Kefir is Wonderful for You and Your Dog!

 

 

  • You will need milk kefir grains to begin making your own delicious milk or coconut milk kefir, but how do you get the grains? From me of course! If you need some, let me know. For just $17.50 I’ll send you 1 Tbsp. of beautiful, living, hydrated grains you need to start your own Kefir batch.  They last forever if you look after them 😊🙌🏼

Purchase your milk kefir grains HERE: http://www.mimfit.net/product/kefir-grains

 

 

 

My dog Sprocket just LOVES his milk kefir (as does my entire family … ‘us and ‘we’ being the ‘humans’ in this little post)! I must admit though, Charli doesn’t go too much on ‘fizzy milk’ .. so I have to make sure I don’t let it ferment for too long! But, if I do – Sprocket doesn’t mind! He laps it up and begs for more. Along with the diatomaceous earth that he (and I!) have every night and the milk kefir, his/our insides should be pretty darned healthy!

 

These dairy or water-based grains have loads of vitamins and minerals. Milk kefir has far more of the good stuff than water kefir, but both are highly nutritious and we always have homemade milk kefir and kombucha in the fridge ready to go!  They provide a wide variety of probiotic organisms and have amazing healing qualities.

Water Kefir

Water kefir is really not a good substitute for milk kefir even if you have a milk allergy.  We do have this sometimes as it offers variety. It’s more like an ‘addition’ to the family of delicious beverages you make. (Kombucha, Water Kefir and Milk Kefir all have the own deserved place in your fridge.) The probable reason for this is that there are only 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts in water kefir made with live grains.  This compares with the 30 to 50 in homemade milk kefir made with live grains. Please also be aware that they are NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. Water grains will not ferment milk, and vice versa.

The only benefit probiotically of water kefir when compared to milk kefir is the absence of Streptococcus thermophilus.

Jordin Rubin, author of Restoring Your Digestive Health warns about this particular probiotic strain as studies have shown that people who suffer from autoimmune diseases run the risk of aggravating the symptoms of their disease if they consume more than two cups of yogurt or kefir per day that contains Streptococcus thermophilus. (this is taken from http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/water-kefir-versus-milk-kefir/)

And, there are potential problems when brewing water kefir to make sure to watch out for.  If you suffer from candida issues or diabetes, note that unless you are extremely careful to ferment the water kefir properly, there can be too much sugar remaining which could actually harm you rather than help.  Properly brewed water kefir really should taste only mildly sweet.  It is a slightly sweet but mostly sour flavour that does take a bit of getting used to at first.

If you want a sweeter water kefir, brew for the full length of time until the sweetness is gone and then mix with stevia drops.  You can always do a second ferment using fruit and/or fruit juice. The longer you leave it, the more sugar disappears and the less sweet it will taste.

Note also that it is best to refrain from using 100% juice when making water kefir as you will end up with an alcoholic beverage!

Milk Kefir

Milk kefir, made with either dairy milk or coconut milk, far surpasses water kefir in probiotic potency. The benefits of milk based kefir exceed those of water kefir no matter if the water kefir is cultured with fruit juice, vegetable juice, coconut water, or filtered water and a whole sweetener.

We have milk kefir every morning for the probiotic benefits, usually in a glass with our breaky. We have water kefir with lunch or dinner (when we have it), and kombucha with lunch or dinner (we sometimes alternate). Kombucha is a wonderful digestive aid, but is completely different from Kefir.

This milk kefir also known as the  “grain of life” is similar in appearance to regular yogurt, however contains loads more benefits (which is why we switched from Greek Yoghurt to Kefir ourselves). The appearance also varies depending on how long you’ve let it ferment. The longer you leave it, the lumpier and more separated it tends to be!

 Coconut Milk Kefir

You can make coconut milk Kefir using milk Kefir grains or finished water Kefir (not water Kefir grains).

Simply put the milk Kefir grains in coconut milk instead of regular milk.

For dairy free – Add ¼ cup water kefir (finished kefir, not the water kefir grains) to 2-4 cups coconut milk.
Cover loosely and culture for 24 hours.

You will need to rest the grains in dairy milk every few batches as the grains need lactose to survive.

 

Starting Out

Purchase your milk kefir grains HERE:

When it comes to starting out for both you and/or your pets, start with small amounts and see how your dog (and you!) reacts (1-3 Tbsp depending on pet size). Generally even lactose intolerant dogs and humans should be fine as the fermentation process destroys most of the lactose.

What’s it Good For? (this goes for humans and pets!)

  • Good source of nutrients
  • Powerful probiotic
  • Has potent antibacterial properties
  • Lowers risk of osteoporosis
  • Improves bone health
  • May protect against cancer
  • Helps with digestive Problems
  • Reduces symptoms of allergy and asthma
  • Kefir provides anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties
  • An important to use after the use of antibiotics to restore balance to the digestive tract
  • Beneficial for candidiasis and heart problems in pets/humans
  • Vitamin B will regulate the normal function of the kidneys, liver and nervous system for you and your pet
  • Helps to promote healthy looking skin, boosting energy and promoting longevity
  • All the micro-organisms present work to strengthen the digestive system
  • Helps to alleviate gas, bloating and heartburn
  • Probiotic aid may help with IBD, eczema and bad breath
  • Has been linked to aid in gastritis, pancreatitis, abdominal peptic issues, skin psoriasis, rheumatism, joint disease as well as gouty arthritis, weakening of bones, anaemia, as well as leaky digestive tract syndrome
  • Health advantages include acne pimple management or treatment, sleep problems, unhappiness, asthma attack, respiratory disease, high blood pressure, all forms of diabetes, long-term weakness syndrome, allergic reactions, colitis, looseness of the bowels, and so on.

 

How to introduce it

Slowly!  Kefir is very safe, this is not to say that some people or pets don’t react negatively to kefir, especially when first trying it. When introducing kefir, remember to always go slowly. Give you and your pet’s system time to adjust. For the first few days to a week try half the recommended dosages. This will avoid digestive upset as your systems adjusts to the increase of good flora in their GI tract. It’s a good idea to try and clear out the bad gut flora before introducing a whole lot of the good stuff. A gut cleanse would be a great start (although not entirely necessary, I would recommend that). If you are already quite healthy (in your gut) as I was, I started with a full 250ml, and I was fine. Just try it out and see how you go.

Dosages:

Recommended Minimum Daily Intake of Kefir for Pets:

Small size dogs or cats – 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp.
Medium size dogs – 1 – 2 Tbsp.
Large dogs – 2 – 3 Tbsp.

If your pet doesn’t like it, some people  find that putting a little cheese in it is a great incentive. Get one that sticks to the plate and then put a little kefir on top of it. It forces the dog to lick ferociously in order to dislodge the cheese, so the kefir gets eaten in the process 🙂

Warnings:

Please always check with your VET before trying anything new with your pet or if you have any concerns. Be careful about giving it to dogs on an immuno-suppressant (e.g. prednisone) as it can cause the bacteria to run wild in their system. Gradually wean them off, giving them the prednisone every other day and a teaspoon of kefir on the off days. If their bowels got too loose and begin to get an ammonia smell (the smell is an indicator of too much), cut it back or don’t give it too them for a few days. Once you get them off the prednisone, you should find that it is no longer a problem.

Recommended Minimum Daily Intake of Kefir for Humans:

1 cup (250ml) per day. Kefir can work miracles for yours and your pet’s body, so go ahead and start incorporating it into your diets. Remember to introduce it slowly. If milk kefir doesn’t agree with you (after you’ve taken the time to adjust), try water kefir or making it with coconut water.  

 

    How to Make Milk Kefir:

Ingredients:

  • Hydrated Milk Kefir Grains
  • 2 cups of mIlk (from grass fed and from cows, sheep or goat is best – use full fat)

Method:

  1. Put 1-2 tablespoons of kefir grains into a clean jar. The more you use, the faster it will culture.
  2. Add the milk,  leaving at least  2-3 cm of room at the top of the jar. (You can add some full-fat cream if you want the kefir to be thicker)
  3. Put the lid on (or top with a paper towel and a rubber band) and leave it for 12-36 hours, at room temperature.
  4. Once it starts to look lumpy, it’s ready. Taste it and see! We like ours just before it gets ‘fizzy’. The longer you leave it, the more separated and fizzy it gets.
  5. Gently strain out the liquid, which leaves behind the original kefir grains.
  6. Bottle the kefir and refrigerate. (you could also flavour this before you refrigerate it).
  7. Put the grains in a new jar with some fresh milk, and start the process again.

You can use milk kefir as a base for smoothies and frozen berry bowls – delish!

 

 

How to Make Water Kefir:

In the video: **Please note int he video where I say ‘you put the grains in your sweet tea’ I was thinking of my kombucha! You actually put the grains in sugar water, not sweet tea 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Hydrated Water Kefir Grains (I got mine off ebay)
  • 1/4 cup sugar per litre of water (I like organic unprocessed plain cane sugar) Do not use honey or artifical sweeteners!!
  • Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you use reverse osmosis, consider adding a few drops of trace minerals back in or sticking a rinsed pastured egg shell in for minerals) If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using

Method:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in small amount of boiled water.
  2. When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp!
  3. Add the hydrated water kefir grains
  4. Cover with a clean tea towel or paper towel and rubber band.
  5. Leave out –  I put mine in the pantry –  (preferably at 18-28 degrees C) for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out, so if you ware limiting carbs, I recommend 48 hours. Don’t leave longer than this as Ii can starve the grains. They are hungry little guys 🙂
  6. Taste the kefir from 24 hours onwards and when ready,  strain the water kefir grains through a strainer pouring the liquid into another container. I use a 2 litres jar for the first process and strain into two 1 litre size jars.
  7. Start the process again by making more sugar water and adding your grains.
  8. To make the water kefir bubbly (carbonated), add some fresh fruit into the strained water kefir. I quite like grape, apple and strawberry (all together .. lol).   Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid and leave for an additional 2-3 days before drinking or refrigerating. Repeat the process!

Some great website with more information are here:

 

https://www.yemoos.com/pages/water-kefir-faq-preparation-and-supplies

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/water-kefir/water-kefir-frequently-asked-questions-faq/

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/category/milk-kefir/

http://www.kefir.net

 

 

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