To clarify the most common questions about some of the Body Ecology products, the following is what Donna has written. If you have a question for us, please e-mail us.
- Kefir and Culture Starter
- Vitality Supergreen
- OceanPlant Extract
- CocoBiotic, InnergyBiotic, and Dong Quai
- Coconut Water
Kefir Starter and Culture Starter:
- Q. How much kefir will I be able to make with your starter packets?
- A. A box of six packets of Kefir Starter should make up to 48 batches in total, as you can make up to seven additional batches from each packet by transferring kefir from one batch to the next. This means that you can get a total of eight batches out of each packet of Kefir Starter. You can transfer a cup of Kefir from each batch to the next batch on your seven transfers, making gallons at a time. This means that in total, you can make up to six quarts plus 42 gallons of kefir from each box. You can also make just a quart or half gallon at a time if you do not want that much kefir, by transferring six tablespoons (for a quart) or a half cup (for a half gallon) at a time rather than a cup.
- Q. Where do I find the young green coconuts?
- A. The kefir cultures mainly rely on the sugars in the coconut water for fermentation, and these will be present in the pasteurized coconut water as well as the raw coconut water. The main benefit of using raw coconut water is that it will retain many of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that are lost in the pasteurization process, and it also may ferment somewhat more effectively. However, either one will culture just fine, as long as you ensure that the packaged coconut water is 100% coconut water with no preservatives or additives. These may inhibit the fermentation process. It is also best to avoid a packaged coconut water with unnecessary added sugars. If you are looking for a good packaged alternative, you might look into coconut water from www.exoticsuperfoods.com, previously branded under our name. Their coconut water is raw and unpasteurized unlike most store-bought brands. It is the closest you will get to young Thai coconut water straight from the coconuts.
- Q. How will I know if my coconut water has spoiled?
- A. A shucked coconut should be white in color. If the meat or water has turned pink, purple, or grey, you should discard the coconut as it may be contaminated. Although you may find varying opinions as to whether off-color coconuts are always bad, and there are different reasons why they may not be white, it is best to be safe and discard any coconuts with non-white meat or discolored water.
- Q. Do you know of a source for a tool to cut open the coconut?
- A. A pull saw to open the coconut can be purchased through the Silky Store by calling 1-(888)-605-0001, or through their website: www.silkystore.com. You can also use a heavy duty kitchen knife. There are multiple methods to open a coconut that can be researched online.
- Q. I am having trouble finding an airtight glass container for fermenting. Do you know of a source?
- A. Ideal glass jars for fermenting are available here: www.weckcanning.com. You can also use any standard glass mason jar.
- Q. How do I know that the coconut water/milk has heated to the recommended 92 degrees?
- A. 92 degrees should feel lukewarm and be at approximately skin temperature. You will want to be careful not to exceed this temperature for fermenting. It is more important not to overheat the water than to not heat it enough, so it is best to err toward the side of lower heat. You may want to purchase a candy or cooking thermometer to ensure that you heat the water to the ideal temperature.
- Q. How are the bacteria in your starters grown? Do they contain dairy?
- While the probiotic strains in our starters did originate from a dairy source, the cultures we sell do not truly contain dairy, as the probiotics we actually use in our starters are grown on Dextrose. In a Veritox test, the casein level in our starters has been confirmed to be less than 20 ppm, which means that the casein level is under the limit that has been set for a product to be labeled as non-dairy. We state that the product "contains dairy" due to the fact that it is processed in a facility that also processes products that contain dairy, although technically we could label our starters as non-dairy based on our testing. However, since the probiotic bacteria feed on dairy, any trace amounts of lactose (milk sugar) and/or casein (milk protein) that could possibly be contained in the starters will be consumed by the probiotics during the fermentation process when you make your kefir or vegetables at home.
- Q. How soon should I begin making my transfers for new batches of kefir?
- A. We would recommend making your transfer within the first 3 days while the bacteria are at their strongest state. This will help to ensure that you can successfully make seven transfers per packet, and that your kefir will be at optimal strength throughout the course of the transferring process.
- Q.What amount of vegetables will your culture starter make?
- A. Each packet of the Culture Starter can make up to a gallon, or four to six quarts of cultured vegetables, so you should be able to make 6 gallons with each box of starter purchased. Because the bacteria do not transfer well like the Kefir bacteria, we recommend making a full gallon at a time so as not to waste your starter packets. A batch of cultured vegetables made properly using our starter should last 6-8 months in the refrigerator, so making a large batch is not an issue in terms of storage time.
- Q. How long will it take for my vegetables to ferment properly?
- A. You will want to ferment the vegetables for at least three days, although up to seven days is ideal for optimal potency.
- Q. Where can I find glass jars suitable for fermenting vegetables?
- A. www.weckcanning.com is our recommended source of jars for fermenting, although you can use any standard glass mason jar.
- Q. How will I know when my vegetables have fermented properly?
- A. Once your batch has properly cultured, the brine should be bubbling, and the vegetables should emit a gassy smell upon opening the jar, be bright in color, and have expanded inside of the container.
- Q. Is it necessary to use Body Ecology Culture Starter to ferment vegetables?
- A. It is not necessary, but traditionally cultured vegetables are generally prepared using a wild fermentation method without the use of a probiotic starter, which instead allows airborne yeast found on the vegetables and in the air to ferment the vegetables. Cultured vegetables made in this manner can feed bad yeast and candida in the body. However, if you use our Culture Starter, your fermented vegetables will instead contain beneficial probiotics and good yeast which will help to eliminate candida and bad yeast from the body.
- Q. Do you have any recipes or tips for making my cultured vegetables?
- A. Please see this page for instructions and tips for making the cultured vegetables, plus a couple recipes: http://bodyecology.com/cveggies.php. The instructions that come with the starter contain detailed instructions and two starter recipes as well. There is also a wealth of information online on culturing vegetables as well as recipe ideas. It is also fine to create your own recipes using any combination of vegetables you choose.
- Q. Does fermentation of cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage remove their thyroid-suppressant qualities?
- A. At Body Ecology we believe that fermentation removes the majority of the thyroid-suppressing compounds in cruciferous vegetables.
- Q. Can you use a plastic container to make kefir or cultured vegetables?
- A. Although it is possible to ferment foods/beverages in plastic containers, we recommend using glass receptacles to avoid the potential leaching of harmful chemicals in plastic into your foods and drinks.
- Q. The temperature in my living quarters is below your recommended temperature for fermenting kefir and/or cultured vegetables, how can I keep them within the recommended temperature range?
- A. There are various ways to keep the kefir/vegetables at the recommended temperature. If you have a gas stove, you can put your container inside the stove with only the pilot light on. Insulating the jar/bottle in which you are fermenting your kefir/vegetables in an enclosed container such as a cooler with blankets wrapped around it is also an option. You can also use a heating pad or a space heater, depending on how cold the overall temperature in your home is.
- Q. The temperature in my living quarters is above your recommended temperature for fermenting kefir and/or cultured vegetables, how can I keep them within the recommended temperature range?
- A. Aside from using air-conditioning, you could fill a container such as a cooler with ice and put the bottles/jars in which you are fermenting your kefir/vegetables in the vicinity of the container. If your temperature is a little hotter than the recommended temperature, it should result in a faster fermentation, so you may want to cut the recommended time short by a few hours.
- Q. Do the Kefir and Culture Starters need to be kept refrigerated at all times? Why do they say to keep refrigerated on the boxes but are not shipped refrigerated or on ice?
- A. It is best to refrigerate, or ideally freeze the Kefir and Culture Starters to ensure that they last as long as possible at optimal potency. However, they are shelf stable and are fine to store unrefrigerated for a fairly long amount of time. Transit times are not nearly long enough to affect the efficacy of the starters.
- Q. Is it possible for my jars of cultured vegetables to explode during fermentation?
