Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kefir... Getting Started with Water Kefir Grains + the Gut

Though kefir is new to me... I am well aware that our health is directly related to the health of our gut. In fact, 80% of our immunity is located in the gut. I take probiotics (Ultra Flora Plus DF Capsules by Metagenics and Arabinogalactans by Pure Encapsulations) pretty much daily, to help and maintain a balance of good bacteria, which keeps my gut healthy.

I recently, learned about kefir, and all it's wonderful benefits from listening to a really good interview with, Amanda Love, on Patrick Timpone's, OneRadioNetwork about kefir's, and I thought it would be fun to try to make and incorporate in my diet. Love, makes many good points (I agree with most everything minus the "raw meat" part, or the "meat" part for that matter- even grass fed), and I highly recommend you check out this interview as it is very informative- plus she has a lovely voice.
Love's main point is that we need a healthy gut to thrive and a sure way to achieve this is to be eating and incorporating some sort of fermented foods into our diet on a regular basis- as all cultures did (before our current modernized/western culture). Love mentions that even in those cultures who smoked and drank too much- they were actually healthier, because their gut was "cleaner" due to them eating fermented foods (i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented veggies, yogurt, kefir, etc).

Kefir grains by definition, are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. Traditional kefir is fermented at ambient temperatures, generally overnight. Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverage, with a consistency similar to thin yogurt.
I purchased "water kefir grains" from, Marilyn- the Kefir lady (Love purchased from her as well). She also sells "milk kefir grains" - the difference being the milk kefir grains feed off of lactose found in milk and the water kefir grains need water and sugar. For $20 you will receive instructions, support from Marilyn, food for your first round with the water kefir grains, water kefir grains, and priority shipping. The kefir grains supposedly last a lifetime as they are to grow and multiply. Here they are close up...
Here is their food (mix of: 1/3 cup organic cane juice crystals, 1 tbl rapadura, 1/8 tsp baking soda, 1/8 tsp calcium carbonate, slice of candied ginger)...How to: Take the 2 packets and combine in a glass jar with a quart of spring water and let sit for 24-36 hours on the counter (room temperature).
It should look something like this.... here is the quart of water, the kefir food and the kefir grains all mixed together.Once the kefir is ready (first batch could take up to 5 days), the next step is to drain the liquid (this is the kefir) and enjoy! Use the kefir grains again and again adding more water + food, as before- which makes more batches of kefir. Over time, the kefir grains multiply and you have the options of making other kinds of kefirs. I am excited to make some coconut water and ginger kefirs!

Here is a pic of the water kefir grains after about 4 days... I hope they are ok. The kefir was an amber color and not so fizzy and I was getting worried that the grains might need more food so I am on the 2nd trial. Will keep you posted with the progress. Another site to check out that might be helpful is... here.

Love compares our guts to soil. And we know that healthy plants grow out of healthy soil, so if the soil does not have proper nutrients neither will the plant. We need to make sure our soil is well nourished. Enjoy your kefirs!

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