A Comprehensive Guide to Kefir

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 toxickore
After recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning I came across a fermented yogurt product called Kefir, the stuff not only helped my recovery but proved a very useful tool for providing my body with nutrition when it was hard to eat. The stuff should not be strictly limited to those with stomach upsets as anyone can drink it and it can have hugely beneficial effects in terms of regulating your digestion and improving intestinal health…..

What Is It? Kefir has a tart and refreshing taste and its pretty runny, more of a yogurt style drink than something you would eat with a spoon. It contains loads of friendly bacteria and beneficial yeast, the beauty of the bacteria in Kefir is that it is multi-strain doing a far more effective job of helping the gut than regular yogurt. The other good news is that if your lactose intolerant you can drink the stuff as its packed with lactase which is an enzyme which eats up the lactose during the culturing process.

Kefir originated in the Caucasus region of mountains and its made by leaving a type of mountain grain called Kefir in regular cow or goats milk to ferment this process takes a few days but eventually leaves you with a powerful and nutritious health tonic.

How can it improve your health? Kefir has a host of benefits, it is rich in vitamins and minerals like B12 and B1 which help with nerve function. It also contains a load of Vitamin K which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease basically its a very important vitamin that is hard to get hold of even with the best of diets other sources include butter from grass fed cows and raw cheese!
As its so easily digested its great to drink first thing in the morning or post workout. It will get nutrients delivered quickly whilst cleaning up the gut and improving your nutrient uptake for the rest of the day as well as these benefits:

better lactose digestion, control of pathogenic or otherwise undesirable intestinal microorganisms, reduction in blood serum cholesterol, reduction in colon carcinogens, and immune system stimulation to resist infections.

The other cool thing is that it is high in protein and low in carbs. Take note that even though the package may say it has 6-8 grams of carbohydrate per 100ml this is not the case as they have been eaten up by the good bacteria whilst fermenting leaving the product basically carb free.

Kefir has also been shown to have a nourishing effect on the nervous system. This is pretty amazing as it holds calming effects which can help with sleep disorders, ADHD and anxiety. So next time your feeling the pressure or can’t not off to sleep head over to the fridge for a cup of kefir….

How to get hold of it? Its pretty easy to find places selling Kefir these days especially if you live in the USA with most normal supermarkets selling it. Health food stores worldwide most certainly sell it. I have found that in the UK it can be found in the Polish section of supermarkets for cheap or at health food stores at a slightly higher price.
The other option of course is to buy the grains yourself and go about the fermentation process in the comfort of your own home. Once you get hold of the grains its pretty simple to make just chekout this site for a pretty comprehensive guide….

Overall Kefir is a great natural way to keep the gut healthy which is probably the biggest key to good health. Sure avoiding things like grains and sugar will keep gut health on a good level I think we all need a little extra support from pro-biotic strains to nourish the gut. I like to drink some a few mornings a week and find it helps keep my immune system intact and I can really feel the boost in my digestion. Again its especially good if you have had any incidence of food poisoning or have taken anti-biotics as it can aid in recovery.

Plus it can be used to make a tasty dessert. The other night I tried it mixed with some strawberries, almonds and honey and it made for a delicious healthy treat. Get creative, as it has a liquid texture its great to throw in shakes with some berries and flaxseed for a really powerful health tonic!

Even for those following a strict Paleo, EF or Primal lifestyle I think Kefir has its place….

Comments

  1. Grok says

    Great post Chris. I can’t believe more people don’t know about Kefir. Thanks for helping get the word out.

    Find yourself a local farmer and get some raw milk. Kefir is easy and fun to make. Great in coconut flakes (which Chris got me interested in eating).

    I drink at least a liter of raw goats milk Kefir every day now. This stuff will absolutely spank the pants off of any OTC “probiotic” you can buy in a bottle. They really aren’t even in the same category.

  2. Rafi Bar-Lev says

    Chris,

    Really interesting post. I never heard about Kefir before and if it really does have a calming effect on the nervous system I definitely want to check it out.

    Cheers,
    Rafi Bar-Lev

  3. Laura says

    I started making my own kefir about a month ago–both from milk and coconut water. It’s great stuff and making it at home allows me to control the contents. It’s become my breakfast beverage of choice.

