Pronounced KEE-fur, kefir is a tangy, slightly fizzy, fermented milk drink that has been around since the beginning of recorded history. Traditionally made on cows or goats milk, it tastes a little sour, a lot like yoghourt without the sugar. It was used not only to promote health, but also to preserve milk when there was no refrigeration.
Large colonies of good bacteria in kefir dominate the milk, thereby suppressing any harmful bacteria and preserving the milk. The kefir microbes eat the milk sugars and perform their magic to infuse the milk with healthy qualities. As you consume kefir it, creates an environment inside you, helping your body to heal and return to optimal health.
1. It is high in nutrients and probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and gut health.
2. It is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid and a fantastic source of nutrients.
3. Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than Yoghourt.
4. Kefir has potent antibacterial properties.
5. Kefir can improve bone health and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
6. Kefir may be protective against cancer.
7. Kefir probiotics can help with various digestive problems.
8. Kefir may improve symptoms of allergy and asthma.
9. Kefir is easy to make at home.
10. Kefir can be made from dairy and non-dairy milks as well as water.
If you’re new to kefir, do yourself a favour and try a few of the commercial brands from your Health Food Store or Organic Grocer before going to the effort of sourcing and buying your own grains.
We loved the coconut dairy milk kefir to start with, although within about 6 weeks the sugar content was noticeable and felt a bit much. Also at $8.95 per 1 litre with the whole family not being able to get enough of it – it started to add up quickly. And yes, even our sweet wee poodle ‘Shaun’ comes running when the Kefir comes out of the fridge :).
So I started looking into making my own. Sourcing kefir grains could only be done online, so I had my grains delivered within a few days from a local Melbourne company. I chose Almond milk kefir grains to start with because I wanted to reduce my dairy intake.
Kefir grains are not grains in the conventional sense, but cultures of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that resemble a tiny cauliflower in appearance.
Although a little daunted to start with, it really didn't take long to get the hang of it. So much so that I've since ordered cow's milk kefir grains as well because the kids prefer it. Personally, I found the cow's milk easier to work with initially.
So now I’m responsible for my very own colony of little kefir grain ‘critters’. I find they are growing well and love being out of the fridge busy making their magic :).
I'm very excited about Kefir and hope you'll give it a go and tell us what you think.
Happy Healthy Eating!