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BTD Forums  /  The GenoType Diet  /  Interesting information about kefir
Posted by: Chloe, Monday, April 7, 2008, 4:59pm
For helping heal eaky gut and possibly dealing with those white lines on fingers, I wanted to
share this information on KEFIR.


Kefir originated in the Caucasus Mountains. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word keif, which loosely translates to “feeling good”. This makes perfect sense as those who drink kefir regularly (myself included) claim it promotes a sense of well-being. The Caucasus peoples enjoyed longevity of over 100 years. There is a legend that kefir grains were a gift of the prophet Mohammed and the Caucasus people fiercely guarded their grains for fear they would lose their strength if given away and the secret of making kefir got out. Others heard of the “magical” properties of kefir and word spread. Even Marco Polo mentioned it. Then kefir was forgotten for centuries until news spread of its successful use in the treatment of tuberculosis, intestinal and stomach diseases. The first studies on kefir were published in Russia at the end of the 19th century. This is the true story of how kefir grains found their way to the rest of the world:

The members of the All Russian Physician’s Society were determined to obtain kefir grains in order to easily supply kefir to their patients. The society approached the Blandov brothers and asked them to procure some kefir grains. These brothers not only had a dairy, but had holdings in the Caucasus. The plan was to obtain a source of kefir grains and then produce kefir on an industrial scale in Moscow. Nikolai Blandov sent a beautiful young employee, Irina Sakharova, to the court of a local prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov. Her job was to charm the prince and persuade him to give her some kefir grains.

The prince however, afraid to violate a religious law, had no intention of giving away any 'Grains of the Prophet’. He was very taken with Irina though and didn't want to lose her. Realizing that they were not going to complete their mission, Irina and her party departed for Kislovodsk but were waylaid on way home by mountain tribesmen who kidnapped Irina and took her back to the prince. Since it was a local custom to steal a bride, Irina was told that she was to marry the prince. Only a daring rescue mission mounted by agents of her employers saved Irina from the forced marriage. The unlucky prince was hauled before the Tsar who ruled that the prince was to give Irina ten pounds of kefir grains, to recompense her for the insults she had endured. The kefir grains were taken to the Moscow Dairy and in September, 1908, the first commercial kefir was sold.

Traditionally kefir is prepared by fermenting milk with kefir grains. The word ‘grains’ is a bit misleading. They look like little pieces of cauliflower and have absolutely no relationship to cereal grains. They are composed of a firm gel-like mass of proteins, fats and polysaccharides and reproduce in a dairy medium. The organisms found in kefir can be divided into 4 genus groups: Lactobacilli, Streptococci-Lactococci, Acetobacter and Yeasts. Kefir, prepared with grains, contains as many as 35 different strains of bacteria and yeast. Commercial powdered starters are available and these contain 10-15 organisms, while the bottled kefir you buy in the store contains a maximum of 10 strains (along with a lot of things you don’t want). Most bottled kefir contains only bacteria as many states do not allow the selling of beverages with live yeasts, so, as you can see, if you want kefir for its probiotic value, it only makes sense to culture your own. It is very simple to do, taking about 5 minutes a day. It is also quite simple to prepare cheese from kefir.

Kefir has a creamy consistency with a slightly tangy (sour) taste depending on how long it’s been fermented. Mine often gets as thick as yogurt. Many, if not most people drink kefir after culturing for 24 hours then straining. However, by doing this they are missing out on many of the benefits of kefir. For example, by ripening kefir another 24 hours, the content of folic acid is increased 116%. Kefir was originally stored in airtight clay vessels or wooden barrels and allowed to age. This produced a very effervescent beverage with up to 2% alcohol.

