I decided to make my own kefir when a co-worker asked me what I thought about the commercial product from Lifeway. The label indicates that the Lifeway Kefir Smoothie is healthy and full or pro-biotics derived from the kefir.
But take a look at the nutrition label and you’ll find one serving equals one cup and has five teaspoons of sugar which is too much. Plus there’s no way to know exactly how much kefir the product contains because the manufacturer doesn’t make that clear. The recommended serving per day is one cup but we don’t from the label how much is in the Lifeway product.
You can easily make your own kefir and add it to smoothies and other foods. This puts you in control of the sugar, sodium and other added ingredients and you can make sure you’re getting a full serving of the pro-biotic.
Kefir is a fermented milk product made with kefir grains. Think of it as being a sister to yogurt. The fermentation process gives kefir the active, but friendly, bacteria that promote intestinal health. Our body naturally contains a large number of healthy bacteria, called ‘normal flora’. This flora keeps our immune system robust and our digestive system in tip-top working condition.
But the good bacteria in our intestines can be depleted by antibiotics, pesticides, chlorine, and viruses. If our ‘normal flora’ become depleted we are at risk of developing some serious digestive problems. One of the most unpleasant, Clostridium Difficile (CDiff), can be a serious and even fatal condition caused by the absence of normal flora in our gut.
Kefir is one of the best pro-biotics that we know of and including in our diet on a regular basis will protect us from these unpleasant intestinal illness by keeping the population of good bacteria in tact.
How To Make Your Own Kefir
Below is a step by step of my kefir making experience. I hope the pictures are helpful. If you have any questions, drop them in the comment box and I’ll do my best to answer.
I purchased the milk kefir grains for about $16 at the local food coop.
1. Pour the grains into a glass jar that has a lid. Cover with a cup of milk. Put the lid on the jar and set the jar on your kitchen counter or someplace where it will remain at room temperature. Let it sit for at least 24 hours. *Tip – For the best results, don’t let the grains come in contact with any metal containers or utensils throughout the process.
2. After it has fermented for at least 24 hours, put a plastic bowl that has a lid under a plastic colander or strainer. Pour the contents of the jar into the strainer and allow the kefir to drain into the plastic container. If your concoction is thick you can use a plastic or wooden spoon to loosen the milk from the grains and push it through the holes in the colander.
The kefir grains will now look like large curd cottage cheese.
3. After straining, place the bowl with the milk product in the fridge with the lid on.
Put the kefir grains back in the jar, pour milk over them, and secure the lid. Put them back on the counter and let them sit for at least 24 hours. Continue to repeat the process until you have enough kefir, which if you use it everyday, may never happen.
You can continue to use the grains for an unlimited time. When you have enough kefir, rinse the grains with filtered, non-chlorinated water and leave them in the jar where they will continue to grow and will be ready for you to use again in the future.
The strained fermented milk is the finished kefir product and is ready to be used in smoothies and other foods, or over fruit.
Watermelon Kefir Smoothie
I made a watermelon kefir smoothie using fresh kefir, watermelon, a cup of frozen fruit (which gave the smoothie more body and flavor) and a splash of fresh lime juice. Add ice until it is the consistency you like and be sure and toss in a few chia or flax seeds.
The Watermelon Kefir Smoothie is hydrating, nutritious and delicious!
Not only does kefir keep your intestinal tract in line, it also helps lower blood pressure, regulates cholesterol and metabolism, improves gall bladder and liver function, reduces sugar cravings and aids in weight loss. Kefir is a superfood and one that you should add to you diet daily.
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