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Old 01-16-2009, 11:46 PM
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If you're interested in good health, one thing that should be in your daily ritual is kefir. Kefir is a pro-biotic like yogurt, but unlike yogurt it survives the initial saliva in your mouth and makes it past into the stomach, into the gut, rebuilding and fortifying your gut with helpful biotics to boost your health, and it is still living there as it makes its way back out of your body. It is even still alive in your poop. Yogurt doesn't make it to your gut alive. People who think they are doing their body good with yogurt are going on placebo affect alone. Kefir is also easy to make, unlike yogurt which requires a sterile environment and strict temperatures and whatnot. Kefir can be grown in milk, like yogurt, but unlike yogurt kefir can be grown in sugary water and fruit juices. Anything liquid and with a sugar content of any kind will grow kefir.

Kefir eats the sugars basically. And it exhales a slimy stuff and builds up a carbonation as it ferments the original substance. I like kefir milk. Mmmmmmm It is so so good. But more on that later.

The word kefir has roots in the Greek-Turkic languages. Kefir essentially means "feel good". The origins of kefir itself all point to one geographic region alone, and that is the Caucasus mountains. It was a secret to the Caucasians (Circassians, Chechens and other tiny nations) for hundreds of years until a prince of Russia was successful at obtaining some of the kefir culture (also called kefir grains) through trickery involving a fair maiden. That story is interesting, but the end result sum is that the cat got out of the bag and now we all can benefit.

When kefir milk is made, the kefir grain eats the lactose and converts the lactose to lactic acid. The milk fat combines with the lactic acid and thanks to the kefir engine, it produces more protein (protein is a fatty acid). So when you start with 10 grams protein you end up with about 14. So the benefits of kefir milk go beyond mere probiotic enrichment of your body. It also makes milk capable of being assimilated by lactose intolerant people.

Kefir milk is best made with WHOLE milk. In this day and age of light this, extra light that, and fat free stuff, kefir thrives in whole milk. In fact it works faster, creates more probiotics and grows faster itself, with whole milk.

Kefir can also make a spreadable cream cheese without cooking the milk and without rennet. It is therefore a true vegetarian cheese (as rennet is animal flesh, from the guts of young calves).

There are more benefits to kefir than I can say in one hour.

How you make kefir: Making kefir is easy. First thing is you go buy some kefir grains. I sell them, but you can also buy them from many other people, some of which are on eBay. If you intend on making kefir milk, it is best to begin with kefir grains that were raised on milk instead of water. This is actually somewhat important. I raise my kefir on organic milk too. And that is in my opinion also very important as it may be possible for the kefir culture to get sick off chemicals in non-organic milk. So when you buy the grains, they will most likely be in a dried format as it is very difficult to ship live grains. When you get the dried grains, you want to put them in some milk. And you want to drain the milk and replace the milk daily until the kefir grains have become white, are spongey and slimey (like snot), and turn the milk sour and thicken the milk considerably. Until that happens you may not want to ingest the milk.

You should get yourself a strainer. Some people say that kefir should never touch metal. Okay, maybe that's someone's old anecdote but I haven't noticed any detriment to that. I use a stainless steel strainer with a medium wire mesh to it. I drain my kefir milk daily. I've noticed that I need to tap on the strainer to get the milk to drain through.

Then the strained milk should be put in the refrigerator for an hour minimum, it will thicken more. I happen to start my day with kefir and last thing before bedtime for me is my kefir chore of draining and setting up the kefir for next day's milk. By the way kefir is grown in room temperature or slightly warmer than room temperature. It will not grow in the refrigerator at a rate you will notice.

Some ideas on how to incorporate kefir into your diet (by the way I use it as a meal replacement for breakfast, it is very filling):

1. Put in blender with fresh or frozen strawberries or blueberries or raspberries. I like the wild blueberries you can get at Trader Joes. MmmMMMmmm! so so good! Now, since the lactose has been eaten up, if you don't like slightly sour kefir simply add some organic sugar, or better yet, wild honey! MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! That's the best!

2. Put about one and a half cups kefir in bowl, then half a cup of granola, half cup of toasted almonds, half a cup of dried fruits, and half a cup of fresh grapes! MMMMMMMMMM!!! What a great breakfast, or after dinner desert!

