5 Reasons to Make Kefir

 

Grains in the picture are water grains I ferment with Coconut Sugar and Filtered Water  or Coconut Water (hence the colour!)
Grains in the picture are water grains I ferment with Coconut Sugar and Filtered Water or Coconut Water (hence the colour!)

 

Fermentation is the “transformation of food by various bacteria, fungi and enzymes they produce” (The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz- awesome book. The transformation is enormous.

Fermenting is a natural phenomenon. Very little is actually understood about the make-up of the starters and how they grow, transform and multiply. Some do it spontaneously and some are seemingly indestructible. The trans-formative power of fermentation can produce alcohol, preserve our foods and make them more digestible, less toxic and more delicious.

1. Vibrant is how I tend to describe fermented foods especially Kefir. We would not exist without our bacterial partners. Our digestive systems need them and this system is vital for the procurement, absorption and assimilation of nutrients used to power every other body system. Our immune system depends on it and we could not use or store energy without them. The product is amazing! When using a UHT milk you will get a superior product with more nutrients ready to be absorbed. If you go up the scale and ferment a Raw Milk (sadly impossible for us here in HK) you are getting a true super food. The same goes for your water Kefir- if you use white refined sugar you are getting the bacterial benefit, if you are using a coconut sugar or maple syrup there will be so many more nutrients available within the water

2. Kefir is a natural pro-biotic. Kefir grains, whether water or milk, are essentially cultured beneficial bacteria. It is what they then go onto culture that makes them one or the other (milk or water). However with time and patience they can be used to culture both. If someone gives you ‘milk kefir’ grains you may be able to use them to culture any milk (cows, goats, sheep’s, soy, rice, any nut/seed or coconut). ‘Water Kefir’ grains may be used to culture Water (sugared water, juice or coconut water). This means that grains can produce different results based on where they are from and what they have been used and no two batches will be the same. They feed on the lactose in the milk and the sugar in the water (coconut or juice). 

3. They are cheaper to use then bottled probiotics. They are also alive and not freeze dried like in the capsules so are ready to inhabit and balance the bacteria in your digestive system. Safe for everyone Kefir can be taken while pregnant and is great for babies (not the milk kefir before the age of one) Capsules will help promote good bacteria but will not take up residence like Kefir does (source) Also Kefir has 35 strains of alive bacteria working together in symbiosis. How many strains are listed on the back of your probiotic capsules?

4. Kefir is so easy to make. Liquid (containing sugar), warm environment (room temperature) and grains. Leave for between 12-24 hours strain and go. Other forms of fermenting can take longer and be a bit more tempermental! The Grains are virtually indestructible and can be stored easily in the fridgeThe Kefir community is inclusive and open to all so you should be able to find grains from someone in your area. (The grains are meant to be free but some people may charge postage or a nominal fee- my grains are free to come and collect!) 

5. What to use it in. I add it to a smoothie every morning. However you can also make yoghurt from it, use it as a sourdough starter, pancakes, ice cream, chiaporridge, cereal, raw cookies, green drinks;the possibilities are endless. Use them on your skin and is great for Eczema (in the bath, grains as a face/body mask, in a spray bottle for after swimming and my favourite way is as an alternative to shampoo; the water and coconut water are amazing on hair and the milk kefir is great as a hair mask- try mixing it with a little coconut oil) Come and find my Fermenting Inspiration board on my Pinterest where I also share other great ideas). This post is just addressing the first ferment– with an additional second ferment the possibilities for goodness, nutritional content and taste are virtually endless!

 

If you are in Hong Kong come on one of my Fermenting Workshops to taste and learn Kefir, Kombucha and Coconut Yoghurt within a community! See my events board on my facebook page or subscribe to my newsletter to be kept up to date with all recipes and tips! Learn more buy buying my book;

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Yummy wake-up

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Every morning I wince through my shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, this morning inspired by here and here I thought I would try something different. I add cinnamon to almost everything and the raw honey goes in the smoothie (or if I am feeling a bit run down or the kids have a sore throat it goes straight in the mouth!) so the combination is a winner for me! Further diluted this is great for kids (over 1 as it contains raw honey). Apple Cider Vinegar is also super simple to make at home- here is my recipe Apple peels and Water!

 

1 tall glass of filtered water

2 tsp Raw Honey

1-2 tablespoons of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (it should still contain ‘the mother’)

1tsp Cinnamon

 

I whizz it up in the blender as the raw honey and cinnamon don’t dissolve too well otherwise. I add a couple of little star ice cubes cause that makes me feel like its a little bit of magic!

