Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Kefir, What's That?
What is kefir?
Kefir is simply good bacteria. For those of you who are thinking, "Bacteria? Ewwww..." think of yogurt. There's no disputing that yogurt is healthy. Most of us have probably been told to take probiotics (good bacteria in capsule or liquid form) while on antibiotics.
Donna Gates, The Body Ecology Diet is quoted in Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon, pg. 86) with this information on kefir:
"Kefir is a cultured and microbial rich food that helps restore the inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial yeast and beneficial bacteria (in a symbiotic relationship) that give kefir antibiotic properties. A natural antibiotic-- and it is made from milk! The finished product is not unlike that of a drink-style yogurt, but kefir has a more tart, refreshing taste and contains completely different microorganisms... kefir does not feed yeast, and it usually doesn't even bother people who are lactose intolerant. That's because the friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast growing in the kefir consume most of the lactose and provide very efficient enzymes (lactase) or consuming whatever lactose is still left after the culturing process... kefir is mucous-forming, but... the slightly mucus-forming quality is exactly what makes kefir work for us. The mucus has a "clean" quality to it that coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating a sort of nest where beneficial bacteria can settle and colonize..."
Kefir comes in two varieties, dairy and water. In our household, we use both! To order your own kefir bacteria starter, check out the International Kefir Community (free or low cost cultures), Cultures for Health (or see if your friends have any to share, if you are a member of WAPF, you can likely find some through your local chapter).
Now that we know the why of kefir, it's time to learn how to make it.