I like food that lights a fire in your belly. Feeling energized on a daily basis requires a long term commitment to eating an anti-inflammatory diet. In fact, inflammation can really leave you feeling tired all the time. But in a pinch, certain foods – parsley, ginger, kale – just feel energizing from the moment you eat them.

This simple smoothie has the added Ka-Pow! (yes, I know I’m a geek) of fermented ginger. Drinking this gives you a real buzz, without caffeine. I love it. Pink grapefruit packs plenty of vitamin C and soluble fibre to protect your gut while astringent cranberries really get your motor running.

It all starts with creating the ginger bug, which is a fermented ginger that is usually used as a starter for making homemade ginger beer but here we use it as the liquid base of the smoothie. It’s a great way to ferment at home to save money on pricey health food items, without needing to buy or borrow any starters.

You’ll need 5-7 days to create the ginger bug. If you don’t want to wait that long to try the recipe, substitute 1-2 tbsp of freshly grated ginger and a 1/2 cup of water. Super delicious, just minus the beneficial microbes.

Looking for more plant-based smoothies? Try these treats!

Ka-Pow! Energy Smoothie

A great way to get that extra energy boost to start their day!
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  • 1/2 cup ginger bug*
  • 1/2 red grapefruit, peeled and pith removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 apple, seeded and chopped with skin on
  • 1 scoop of your favourite protein , (if eating as a meal)


  • Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until liquified. It's that easy.

*Instructions for creating a ginger bug – Method created by Mary Karlin in her excellent book, Mastering Fermentation

  • In a very clean one litre (quart) jar, combine 3 1/2 cups of un-chlorinated water, 1 tbsp grated ginger (skin on) and 1 tbsp unbleached sugar. Stir vigorously to dissolve sugar, cover with cheesecloth + secure with an elastic band. Wrap with a tea towel to insulate. Place in a warm area of your kitchen, I keep mine on the stove under the hood lamp.
  • Set a reminder to feed your bug daily: every 24 hours, add 1 tbsp grated ginger and 4 tsp sugar and stir for a couple of minutes to aerate. You will see that your bug is fermenting when there is obvious bubbling on the surface. If it's too cold in your kitchen, it might not happen. If it doesn't happen within 7 days,
    throw it out. In 5-7 days, when it's ready to use, place in the fridge for use in recipes or use it to make ginger beer (get the recipe in her book!).
  • It is important that everything is squeaky clean when you ferment. Check the ginger carefully, because you won't want to scrub away all the beneficial microbes. Using organic is important if you can get it and it needs to smell fresh and be free of visible mould.


Note: that I do not recommend that pregnant women or anyone who is immunocompromised ferment at home. 

Photo Credit: Melissa Quantz