This year so far has been more about focusing on me, being kind to myself and my body and putting the most effort into sorting out the most important things in my life. One of them being my daughters
Fancy 10th Birthday party (you only get to double digits once). And being more connected to the people who are around me (down with my cellphone/computer screen) and living more in the present.
Besides work - which has to be done (obviously), I have been de-cluttering my home a bit at a time, reading and absorbing as much health/body related information and ideas as possible, walking, drinking plenty of water and eating as much fresh produce as possible. I also took a break from coffee (WHAT!! crazy hey!) and introduced kefir into my everyday eating/drinking.
Now if you are like me and wasn't sure what kefir was.... I'll try to explain how I understand it to be.
Kefir is a living organism/good bacteria. They are the same guys that are in probiotics in your yoghurt and are alive and grow. When making your own kefir these bacteria consume the natural sugars in milk and secrete probiotics which we in turn drink. They then go into your digestive track and kick the bad bacterias butt! From all the research I have done kefir is said to have much more strains of bacteria in it than yoghurt allowing for more healthier variety of good bacteria for your gut.
Also regular yoghurt has been pasturised killing off many good enzymes and only contains around 3 - 5 strains of good bacteria while your kefir can produce up to 35 different strains of good bacteria.
SHAPE AND FORM
They look kind of funny - jelly like in texture but in the shape of a cauliflower/ brain. You don't actually drink these guys although you can swallow them if you want to. Instead we drink the milk that they have been living in and drink the by product of what they have consumed.
WHY YOU SHOULD DRINK KEFIR?
Your digestive tract / gut is responsible for 80% of your immune system
If your gut bacteria is taken over by bad bacteria then it doesn't matter how much healthy food you eat (think healthy raw salads 3 times a day). It won't be effective because the bad bacteria doesn't allow the good nutrients in the food to get absorbed into your body.
Hint - the bad bacteria need foods to thrive too and they have a key role in your bad food cravings! REALLY! E.g. greasy food cravings (chips anyone?) and sugary craving (eg biscuits and chocolates)
Sugar also plays a role in wiping out good bacteria as well as antibiotics - so basically everyone could benefit from drinking kefir to replenish the good bacteria in your gut.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN / RECIPE
Please read the notes below to ensure that you keep your kefir healthy and alive
a kefir grain/s (get one from a friend)
milk (preferable raw or the best quality milk you can get) = amount as much as you want to make
a piece of cloth large enough to cover the mouth/opening of the jar
an elastic band
In a clean and dry jar place your kefir grains and then add the amount of milk you are wanting to turn into kefir.
Place a cloth over the neck of the jar and fasten in place with an elastic.
Leave the jar on a counter top for 12 - 72 hours ( I recommend 24 hours)
Stir the kefir when you are happy with the time period and think it is strong enough.
Use a wooden or plastic spoon to take out the kefir grains
Place your kefir grains on a saucer and slowly and carefully pour the remaining liquid kefir into a clean bottle or jar with lid and place it in the fridge to get cold (you can drink it right away).
Your kefir milk/liquid can live in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Now take the grains place in a clean jar and top up with fresh milk, cover with cloth and place on the counter to begin the process again.
enjoy as is or use in a smoothie or in place of yoghurt in your cereal or with fruit. (It tastes like tangy yoghurt)
The kefir must breathe so do not use a lid or plastic... but cover with fabric and fasten in place with an elastic. You don't want flies to lay eggs in the mixture either! - EWWW!
Never wash your kefir in tap water as the chlorine and other things in your tap water will kill them.
NEVER use a metal spoon or you will kill the kefir. Always use wood/ plastic or glass.
The kefir liquid will look like sour milk with bit of pieces in it - do not fear as long as it doesn't smell rotten then all is good. (it can even be fizzy at times)
You kefir may sit at the bottom of the jar or float to the top - it doesn't matter, they can happily move around.
Start off slowly and consume a 1/4 of a cup at first and slowly build up to a glass or more a day, as the kefir kills off the bad bacteria in your gut you may have symptoms like: a headache, rash, bloated stomach or tummy ache. As you keep consuming it day after day the good bacteria will be replenished and the bad bacteria will be killed off.
You can use other animal milks like goat or sheep in place of cows milk. Also coconut milk and other milk substitutes can be used as well
Once you have removed the kefir grains you can strain your kefir through cloth to create kefir cheese (think cottage cheese/cream cheese)
Additional articles on the internet:
Kefir probiotics - http://www.naturalnews.com/022822_kefir_probiotics.html
Food allergies and gut health http://www.naturalnews.com/043301_probiotics_food_sensitivities_allergies.html
Bacteria and Kefir http://www.naturalnews.com/024477_kefir_bacteria_probiotics.html
Kefir whey - the by product of Kefir - http://www.yourkefirsource.org/kefir-whey-is-okay/
Fat stomach could be from bad bacteria in your gut - http://www.oprah.com/health/Gut-Bacteria-Affects-Your-Health/5