May 5, 2012

What the Crap is Kefir?

Since I have yet to upload the 500 pictures on my phone to the computer, I can't post about anything exciting like our CA trip, or visits from family, or Easter, etc... So I'll opt for a quicky health post. As I've mentioned before, one of the things Scott has done which has drastically helped with his Ulcerative Colitis is regularly drink kefir. For all of you out there who are wondering, what the crap is kefir... well here ya go: 

Disclaimer: I'm definitely not an expert, this is just what I've learned along the way. 

Kefir is a fermented milk drink, with the consistency of watery yogurt, that contains TONS of beneficial yeast and probiotic bacteria. It also has easily digestible proteins, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. There are HUGE health benefits to drinking it regularly.

Kefir can help with cancer, herpes, IBS, immune dysfunction, allergies, colitis, leaky gut and many others. It restores the intestinal flora of people who are recovering from a serious illness or being treated with antibiotics. Because kefir can be digested so easily, is a wonderful remedy for digestive troubles. Even though it is made with milk, due to the fermentation process, it's predigested and tolerable to those persons who are lactose intolerant. 

So, enough about why you should drink kefir, now for the how.  

How to Make Kefir:
  1. You make kefir at home using kefir grains. The grains look like small white sticky jello balls. The grains ferment the milk, adding all the "good stuff" we talked about earlier. We started with a tablespoon of grains in each jar. With each fermentation, the grains grow a little. You want to ferment the milk with 1 - 3 tablespoons of grains. When there are too many grains the drink becomes really strong. (Really good for your body, but also really had to swallow without throwing up.) After adding grains to the jar, add the raw milk. We use raw milk because the kefir can grow better in it, and provide more health benefits. In super pasteurized milk, the grains cannot grow. You can also make kefir in other liquids, such as water, coconut water, dairy-free milks, etc... 
  2. Let the grains ferment 1 - 3 days, with the lids slightly cracked for air to escape. Everywhere you read online will say 18 - 48 hours. However, we've always done 72 hours for Scott. The more it ferments, the more benefits. But, like when you have too many grains, it also makes it more difficult to gulp down because of the taste. Kind of a bitter, sour taste when it ferments for 3 days. I've done one day kefir and mixed it up in smoothies and couldn't taste it at all.
  3. After they have fermented, give the bottles a nice shake. Drain into a plastic colander. (The grains aren't supposed to touch metal.) Reserve the juice, jar it, and stick it in the fridge. This is the kefir you will drink. Scott drinks a cup first thing in the morning, and another one right before bed.
  4. Rinse the grains in the colander with distilled water. Then begin the process over by dividing them up between the jars. (We always make two, which leaves enough for one person to drink until the next batch is ready.) Add in the raw milk, and voila, you're next batch is ready to ferment!
In addition to the kefir, Scott also takes some natural supplements. He started with all four below, and a strict no gluten, no dairy diet. Did that for two months to cleanse and restore. Now at this point he is only regularly taking the clay and DDS Plus probiotic. He has been able to completely go off prescription meds, go back to a diet that includes dairy and gluten, and is in remission for his colitis. AMAZING.

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stacy marie said...

This is amazzzing! So interesting. I had no idea what the crap Kefir was, but now I do. So thank you. And that is so great that he is in remission! oh man. the power of natural stuff vs. meds is incredible at times. I hate taking any kind of medicine, even for head aches.

Richard has a few family members who have digestive issues and I am going to pass this along to them! <3

Meg + Taylor said...

Loved this :) Right up my alley! I have only tried the kefir they sell at the grocery store and I hated that it had so much sugar. I will have to give this a try. I also take cod liver oil everyday, but in capsule form because I don't care for the taste. I'm so happy he's doing better! Have you ever heard of kombucha? It's also a fermented drink with loads of probiotics and antioxidants and tastes so good. It's my alternative to soda because it's naturally carbonated too. I love the ginger flavor as well as the guava. Anyway, I'm always so happy when people choose the natural route to get healthy. Can't wait to see all your photos!

The Winns said...

Stacy - I totally agree; hate taking medicine. And hopefully it will be helpful info for Richard's fam! There are sites online where you can look up people who live near you and have extra grains to give away.

Meg - I'll have to get the oil in capsule form, that's mostly why Scott hasn't been taking it - it tastes awful! I've never heard of kombucha, but am totally interested for Scott and myself. I have a hard time taking the kefir unless it's only fermented a day but I hate having to make kefir every day, in addition scott's every three days. Where do you get it at?

Anonymous said...

I SO appreciated your blog about this. I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing a bit more specifics of a typical days' regimen of your Hubs while he was taking the supplements/special diet. How much of the glutamine a day, diet--did he eat anything pretty much as long as dairy/gluten free?, did he take supplements spaced throughout the day or just all at once. Looking for a natural way to heal. Thank you!!

The Winns said...

Anonymous - I'm so glad you were able to find this post! To answer your questions, here is what a typical day looks like with all the supplements/diet:

Wake up: Drink 1 cup kefir before having anything else.
Breakfast: Udi's gluten free bagel with peanut butter and fruit jam. (A jam and pb with no sugar or additives.)
Snack: Almonds, apple slices
Lunch: Take 3 clay pills; BBQ Chicken Salad (Lettuce, chicken, corn, black beans, red onions, corn tortilla chips, olives, homemade dairy-free ranch, BBQ sauce.)
Snack: Dried fruit/nut bar or popcorn
Dinner: Take 1 tsp cod oil. Take 1 tsp glutamine mixed with cold liquids. (These two you can do any time of day, he found it was a little easier to do right before a meal.) Soup. Can't stress enough how good soups are for you when trying to heal your body! A good hearty minestrone is lovely.
Dessert: Muddy Buddy Mix (Use Enjoy Life brand dairy free chocolate chips)
Right before bed: Drink 1 cup keifr
All day: Lots and lots of water!!

Diet Specifics:
Natural, grass-fed beef, chicken, fish
Steamed vegetables (Best to start with steamed, then work up to raw, easier on your system that way.)
Low sugar - this was the hardest part of the diet. :)
No gluten (wheat) or dairy

There are obviously many other choices for meals/snacks, but these were some of hubby's favorites. Let me know if you have any other questions or need ideas for meals. Revamping my whole cooking regime was quite difficult and took some time to find delicious recipes that fit into the diet. Hope that helps! :)

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