Monday, April 11, 2016

Mornings with Kefir

A friend recently shared some of her kefir grains with me and it has been a real blessing for me to have kefir added to my diet. I had been drinking kefir that was purchased locally, but now, I'm able to make my own, which is even better!

Maybe you have never heard of kefir, or wonder what it really is all about.  I would like to share with you what I've learned about kefir, and its health benefits.

One of the things that drew me to drinking kefir was the fact that I am somewhat lactose intolerant. I can digest small amounts of milk products, but not much more than that.  I've worried about my calcium intake, and try to get my daily intake of calcium other ways.  However, since learning that the good-for-you bacteria in kefir actually consume most of the lactose in the milk, this means that when drinking kefir you get all the benefits of milk without the lactose, which many people's digestive system cannot handle.  This means that I can drink kefir, and not have any issues with lactose... a win-win for me!

The next amazing fact about kefir is that it contains probiotics, complete proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.  Because kefir is such a nutrient-dense, balanced, and nourishing food, it helps boost a healthy immune and digestive system.  Instead of needing to take pills to get your body's need for probiotics, you can get all the probiotics your body needs each day with just one cup of kefir!

Kefir can also help with weight loss, because it helps eliminate unhealthy food cravings. By keeping the body completely nourished and the digestive and immune system working properly, your food cravings will decrease.  I've also noticed personally that if I drink a kefir smoothie for breakfast, I do not even think about eating lunch, and now just eat one main meal in the evening. I don't feel starved on this diet, but rather I feel quite full and satisfied all day long.  I've always had a healthy appetite, and one thing that I have noticed since drinking kefir each day, is that I have been losing weight as well, and part of that is because I am not eating because I am hungry.

Another benefit to kefir is that the grains multiply quite quickly, and this makes it easy to share with friends who have not tried kefir yet.  If you end up with too much kefir (which can easily happen), you can make the kefir into cream cheese/sour cream.

I wanted to share the wonderful benefits of kefir with you, and then show you a pictorial journey of my mornings with kefir.  :)



This is what kefir looks like after it has sat in a cool dark place for 24 hours. 1 tablespoon of kefir grains was placed in a clean quart glass canning jar with 3 cups of milk, shaken well, and covered with a dark cloth, allowed to sit for 24 hours, and then shook again before opening.  When you open active kefir, there should be a "pop" to the lid, to let you know that fermentation has taken place.   You can see all the happy bubbles in the kefir.


Using a small strainer, I pour the kefir into my smoothie container (you could also pour into a cup or glass if you want to just drink it).


Using a spoon, move the thick liquid with the spoon until it has all drained into your container.



After all the kefir has drained through your strainer, you will be left with these kefir grains (they remind me a bit of tapioca pudding).



To make my smoothie, I use about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of kefir in my smoothie container.  Because I have 3 cups of kefir, I will make cream cheese/sour cream with the remainder of the kefir.


When kefir is strained with a thick cloth in the refrigerator for 24 hours, a soft sour cream is created.  2 cups kefir make 1 cup whey, and 1 cup sour cream/cheese. The whey is the green looking fluid in the quart jar above.  Whey is a powerhouse nutrient-dense food as well, and can be used in many cultured recipes.


You can see the yummy goodness here that kefir makes after being strained 24 hours in the refrigerator.  I will show you that process below.


Using a medium sized bowl, place a strainer over the bowl, and cover the strainer with 2-3 layers of cheesecloth.  Pour in the remainder of the kefir that you want to strain.


After the kefir has strained for 24 hours, you will have a soft creamy cheese left in the cheesecloth, which can be scraped out and placed into a clean container, and consumed... it is delicious!  It can be used as either cream cheese, or sour cream. 


 Here are my kefir grains placed back into the quart jar.


My kefir grains measure about 1 tablespoon, which needs 3 cups of milk.  Generally the ratio for kefir grains to ferment is this:

1 tsp kefir grains = 1 cup milk
1 tbsp kefir grains = 3 cups milk


I have placed the kefir grains and milk into the jar and shaken well.  You can use any kind of milk for your kefir, but I have been using whole milk as that is what our family drinks.


It is now ready to sit in a cool dark place for 24 hours.  You will have a thicker kefir if you shake the container well once or twice a day, but it is not necessary.