Besides kefir’s obvious probiotic value, it possesses other healing properties. Kefir grains produce a polysaccharide known as kefiran. Research in Japan found that rats with tumors, which were fed kefiran, had reduction in tumor size. Kefiran is also proving to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Other research shows regularly eating the grains themselves can lower blood pressure, cure constipation, and control blood glucose. On his site, Dom stresses that anyone culturing kefir should also ingest excess grains. On Dom’s advice, a friend saved grains until she had a large quantity, then started giving her autistic son about a tablespoonful of grains with every meal. They are now about 3 weeks into this process and her son is responding beautifully. He is much calmer, emotionally less volatile and he is actually taking classes online. He is 11 years old. Currently, there is no scientific research using kefir grains to combat autism, but anecdotally, both with my friend and with others, it appears to hold promise. Kefir and kefir grains can also greatly aid in the elimination of Candidiasis.

There is a common misconception among most people battling Candida and most Candida diets that all yeasts are bad and that fermented foods will make you sicker. This simply isn’t true when talking about live lacto-fermented foods. Yeasts are in the air so every time we breathe or swallow, we are putting yeasts in our bodies. There is no way to avoid exposure to yeasts unless you live in a bubble. If all yeasts were bad, we couldn’t survive. Candida albicans is a normal part of microbial flora in the intestines and only causes problems when its growth gets out of control. Sadly, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is the perfect vehicle to stimulate massive proliferation of Candida albicans.

Candida is normally a smooth rounded bud and is harmless in this stage. When the colony reaches a “critical mass” in the large intestine and is running out of food, Candida has the ability to morph from the round bud to a thread-like shape. It then migrates to the small intestine in search of food and this is where the threads are able to wreak havoc by poking holes in the small intestine. Instead of vital nutrients being absorbed by the small intestine, approximately 180 toxins produced by Candida are given direct access to the bloodstream. This phenomenon is called leaky gut syndrome. Undigested food particles, toxins and other chemicals all cause inflammatory reactions once outside the protected confines of the intestines and this inflammation is the cause of myriad diseases and syndromes.

Unfortunately, mainstream medicine refuses to recognize the role of Candida in inflammation.

The yeasts and bacteria present in kefir and other lacto-fermented foods are actually able to displace Candida on the intestinal wall allowing these holes to heal. Once the leaky-gut is resolved and toxins no longer pass into the bloodstream and tissues of the body, healing can begin. I truly believe that lacto-fermented foods are key players in combating Candida albicans overgrowth and dairy kefir provides the most comprehensive combination of beneficial organisms.

Milk kefir grains can be used to ferment alternative milks such as soy milk, seed/nut milks, quinoa milk, coconut and rice milk. The grains will not grow in such mediums and will eventually stop fermenting, and kefiran is not produced. You do however; reap all the other benefits, especially the probiotic benefits of fermenting milk. Another alternative is water kefir. Water kefir grains are like squishy crystals and are used to ferment sugar, water and fruits. You can create your own carbonated soda-like beverages with water kefir and get many of the same probiotic benefits. The organisms are not identical to milk kefir grains. You can convert milk grains to culture other mediums, but water grains don’t generally do a good job with dairy.
Posted by: 815 (Guest), Monday, April 7, 2008, 5:19pm; Reply: 1
What does it taste like, oh sista Amazon?  :)
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Monday, April 7, 2008, 5:42pm; Reply: 2
It is just plain yummy... Care to share the grains?
Posted by: 815 (Guest), Monday, April 7, 2008, 6:05pm; Reply: 3
Thank you other sista Amazon.  ;D
Posted by: Chloe, Monday, April 7, 2008, 8:54pm; Reply: 4
I've never made the stuff....I'm just drinking it daily. (even though our Warrior diet suggests
less dairy....I don't eat eggs so I don't think it's a bad thing to have a bit more protein from
another source).  Anyway, I bought an organic low fat kefir in my health food store and
it's made by "Nancy's".  I don't know if that's a national brand or regional.  It is a bit tangy
like yogurt but maybe a bit more like buttermilk and it's the consistency of buttermilk.  My
body just seems to crave this stuff suddenly as I could never find the right type of probiotic
in a bottle that was truly effective. Nothing like having a whole food to do the job.

