Kefir; why is it getting so much attention?

Kefir is a fermented drink, traditionally made using cow or goat milk. Kefir is high in nutrients and probiotics, incredibly beneficial for gut health and digestion. Those that culture kefir, consider it to be a healthier and a more powerful version of yogurt because it contains more beneficial strains of healthy bacteria. Kefir contains about 30 different microorganisms [healthy bacteria], in some cases up to 50 strains. Whereas yogurt contains about 4 strains depending on the manufacturer. We need as many strains of healthy bacteria in our gut as we can for healthy digestion. After all, “all disease begins in the gut” and about 85% of our immunity is in our gut. So it is essential to keep it happy with a plethora of healthy bacteria to fight off imbalance and unhealthy overgrowth of bad bacteria.

When making kefir, my preference is to use goat or A2 milk. It is made by adding milk to kefir “grains”. The kefir grains are not grains in the conventional sense, but cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble cottage cheese in appearance. Over a period of 24 hours, the microorganisms in the kefir grains multiply and ferment the natural sugars in the milk, turning it into kefir. Then the grains are strained from the liquid, and can be used again. In essence, kefir is the drink, and kefir “grains” are the “starter kit” that you use to produce the drink. Kefir originated from Eastern Europe. The name is derived from the Turkish word keyif, which means “feeling good” after eating. The lactic acid bacteria turn the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, so kefir tastes sour, similar to yogurt, yet has a thinner consistency.

Kefir is a great source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, magnesium and vitamin D. To make Kefir: It's extremely simple. Add about a teaspoon of these kefir grains to a cup of milk, [or all your grains with one litre] cover the glass or jar with a tea towel, and let it sit out at room temperature for about 24 hours. During this time, the healthy bacteria’s and yeast’s in the kefir grains will ferment the milk, preventing it from spoiling while transforming it into kefir. When done, the kefir will have thickened to the consistency of buttermilk and taste noticeably tangy, like yogurt. Strain out the grains with a fine mess strainer so you can use the grains in another batch, and the kefir is ready to drink or add to a smoothie.

When adding kefir to your diet for the first time, travel slowly with it, just a quarter cup on the first day and gradually increase it over time. If you have too much too fast it can make you feel a little queasy as the bad bacteria dies off in the digestive system. There are several great ways to add kefir to your diet; add to your smoothie, drizzle a little in the place of sour cream in a dip or a soup, or in the place of yogurt. And if you are looking to buy grains they are easy to order online, or contact me, I am always happy to give grains away.

All of our posts reflect our philosophy at A Healthy View A whole real food perspective on food and life.  Extremes do not work but clean, whole, tasty and easy food choices can create a lifetime of good habits that lead to a lean, happy, and healthy person.  Contact us on our website for our next Low Sugar Lifestyle program or a nutritional consult. Article by Simone Kopkas from A Healthy View    

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