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.
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
1/4 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.
Have you tried kefir? If so, do share your thoughts with me about how you like it.
Have a blessed day! :)