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Lessara Tue, Jun-27-06 10:58

Kefir - Trying to figure this stuff out
Hi, My doctor suggested I have Kefir twice a day to help me with my digestion.
I digest my food too slowly. They did a test and it takes roughly 2 days for me to digets my food. This can cause some problems as you can imagine.
He suggested Kefir for it helps digestion and helps get rid of yeast in the body.

Anyone know anything about this? I looked it up and it was alittle hard to follow:

"Kefir [Kephir or Kefyr] is pronounced kef -er [Click me here to hear the pronunciation]. Alternate names for kefir; kewra, talai, mudu kekiya [Reference: Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia].

Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage, which originated many centuries ago, in the Northern Caucasus Mountains. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word keif, which loosely translates to good feeling or feeling good. This is for the sense of well-being one enjoys by drinking the culture-product [1].

Kefir has a uniform creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma resembling fresh yeast [or beer-like]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of natural effervescent zesty tang. There are an assortment of approx. 40 aromatic compounds, which contribute to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. To round this all off, kefir may contain between 0.08% to 2% alcohol. However, between .08 to .5% alcohol are realistic figures for 24 hour brewed kefir-- [yep!... wow!].

Traditional authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Kefir grains are not to be mistaken for cereal grains this is to say that the grain part of the name is a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granules if you wish, are in fact a natural-starter or natural-mother-culture. The grain's bio-structure [which I refer to as a bio-matrix], is created through the efforts of a symbiotic relationship, shared between a vast mixture of specific friendly Lactic acid bacteria [LAB] and yeasts. The grains are a soft, gelatinous white biological mass [biomass], comprised of protein, lipids [fats] and a soluble-polysaccharide Kefiran complex. The microbes and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, they are harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding either on the surface [interior and exterior], or encapsulated within the bio-matrix itself <[-The abode of the friendly microbe-]>.

Today, traditional authentic kefir [real kefir] is easily prepared at home. Raw unpasteurised or pasteurised, full-cream, low fat or non-fat fresh milk is poured into a clean suitable container with the addition of kefir grains. The content is left to stand at room temperature for approx. 24 hours. The cultured-milk is strained in order to separate and retrieve the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to more fresh milk, and the process is simply repeated. This simple process can be performed on an indefinite basis... for kefir grains are forever. The strained liquid-kefir may either be consumed fresh, refrigerated for later use, or ripened at room temperature over a period of days before consuming. The ripening process is useful for individuals who wish to reduce lactose in their kefir [ for details explaining the simple procedure, please follow this link situated on a separate web page].

As active kefir grains are continually cultured in fresh milk to prepare kefir, the grains increase in volume [biomass increase]. To prevent overcrowding, and to maintain a reasonable constant grain-to-milk ratio it becomes essential to remove a portion of kefir grains. Apart from the more obvious advantage in preventing overcrowded, the other advantage is to produce a kefir with a reasonable constant character and consistency on an ongoing basis. Traditionally, excess kefir grains were either eaten [which I highly recommend], dehydrated and stored as a back-up source, shared among family members or traded among the tribes-people of Caucasus, in exchange for basic essentials.

Except for refrigeration, the culture-art of kefir has been practiced over many centuries by the people of the Northern Caucasus Mountains."


Can this be low carb too? One thing I did was stop eating any dairy so I only have the Kefir twice a day. (I do take vitamins). This is all new for me. Is there anything I should look out for or know? Also there is Kefir in my store that is 22 carbs (all) for a cup. How do you compute carbs for this, if its like yogurt?

