Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kefir!



I have mentioned kefir a lot in the past months through my posts. It has become a staple here in our house, once we adjusted to the taste and found practical uses for it that fit our family style.

Last week I discovered a few emails asking me to explain a little more about kefir.

So, hold onto your boot-straps because here I go....OK....so it is not that exciting!

If you like food with a history, then kefir will be up your alley.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that has been integral in the diets of civilizations for thousands of years. Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia all have stories of the origin of Kefir, ranging from the grains being a gift from God to lowly Shepard's discovering it in their leather milk pouches.

The milk is fermented with the kefir grain, which is actually a cauliflower looking combination of yeasts and bacterias.  Both goats milk and cows milk make fantastic kefir, but it can also be made with coconut milk, soy, and water.

Kefir can be made at home by purchasing kefir grains and fermenting the milk yourself. It can also be purchased at natural food stores and through natural food cooperatives. Currently, I buy my kefir (both goats milk kefir and cows milk kefir).  Making my own is on the to-do list for this year. If you are interested in making your own please visit the link provided at the bottom of this post.

Kefir reminds me of a thin yogurt. It has a slightly sour taste, that at first made us all cringe. I kept up with it for the health benefits and amazingly enough have learned to enjoy the taste. I use kefir for all sorts of things now:


~ Soaking Grains 
~ On top of my morning granola 
~ With honey, fruit as a substitute for yogurt 
~ In lou of "cream" in certain recipes
~ To thicken and boost our green smoothies
~ As a drink, snack. 
~ As a supplement for my children if and when they need to be on antibiotics. 
~ To make cheese 
~ In lou of sour cream 


In addition to it's versatile uses Kefir is a pretty powerful little probiotic liquid.

The organisms in kefir, truly making it alive (which is a very good thing!), fill your gut with the stuff that can help protect and heal the body.

Two of those organisms, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum assist with lactose digestion, get ride of undesirable intestinal microorganisms, reduce blood serum cholesterol, reduce colon carcinogens, and boost the immune system helping your body resist infections.

 Kefir.org is a website totally devoted to kefir. They also list these health benefits on their site:
* Regulates the body's immune system and improves resistance to diseases.
* Regulates the blood pressure, blood sugar and cures diabetes.
* Heals the lungs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, allergies and migraine.
* Has a positive influence on the heart and blood, heals circulatory conditions.
* Heals various eczema, all skin disorders and leads to cure of acne.
* Heals the kidneys, the urinary tract and protects prostate.
* Has a positive influence on cholesterol, osteoporosis and rheumatism.
* Supports enzymes production and heals the pancreas.
* Improves the liver and gallbladder, regulates bile production, influences positively hepatitis.
* Regulates metabolism, digestion and heals diseases of the colon.
* Heals colitis, diarrhea, catarrh, reflux, leaky gut syndrome, candidasis and more.
* Rebalance the intestinal flora and stomach acid, heals duodenum and cures ulcers.
* Produces its own antibiotics, eliminates unfriendly bacteria, cures internal and external inflammations.
* Heals lactose intolerance and provides full digestibility of milk based products.
* Produces own anti-cancer compounds, prevents metastasis, and leads to cure.
* Slows the aging process, smoothes and improves skin, hair and muscle tonus.
* Reduces anxiety, depression, increases energy and feeling of well being.
* Produces all necessary vitamins and beneficial bacteria needed for our healthy daily life.


My family feels good and we are healthy.  I absolutely believe that kefir is a contributing factor in our good health.  And, now I enjoy this substance as a nourishing and integral part of our kitchen. 

Right now I am purchasing both my goats milk kefir (which I give to my baby) and our cow's milk kefir (which the rest of us use) through our natural food co-op. Soon...fingers crossed...I would like to begin making my own. 

For more information on making your own kefir please visit these neat resources: 



If you have experience with Kefir and want to share recipes/uses let us know. I am always eager to find new ways to use kefir in my kitchen. If you have not used kefir before I encourage you to consider it, if for nothing else then use it for soaking grains. 
I hope this post helps answer some of those questions! 

~ Katie

4 comments:

Katie said...

Just to clarify...do you drink this instead of milk (like 2%) or do you drink this in addition to milk? It sounds very interesting.

pastorwick said...

there is a noise I desire to make in response to this "kefir"..but it's hard to get across using a keyboard.

Glad you feel healthy though. :)

Ethiopianmomma said...

Katie~ we still drink milk. I have started using kefir on top of my cereal instead of milk, but the rest of my family still does milk. We use kefir much the same way a family would do yogurt...totally in addition to milk!

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have a friend who's baby (5 months old) is extremely lactose intolerant (can't handle mama having ANYTHING to do with dairy) does anyone know if the kefir could help her with this? Or where I might go to find out? THANKS!!!