Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Kefir - Why and How

If you have tried the Kefir shakes on the 17 Day Diet, you have probably bit the bullet and paid the grocery store price for a small bottle of this cultured milk.  But did you know you can make it yourself? Read on...

First of all, why do we want to drink Kefir? 
As explained in Dr. Moreno's book, kefir contains beneficial yeast and friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria. While looking for additional Kefir resources online that might corroborate its health benefits, I ran across Kefir.net, which also claims, "The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins." They also explain that its abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide the enzyme, lactase, a benefit to lactose intolerant individuals.

Kefir is touted as being a balanced and nourishing food, and kefir supporters tout that kefir contributes to a healthy immune system. While not all medical experts agree on its medicinal value, the Kefir website claim that it has been used "to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer." They also state that, "Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)."
I LOVE the kefir smoothies, as my readers already know. What's not to love? In addition to being healthy, they are easy and delicious! In her WebMD blog, Chef Domenica Catelli, recommends a kefir smoothie in the morning, entitling her post as "Great Way to Jumpstart the Day".  She even provides a kefir smoothie recipe in the post that is very similar to Dr. Moreno's version and the ones I make.

Making Kefir Yourself
This is all new to me, since I just discovered kefir could be made at home. I've learned that to get started, you need to buy kefir grains, which is a weird name for them since they look more like curds. There are lots of resources online that sell these "grains," and many videos that demonstrate how to culture them.

I will be experimenting with making my own kefir as soon as I get the grains, but I wanted to share this discovery with my readers now, so you could check it out as well.  As far as I can tell, the health benefits are no different in homemade than store bought, just the cost and convenience. In researching, I also discovered that you make kefir from grains or kefir starter, which are different from one another.  I've decided to use kefir grains since this method appears to have more health benefits and the grains don't have a lifespan like the starter culture does. (See article below for more info on this.)

To help you get started, I've included some online resources  as well as these two YouTube videos. The first video outlines the process for making homemade kefir and I've included a mesh strainer in my Amazon favorites similar to the kind used in this video. The second video explains more about kefir grains and how to store them. After you watch the videos, I think you might be interested in tackling this too, because it sounds easy-peasy! I'll let you know how it goes for me if you will too....

More Kefir Resources:
Healing with Food: Kefir
WebMD: Kefir (Uses, Side Effects, Interactions)
Cultures for Health

Kefir Grains vs. Kefir Starter Culture

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