Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kvass: A Crash Course

Kvass translates literally as "leavened". When you speak of kvass, most (who have ever heard of kvass) will think of kvass made from bread (which I have yet to try...but now that we're talking about it I might have to give it a go and provide a photo-how-to for everyone).

Kvass is a "leftover" for traditional bakers, but what a leftover it is! Kvasses are extremely beneficial to the gut, and the gut is the center of health for your whole body. Kvasses protect against infectious diseases, boost the immune system, are more hydrating to the body, and are all together fun and fizzy to drink.

Kombucha is a tea kvass. You know my thoughts on kombucha.

Beet Kvass is a tonic, more than a beverage (unlike a bread kvass, which, as I understand it, is quite tasty). That is because beets are so nutrient dense. Here is what Nourishing Traditions has to say about Beet Kvass (pg 610):

"This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments. Beet Kvass may also be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings and as an addition to soups."

Additionally, beet kvass is being used as cancer therapy in Europe as it seems to have favorable effect on disturbed cellular function. Many studies have shown that beets have a regenerating effect on the body (paraphrasing Annelies Schoneck Des Crudites Toute L'Annee, from the side bar on the Beet Kvass Recipe page in N.T.)

The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) provides a great article on Kvass and Kombucha here.

Why might I make such a beverage? My husband is a recovering Normal American, and at 40, like many others, he is experiencing the cost of all that "refined" eating. For him, it is ulcerative colitis (this article by wiki is obviously of the conventional medicine mindset as it doesn't think there is a connection to diet! Ha! But it explains well what the symptoms are, for a better analysis of digestive health and problems, see this WAPF article). Beet kvass is a part of his medicine, along with a "no refined foods allowed" policy that he likes to compromise on a weekly basis that sends us back into acute colitis issues. This cycle is slowly goading him toward permanent change. I am proud of my husband, he has done amazingly well at choosing health and making dramatic changes to his pre-marriage lifestyle and diet, but his body wants more, and I don't want to be a young widow!


  1. My Hungarian friend in Mongolia makes this. I like beets, but had never tried kvass and really didn't know what it was. I had some this summer. It was OK tasting. I knew it was good for me, so I drank it. My littlest son, however, just a little over a year old, could NOT get enough of it! He grabbed my glass and downed it! And then asked for more! It was hilarious!

    My friend said, "See! He's still a baby and hasn't had his tastebuds ruined yet by so many processed foods!" She's probably right!

  2. Andrew and I were chatting before bed the other night and I was asking if he ever got the inclination to just start life over in a simpler place and just go be farmers in another country. He asked if I had any place in mind, and I dreamily replied, "Mongolia". I think I had just seen the photos of your family's farm there from your trip to see them all.

    As for your son, I am not surprised in the least! That was my shock when I first gave my boys straight cod liver oil. They still can't get enough of that stuff, while I am still learning to get it down without grimacing in front of them.

    See, there's always hope for the youth!

  3. Lovely. Weston Price for president. Or Marianne for president.

  4. I throw CLO in my morning hemp smoothies.

  5. Leah - Stop it now, Weston is dead, and I am not nearly old enough to run for president! =)

    Cod Liver Oil with Hemp?! Oh that does not sound good. I may have to try this strange brew/blend of yours.

  6. i Have been having half a cup of beet kvass twice daily,but have been having bad diarrhea now for the last week. Is this a common occurrence, perhaps i should cut back to one half cup daily.
    Any thoughts?? thanks.

    1. Dear Anonymous -
      I am sorry for the delay in my response. Has the situation changed at all? Perhaps you had a flu? I have only seen beet kvass help with digestion. My husband often did 4-8 ounces three times a day during acute spells of ulcerative colitis and it helped greatly. If no acute illness, I would look to something else you are eating.

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