Milk kefir is a magical substance. It has a long, established history and is still commonly consumed in Eastern Europe. Kefir originated among the nomadic shepards in the North Caucasus Mountains (Russia) many centuries ago (exact date unknown). There is a legend that Mohammed shared some of his grains with the Orthodox Christians who guarded the grains as they believed in their magical powers. Eventually the grains travelled with their owners and were shared throughout the world. You cannot create the grains, they need to come for a parent source which I think is a pretty cool thing. Historically, kefir was used in Russian hospitals to treat many different ailments and diseases and in that part of the world is still used as a medicinal food. I urge you to give it a try and experience some of this magic yourself.
Over the past few years I have been making major changes in my diet and lifestyle to improve my health. The one change in my diet which I have attributed the most benefit to is regularly consuming fermented foods, such as kefir. I read about the benefits of the grains online and continued to do research before obtaining my own. Since making kefir a regular part of my diet I have noticed increased energy, disappearance of skin issues, better sleep patterns, improved digestion and improved mood. I am not the only one. My neighbour had contacted me asking for some advice on digestive issues she and her grandson were experiencing. I shared some of my grains with her and she began making the milk. She has since shared with me that the grains have made a huge difference to the health of both her and her grandson. If you try adding kefir to your diet, comment below and let me know the changes you see.
I don’t do dairy. I have worked to eliminate cows’ milk from my diet and have drastically reduced my consumption of cheese. This is what works best for me and my health. Kefir is the only dairy product that I regularly use as, even with all the controversy surrounding milk and my own personal choice to limit it as much as possible, I still feel the health benefits of kefir outweigh the negatives. If the world were perfect I would be making my kefir with raw milk. Despite the fact that I live in an agricultural town with dairy farms surrounding me, it is illegal to purchase raw milk in Canada. Goat milk is also preferable for making kefir as it is easier for humans to digest, but dear God…I’ll keep trying to like it… 🙂
If you are lactose intolerant you can likely enjoy kefir. Most of the lactose is “eaten” by the grains, becoming beneficial for us to consume. Kefir can actually heal lactose intolerance due to it’s high levels of probiotics. Kefir not only contains high levels, but also numerous beneficial strains of probiotics. If you are buying commercial probiotic pills, save your money and make your own! Once finished fermenting, kefir contains probiotics, yeast, enzymes, sugar, calcium, proteins, phosphorous, minerals, and vitamins. You can read a great article about the benefits of kefir and how it is superior to yogurt here.
Kefir is easy to use in recipes. You can drink it straight or use it in any recipe that calls for yogurt or buttermilk. My daughter uses it in her waffle recipe and my son uses it to make pancakes. You can add it to smoothies, strain it for a probiotic rich sour cream or use it as a starter for sourdough. You can obtain some of the grains and begin making your own or you can purchase commercial kefir for use in this recipe:
Kefir Ranch Dressing:
–2 cups kefir, store-bought or homemade (if using homemade, ferment half and half instead of regular milk OR strain milk through cheesecloth for a few hours to thicken)
-2 T dried dill
-1 T dried parsley
-1 garlic clove, minced OR 2 garlic scapes, minced
-2 t extra virgin olive or avocado oil
-salt and pepper, a few generous pinches of each
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight or let stand at room temperature for a few hours to allow flavours to blend. Taste and adjust the levels of the herbs to suit your tastebuds.
Serve this recipe with raw veggie sticks, over a salad, or as a dip for roasted sweet potato fries (my fav!)
Enjoy ❤ ❤