Next it is time to prepare my morning smoothie.  I've gathered the following ingredients which I've found make a wonderful tasting smoothie.




1-1/2 cups kefir
1-2 stalks kale (1 cup spinach could also be used)
1 cup frozen berries of choice
1 banana
1/4 cup almonds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flax seed
1/2 cup water

I usually add in the greens first.  Today I am using kale, but spinach can also be used.


The berries are added in next.


I usually add the seeds and nuts last.


Time for the Nutribullet to get to work. I absolutely love my Nutribullet.  It is such a workhorse. I've had this one for almost 2 years, and it has been used every day, and makes the best smoothies. There are a many smoothie blenders out there on the market for a lot more money, but I've found this one to do the job perfectly.


All mixed up and ready to drink! The smoothie is enjoyed with my daughter in the mornings.  Son and husband still prefer eggs and bacon for their breakfast, lol!


So there you have the very easy and wonderful way I've been enjoying kefir. There are such incredible health benefits to eating cultured foods, and kefir is probably one of the easiest and best ways to take advantage of those benefits.

Here are a couple of helpful websites to visit if you'd like to research kefir for yourself.

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kefir
http://www.kefir.net

Have you tried kefir?  If so, do share your thoughts with me about how you like it.

Have a blessed day! :)



31 comments:

  1. Thank you for doing this post. I have been really curious about Kefir and you have taken the mystery out of it...that is a good thing!

    Be blessed!

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    1. Kefir has amazing benefits, especially for people with immune or digestive disorders. It might hold some benefits for you! If could meet halfway, I'd be glad to share some kefir grains with you! Do let me know, as I don't think we are that far apart. Hope you are having better days my friend! Spring is here, I do believe! I saw robins out in the yard this weekend :) Oh happy day!

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  2. Thank you for doing this post. I have been really curious about Kefir and you have taken the mystery out of it...that is a good thing!

    Be blessed!

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  3. I've heard of Kefir but it is good to know more about it. It sounds worth pursuing. And I'm so impressed with the healthy way you start your day.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Kefir is a pretty amazing food, and not hard to prepare. Having it in a smoothie is my favorite way of enjoying it! Hope you are having a lovely week :)

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  4. I have never tried kefir before. I don't know if I'm quite that adventurous! I will definitely look into it and the benefits may outway my fears. :-)

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    1. It is well worth doing, I believe. Cultured food is what our bodies need, as so much processed food that we eat contains little nutrients for our bodies. Do some more research on it, you will be amazed at all the health benefits! I know I've certainly felt better as I've added more cultured food to my diet. Have a wonderful day :)

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  5. It sounds like a wonderful way to start the day! We love smoothies, too, but I have never tried kefir. I really haven't heard much about it...I am SO grateful to you for sharing all of this. I think I could figure it out now that you have explained it so well! We live so far from any stores that would sell it, I will have to do some research and figure out how to get some here. You are such a dear blessing to share so many wonderful things here. Love and appreciate you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Making kefir is something I didn't think I would do either, but after trying it and seeing the benefits in how I feel, it has been a great thing for me to do. It is a little bit of extra work in the mornings, but I know it is worth it! Do some research, and see that the benefits for kefir really are amazing :) I pray the Lord is blessing your day dear friend!

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  6. This is a very interesting post and explained a lot about what kefir is and how to prepare and eat it. I don't know if I'd ever try it though. :) My daughter has been eating it and seems to enjoy it. A appreciate your sharing your photos and information. Have a great week!

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    1. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! I'm glad you enjoyed the information, I think its health benefits are really worth the time it takes to prepare it. Appreciate your visit as always Pam! :)

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  7. Hi Marilyn! I remember seeing commercials for Kefir, I think it was a ready-made yogurt type thing. Supposedly it was the secret the Russians had for long life (according to the ads anyway!) So it was really fun to see how it's made. I would so scared to leave that milk out for so long. You don't get sick from it? I would think warm milk would grow all kinds of germs. Well, that must be the nurse in me.

