I’m pretty sure that drinking kefir is one of the easiest, most frugal, and most beneficial dietary changes you can make. Kefir (pronounced kuh-FEAR or KEY-fur) is a cultured milk beverage packed with enzymes, protein, and busy bacteria and yeasts looking for real estate in your gut. Apparently the bacteria in yogurt clean your digestive system and feed the resident bacteria, but they pass through your body rather than sticking around. Not so with kefir–the strains of bacteria that it contains settle down for the long haul, providing you with a balanced inner ecosystem over time.
Health Benefits of Kefir
I’m just beginning to learn how important it is to have a healthy digestive system, and honestly, it’s astounding. Our gut flora (all the bacteria, yeasts, and uni-cellular organisms that reside in our digestive tract) regulate toxins by neutralizing them or excreting them. They also keep our immune systems functioning well and produce vitamins which are released into the rest of the body. Healthy gut flora police bad bacteria and pathogens; without healthy gut flora, our bodies are prey to disease.
Because digestive health is so vital to overall well-being, it’s important to colonize your system with good bacteria and yeasts, and drinking kefir is an excellent way to do that. Ready to be impressed? Drinking kefir can help address the following issues:
- ADD and ADHD
- Sleep disorders
- Lactose intolerance
- Menstrual cramps
- Low energy
- Irritable bowel syndrome
How to Make Kefir
You can make this amazing beverage at home, and it’s even easier than making yogurt, which is already very easy. Start by obtaining some kefir starter culture “grains,” either purchased from a company like Cultures for Health or shared from a friend. I got my kefir grains from a member of my local Weston A. Price chapter. Place your kefir grains in a jar, fill the jar with milk (leave about an inch for expansion), put the lid on and let it sit on the counter-top or in a cupboard for twelve to twenty-four hours. As the kefir cultures the milk, the milk will become thick and yogurt-like.
When the milk is cultured, remove the grains with a non-metal spoon (they will react negatively to metal) and start a new batch, or simply cover them with milk and store in the fridge. There is no need to rinse the grains. In fact, the cultured milk clinging to the grains will help to kick start your next batch. Kefir has a tangy, slightly carbonated taste. You can drink it plain, use it as the liquid in a smoothie, or incorporate it into a variety of recipes.
Kefir can be made with a variety of milk, including coconut milk, raw milk, and pasteurized milk. If you make kefir with milk containing lactose (found in mammal milk) the grains will reproduce and you will be able to make multiple batches at a time, or give grains away.