I found a few people online who sell the seeds.  They've said you can get overrun with seeds
and should give them away....and if they're left idle for awhile, they need to be "awaken",
meaning the next few batches won't work right until they reach their full bacterial potential
again.

I'm just fascinated by natural forms of good bacteria.  I was wondering why we can eventually
eat cabbage (Warriors) and not have sauerkraut. I would think that a good homemade
sauerkraut might be good for us.
Posted by: 2330 (Guest), Monday, April 7, 2008, 9:52pm; Reply: 5
http://nancysyogurt.com/nancys_products/kefir.php

Chloe, you are making me want this stuff! Of course, Nancy's isn't to be had here. I'm not surprised that the food industry ruined another product that IS available here......Kefir with enough additives to kill a horse.  What is WRONG with these people anyway!!! I guess they are just trying to please some more clueless people..... sigh.......
Posted by: Chloe, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 12:22am; Reply: 6
Quoted from 2330
http://nancysyogurt.com/nancys_products/kefir.php

Chloe, you are making me want this stuff! Of course, Nancy's isn't to be had here. I'm not surprised that the food industry ruined another product that IS available here......Kefir with enough additives to kill a horse.  What is WRONG with these people anyway!!! I guess they are just trying to please some more clueless people..... sigh.......


The problem I've had all along was that all dairy I've attempted to eat wasn't from grass fed cows and as soon as I found products that were grass fed, I was fine.  I feel your anguish trying to find appropriate choices.  There are very few decent dairy products I would eat.

Do you live near a Whole Foods?  This is where I found my Siggi's yogurt.  It's also an organic
grass fed dairy product.

Posted by: 2330 (Guest), Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 12:53am; Reply: 7
Chloe, I've decided for right now I'm going to make some soy milk and add a little of the organic dairy yogurt I have to make yogurt. I might enjoy soy milk a lot more that way which would make me really happy for now! I'm sick of paying $3.29 a quart for soy milk. All because the company decided to start putting carrageenan in all but one of their versions. Of course, all stores except one immediately stopped having the original version because of the hype about carrageenan. The store that has it has to special order it so that is why the price is so high. But I definitely will have this kefir on my list to check other places I go.
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 1:59am; Reply: 8
we call them 'bulgaros', and they are passed on from people to people...
I ve done yogurt out of soy milk from bulgaros, and you can make any yogurt actually.
nice story!!
Posted by: roller56, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 2:27am; Reply: 9


I use to drink kefir everyday.  I miss it.  I even had my own grains. I also had water grains.  I thought that Os should limit dairy or not drink dairy, especially non-secretors.  If I knew I could drink kefir safely, I would get more grains.

roller56
Posted by: Lola, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 3:35am; Reply: 10
right, depending on which system you are following....
was dairy free for ages, until I turned gatherer! ;)
Posted by: Henriette Bsec, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 8:26am; Reply: 11
I love kefir in the summertime...and I make it every week then
I buy very fresh organic non homogenised full fat milk
and it stands in my window a day or so until fuzzy - I find it very refreshing when it is hot  :D either alone or mixed with fruit and honey as a smoothie.
Posted by: Alek, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 3:57pm; Reply: 12

I make mine every 3 days. I also love eating the grains. They multiply very fast.

As kids we had kefir on daily bases, could the absence of white lines be contributed to that.

Mixture of kefir, crushed garlic and one drop of iodine keep all chicken's illnesses away.  
Posted by: jayneeo, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 4:28pm; Reply: 13
wondering if a gatherer could have it....its not on any list that I know of.
Posted by: Alek, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 4:56pm; Reply: 14


If it is not on any list, it goes as neutral.
Posted by: 815 (Guest), Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 5:28pm; Reply: 15
Alek, how do you make it? I bought some at the health food store today. Not bad. A little odd. Like yogurt but different. I like it better than buttermilk which is an avoid anyway. I have a recipe planned and if it turns out, I'll post it.
Posted by: Chloe, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 8:27pm; Reply: 16
Quoted from 815
Alek, how do you make it? I bought some at the health food store today. Not bad. A little odd. Like yogurt but different. I like it better than buttermilk which is an avoid anyway. I have a recipe planned and if it turns out, I'll post it.


