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. The process of culturing Kefir grains is 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. The process is 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. as adding them to a cup of milk. This cup of milk was checked regularly for any changed to the texture. When it was noticeably thicker the grains were strained out and placed into fresh milk increasing the amount of milk by 1/2 a cup. This process continued until the milk was increased to 4 cups of milk with activated grains. The cycle between transferring Kefir grains into fresh milk can be 24 hours. The grains can take up to 7 days to be fully activated.
When activated they are white and in florets similar to cottage cheese or cauliflower florets. Once activated future fermentation periods is usually 24 hours in a temperature of 64 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers heat can reduce 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 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. Kefir contains a higher number of probiotic strains than yogurt and they clean and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut like yogurt. Unlike yogurt, Kefir probiotic strains stay and colonize in ones gut andcan go out to attack pathogens and bad bacteria in the gut. Yogurt strains are transient and flush out.
- 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
Kefir can be used in smoothies, recipes and cosmetically! It can be flavoured with herbs and fruits and used replace milk in pancakes, baking recipes and other dishes such as home-made cottage cheese. Rather than add cream to the curds, I have begun to use Kefir.
There may be an adjustment period the first couple of days while your colon integrates the healthy bacteria of Kefir. 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:
- Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Fermenting Your Own Probiotic Beverages at Home by Authors Alex Lewin , Raquel Guajardo