3. Drink it outright, straight up. For the daring! It tastes almost identical to plain yogurt but is more liquid.

4. Make mango lassi with it! MMMMM! Lassi is an Indian drink made from yogurt. Persians and Arabs also make a yogurt drink (arabs call Tahn) with spices mixed in with the yogurt. So, replace the yogurt with kefir instead and it will be even healthier!

5. Indians make a salad kind of dish that some people or actually a lot of people use as salad dressing. It has cucumbers, cucumber skins (all minced up) and yogurt. They call it Raita. It is very delicious! (I'm a big fan of Indian food). Make Raita with kefir instead of yogurt! Use as salad dressing.

6. Kefir enemas.

Kefir grains grow relatively fast. Within a month or two you will be to the point where you're going to want to do something with the excess grains. You may decide to eat them for a huge huge pro-biotic boost. They are very sour by themselves and you may not want to chew on them for that reason (can you tell I tried that already?). Or you may decide to dry some and keep in case your live grains get sick somehow. Or you may want to give to friends.

This is only a wee little introduction to kefir. I hope you enjoyed the information. If health is part of your general picture of survival, then kefir should be in your daily regiment!

If you want to buy kefir from me, you may do so by donation. Donate what it's worth to you and keep the wheels of humanity spinning. Of course you can also buy from eBay sellers who are there for profit.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:01 AM
DaggerD DaggerD is offline
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I just guzzled a bunch of rasberry kefir right out of the carton (don't tell my wife) right before I read this.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:49 AM
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so, can you confirm the feel good feeling?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:47 AM
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hi,
I've been using kefir for a while now. I use it because I find it is useful in boosting immunity from coughs and colds, especially if fortified with vitamin C.
I make a shake for my family by adding some water, vitamin C, a spoon of omega 3 oil (a dash of oil seems to improve the consistency, even olive) and a dash of blackcurrant syrup. It tastes much like the yoghurt drinks you can buy in the supermarket. For myself, I skip the syrup, but add a scoop of protein powder. I often add other supplements in powder form (magnesium, calcium, alpha lipoic acid etc).

So all is good, but I would like to get some opinions on my fermenting 'method'. I ferment the grains in the fridge in 3/4 of a pint of skimmed milk. I use skimmed, since that is what we use at home. It doesn't seem to be a problem for the fermentation. I do it in the fridge to slow things down as I ferment a batch of kefir to last 3 days or so, since I don't want to do all the straining every day. It separates into a curds and whey after a couple of days if I don't shake it, but it reblends into the traditional sour tasting kefir when I sieve it.

I only ask since my grains don't form a 'cauliflower' anymore, but have all separated. I'd like to know if anyone thinks this is a problem? Otherwise the fermentation seems fine, but can I be sure the pro-biotic 'potency' is there?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:51 AM
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Karnus Karnus is offline
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I was going to correct your spelling. Then I saw this was thread about something else.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:53 AM
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How does this differ from yogurt with active cultures?
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:02 AM
dbasrus dbasrus is offline
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I don't know if it differs a great deal, except that it's essentially free (just add milk!) and it's a lot easier to make than yogurt.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:20 AM
SLACKJAW44 SLACKJAW44 is offline
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Someone gave me a grain about 5 or 6 years ago, and I've been hooked on the stuff ever since. I use raw Jersey milk for my kefir but I've always wanted to try it in a fruit juice. Does it make the fruit juice effervescent? Since I've had the grain, I've split it and passed along to friends, ate it, fed it to an old dog, used it in compost tea, and many other things. When I make smoothies for the kids, I slip some kefir in and they don't know the difference. I feel it's one of the best immune system boosters out there, and I like the fact that as long as I can get milk, I can do it and supply myself.

Drying it was mentioned. So, you can rehydrate it and continue on? I have frozen grains for almost two years, thawed, and got them going again.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:24 AM
SLACKJAW44 SLACKJAW44 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karnus View Post
How does this differ from yogurt with active cultures?
Kefir can colonize in the intestinal tract, where as yogurt cannot.

http://www.kefir.net/kefir-vs-yogurt/
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:52 AM
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and its even more delicious than yogurt!
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