What brand did you get?  Nancy's is the only brand i've ever seen that is coming from grass
fed cows.  And it's low fat.  It tastes different to me than Helios which wasn't all that appealing.
I think the kefir I have tastes more like sour cream, but thinner.   My gut feels so much
better since I've started using it.  Hardly any bloat or gas. Maybe now I'll tolerate beans
and garlic better.


Posted by: 2330 (Guest), Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 9:02pm; Reply: 17
Chloe, it is the weirdest thing about these beans.  One day they act like any other kind of food that is compliant and the very same beans on another day will act like the veriest poison in my stomach! What gives I have not the faintest idea! On the other hand, other foods behave the same way time after time after time.
Posted by: shazamda, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 10:34pm; Reply: 18
Quoted from Chloe
What brand did you get?  Nancy's is the only brand i've ever seen that is coming from grass fed cows.  And it's low fat.  It tastes different to me than Helios which wasn't all that appealing. I think the kefir I have tastes more like sour cream, but thinner.  

My gut feels so much better since I've started using it.  Hardly any bloat or gas. Maybe now I'll tolerate beans and garlic better.


I have a similar unpredictable reaction to legumes but probably not as severe as yours.  I would love to find something that can calm my reaction to beans since they are a primary source of protein for me.  Which brand of kefir are you using or are you making your own?   :D
Posted by: Chloe, Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 11:50pm; Reply: 19
Quoted from shazamda


I have a similar unpredictable reaction to legumes but probably not as severe as yours.  I would love to find something that can calm my reaction to beans since they are a primary source of protein for me.  Which brand of kefir are you using or are you making your own?   :D


It's NANCY'S but I'm wondering if it's a regional brand. I'm in the NY tri state area.
Posted by: 815 (Guest), Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 12:21am; Reply: 20
Quoted from Chloe


What brand did you get?  Nancy's is the only brand i've ever seen that is coming from grass
fed cows.  And it's low fat.  It tastes different to me than Helios which wasn't all that appealing.
I think the kefir I have tastes more like sour cream, but thinner.   My gut feels so much
better since I've started using it.  Hardly any bloat or gas. Maybe now I'll tolerate beans
and garlic better.


..Hold on, I have to run to the refrigerator.... :D...
it's called Helios, certified organic kefir
Posted by: shazamda, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 4:27am; Reply: 21
Quoted from Chloe
It's NANCY'S but I'm wondering if it's a regional brand. I'm in the NY tri state area.

The Nancy's web site says it is sold in the Wild Oats in Nashville which is where I am.  Whole Foods swallowed up Wild Oats in a huge buy-out creating, in my opinion, a monopoly.  >:(  Now that Wild Oats is gone the question is, will Whole Foods in Nashville carry Nancy's.  If not it won't be the first time I have chewed them out for dumping good products to make space for over priced designer foods.   :P  I'll find out soon.

Posted by: shazamda, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 2:12pm; Reply: 22
Quoted from shazamda
Now that Wild Oats is gone the question is, will Whole Foods in Nashville carry Nancy's.  If not it won't be the first time I have chewed them out for dumping good products to make space for over priced designer foods.   :P  I'll find out soon.


Nope, Whole Foods does not carry Nancy's Kefir in Nashville.    :(  I'll ask them to carry it and I'll try to keep a positive attitude about it all.   ;D
Posted by: wit, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 4:19pm; Reply: 23
What a great post Chloe!
Posted by: Alek, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 5:14pm; Reply: 24
Quoted from 815
Alek, how do you make it? I bought some at the health food store today. Not bad. A little odd. Like yogurt but different. I like it better than buttermilk which is an avoid anyway. I have a recipe planned and if it turns out, I'll post it.


