by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com
Another exciting opportunity for exploring fermenting foods came my way when a neighbour accidentally ordered two Kefir starter kits and passed one on to me instead of returning it. This was the start of a journey to get acquainted with Kefir by culturing it. The process of culturing Kefir grains transforms milk sugars similar to the symbiotic fermentation process of Kombucha. The Kefir grain has live yeast that eats the sugar during fermenting making it 99% lactose free. This makes it an alternative source of calcium for lactose intolerant people. It is nutrient-dense, with plenty of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium.
The kit came with dried kefir grains that are activated with fresh milk. Much like a scobie used to ferment tea into kombucha, the milk kefir grains culture the milk. When ready the kefir grains are strained out of the kefir and put into fresh milk to start a new ferment. Once the grains are activated the process becomes easy and it is cheaper than buying Kefir off the grocery shelf.
Save time & money by making yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese & kefir & whey on 1-4 litres of milk
The process to activate the Kefir grains was simple. The grain went into a cup of fresh milk and left to sit in a warm place for up to 24 hour. This cup of milk was checked regularly to see if the texture changed. When it became thicker the grains were strained out and placed into fresh milk. The milk was increased by 1/2 a cup for this second batch. This process continued until the milk was increased to 4 cups and the grains multiplied. The grains can take up to 7 days to be fully activated.
When activated they are fluffy and white, and in florets similar to cottage cheese or cauliflower florets. Once activated the fermentation period with this culture is usually 24 hours in a temperature of 64 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. In summers heat it can increase the time to 12 hours or in the cold of winter increase it to 36 hours.
What I learned about the benefits of Kefir
I learned that Kefir is a complex milk product that has high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics. Research suggest It is a power house for probiotics and may be a better choice than yogurt. The reason is that Kefir contains a higher number of probiotic strains that clean and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut like yogurt however it stays and colonizes unlike Yogurt which is transient and flushed out. Not only does Kefir stay it can go out and attack pathogens and bad bacteria in the gut.
- Antibacterial & Anti fungal
When tested against a series of pathogens it was found to have similarities to several antibiotics in hindering microbial growth.
- Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Kefir grains reduce cholesterol levels in milk 41 to 84% during fermentation.
- Healthy Gut
Lactobacillus found in Kefir is used for its ability to regulate the body’s immune system and inhibit the growth of bacteria and parasites pathogenic in nature.
- Balancing Blood Sugars
My neighbour began using Kefir on a Doctors recommendation to support a diagnosis of Diabetes
- Contains Calcium & Vitamin K
Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health. Calcium helps to build strong bones, protein builds strong muscles, and potassium is essential for heart health.
- Allergies & Asthma
Shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergies and asthma.
- Cancer & Tumors
Believed to reduce tumor growth by stimulating your immune system and has been studied for liver and breast cancer.
- Healthy Skin & Scalp
Applied topically anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial has calming effect on inflammations such as acne, rosacea.
Lactic acid reduces appearance of wrinkles, tightens pores and improves dry and dull skin. Contain nourishing properties that soothe sun-damaged skin.
Try replacing in Yogurt with Kefir in Dandelion Facial Mask recipe
Ways of using Kefir
Once you have begun to ferment Kefir you will have a good supply of it that can be used in smoothies, recipes and apparently in cosmetics! It can be flavoured with herbs and fruits. I have begun using it to replace milk in pancakes and baking recipes and can imagine that it can be added it to eggs, sauces, dressings, soups and stews.
I make cream cheese from home-made yogurt as well as cottage cheese and the added benefit is whey. I am looking forward to trying cream cheese and whey from kefir!
When first drinking Kefir I have read there may be an adjustment period for the first couple of days while your colon integrates the healthy bacteria. Stools may become looser and some gas may be experienced.
For those with Auto immune disorders check with you Doctor before integrating Kefir into a regular diet staple.
Children under one should not have Kefir
Breastfed Babies receive pro-biotics through breast milk
Read more from Living In Natures Love on:
- Colour Spectrum Diet – Eating for our Chakras
- 7 Chakra Subtle Energy Centers
- Living Foods: Fermented Salsa, Fermented Kimchi, Fermented Sauerkraut
- Fabulous Fermenting
- Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Fermenting Your Own Probiotic Beverages at Home by Authors Alex Lewin , Raquel Guajardo