I work in a germ factory, and the bugs got busy early this year. Watching students sneeze on their desks all day makes me cringe. I instinctively back away to some place I figure is out of the line of fire, but realistically, I'm sure I'm exposed to everything the kids carry in the door. They aren't concerned at all with the prevention of spreading their germs. "Mrs. Boswell, can I go to the bathroom? My stomach hurts really bad!" is too often uttered dangerously close to my face, no matter how quickly I try to back up.
And then I get a call from my own kids, college students, and I listen to them sniffle and and cough and talk about their worries and their joys and wish there were some way to protect us all from the ailments, physical, mental, and emotional, life has to offer.
A few weeks ago a colleague introduced me to water kefir grains. I had never heard of them before and set about researching them myself as soon as I got home from work. These rather unappetizing-looking little gelatinous globs of goodness mixed with water and sugar create a beverage that works as a probiotic. Reading as many articles as I could put my hands on, I learned that water kefir is credited with boosting immunity, lowering stress, improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels, clearing up flawed complexions, improving the ability to focus, treating ADHD and depression, improving digestion, preventing some forms of cancer, and even shrinking tumors one already has to name a few of its alleged benfits. These gooey lumps of bacteria and yeast sounded like the cure for almost everything. I had to buy some!
I placed my Amazon order and waited eagerly for the substance that would change my life and the lives of my family members. While everyone else suffered winter illnesses, we would remain immune. We'd be happier, healthier, smarter, stronger, and maybe even better looking. Who knows?
It only took a few days for my grains to arrive, and I started fermenting them right away. The first few batches of kefir water weren't very fizzy, and the drink had a weird, yeasty smell and taste about it. I was disappointed, I'll admit. But I kept working at it, experimenting with different fermentation times and with different flavorings, and I sent some up to my kids in college. My batches of kefir water got better and tastier, and I started drinking it every day. After they had had their kefir grains for about a week, my son came home from college, and I offered him a glass of my kefir water, which he enjoyed. And then he confessed that he and his sister had not tried theirs yet. "We were afraid," he told me. And if they ended up not liking it, they weren't sure what they should tell me.
I can't say that I really feel stronger, healthier, happier, smarter, more focused, or better looking since I've been drinking the kefir water, but I am hopeful that drinking something healthy for me will help keep me from getting sick this winter. My students are still sneezing all over everything, and I still cringe, but I've decided not to get sick. I don't really know if the kids are taking care of their kefir grains and drinking the product regularly, but I am hopeful that they are and that it will make a difference for their health. I want them to be happy, healthy, strong, and smart. Even at my age, I still want to believe in miracles. If not for myself, at least for my children.