In our April issue, I did an article on how to make Kombucha and since then I have spoken to so many people who actually made this very healthy “tea”. “Many health claims have been made for kombucha but there is less research on the benefits of kombucha than there is on fermented milk products. It has certainly been shown to have similar antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal properties in lab tests. In rats, it’s been shown to protect against stress and improve liver function. There is a lot of experiential evidence from people who have been using kombucha over many years. Many of the benefits reported include improvements in energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, cancer, digestive problems, candidiasis, hypertension, HIV, chronic fatigue and arthritis. It‘s also used externally for skin problems and as a hair wash.”
Well, I have found another little known health “drink” and it is called Kefir. Like kombucha, this is a product you make yourself and, again, there are many reports to its health benefits. I don’t know enough about it to judge one way or the other, but I did quite a bit of research that made me intrigued and curious about Kefir. The commercial brands are expensive to purchase and if you are going to use Kefir for the greatest health benefits, you are much better off learning to make your own.
You start by purchasing kefir grains. One purchase of kefir grains lasts a lifetime and you can pass it down to your kids, using it over and over again. These grains can be used to culture milk, soy milk and coconut milk. Just follow the simple instructions, included in the kit.
What is it, exactly? Creamy, cultured probiotic amazingness! That’s the scientific definition, of course. They are live active cultures of both bacteria and yeast. It’s the good bacteria – the bacteria that should be naturally occurring in our gut, the bacteria we kill with sugar. Our digestive systems require healthy bacteria to function properly, to effectively remove toxins from our bodies and to help us absorb nutrients. Without them, we fall prey to a host of allergies, illnesses and food intolerances. Kefir is loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that promote healing and repair and the “good” bacteria that allow our intestines and digestive system to function properly.
Some people have seen relief of colitis symptoms because kefir can help with inflammation in the intestinal cells. It’s an excellent source of Vitamin K2, a vitamin critical to bone health and growth. Some of the compounds in kefir are helpful in regulating our immune function, allergic reactions and inflammation. It’s a great source of digestible protein, too. It’s believed that kefir may prove to be a help in preventing and treating tuberculosis, ulcers, diarrhea, colitis, reflux, urinary tract infections, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Many report that it has helped them to control hypertension, blood sugar and diabetes. There is some evidence that it may also have positive effects on the nervous system, creating a calming sensation, helping with depression, anxiety and ADHD.
The process is quite simple – you just pour whole milk over the kefir grains, cover the jar with cheesecloth and use a rubber band to hold it in place. Let it set at room temperature to work its culturing magic. In 24-36 hours, strain out the grains, store your fresh kefir in the fridge and start the process all over again. The beauty of working with kefir grains is that they can be reused, indefinitely. I could actually pass them on to my children and grandchildren. They are easy to care for and can actually multiply over time; you will be able to divide them and give some away.
You can even make Kefir water. It is totally allergy-friendly, gluten-free and dairy-free. It is a wonderful vegan beverage option.
Kefir water is also so full of health benefits and a wonderful healing beverage. It is a natural supplier of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeasts (probiotics) to our digestive tract and can help to bring balance to your inner microflora, during the fermentation process it becomes an excellent source of Vitamins B1, B6, and B12. It helps tone and cleans the intestines.
It has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, in addition to the good bacteria and beneficial yeasts; it also contains many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It strengthens the immune system, it has a cleansing effect on the entire body, it helps to eliminate candida issues, it can help to normalize your metabolism, it helps treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne, it can reduce inflammation in the body, it can improve the function of the liver, it can increase energy levels and lend an overall feeling of good health, and it is very inexpensive to make!
There are many, many sites on the internet with different options for making your own Kefir milk, water, coconut milk and the list goes on! Do a little research before you start, but it only makes sense to me to give it a try. For something that is so easy to prepare, we really should have no excuse for not giving it a whirl. I’m going to order what I need online and give it a try – I will get back to you with a follow-up article and let you know how it goes.
May something wonderful happen for you today!
Author: Kathryn Hartwell
References: cookitallergyfree.com, busyathome.com and fermentedfoodlab.com