What is kefir and why should I drink it?
More and more research studies (a couple of examples here and here) are establishing a correlation between a thriving microbiome (the ‘rainforest’ of trillions of diverse organisms living in harmony within our gut) and optimal health.
Kefir is a living probiotic culture that colonises the gut with good bacteria and can prevent the growth of 'unfriendly' strains. It is a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, folic acid and tryptophan, a relaxing amino acid.
Kefir has been shown to improve lactose intolerance and can contribute to healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and immunity as well as bone health and insulin resistance. It has been used safely for generations and is one of the easiest, cost effective health hacks out there!
You will need
- Organic milk kefir grains (available online eg Amazon and eBay)
- Kilner jar or jam jar
- Wooden or plastic spoon
- Plastic sieve
- 100ml milk (preferably organic whole or raw)
- Drinking glass
- Put the grains in the jar and cover with the milk. Leave the lid slightly open or cover with a muslin or piece of kitchen roll to allow some air to circulate.
- Leave at room temperature for about 24 hours until the milk has thickened.
3. Pour the mixture through the sieve and collect the grains, which go back in a clean jar with more milk for the next day. The sieved liquid is your kefir. Drink on its own or add to yoghurt or a smoothie.
4. Repeat this process daily to keep your kefir grains alive and active. If going away, cover the grains with water, put the jar lid on tight and place in the fridge. When re-starting, just rinse the water off, replace with milk and leave on the side for 24 hours.
Kefir is safe for the whole family to enjoy and there's no upper limit to how much you can make and drink daily. If you experience any digestive discomfort, you can start with a teaspoon and build up slowly. If you're concerned, always check with your GP.
The living culture will grow and expand over time so when the grains grow too large and it becomes difficult to push the milk through the sieve, simply divide and throw away the excess. Or give to a friend or family member and become a "kefir evangelist"! Metal and heat damage kefir so use plastic or wooden utensils when straining the grains and don't add kefir to warm foods or drinks.
If you are truly allergic to cow's milk, kefir can be cultured in goat's or coconut milk. You can also buy ready made kefir - chuckling goat is a great brand of goats milk kefir which is excellent quality and great for those sensitive to dairy. But there is no substitute in terms of quality and cost for making your own. It takes less than 5 minutes a day - why don't you give it a try?