LisaS Tue, Jun-27-06 11:35

have a look at Dom's Kefir page:
and scan on lactose

the kefir grains will ferment the lactose into lactic acid (and a small bit of ethanol). How much lactose (milk sugar) remains is largely a function of how long you let it go - how sour you let it get.

if you are concerned about CHO content remaining, you might want to just try a test: if your label says 22g CHO -- drink milk serving with 22g CHO and test your BG. Later, under same conditions, drink kefir serving with 22g CHO and see if it effects your BG differently.

if you are concerned about lactose because you are lactose intolerant - you'll have to try a test of kefir and see how it goes.

sometimes commercial kefir is flavored and has added sugars - obviously you don't want brands like that.

kallyn Tue, Jun-27-06 12:18

Try to find discussion groups for a book called Nourishing Traditions. Many of them are really into making kefir and can answer any questions you might have. They're also really into "healing the gut" and getting digestion healed, so they can have other advice too. :)

Places I would look:
the paleo forum on this board

I would be concerned about the carbs in kefir too. If you buy kefir starter grains or powder and make your own kefir, you can make it in things that aren't milk, such as coconut milk or diluted juice. Maybe they would have fewer carbs?


Lessara Tue, Jun-27-06 13:42

I'm not lactose intollerent. For those are people who can't digest lactose. I can't have too much of the protein which is why I don't eat much cheese. So far I've had no reactions to the product. But I will tell you this my digestion issues has seem to quiet alot down. I didn't have a single cramp today. Here's to wishful thinking :lol: I am looking for products that do not have sugar, you have to really look at the carb content and what is in it.

I'm curious if the store brands are what they say they are. I'm checking out my city's health store to see what they have.

mike_d Tue, Jun-27-06 14:28

Originally Posted by Lessara
So far I've had no reactions to the product. But I will tell you this my digestion issues has seem to quiet alot down. I didn't have a single cramp today.
So where did you get it, the supermarket stuff is not real kefir though they call it that. I tried "DanActive" its horrid sugary stuff that gave me gas and heartburn :devil:
Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids and sugars. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces kefir are widely used, though the exact combination of bacteria and yeasts vary between cultures. The milk is incubated at room temperature for a day or more, during which the lactose is fermented. The resulting beverage is a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic drink. The consistency is similar to thin yoghurt. In fact, most commercially available American "kefir" lacks both carbonation and alcohol and is nothing more than liquid yogurt.-- wikipedia

Those two organisms are very similar to what I have used to make sourdough bread for years-- well until recently now my starter is in the freezer :p

binki Tue, Jun-27-06 20:34

I have kefir grains and would be happy to share them. Just send me a PM and I will send you grains so you can make your own real kefir.

I don't know for sure about the carbs but I kind of believe the little buggies eat the sugar and if it's nice and sour it shouldn't be too bad carbwise. You could also make it with half and half to lower the carbs a bit if you aren't afraid of fat or calories.

You can strain it like you do with yogurt to make a "cheese" if you want something more solid than the usual creamy drinkable texture. I love the stuff! (And I agree, the stuff you get in the store isn't real kefir; it's more like thin yogurt. The real stuff is miles better!)

Lessara Wed, Jun-28-06 12:19

There are two products at my store, The one I use has just milk, blueberry juice, and cane sugar (plus the cultures)(21 carbs). The other one comes in so many flavors but it has sugar, powdered milk, and other additives besides the cultures - though they doen't mention them (32 carbs). So I'm staying with the first. However the other product has a plain one at 21 carbs, but it has the same sugar and powdered milk.

I am aware that cane sugar is still sugar therefore has carbs. But it doesn't taste that sweet and its very low in the ingredients list.

I am going to check out the health food store, but I'm nervous making my own, though I have done similar things in the past with sour dough biskets (my mom gave me a starter when I moved from home - I don't make them any more)

I still wonder at the health claims. I am still not having any problems with it (digestion wise) and my gut has been problem free for at least three days. I even at salad yesterday, no gassy feeling.

Newbirth Wed, Jun-28-06 18:30

Fermented milk products are allowed on low-carb. Plain yogurt, for example, only has 4 net carbs per cup because of the fermentation. I just ignore what the label says and count 4 (and eat it every day). For this same reason the Dannon flavored yogurts with Splenda are also okay.