    @ Laura: Thats awesome, Kefir with coconut milk must be delicious. I should look into making it myself as it sounds like a delicious breakfast….

  4. thania1 says

    Thanks for the post , My god that picture looks so good, and now in summer can easily sustitute a meal.

    I love Kefir , I used to make it many years ago, but one gets tired, as you have to drink it everyday . last year for job issues I lived 6 months in poland, OMG, In supermarkets, you find all type of them, some mixed with cucumber and herbs, others with beet and veggies. Is absolutely a dream. I prefer the goat one, in poland I use to have kefir for dinner every night and it felt so good.

    Now in spain the quality is far inferior,I may start doing it myself again.

    Yes dirnking kefir first thing in the morning as you advised ,really makes my stomach feel relived. I have an appointment with GI specialist 23 of July. See how it goes.

    Have a nice weekend,

    thania

  5. Lori|SpiritualTidbits says

    Just two weeks ago, I bought some Kefir because I read somewhere that it’s one of the foods that helps burn fat (and I’ve got a little to spare and burn).

    I’m also slightly lactose intolerant (I can drink skim milk, but that’s about it).

    A nice surprise that occured was that some digestional issues I was having just cleared up (or out, to be more graphic).

    Lovin’ the kefir. Thanks for the article.

  6. Mina says

    Really interesting to hear people talking about Kefir. It can also be used to make cheese which is rather tasty. I’ve tried it mixed with chilli and herbs, and it’s quite like goats cheese. It seems you can get quite adventurous with the stuff!

    Don’t be put off by the idea that it’s a lot of work – in fact it’s not really. If I’m busy I put the Kefir in the fridge to slow down the fermentation and this buys me a few days… then I add the newly fermented milk to the already fermented jar, and this works fine.

    Mixing Kefir with water is also nice, much like a salty Lassi if you like that.

  7. Laura says

    The coconut kefir is, I think, better than milk kefir. I mix it with some whey powder (100%) and have it for breakfast. Good stuff.

  8. Laura says

    For those interested, here’s how I make my coconut kefir.

    I make the kefir, by heating the coconut water to about 140, then allowing it to cool to around 85 degrees. I mix in Yogourmet Kefir Starter (one packet for a quart of coconut water), and then let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours. I’m still new at it, so am experimenting with how long to let it ferment. This week, I let it ferment 36 hours. I like the sourness and may let it go a bit further next week. It’s a great alternative to milk kefir.

  9. Marisa says

    Been reading a while but this is my first comment.

    After reading this post I bought a bottle of Lifeway Strawberry Kefir out of curiosity; unfortunately the only two kinds that my normal grocery store sells are Strawberry and Blueberry, and they have a lot more than 6g of carbs per serving. So I keep my servings small.

    I’ve been drinking about 1/4 cup of kefir every day for breakfast for the past four days and now I love the stuff. I haven’t noticed a huge change in my digestion but I haven’t gotten heartburn all week, which seems like a good sign. I think Kefir would be a good substitute for milk on cereal – I know most people who read this blog don’t eat cereal, and I don’t eat it often but I do have it as a treat because I miss crunchy things in my diet, and NOTHING crunches quite like cereal. But only wholegrain/low sugar is allowed in my kitchen.

    Has anyone tried freezing Kefir? I can imagine it would be a nice cold treat. I was going to try it but I finished it off this morning. :)

    Marisa: I have tried freezing kefir and its good. I took a portion mixed in some honey and berries then let it sit in the freezer for about an hour. Turned out at a good icy texture, really really good!

  10. Linda says

    I have been drinking raw goat’s milk kefir for three days now and I am AMAZED at how my digestion has improved. I’ve suffered from acid reflux for two years and I’ve tried everything from prescriptions to natural remedies without much improvement. I read online about a man who totally eliminated his acid reflux by driking raw goat’s milk for two weeks. I’m thinking the kefir would be even better than the milk. I may even be able to quit taking digestive enzymes because of my much improved digestion. I drink about 8-10 ounces spread out over the day. It doesn’t seem to take much!!

    I purchase the raw goat’s kefir through a local co-op in Orlando that buys from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. It’s pretty cool….they deliver overnight every two weeks.

    So far, I love my kefir and I’ve got high hopes for improved digestive health.

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