I have kefir grains [Just like a tiny cauliflower florets] that I put [4 tabsp,  quite loaded] in one litter of raw milk. It stands between 12 hours to 48 hours [room temperature, it takes much longer in the fridge]. 12hours is very mild one, 24 hours medium, and longer than that is thicker and stronger taste, but still not as sour as yogurt. I drain the grains and put them in the fridge until next usage.
The grains multiple fast, and I give them around, including eating them. It is very difficult to get hold of them at least around here. I wander if powdered kefir is as good as fresh grains.
Posted by: Lola, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 5:18pm; Reply: 25
Alek, send them over!!
do they like to travel?? ;) ;D
I could tell them 'the stories' and keep them happy!
Posted by: Alek, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 5:25pm; Reply: 26

Someone brought them from Russia for me, now I have much better idea, why don't you come and pick them up, they need personal touch, and I could do with your stories.

  :K)
Posted by: italybound, Monday, April 14, 2008, 3:05am; Reply: 27
Quoted from shazamda
Nope, Whole Foods does not carry Nancy's Kefir in Nashville.    :(  I'll ask them to carry it and I'll try to keep a positive attitude about it all.   ;D


If they can order it they prob will. I've had them special order stuff for me. Catch is, you have to order a case (12). Here's the good thing tho. You can just return what you don't want or can't afford. They'll just put the remainder on the shelf and sell it. No questions asked. You have to have a bit of muuuulah up front, but it's a way to get what you need. and you get a 5% discount for ordering a case. I'll be looking for it at my WF. Someone said we Hunters can have Kefir. Hope that's true.
Well, as I look at my book, I guess it's one of those neutral-try it and see how it affects you things. Good enough!!
Posted by: Lola, Monday, April 14, 2008, 3:39am; Reply: 28
will I have to speak in Russian to them? ;) ;D
Posted by: 1323 (Guest), Monday, April 14, 2008, 9:41pm; Reply: 29
Can one make Kefir out of rice milk?
Posted by: Chloe, Monday, April 14, 2008, 9:46pm; Reply: 30
Quoted from 1323
Can one make Kefir out of rice milk?


YES...scroll down to the information about the different milks you can use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

Posted by: 1323 (Guest), Monday, April 14, 2008, 10:17pm; Reply: 31
Great!!! Would it still have the same tummy benefits?
Posted by: Chloe, Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 2:13pm; Reply: 32
Quoted from 1323
Great!!! Would it still have the same tummy benefits?


If you go back to that article I posted, it says that non milk kefir produces a probiotic but
not the kefiran..so I suspect you'd get equal value to a food like yogurt but would not
get the polysaccharide that helps reduce tumors.

I'm quoting above article..

"Besides kefir’s obvious probiotic value, it possesses other healing properties. Kefir grains produce a polysaccharide known as kefiran. Research in Japan found that rats with tumors, which were fed kefiran, had reduction in tumor size. Kefiran is also proving to have anti-inflammatory properties."

So, don't you think that "yes", rice kefir should give you tummy benefits.

Posted by: 1323 (Guest), Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 2:29pm; Reply: 33
I didn't read the entire article cause I've got this intense sinus cold and my eyes kill me right now to read, so thank you for the quote.
Posted by: Ribbit, Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 7:54pm; Reply: 34
Funky, try some alfalfa tablets or capsules.  They decongest.
Posted by: italybound, Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 8:41pm; Reply: 35
Quoted from Ribbit
Funky, try some alfalfa tablets or capsules.  They decongest.


no no, no alfafa for O's  :K)  alfalfa sprouts are even an avoid for Hunters. tho quercitin is supposed to be good for allergies. don't know if it helps in the short term tho. Bromelain is good for inflammation on an empty stomach. do you have any redoxa?
Posted by: Ribbit, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 12:53pm; Reply: 36
Sorry. :-/
Posted by: italybound, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 1:42pm; Reply: 37
Quoted from Ribbit
Sorry. :-/


:K) ;)
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