Special: Kefir with Kathi

Three years I started researching on the Weston A. Price‘s website. That is where I learned about fermented food and flora. Flora is the bacteria in your stomach. A lot goes on in your gut and the state of its health is important to YOU as a whole. The gut is where it starts. A large portion of immunity is there. Having an advantage of good bacteria to ‘bad’ bacteria can be the determining factor in whether you get sick or not. Upon learning this I love to boast on the radical state of my flora, who kick butt and keep sickness at bay. I can’t remember the last time I fell ill. Thanks flora.

Of course there are all kinds of variables that lead to healthy immunity, but there are measures we can take. Part of this is food, like probiotics. I know more have heard this term now with all the commercials, but fermented foods can be probiotic and help build healthy bacteria. Fermented foods used to be the norm, that’s how we preserved food. But fermenting also has its health benefits. Fermenting can often increase the nutritional and vitamin content of food. Fermented foods would be sauerkraut, kimchi, and more. In the case of foods which are common allergens (like gluten and the dairy we’ll explore today), it makes them easier to digest. Many with dairy allergies for instance can stomach yogurt or kefir (or if you want to look further, they actually do better with other variety of animal milk, like goat).

Before visiting my local grass-fed dairy farmer I had never heard of kefir. They told me they sold kefir rather than yogurt. Hmm…let’s try it. It wasn’t bad, strong, but not bad. Now I think we should talk dairy, which I see to be a big gray area. Is it a no? Is it a yes? Is it a sometimes? Is it something to do daily? Do we do cows milk, do we do goats milk? If and when we do dairy, what do we look for?  I think part of the problem comes from today’s sources of milk. Cows nowadays just aren’t what they once were (just like wheat isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago). And our pasteurization process really kills all the potential goodness of milk, like enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, and it messes with absorption. Raw milk of course is controversial and part of the Weston Price is the Raw Milk campaign. For instance, in Indiana we not allowed to buy raw milk. It has to be sold as a pet food and labeled: not for human consumption. So what to do? Raw. Goat. Fermented. These are what I look for (I’ve got a hook up on the goat milk after I talked to a woman from Oregon last market, reminiscing about the fresh goat yogurt she used to get).

Enough facts and controversy. You’ve decided to take the leap and make kefir. How do we ferment it? How do we make the good stuff happen? How do we heal our guts and promote immunity? The dear Kathi featured in today’s post was so kind as to donate some kefir grains to me and to give me a little lesson on kefir up-keep. They’re like gold-fish she told me, take a little time each day to take care of them. I came away rocked, I needed to share this experience. Share this traditional practice. Food, eating, and dieting is about variety. Just like all our personalities are different, so too are our bodies. Listen to yours and fuel it. Let is heal and be healthy.  Watch the video, but here are some pointers:

  • First you need to get some kefir grains
  • Stock up on mason jars
  • Find a grass-fed dairy farmer, eatwild.com is favorite source for this
  • Feed your grains the milk
  • Strain kefir grains daily in a non-metal strainer (don’t use a metal spoon either)
  • Take the option to second ferment by letting it rest on the counter an additional 6 hours or so before refrigerating
  • Get creative! You can drink the kefir straight or you can add frozen fruit for a smoothie. You can add pumpkin and cinnamon for a Pumpkin Spice Kefir Smoothie. Imagine it, then make it happen.Kefir grains
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