- A. Your jars of cultured vegetables should not explode. It is possible for some leakage of the brine to occur during fermentation or upon opening. However, if you leave the recommended two inches open at the top of the jar unfilled, and roll up some cabbage leaves to fill that space tightly, you should not experience leakage.
You can also loosen the lids occasionally to release some of the gasses from the jar, making leakage due to built up pressure less likely, although there is no reason to do this if you are not experiencing any leakage issues.
- Q. Does Vitality SuperGreen contain gluten?
- A. No, the amount of gluten in our Vitality SuperGreen is well below the 20 ppm threshold needed to make a product gluten-free (less than 9 ppm). Cereal grasses like barley grass, alfalfa grass, wheat grass, do not contain gluten. The barley flakes and malt are used as starter food for the bacterial cultures and are consumed during fermentation.
- Q. Is Vitality safe for children and pregnant or nursing women?
- A. Yes, Vitality is safe for pregnant and nursing women.
- Q. Can Vitality help me gain/lose weight?
- A. Our Vitality SuperGreen can aid in weight loss if you use it as a substitute for a meal such as breakfast. In addition, the Vitality can help you maintain or even gain weight by including it along with a meal each day.
- Q. How long will one bottle of Vitality last me?
- A. One 9.7 oz container of Vitality contains thirty servings, each serving being two scoops of powder; a scoop is included in the container. This makes for a one month supply if you take one serving per day.
- Q. What is FOS?
- A. Please see this article for a detailed explanation of FOS: http://bodyecology.com/articles/understanding_fos.php
- Q. What can I add the EcoBloom to?
- A. The EcoBloom can be added to kefir or cultured vegetables to help the bacteria thrive and multiply during the fermentation process, or mixed with hot or cold beverages, gravy, salad dressings or condiments to help feed the beneficial probiotics already present in the intestinal tract.
- Q. What benefits does the Ocean Plant Extract provide other than purging heavy metals from the body?
- A. Our Ocean Plant Extract supports the immune system, can protect against different cancers, helps to decrease high blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improves structure of hair and nails to help them grow, and can detoxify smokers from strontium and cadmium toxicity. In addition, the Ocean Plant Extract contains Iodine for thyroid support in a highly bio-available ionic form.
- Q. What is the conversion rate to sugar for your Stevia?
1 cup sugar= 1 teaspoon liquid or powder
1 tablespoon sugar= 1/4 teaspoon powder, 6-9 drops liquid
1 teaspoon sugar= pinch to 1/16 teaspoon powder, 2-4 drops liquid
- Q. Is Stevia safe for diabetics?
- A. Yes, Stevia has a zero glycemic index, making it safe for those who suffer from diabetes.
- Q. Does your liquid Stevia have the licorice aftertaste so often found in different brands?
- A. No, our Stevia does not have a licorice aftertaste due to the filtering methods used to eliminate it from our Stevia, making it what we feel is the best tasting option on the market.
- Q. What are your filtering methods used to make the liquid concentrated?
- A. The compound in plants that causes them to be green in color is chlorophyll. While chlorophyll is present in the stevia plant it does not contribute to the sweet taste you get from the stevia leaf. The sweetness in the stevia leaf is contributed by compounds called glycosides. These glycoside molecules are much smaller than the molecules that make up chlorophyll. Since the chlorophyll does not contribute to the sweetness of the stevia we use simple micron filtration, not chemicals, to remove the chlorophyll (green color) leaving the finished product with a slight amber color. Micron filtration is similar to reverse osmosis which in the purification of water. Our process is a 100% natural from start to finish.
For additional information and safety tests regarding Stevia, please visit: www.stevia.net
CocoBiotic, InnergyBiotic, and Dong Quai
- Q. Is Dong Quai good for men?
- A. Yes, Dong Quai is great for men, just as it is for women. For more information on the amazing health benefits of Dong Quai for both women and men, please see the article below:
- Q. I am pregnant/nursing. Is it safe for me to drink the Dong Quai?
