut milks.
- Use it as a starter for making nut and seed cheeses and vegan kiefers and yogurts.
- Leftover grains can be fed to chickens or birds, composted or thrown out.
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