“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
“Listen-up!” diabetics, pregnant Moms, breast-feeding Moms, overweight people, pre-diabetics and those with digestive troubles — go out to the health food store or supermarket and get some plain kefir, now! You’re about to learn about a food which can change your life (or your baby’s life!).
You’ll be able to use the kefir you purchase in a recipe or two below, by the end of the weekend, and get yourself going on a better path to Health.
Firstly, a quick overview and a reminder to read last week’s post (if you haven’t already). Kefir is a cultured milk product, more beneficial than yoghurt because of the microflora strains it contains (some products have 7 – 10 strains, whereas yoghurt usually only includes 2 families).
Probiotic bacteria are important because these microflora make critical products for your immune system and nutritional well-being. Different strains make and behave differently.
Normally, you have about 300 different strains of bacteria in your gut, and those double in number one or two times a day. About 10 – 12 pounds of your body weight is this intestinal colony! If you are healthy, most of your colony consists of healthy families but, if you are unwell, then more of your colony is bad-guy types. They may or may not be ones to kill you, but they will age you or make you ill.
As diabetics are starving for nutrition (much of your nutrient reservoir is robbed by extra urination and lack of enzymes), and as all babies’ guts are sterile when born (and must be populated by “seeding” through the mother’s milk), having the right probiotic bacteria, in the right ratios is critical. Probiotic foods can populate your gut with the friendlies you require.
Mom’s have only about a 2 – 3 month window to largely determine their child’s intestinal profile for life. The intestinal bacteria blueprint ratio is almost as individual as finger-prints, and is remarkably stable unless you know you must change it and work to do so.
Reasons you might need to help: if you become seriously or chronically ill or chronically stressed (then self-regulation tends to break down — as it does when you eat poorly, too).
The Ayurvedic medical texts of 5,000 – 6,000 years ago already tell of the benefits of fermented milk saying that ‘fermented milk leads to a long and healthy life’! Pliny, the Roman historian writes in 76CE that he was treating gastro-intestinal infections with fermented milk.
Now, when I say “fermented” milk, this is a very specific, purposeful, cleanly-cultured food product, not just some left-over or random happenstance.
These properly fermented, pro-biotic foods — slow fermented sauerkraut (usually not made commercially *), natto, miso, tempeh, slow fermented pickles *, kim chee, yoghurt, kefir, lait ribot (from Brittany, in France, which uses buttermilk, rather than whole milk) — provide beneficial bacteria to keep your body healthy in many, many ways which we’ll learn here, over time and several articles.
All of these are traditional foods e.g. lait ribot has been made in Brittany for thousands of years, well back into the time when it was made there by tribes of Gauls.
It is important to eat these foods in ways which keep the beneficial bacteria alive, as they run the gauntlet of dashing through your stomach acid, by potent bile and much more, to hopefully arrive, safe and secure (and still in large numbers) to make a home in your small intestine, daily.
Like any other living organisms, the friendly microflora are killed by freezing and boiling and oven temperatures, so even though there are lots of recipes for ice-cream, soups and muffins etc. etc. understand you are compromising getting live inoculations to boost your intestinal colonies, if you use those cooking methods.
However, if you use kefir in these types of recipes, the product will still be superior to using plain milks, as the friendlies have already increased the actual nutrition in the milk, while they were alive, even if you kill them later.
I prefer to try to walk the middle path, and use my kefir cold from the refrigerator. So the recipes I feature in the photos above are cold soups. The middle-ground for ice-cream and parfaits, is keep it soft and not really as ice-cream, if you want to keep some of the friendly bacteria alive. Adding and pureeing some frozen berries goes a long way to accomplishing that, rather than putting the kefir in the freezer.
Kefir is likely a Turkhish word derived from “keif” meaning “good-feeling”. Kefir is pronounced “k’feer” but many mispronounce it as “kee-fur”.
Using a purchased culture of “kefir grains”, it can be made from many types of milk, as well as super-healthy young coconut water (and an Australian has even made a water version that behaves like a healthy “champagne”).
But, kefir must be made by the actual grains, which are removed and re-used, so you cannot use a commercial kefir as a “starter” the way you can with yoghurt, as the dairies removed the grains of kefir before they bottled it.
The first site I remember coming across about kefir was probably Dom’s when he started in about 1999. You can still learn more there than just about anywhere else. The reference is below. Starters are available from Donna Gates, at bodyecology.com
More on kefir and probiotics — how they help; why you need them; how they can retrieve your health will continue next time. Meanwhile, here’s a quick cold soup – two versions.
Em’s Spring Green Kefir Soup
In a blender or food processor:
2 English cucumbers – washed and chunked
1/3 – 1/2 small yellow onion, peeled and washed
3 medium size garlic cloves, sliced somewhat
2 giant pinches of rough-chopped fresh dill (tops and stems)
Blend all of these ingredients — taste. Add more onion or garlic if needed. It’s impossible to say how much as some onions are very raucous (but the strong flavor comes from sulfur, which is why they are healthy!). The same is true about garlic. You can always add more, but having too much at first is almost impossible to undo.
After you decide if you want to add some sea salt and / or some cayenne pepper, you are now ready to add the kefir.
1 quart plain kefir
Combine gently, without using the blender … remember, we’re trying to keep these helpful little-guys alive!
Serve immediately with a dash of chives. Makes about 2 quarts.
VARIATION:Swirling Gazpacho Kefir Soup
for every portion of Spring Green Kefir Soup, add half again as much organic tomato juice, just into the center of the green soup. Gently swirl.
For example: 8 oz. green soup + 4 oz. tomato juice.
You can also add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and an 1/16t of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, if you find the need. It will be more like a Bloody Mary, then!
Why I used these ingredients and how they’ll help you:
The cucumbers help alkalize your tissues.
The onions provide sulfur to make potent detoxifiers.
The garlic is a natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial, if it is raw.
The dill is for flavor and the B vitamins all green leafies have.
The sea salt will alkalize. (Do NOT use regular table salt!!!)
The cayenne is important for your heart and circulation.
The kefir will provide all the probiotic, live, friendly bacteria families.
The tomato juice will provide other anti-oxidants, especially helpful ones for eyes.
If used, the Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (or Spectrum — only those brands) will alkalize (yes, you read that right. I leaves alkaline ash, after metabolism.)
The lemon juice will alkalize (yes, it’s citric acid, but as note above, for metabolic ash).
Worcestershire sauce is just for flavor, put if you use an Asian Fish sauce, instead, you will get some beneficial enzymes, if it has not been overly processed.
Experiment with smoothies, but, again, whirl everything before you add the kefir, as much as possible. Some great smoothie recipes – Dom’s
* In America and Canada, Bubbe’s Brand is properly slow-fermented and available in many health stores and some supermarkets.
And, CultureBiota is an artisanal food maker in Portland, Oregon with the same kinds of slow probiotic products, truly traditional foods. Health stores will generally have healthier and organic forms of the Asian foods, but check out Asian groceries, too, for miso, tempeh and natto, as well as kim chee.
Preferably, consider Nancy’s brand of kefir, as it is made with milk from grass-fed cows and uses low-glycemic agave for sweetener.
Note, kefir has a very mild laxative property, which many people need.
You should definitely include kefir as part of the regimen when taking anti-biotics and for up to a couple of months after them.
Naturopathic physicians recommend kefir over yoghurt for those with digestive problems because kefir has very low curd tension, which makes ir very digestible.
Kefir has the potential to be a potent help in cancer prevention due to its high concentration of lactic acid.
(c)2009 Em http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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