How to make and use Kefir

Thanks to Chris Gupta who reprinted this article by an anonymous poster on his website.

Kefir is a cultured dairy product, not unlike drinking-style yogurt, but more tart and refreshing and has more therapeutic value than yogurt.

Kefir is made from grains, or "starter" (which can be purchased from health food stores), and milk: cow, goat, mare, sheep, soy or rice. With proper care, kefir grains can be used over and over again for a lifetime.

It is best made from raw, fresh, whole, organically-raised goat or cow milk as it has not been pasteurized and contains enzymes which help break down fats and proteins and makes it less mucous-forming.

The friendly yeast and bacteria in kefir are crucial for restoring and maintaining a healthy flora colony in the small and large intestine. It's acidic environment creates an inhospitable environment for parasites and other unfriendly organisms. It is especially beneficial during and following antibiotic treatment and packs a powerful one-two punch when combined with probiotics (an acidophiluslbifidus complex nutritional supplement).

Kefir is especially useful for children, in order to keep their immune systems strong, since they are exposed to many viral and bacterial infections at school and daycare.

Kefir may prevent stomach ulcers which are often caused by the He\icobaeter pylori bacteria. Kefir is nature's natural antibiotic, and along with cultured vegetables and probiotics helps rebuild the inner ecosystem.

Kefir contains:

* A complete protein (all the essential amino acids) which is critical for healing

* Tryptophan to help calm the nervous system

* Abundant calcium and magnesium

* Vitamin B6

* Phosphorus (an important mineral for utilizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins for growth, cell maintenance and energy)

* Biotin (another 8 vitamin which assists in the manufacture and oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates)

* An excellent source of Vitamin B12 which contains important mineral elements and is essential for longevity. B12 cannot be made synthetically--it must be grown in bacteria or molds. If builds immunity, increases energy and counteracts allergens. B12 needs calcium for proper absorption, and nature has provided that as well in Kefir.

* Kefir is also rich in Vitamin B1 (thiamin) which is known as the "morale vitamin" for its beneficial effects on the mental attitude and nervous system. Thiamin is linked with enhanced learning capacity, growth in children, improvement in muscle tone of the stomach, intestines and heart, and is essential for stabilizing appetite and improving digestion.

Kefir helps stop food cravings because an inner balance is achieved and nutritional deficiencies are corrected.

Kefir provide a "sour" taste, one of the five tastes necessary for balance in the body, according to Chinese medicine.

Kefir is cooling to the body, so is an ideal food for the summertime, or when you have a fever or any condition of body heat (ie. menopausal hot flashes)

Over time, the skin becomes moist and creamy, with a noticeable refinement of the pores. It can be used externally to help moisturize the skin for all skin types. Fermented milks contain lactic acid which is a naturally occurring Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).

Kefir's friendly bacteria automatically show up in the vagina, but if there is a vaginal yeast infection, you can implant them more directly by using the kefir as a douche.

While Colonic Therapy helps cleanse pathogenic yeast from the large intestine, such yeast colonize in the small intestine also. Fermented foods like kefir and raw cultured vegetables have a cleansing effect on both intestines. The liver functions better as a result, releasing its toxins into a clean colon, as it was designed to do.

Kefir helps produce more pleasant breath, healthier, sweeter-smelling bowel movements and helps eliminate flatulence.

Start with 4 ounces in the morning on empty stomach, and every other day increase the amount until-you are able to drink a full 8 ounce glass.

If you are detoxing, wait 3 to 6 months before introducing Kefir.

Drink a lot of water to help pass the mucus through the body more quickly. Get adequate exercise since heat burns up mucous accumulations. Use proper food-combining to make kefir less mucous-forming.

Food Combining Rules for Kefir. As a dairy product, kefir should be eaten along on an empty stomach or combined with:

1) Raw or lightly steamed vegetables. Try a salad with kefir dressing, or use kefir for a dip with raw veggies.

2) Acid (sour) fruits such as strawberries, lemons, limes, grapefruits, pineapples, cranberries or blueberries.

Kefir makes an excellent fruit smoothie which is delicious and very popular as a breakfast for children and adults. Children will like the addition of favourite fruits and the smoothie may be sweetened with a few drops of Stevia (an-herbal sweetener which does not affect insulin levels. A little unrefined flax seed oil or a butterscotch-flavoured essential oil combination from Omega Nutrition, are especially good for children with eczema or who are hyperactive. You may also add to the smoothie Hemp Oil which is balance and tasty, Lecithin granules (1-3 tsp.), probiotics, and natural flavourings such as nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.

To ensure that kefir is not overly mucous-forming, do not combine it initially with proteins or starches. A general rule of thumb is to wait 3 hours after dairy before eating protein or starch foods. However, kefir's protein is predigested, the yeast and bacteria speed up digestion, and you need only wait about 45 minutes to an hour before eating something else. Once your inner ecosystem is restored (anywhere from 3 months to a year), you may experiment and try kefir at the end of a meal, or before bedtime to help with relaxation and a sound sleep.

Remember to brush your teeth after eating kefir as its bacteria produce an acid condition in the plaque that can lead to tooth decay.

Do not take Vitamin C with a kefir meal. Kefir is such a powerful digestive aid that it may prevent Vitamin C from reaching the bloodstream. If you have a cold or infection, stop the Kefir and take therapeutic doses of Vitamin C (1000 mg. per hour to bowel tolerance).

Whether you take Kefir on a regular basis, for a short time, or maybe just two or three times a week, trust the wisdom of your own body and learn to listen and heed its signs and signals. The important thing is to Keep colonizing the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria as research shows that it disappears once probiotic therapy is discontinued.