|Like a cross between yogurt and milk!|
So, what is it?
A popular European drink, kefir's main ingredient is kefir grains and they come in one of two forms: milk kefir or water kefir. Unsurprisingly, milk kefir grains are made from fermented milk while water kefir grains are made from fermented sugar. They are reusable, too, and can even grow with each batch of kefir you make, which you can then re-use or share Properly cared for, kefir grains can last a lifetime.
Although both versions are very healthy, and have similar benefits, people with insulin or blood sugar issues are supposed to do better with the milk version, so that is the one that most interests me. I was gestational diabetic with my son, have polycystic ovarian syndrome and my family history is rife with diabetes. This does not bode well for getting full blown diabetes if I'm not careful.
The research on kefir looks promising, though.
Made from simply adding kefir grains to milk (goat, sheep or cow) and letting it ferment, it's both easy to make at home and boasts an enormous list of benefits. Aside from many live probiotic cultures (some sites say between 30 and 50, such as lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria), there are many other nutritious components: perfect proteins, folic acid, vitamins A, B and K, lactic acid, calcium, phosphorous, antioxidants and more.
And, apparently, even people with lactose intolerance can drink kefir because the starter breaks down the lactose in the milk. That works well for two of my four kids!
The taste is described either as a yogurt-like drink, or as tart with a slight taste of alcohol. It's used in smoothies and dressings and other such recipes, though it's also consumed straight. A lot of countries flavor the drink with fruit, too, or use it in sauces. As with all live foods, though, be careful not to heat it too much. . .or all the good bacteria and such will die.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? I am eager to see what the benefits will be to my family.
Guess this means I am on the hunt for some milk kefir grains in the morning!
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)