I discovered Kefir a couple of years ago and I always feel better when i consume it regularly. It has a settling effect on my system and I can feel how good it is for my health. It certainly is an acquired taste, a bit like sour milk, but is well worth getting used to!
In October 2013, I had my last silver (mercury containing) filling removed ( I had a chronic problem with my short term memory and various other health complaints which I discovered were linked to my fillings leaking out mercury. More of that another time...) and I was really sick for several months afterwards. All my muscles went weak and I could barely function for a good while. I did a lot of research about detoxing and how to help myself recover ( and will discuss this in another post). One of the many things I did was to start to strengthen my gut by drinking Kefir. It is a cultured drink made using Kefir grains. I drink milk Kefir ( preferably raw milk when i can get it) once a day now, but twice a day when I was sick. You can also make it with coconut milk, water, rice milk or something similar. Raw milk is great as it still has all the enzymes intact and all the goodness as it hasn’t been heat treated, but often I make do with pasteurised milk as it is quite a trip to the farm that does raw milk.
At the time when I was really sick, I drank Kefir straight ( i didn’t have a blender at the time) with a tablespoon of Udos oil, 1 tbl of Soya Lecithin granules and 1 tbl of good Whey Protein and some Chia seed powder. It was thick and not that tasty, but it felt so nourishing I kept it up anyway. Nowadays I make my own kefir and include it in my morning smoothies. It gives me a great start to the day.
I read that a good protein breakfast with good fats in it is an excellent start to the day. I had always had muesli, porridge or toast for breakfast, as this is the typical Western diet and for a long time I couldn’t imagine a smoothie would be filling enough as we have been encouraged to eat plentiful carbohydrates for energy, but it is so satisfying. My husband has a big smoothie in the morning and whereas he was always craving his lunch by 10am, now he is satisfied until lunchtime and he does a physical job, landscape gardening. I saw a wonderful documentary on the Food Matters Total Wellness Summit about the effects of carbohydrates on us and it was eye opening. Our whole Western diet is centred around carbohydrates and sugar and it is causing us numerous problems in the long term, from diabetes to heart disease to cancer. Change is never easy, but I am hoping a little step at a time, an upgrade here and there will send me in the right direction.
To make the Kefir, I bought some Kefir grains online. I washed them in milk as per instructions and then added them to a large glass jar without a lid and poured in the milk. About a heaped tablespoon per litre of milk is ideal. It took a couple of days to get going, but now it is a 24 hour operation. It is best to stir the milk a couple of times at least during this time or shake the jar. Kefir needs to be kept in the dark and I cover mine with a piece of muslin tied on with an elastic band. It is best to get in a rhythm with the Kefir as it needs to be fed regularly ( don’t we all!), so for example I do my Kefir routine in the morning. I use a sieve to strain the milk and remove the grains and then a funnel to pour the milk into a bottle which i keep in the fridge ( Kefir keeps up to several days in the fridge, but never lasts that long here!) I put the grains into another glass jar and cover that with milk and back it goes into my dark cupboard for another 24 hours. It doesn’t take much time and it is a great money saver as shop bought Kefir is pricey. The grains multiply very quickly, so when you find you have too many, find a friend to share them with. I need to do that right now as I have way too many grains for the size of my glass jar and milk!
I love Sandor Katz’s book the Art of Fermentation. It is a bible of everything you could possibly want to know about fermentation. I am just at the beginning, with Kefir, sprouts and some fermented veggies. I am excited to find out more and will no doubt share my findings!
Anyway, back to Kefir!
My daily Kefir smoothie is something like this:
1 glass of kefir
1/2 avocado ( good fats)
1 tsp of Chia seeds ( not more as it makes it too thick in my opinion)
2 tbl of Hemp seeds or hemp protein powder
a handful of blueberries or any other frozen or fresh fruit
1 tbl of Udos oil or flax oil or some healthy oil
1 tbl of Soya Lecithin granules
I also sometimes add 1 tbl of Maca ( great for womens’ health) , 1 tsp of Acai powder or 1tbl of Cacao powder and 2 tsp of Bee Pollen to give it an upgrade. I try to use whatever i have around. It could be mango instead of blueberries or I add a good handful of spinach or sunflower sprouts. During the time when i was detoxing i added Whey Protein and I currently have some on order that I want to start putting in the family smoothies.(Whey protein should ideally come from grass fed cows and organic wherever possible).
Blend all the ingredients. Thin if necessary with a little water and enjoy and nourish!