Jump straight to the suggested recipes

Why do we drink? To quench our thirst, to warm ourselves up or cool ourselves down, for adding nutrients to our diet, and last but not least, as a social activity. But how well do our usual drinks perform these functions?33

The human body is comprised of more than 80% water, and water is essential for all of our bodily processes. But inadequate intake is common and can lead to many diseases and disorders. In some countries it’s due to contamination of the water supply, but in others it’s because of the dazzling array of alternatives available.

There is some dissension about how much liquid we need to drink, and what form it needs to be in. Some insist on approx 2 litres of clean water per day, whereas others say that we don’t need that much and any type of liquid is as good as another. For another perspective, let’s look at what our ancestors would have done.

First of all, they didn’t go around with a sipper bottle, trying to force 2 litres of water down themselves at all costs, even if they made themselves feel sick. They drank when they were thirsty. Yes, they would have had a certain amount of clean water. But, from Price’s studies of traditional societies, we know that one thing they had in common was that they drank fermented drinks. These drinks contain a variety of nutrients that were beneficial and it is believed that they also quench thirst and dehydrate better than plain water.

Sally Fallon believes that this is why soft drinks are so popular – we have a racial memory of the beneficial drinks our ancestors drank and our bodies are searching for those needed, thirst quenching drinks. Unfortunately, what we’re finding in our search are pale imitations that destroy health rather than bolstering it. This lesson will cover how we can reintroduce those drinks into our diets.

But before we go onto that, we also need to think about the quality of our water. Most water supplies now contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine, aluminium and fluoride. We can understand that our councils have to ensure that our water isn’t contaminated, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Unless you have access to a supply of fresh, clean water that hasn’t come through a town supply, you will probably have to filter your water.

Avoid distilled water. It’s generally considered that a reverse osmosis filter is the best kind of filter to get. But a problem with their efficiency is that they also remove all the trace minerals from the water. We’re going to look at using filtered water to make lacto fermented soft drinks which have valuable trace minerals in them, and also aid digestion. These types of drinks also rehydrate you better than plain water. But you might also like to check out the range from watersco. It includes the Mineral Pot which remineralises the water after filtering, a whole home unit and a shower filter.

Another problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a safe way to filter out fluoride. And as it doesn’t have a taste, you don’t even know you’re drinking it. If you can get spring water, it’s the best option. If you’re in NZ and live in the Wellington area, you can get pure spring water from a public tap in the main street of Petone.

Let’s now look at some popular beverages, what’s wrong with them and some healthier alternatives.

Popular drink




Packeted soups

No nutrients, made from artificial flavourings

Homemade soups from stocks and veges

A warming drink full of nutrients

Coffee & black tea

Contain caffeine

Green tea or herb teas

Have therapeutic properties

Hot chocolate

Most types contain a lot of sugar, and there is caffeine in the cocoa

Cocoa , made with gently heated raw milk and natural sweeteners

Should still be considered a treat, but a healthier one

Milk based drinks in cartons

Made from pasteurised milk, with sugar and other additives

Smoothies made from raw milk, yoghurt or kefir

Raw milk has enzymes to aid digestion, and fermented milks have beneficial bacteria

Protein drinks

Most are made from denatured proteins

Smoothies (as above) with raw egg yolks or good quality whey protein

Protein that is more bio-available

Fruit juices

Some benefits of fresh fruit, but no fibre and high in fructose, which is a particularly dangerous sugar

1. Green vegetable juices;

2. Lacto fermented fruit or vegetable juices;

3. Diluted fresh fruit juices

1. Lower in sugar & higher in nutrients;

2. Fermenting converts sugars to beneficial acids;

3. Reduced sugar, but still fairly high

Fruit drinks (in cartons)

They look like fruit juice, but have lots of added sugar

Cordials and packeted drinks (eg Raro)

Made from sugar and artificial flavourings

Soft drinks

High in sugar, and the phosphorus leaches calcium

1. Kombucha;

2. Water kefir;

3. Homemade ginger beer;

4. “ Phoenix” soft drinks

1 & 2. Refreshing & contain beneficial acids;

3. Can be made with natural sweeteners;

4. Made with honey

Diet soft drinks

As above, plus contain dangerous artificial sweeteners

Red Bull or V

As above, but also contain stimulants

Sports drinks

High in sugar and artificial flavourings

Filtered water with small amounts of a fermented drink added

Valuable nutrients to help you rehydrate

A wine with dinner

Usually include sulphates

Kombucha; lacto fermented drinks

These aid digestion

Wine, beer or cider at a party

Usually pasteurised or include sulphates

Look for organic, traditionally made brands

More nutrients retained



This section is for those are working through the lessons of the cooking course. Otherwise jump straight to the recipes

Optional reading


Try a new herb tea, for example:

  • Ginger aids digestion and is warming, made from fresh ginger         
  • Spearmint and peppermint aid digestion
  • Chamomile is good for relaxation
  • Licorice
  • Rosehip

Make a fermented milk drink (optional):

  • Yoghurt lassi       
  • Kefir, straight or as a smoothie, contact me for availability of a starter       

Make a fermented drink:

Try some fresh vegetable juices (optional)

Note that juices based on carrots are quite high sugar, so are not suitable for everybody and should be taken with cream:


  • Sort out your drinking water (eg by buying a filter, if needed)
  • Replace “bad” drinks with healthy ones
  • Have a fermented drink with a meal daily
  • Prepare healthy drinks ahead of when they’re needed (start a new batch once a week)



Notes on the Recipes

The recipe suggestions come from a variety of sources. Some are in the recipe blog section of this site, some are from books I may have recommended to you eg Nourishing Traditions (NT) or Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and some are from other people’s blogs.

They are marked with the following icons to make it easy to see which ones are suitable for your diet or not suitable       . But you still need to double check each recipe to make sure. Also refer to my Pinterest page for more ideas.

= GAPS or SCD friendly, and mostly suitable for Paleo
= contains grains of some kind (but may be gluten free)
= contains dairy, and there is no dairy free option
= contains eggs, and there is no egg free option
= contains peanuts, cashews, tree nuts or seeds

Suggested Recipes

  • Chemical free water – from a spring, or filtered
  • Nut or seed milk; or coconut milk ~ GAPS P212-3
  • Ginger tea ~ GAPS P213
  • Herb teas
  • Juice of allowed fruit or veges ~ GAPS P213
  • Fruit smoothies ~ GAPS P214
  • Kefir or yoghurt whey ~ GAPS P215
  • Kvass from beetroot, or other fruit or veg ~ GAPS P215
  • Young coconut kefir
  • Kombucha  (in later stages of GAPS)