    Your smoothie looks amazing though. So many good things in there! How does it taste? Is it sweet, or have a neutral taste? I know that kale is bitter, but maybe the berries offset it? I've had many blenders, but none really can do smoothies well, they end up so chunky. I'll have to remember the Nutribullet. I have heard of them.
    Very interesting post!
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! I've enjoyed eating it so much! The Nutribullet is definitely a wonderful way to make a smoothie. I've found traditional blenders don't do a good enough job. I really don't know where kefir originated, but its health benefits are pretty astounding and worth considering. Of course, always do your own research, because reading the information yourself is much more helpful. Appreciate your visit, and glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  8. Wow. I feel like I got quite the education today. Love this post. I'm going to try kefir. Never heard of it and I'm lactose intolerant. Thank you!

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    1. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! I hope you can do some of your own research to see how much this simple food can really benefit you, I've been amazed. I'm learning that our bodies work better with cultured food. Appreciate your visit Mary, and pray you are having a blessed day!

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  9. I have never made Kefir but a friend of mine has done it for years. Her son has Crohn's Disease and she says it helps. Seems like such an involved process to me. I'm kinda lazy in the kitchen. :)

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    1. Yes, it is kind of a bit of a process in the mornings, but well worth it. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! :) Hope you are having a lovely week!

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  10. I have never tried it but I really want to now! Thanks for sharing - I'm off to do more research!!

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    1. I think you would enjoy kefir, it's benefits are pretty amazing. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! Take care of yourself, hope your back heals quickly!

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  11. Hi,
    I have not tried Kefir, but I would like to now. I am looking up your links. Thank You,
    Carla

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    1. Kefis really pretty awesome, and not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! Hope you are enjoying your spring break! :)

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  12. That looks like a yummy smoothie. My mom and sister make kefir all the time and I have tried doing it too but the rest of my family just doesn't like the tart taste and I don't care for all the straining steps. I find yogurt making much easier so I tend to go that way instead.

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    1. Have you tried adding a sweetener to it, or putting it in smoothies? I would not like drinking it by itself either, but mixed with berries, or honey, or in a smoothie, it is awesome! The benefits of kefir are pretty amazing, which makes it worthwhile to me. Yogurt is certainly good to eat too! :)

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  13. What a process BUT what a gift!
    We all should be eating Kefir. Now that I know what it is, I will be looking into it.
    Oh.... the benefits!

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    1. Kefir is not as strange as it sounds. It tastes a bit like runny sour cream, if that makes sense. Then you can add your own sweetener to it, but adding it to a smoothie gives the smoothie a lovely creamy flavor... delicious really! I think you would enjoy it if you could give it a try :)

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  14. I so love this aliment, so very good for health, I do use it and everybody in my family like it, we have it every morning before than breakfast !

    Hope you're having a wonderful day, dearest Marilyn, I'm sending blessings on your weekend ahead, with so much gratitude

    Dany

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that you and your family all enjoy kefir! It is truly a marvelous way to get good probiotics and calcium into your body! I always appreciate your visit and hope that you too have a lovely and blessed weekend!

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  15. Good post! Since I've been researching how to treat osteoporosis, I've discovered that dairy is not good for bones unless it's fermented like kefir or yogurt with active cultures. So you're probably doing your body a lot more good by choosing kefir over milk. Also, there's calcium in broccoli, kale and salmon, just to name a few non-dairy foods. xo ~ Nancy

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    1. I would agree Nancy, wholeheartedly. The kefir is simply amazing, and I'm sad that I didn't know about it sooner, but better late than never! If we lived closer, I would love to share my kefir grains with you as they continue to grow. I love eating kale and broccoli, and salmon too. Appreciate you sharing what you've learned here... have a blessed weekend... hopefully you are getting some of the lovely sunshine we are getting here :)

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  16. This is an interesting post. Can you use nondairy milks to make kefir? Or does it have to be cows milk because the kefir is feeding off of the lactose which explains why it is gone and it must get fed again? My understanding is that only cows milk contains lactose.

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    1. Hi Ronda, I'm so sorry to be so late responding to your comment. I think you had emailed me and had researched this and indeed found that you can use any kind of milk for kefir, as long as you soak the grains in dairy milk once a week. I know that before I never could tolerate much dairy milk, but after beginning to use kefir, it does not bother my stomach at all, and I've read that the bacteria eat the lactose in the milk. I hope you can find some kefir grains. If not, I may try to learn how to dehydrate them, and maybe I could send you some. Let me know if you want me to try to do that for you. Hope all is well with you!

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