I'm an armchair linguist. Always have been. I don't talk about it much, because most people start glazing over when I start waxing enthusiastic over a curious linguistic detail. Becoming a certified interpreter of American Sign Language just fed that passion. My zeal for a turn of phrase or expression and my curiosity for how it came into use isn't limited just to ASL. I look for it in all the books I read and I gravitate to authors who give me windows into how other people and cultures use language. Which is probably why I love British Cozy mysteries, especially those set in the Highlands of Scotland.
When I first read the word "scunner," I could extrapolate from the context what it generally meant, but I looked it up to see if the helpful linguist would tell me how it was derived. Unfortunately, no, but it did confirm that it meant "to take a disgust to; object of loathing." Just so. I've taken a scunner to the ethics of some of the alternative health community. Particularly having to do with supplements and pricing. Yeah, that ugly topic of money.
Becoming a Breatharian ain't cheap. Unless you're one who carries it to its "purist" form. And there are some out there who do attempt it, I've discovered. I remember when I first staggered out of a health food store in sticker shock. Don't get me wrong. As I've adjusted, I find I've no quarrel with the home town health food store that works very hard to provide alternative foods in a very tight market. I don't even have a quarrel--well, not much anyway--with some of the popular alternative brands. I did buy a grain mill because rice can be as low as .25 a pound, which beats $2.50 a pound for the flour--sorry, Bob!--by a long stripe and is much easier on the Breatharian budget. Still, I understand why alternative stuff will cost more, given special handling, processing, more expensive ingredients, what have you. I grok profit margin. But some of this stuff approaches usurious and reeks of advantaging. Don't get me started on the website that sells common g/f flours for $10-30 a pound. Nope. Won't go there. But they're easy to blow off because what they sell is so readily found elsewhere for less. What really fashed me, for some reason, was the cost of supplements promising to restore digestive health. Those probiotic ones. You know. The magic dirt pills that cost $60 a bottle. Don't mistake me, these pills actually worked for us....at least they did while they were still saying that they were gluten free. It happened when I was evaluating how long I could afford to keep buying these, knowing that IselleverysupplementunderthesunHerb wasn't going to continue those deep pocket discounts forever (they didn't!), but wanting to get my children to a point of intestinal integrity where they would stop developing new reactions. Mulling over the label and dosing suggestions, I found the maintenance dose: "one a day for life." At $60 a bottle. Havers.
That was when I really started digging in to changing our diets, not just as an immediate exigency, but as a way of life. When we first started down this IgG trail, I was instructed that we had a three to four month load to haul....six months max and then we'd be home free. After that time frame elapsed and the children were becoming worse and not better, I had to re-evaluate. This was going to be a marathon, not a sprint and I needed to pace myself accordingly. And thon wee scunner wanting $60 per from me for life just fueled my drive to find other answers. We take supplements to give our bodies what we can't or aren't getting from our diets. Since I was convinced that probiotics were important to recovery, I started looking for dietary sources of probiotics. Real probiotics. Life probiotics. I found kefir.
For those to whom kefir is a new word, may I refer you to Dom Anfiteatro, the guru who has the most complete handling of the subject I've found. Even Wikipedia links to his site. To be brief, kefir is made by adding the bacteria-charged organism referred to as "kefir grains," which look like rubbery, overcooked cauliflower, to milk and letting them sit for 24 hours or so. The grains themselves feed on the lactose and impart the broadest imaginable spectrum of probiotic bacteria. They inspire such passion and enthusiasm in devotees that there are multiple yahoogroup lists--high traffic ones at that--on the subject. Go poke around there. Since grains propagate in milk and usually beyond any individual's need, these folk are usually very willing to share their bounty, some for just the cost of postage.
Then there are the Breatharians who can't do dairy.
Yes, I know. There are people who, being unable to tolerate grocery store milk, will be able to tolerate raw, organic goat's milk when kefirred sufficiently. Unfortunately, that advantage isn't universal. I tried doing just that with my children for a couple of months and consequently set the healing process back and entire year. An entire grim, austere year. A word to the wise: kefir may eat lactose, but it doesn't eat casein. So casein sensitive folk, tread carefully. Besides, while kefir is a great and easy source of live probiotics, my research and reading has led me to the understanding that all cultures have fermented foods, and not a few among vegetables and roots. So fermented dairy doesn't hold the corner on microbial magic.
What I've found, from experience, is that the grains, while they won't survive and reproduce in media other than milk, they will impart their probiotic value to whatever media they are in until they eventually peter out and die. It appears that it really doesn't matter what the medium is, you'll get some probiotic benefit from putting kefir grains in it. Since we were also grain-free, nut-free, almost everything free at that time, coconut milk made the most sense for us from a nutritional stand point. Making kefir is very simple and, while requiring routine, is much less demanding than children, a spouse, or even a pet. If possible, it would be advisable to keep a percentage of grains back to store in dairy milk, propagating for future drafting into the service of non-dairy kefir.
Pick your media, be it coconut, rice milk, nut milk, fruit juice
1 tablespoon of grains
1 cup of media
1 jar with non-metallic lid
Drop the grains into the jar of liquid of choice, shake gently and leave on counter for 24 hours. Strain grains out and dump into fresh liquid. Lather, rinse, repeat. Figuratively, that is. Flavor/sweeten liquid to preferences, given that it will be on the sour side and drink.