Something has come into my life recently that I can barely find words to describe. It is so wonderful and delicious and healthy and helps balance my moods and… was free… kinda.
No, it’s not chocolate. Though chocolate might go well with it? Maybe? Not sure actually.
It’s kefir. Not the store bought kefir but kefir made from real kefir ‘grains’ that I’m culturing myself in my own wee little frig.
Wow… this is an amazing food. I think I will need it and want it for the rest of my life. It is full of probiotics, just about more probiotics than any other yogurt or store bought kefir out there. These are live and juicy and bouncing probiotics that you can feel dancing on your tongue as you drink it. The word “kefir” actually is derived from the Turkish word “keif” which means “good feeling.” Now I understand why the Turks named it such.
It works wonders for the GI tract, colonizing all the various nooks and crannies of the smaller and larger intestines with those beneficial bacteria that help our bodies more readily absorb all the vitamins and minerals that we ingest in food. It’s high in calcium, magnesium (something most Americans are deficient in)…
It helps to heal Irritable Bowel Syndrome since it has natural binding agents that help to cease the diarrhea. It strengthens the immune system.
AND it helps to boost your mood! It has amino acids including tryptophan which balances the central nervous system and has been shown scientifically to help women recover from depression.
Plus it’s quite easy to make. The trick is to access some fresh kefir ‘grains’ (the kind that are moist and lumpy and stay alive as long as you have them in a moist environment such as milk, water, or coconut water. And if you make it with milk, you will need the freshest, least pasteurized milk available. I can buy natural or organic milk in glass jars that come from a Mennonite dairy in Pennsylvania where I live in Maryland.
I wish that MD allowed me to buy raw milk because that would be the best for culturing the kefir. I discovered if you purchase the Horizon Farms organic milk in the cardboard containers, it won’t work. Horizon Farms’ milk is ultra-pasteurized and this essentially provides too sterile an environment for the kefir ‘grains’ to do their dancing. Ah… I still have a half-gallon of Horizon Farms organic milk in my frig that needs to go to making pancakes or muffins right now since… ah… it’s been in the frig too long. Could not use it all for the kefir dancing.
So… I’m a Kefir Convert. Not my goal to become a Kefir Cult Leader though. Just a very enthusiastic convert. Just drank some with some maple syrup. Absolutely the best. It’s good to drink straight too — kinda like a tangy combination between yogurt and buttermilk. But I like the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup in it. And I drink some before I go to bed too.
Plus there is a jar sitting in front of me near the woodstove that is doing its little dancing in the warm room temps so it will be ready for me to drink later today. (It generally takes 12 – 48 hrs for it to culture depending on the room temperature.) I will probably need to go out soon and get more milk in glass jars from the local farm market (England Acres Farm in Mt. Airy) down the road (where I also purchase their farm raised lamb, beef, eggs, etc – The BEST.)
Below are some links to more information about kefir including step by step instructions on how to culture it.
Oh, and yeah… I was given the kefir ‘grains’ from some friends who live at an intentional community outside of Charlottesville, VA in early March. I was down in the area doing a book signing for my 2nd book (Messages from Mother…. Earth Mother) and stayed there at the intentional community since I knew some folks there. These friends gifted me with the kefir and did not tell me much other than they drank it all the time and absolutely loved it and it was high in probiotics. Plus they had extra grains since the grains continue to grow and grow into a long string of them. And they were happy to gift some of them to a good home. I was honored to be considered a ‘good home’ not even realizing what a gift they were bestowing on me. They had gotten their ‘grains’ from a freecycle in their area. What a deal. You can purchase the grains online too. They can be shipped dried and will revive into fully juicy dancing grains upon dropping them into milk. (Though I’m not the expert on all of those details.)
Talk about Paying It Forward. These grains are a gift, along with the Mennonite milk (Trickling Springs Dairy) from the local farm market.
Some more info and resources: