A few weeks ago I was over at my friend and fellow blogger Emily Jaminet’s home. As we were chatting and visiting, I noticed a jar on her counter. Inside this glass jar covered with a pretty cloth and ribbon on top was something that resembled sour milk.
“What is that??” I asked.
She explained to me it was kefir, a sour drinkable yogurt that she made every day and served to her family in fruit smoothies. She explained her family loved it, and by making it by herself, she was saving a lot of money on her grocery bill.
“Yuck” is what came to mind, but I decided to hear a little more.
“How do you make it?”
She explained that kefir was a grain, and all you have to do is place them in a glass jar, pour some milk over them, cover with a cloth (to keep bugs out) and wait 1-2 days. The milk would ferment and make a thin yogurt like drink. Strain the new drink, take out the kefir grains (they look like cauliflower), toss into the blender with some bananas, strawberries, blueberries or other favorite fruit with a little honey and “viola” a delicious and nutritious drink was ready.
She whipped one up for me and handed me a glass…. It was delicious!! Then she packed up some grains in a little jar and sent me home with it to make my own.
Surely this was not as simple as it looked, I thought. However, I found a large jar, dumped in the grains, poured in some milk and covered with a coffee filter. My family thought I was nuts. It sat on the counter for 2 days and started to look a little clumpy. I followed the instructions, strained, blended and served fresh banana and strawberry smoothies to everyone in the house.
“What is this again?” my husband asked.
“You want me to drink that?” my 8 year old asked.
“Kepper???’ my 6 year old cried. What’s kepper?”
I explained again what kefir was, and they drank. Not only tasted, but devoured and asked for more! Since that day I have made a fresh batch of kefir every day and tried new smoothie recipes. Today we had banana, pineapple, mango, strawberry smoothies. My family loves them and is a little disappointed if the next batch isn’t quite ready by breakfast time.
I’m writing this not only because the kefir is delicious and making your own is cost efficient, but best of all, it has great health benefits. In addition to the servings of fruit my children are getting, kefir improves your digestion by provides beneficial bacteria and yeast. Its even better than traditional yogurt because it has microorganisms that can colonize the digestive tract, helping fight off pathogens. It has a lower lactose content than milk and the yeast and bacteria provide lactase, which consumes most of the remaining lactose. So even those with lactose intolerance can enjoy this drink!
I know as a mom, its hard to always provide healthy and enjoyable options to our families. The nurse in me knows better. Its something I need to consistently work on. After hearing Dr. Parker speak on balancing body, mind and soul, I am even more convinced of working on our family’s diet. I read a quote from St. Augustine that inspired me to write this today and I hope it inspires you also:
“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever, and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”