One of my favorite treats as a kid was plain yogurt with Grape Nuts. I found a fairly low carb soy cereal that has the same "mouth feel" as Grape Nuts, and now I can have my childhood favorite again. :)

binki Wed, Jun-28-06 20:56

It's really easy to make at home, for what it's worth. Here's the routine:

1. Take finished kefir and pour it through a strainer. The liquid is kefir, the grains are grains. (You kind of stir it around as it drains; the kefir is made of separate curds and whey but they are easily reunited to make a thick creamy drink.)

2. Take the grains and put them back in your fermenting container. (Nothing fancy; I use a quart bottle.) Add milk to 2/3 full. Cap it, give it a shake, then loosen the cap and sit it on your counter until it's finished. This can take anywhere from 12 hours to a day or two- it depends on a few factors (ambient temperature, how many grains you have vs. how much milk, how sour you like it, etc.) but I don't want to overcomplicate this post too much. Basically, when it separates and there is a layer of whey on the bottom, it's done. Go to step 1.

The kefir can be drunk immediately or added to other finished kefir. I have a gallon bottle in the fridge and I add each new batch to it. When I get too much I strain it to make kefir cheese.

So that's it, really. Add fresh milk to the grains and let it sit on the counter until it's done. Shake, strain, repeat.

spydermary Thu, Jun-29-06 07:28

funny you posted about this... my mother just got on a huge kefir kick. She said it has a great slew of healing abilities. I am not sure I am brave enough to try it.

binki - does it have a shelf life, like other dairy?

binki Thu, Jun-29-06 14:01

Well, it's fermented, so its shelf life is like that of yogurt (i.e. long!) I had my finished kefir in the fridge for 10 days while I was away, and it was just fine when I got home. If you look at Dom's site (listed in the original post) he says he's kept a batch for a year in his fridge and it was still drinkable.

Keep in mind, kefir was originally made in a leather sack, hanging in the sun all day and inside all night. They just added milk each day to replace what they drank, so you can imagine how old some of it got. It's very, very forgiving stuff.

One other detail: if you want to go on vacation or something, just put your fermenting jar in the fridge. The cold slows the process down so if it normally takes a day to convert, say, a quart of milk to kefir on the counter, it can take a week or more in the fridge. I left mine for 10 days and it was just fine. When I got home, I strained the batch into my gallon jug, added fresh milk, set it back on the counter, and within a day it was back to its normal quart-a-day pace.

Lessara Thu, Jun-29-06 15:56

One thing that is confusing me. Some of you make Kefir sound like a solid. How are you to drink that? Also, warning stupid question, where do you get the jars to make this stuff? Thanks.
Oh I would like to add fruit flavor by fresh berry juice how do you incorporate them together? Can you add it to the milk after it cools? Thanks.

binki Fri, Jun-30-06 19:07

1. It's a thick liquid. If you want it to be solid you have to drain it. This takes a day or so.
2. Any container at all will do. I use a milk bottle; I know people who use Tupperware containers, you can use any kind of bottle or jar at all to ferment it in and to store the finished kefir. Or you can drink the finished stuff as soon as it's done every time, and then you don't even need a storage container, just a glass!
3. The milk isn't heated. It's room temperature until you put it in the fridge. You can add fruit, fruit juice, DaVinci syrups, peanut butter, whatever the heck you want to it, whenever the heck you want. You can add ice. You can put it in the blender and make a smoothie with frozen strawberries. Sky's the limit!

MarieB Fri, Mar-11-11 19:41

So I was given some kefir grains by a friend and I tried it for the first time in my smoothie this morning. I let the 2% milk ferment for 36-48 hours. I put about 1 cup of the fermented kefir in my smoothie this morning.

I used a keto stick this afternoon and it didn't show a change in colour... however, I drank a lot of water at the gym today. So I'll test again later tonight to see if the strips show that I'm still in ketosis. I might have to let it ferment longer. Does anyone here use whipping cream or coffee cream instead of milk? I might try that, since it has 1/2 the carbs.

MarieB Fri, Mar-11-11 19:53

P.S. If you're scared to try it, just give it a go. I tasted some this morning, plain on a teaspoon. It tasted a bit like sour cream. Kind of a cross between plain yogurt and sour cream. Quite nice.

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