 

Why do I have a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar every morning (source)

 

  • Has anti-tumor potential
  • Prevents bladder stones and urinary tract infections
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Increase stamina
  • Alleviate symptoms of arthritis and gout
  • Reduce sinus infections and sore throats
  • Balance high cholesterol
  • Improve skin conditions such as acne
  • Protect against food poisoning
  • Increase metabolism which promotes weight loss
  • Improve digestion and improve constipation
  • Prevent muscle fatigue after exercise
  • Fight allergies in both humans and animals

Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may produce an alkalizing effect within the body, stimulates digestion and that may relieve fatigue (something I need in the morning as I am still feeding my son!). Much better than coffee (which I dont like the taste of anyway!)

 

Here it is again with a whole tray of ice cubes blended it- most cooling drink ever!

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Whole Lemon-ade

 

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Man was it HOT today. Lemon’s are amazing- just using the juice loses a lot of lemons amazing proerties. Using the whole lemon, pips peel and all you are getting the lemon’s oil, fibre, antioxidants, Vitamin C, A and even calcium. Plus the scent of lemons lifts moods and enhances that cleansed feel.

I made this in my high speed blender as it needs to be able to process the peel, pith, skin and pips.

 

1 Whole Lemon (organic and un-waxed)

3 Cups of Water

Coconut Sugar (optional- to taste)

I used 2 tsp of Cocobono Coconut Ginger sugar (contact me to source some) and 2 tsp of Coconut sugar as I like my lemons tart. Whizz it all up and the use it like a cordial. I added fizzy water and ice to mine and store the rest in the fridge to use. Super refreshing for my kids too!

Vitamin D

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We hear a lot about Vitamin D nowadays. It has been linked to greater immunity, curing cancer, better mood, stronger bones, enhanced digestive health and the list goes on. There are more indications that skin cancer and breast cancer may occur in Vitamin D deficient people. This is seen in countries that have a population used to wearing sunscreen and also milk drinking populations (Vitamin D is reported to be found in milk and dairy products- especially butter). Lets have a look at what it does, where you can get it from and why you may need it. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I  look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.

What does it do?

Vitamin D plays a big role in bone growth and development (hence why Rickets may come from a Vitamin D deficiency- interestingly more cases are being seen because our kids are not outside as much and when they are they have sunscreen on so the skin is unable to produce vitamin from the UV rays) and in the absorption of calcium (why most calcium supplements will contain vitamin D). It also lays a vital role in healthy teeth and gum repair. Taking it alongside vitamin A has shown to boost the immune system and is used in cases with asthma and allergies. It is used in many autoimmune diseases, works by helping to maintain heart muscle action, blood-clotting and is very useful for those with Diabetes. It stops the over proliferation (over production) of cells so may be used by cancer patients. It also plays a role in helping muscle spasms to relax.

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Where is it found?;

Vitamin D is stored in fat. This is one of the reasons that it may rise to toxic levels in your body. Unlike water soluble vitamins- fat stored vitamins do not get passed through your urine- they can be stored in the body and potentially clog up the liver. This is only really an issue if your body has a excess of fat, a insufficiency of nutrients necessary to break down and process the fat and also the mechanisms in place to utilise the fat for energy. Vitamin D also has several actions within the body which make storage necessary. It is made through the action of sunlight on your skin. It is also contained in eggs, oily fish (herring, tuna, cod, halibut), Fish liver oils (especially when fermented), butter and full fat milk (as it is stored in the fat- so skim milk doesn’t naturally contain it) and sprouted seeds.

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How do we Make it?-For the skin to produce Vitamin D from sunlight you need the following to be working together- the skin, bloodstream, liver and kidneys. The skin ‘catches the UV rays and converts then into a cholesterol which is then converted in the liver and kidneys. (5 ways to  be Safe in the Sun) The active form of Vitamin D is called D3 (which the kidneys will make) hence why we generally find this form in supplements. The darker your skin- the less Vitamin D you will produce. When Vitamin D is ingested, bile is needed to break down the fat it is stored in. A protein is then needed to carry it to the liver, where it is then stored till it is needed. The Vitamin D found in plant and meat sources is different because the fat they are in is different. Both plant and animal sources can be used – however the one contained in animal fat resembles our own more closely so requires a little less to convert it.

What should we take it with?- Vitamin D is best taken along side Magnesium and Calcium for bone and muscle health. However new studies suggest that Vitamin D must be taken with Vitamin K2 to maximise Vitamin D and Calcium’s roles and absorption.

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