- A. Due to the fact that our Dong Quai balances female hormones, we do not recommend consuming it while pregnant or nursing, nor is it recommended for teenagers or for people with cancer.
- Q. Are these beverages gluten-free?
- A. Both the CocoBiotic and InnergyBiotic have been laboratory tested to be 100% gluten-free, while the Dong Quai contains a very small amount of gluten. Current research suggests that for persons with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity the maximum safe level of gluten in a finished product is certainly less than 0.02% (200 parts per million), although possibly as little as 0.002% (20 parts per million). For a product to be labeled as "Gluten-Free," Codex Standard allow for up to 200 parts per million gluten content.
Although you see wheat and rye toward the bottom of the ingredient list for the Dong Quai, only 6 parts per million were detected in lab tests, which is well below the rigorous 20 parts per million or less threshold the FDA is pushing for to label a product “Gluten-Free.”
Aside from the fact that there are minimal amounts of these grains in the Dong Quai, the fermentation process actually breaks down the gluten; gluten strains normally bind in the body, but fermentation breaks them down so they won't. This means that those with gluten-sensitivities may actually notice their digestive systems improving and in the long-term their gluten-tolerance might be raised by taking the Dong Quai.
- Q. How much should I drink of these beverages each day?
- A. We recommend drinking at least a single 2 oz serving per day, although drinking more will increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in your intestines.
- Q. Do I need to refrigerate the bottles before I drink them?
- A. No, the probiotic beverages have a shelf-life of 18-24 months, even at room temperature. However, when you are ready to start consuming the beverage, we recommend you refrigerate the bottle for about an hour, and then release the cap just slightly so you can hear all of the air leak out, and only remove the cap once the sound of escaping air has completely stopped. This will ensure that you do not have any overflow of liquid, enabling you to enjoy the full contents of the bottle.
- Q. Can I drink the different probiotic beverages at the same time, or should I just stick with one?
- A. You absolutely can. Many of our customers are drinking the CocoBiotic and InnergyBiotic as well as the Dong Quai, as they all have unique health benefits and different flavors.
- Q. Is your CocoBiotic the same as young coconut kefir made using your Kefir Starter? If not, what are the differences between the two?
- A. The young coconut kefir you would make using our Kefir Starter and our CocoBiotic are very similar, but not exactly the same.
The CocoBiotic contains two strains of beneficial bacteria, and is standardized to contain 4 billion CFUs of these probiotics per 2 ounces of liquid:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus delbreukii
The Kefir Starter contains these strains of probiotic bacteria and beneficial yeasts:
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. diacetylactis,
- Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
- Lactobacillus kefyr (thermophilic)
- Saccaromyces unisporus
- Kluyveromyces marxianus
- Q. Is Lakanto safe for diabetics?
- A. Yes, Lakanto has a zero glycemic index, so it is perfectly safe and recommended for diabetics.
- Q. What is Lakanto’s conversion rate to sugar?
- A. Lakanto has a one-to-one conversion rate to sugar, which makes it easy and ideal to use as a substitute.
- Q. The nutritional information states that Lakanto contains carbohydrates. Does this mean it will affect my blood sugar level?
- A. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, "available," those which the body can use and metabolize, and "unavailable," also known as non-glycemic or zero net, which are not used as energy by the body and therefore do not raise blood sugar and have no impact on the glycemic index. Lakanto contains 4 zero net carbs per serving, but these carbs are non-glycemic and aren't converted into calories by your body, so Lakanto will not conflict with your low-carb and/or low-sugar diet!
- Q. With so many alternative sweeteners on the market, do you have any information to help me decide which ones are right for me?
- A. Please refer to the article below for a good breakdown of the various alternative sweeteners on the market: http://bodyecology.com/articles/which_are_good_sweeteners.php
- Do you still sell Body Ecology raw coconut water?
- Although we no longer sell coconut water, the same raw coconut water previously offered by Body Ecology is now being sold by Exotic Superfoods. Please visit www.exoticsuperfoods.com for more details.