After attending a recent raw food pot luck and festival, I heard someone praise the health benefits of rejuvelac and I knew it was time for me to finally give it a try.
I also wanted to learn more about this beverage popularized by the late Dr. Ann Wigmore (doctor of Divinity), a popular raw foodist and co-founder of the Hippocrates Health Center
You’re probably wondering what the heck is rejuvelac? Rejuvelac is a fermented drink made from sprouting whole wheat, rye, quinoa, barley, millet, buckwheat or other raw grains. You can easily make it yourself and it’s not something you have to spend lots of money buying at a health store. I am not aware of any commercial brands of rejuvelac.
Rejuvelac Health Benefits
Rejuvelac is supposed to facilitate better digestion (due to the enzyme content), contain beneficial probiotics and vitamins E and K as well as several B vitamins.
I am skeptical about its ability to improve digestion due to its enzyme content. There is no clinical evidence that plant enzymes provide any benefit to humans. In fact, the majority of plant enzymes are denatured when they come into contact with stomach acid. Your body produces its own enzymes and doesn’t need to obtain them from food.
For example, rejuvelac is supposed to be high in the enzyme, amylase, but human saliva naturally contains amylase which gives us the ability to digest starchy foods like rice and potatoes. From a scientific standpoint, the enzyme content of rejuvelac isn’t anything to get too excited about unless, perhaps, you were drinking it with a meal of potatoes and rice.
Because it is a fermented drink, rejuvelac is a rich source of probiotics including Lactobacilli and Aspergillus oryzae. Probiotics do have clinically proven health benefits, but probiotics are not necessary for everybody. Also, most probiotic cultures that are added to foods, sold as supplements or that naturally occur in fermented foods are not necessarily the same species of bacteria that naturally live within your gut.
When you stop taking supplements or foods that contain these non-native gut bacterias, they will not stick around because they are not native to the vast microflora ecosystem that is your digestive tract.
In some cases, probiotics might help, though. If you’ve recently been on antibiotics, or you have compromised digestion, a probiotic supplement or food source such as rejuvelac might help provide your intestines with some microflora assistance until your body has had a chance to replenish its stores of native gut flora. If you’ve been eating meat, eggs and dairy from factory farmed animals, a probiotic might provide some health benefits against antibiotic residues found in these foods that may reduce your gut flora populations.
Rejuvelac Recipe And Instructions
While you can use wheat or wheat berries, I prefer to use quinoa because it’s something I always have on hand. Plus, it’s a great gluten-free option.
STEP 1: Soak 1/2 cup of quinoa in a glass jar. Add enough water to cover the quinoa with about an inch of water on top. Cover with a breathable cloth or paper towel and secure it with a rubber band. Soak for 8 – 12 hours.
STEP 2: After 8-12 hours of soaking, pour off the water and rinse the quinoa with room temperature water. Rinse about 2 to 3 times. Drain all of the water out of the jar. Cover with a breathable cloth or paper towel and secure it with a rubber band.
STEP 3: Set the jar in a low light, room temperature location. Make sure the room is not overly hot. Let it sit for about 4 to 6 hours. When you start to see little sprouts on the quinoa, you will know that it is ready. The tails do not have to get very long.
STEP 4: Add about 3 cups of water (purified is best) to the sprouts and place the jar in a low-light, room temperature location for 2 days. Gently stir the liquid twice a day. After two days, it should be ready to be consumed.
Fermented foods are easily contaminated so make sure the jar is completely clean and the location you place the jar in is not a high traffic area for humans or pets. The final rejuvelac should taste like flat lemonade and have a slight yellow tint. If it tastes like sour milk, don’t drink it.
After it has fermented for about two days, store it in the refrigerator for up to one week. I’ve been drinking about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day, which is a typically recommended serving size.
PRECAUTION: Rejuvelac, as with any fermented food, poses an inherent risk of harmful bacterial, yeast and mold contamination. If you have a weakened or compromised immune system, I do not recommend that you make your own fermented foods, including rejuvelac. Be especially cautions of any strong, offensive odors or tastes, discoloration of the water or growths in the liquid. If you are concerned about the safety of drinking a batch that you have made, it is best to dump it and start again or seek the advice of an someone with more experience.
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Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Health & Weight Loss Program and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.