Kefir is a food that for centuries has been shrouded in mystery. It only emerged into the eastern European limelight one hundred years ago and has slowly been inching it’s way towards mainstream fame in the western world. It’s beginnings are the stuff of legend. The ancients who ate this food claimed that this staple of the remote Caucasus mountains is not only old but has divine origins as well. One legend tells that the Kefir grain was a gift from Mohamed to the Orthodox people of the Caucasus Mountains. This living gift, in the form of little white grains, was mixed with milk and produced a life-giving drink. Another legend relates that Kefir was the manna given to Moses’ people during their exodus from Egypt. Chapter 16 of Exodus describes a morning feast of Manna, fallen from the heavens to feed the Israelites. No one knew what it was but, “It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” Manna, translated from Hebrew, means “what is it?” and that is an apt description of Kefir because science has yet to thoroughly dissect and understand the hows and the whys of this little living gift.
Kefir ‘grains’ are actually little white lumps of casein (milk protein) and an array of friendly yeast, probiotics and more. These grains resemble miniature cauliflower and are both spongy and gooey. The goo is a clean mucus, also known as a gel-polysaccharide or kefiran. Kefir ‘drink’ is an easily digested beverage made from fermented Kefir grains and milk. The friendly organisms in Kefir, when consumed, bring balance to the entire intestinal tract. Kefir drink promotes healthy digestion and elimination and even promotes a clearer complexion. Kefir is rumored to have an anti-tumor effect and it has even been used in hospitals post surgery to encourage the peristaltic movement of foods through the body.
Kefir grains produce a sparking, tangy, effervescent drink when mixed with milk. They are usually combined with cows milk but goat milk work too. To make Kefir drink, place the grains in a clean glass jar and immerse them in the milk product of your choice. Cover the jar with cloth or a coffee filter and leave for 12-24 hours at room temperature in a dark place (a cupboard is ideal). Once the drink has fermented, stir well, then filter the liquid through a strainer. Rinse the glass jar and then return the grains to the jar, cover with milk and put back in the cupboard for another 24 hours. If you are fortunate enough to know a friend who has living Kefir grains and is willing to share, then you already have all that you need to make this delicious drink. If you aren’t connected, never fear. Rejoice in Life is an internet site dedicated to getting living Kefir to as many people as possible. On the site you will find listings by country of people who can send you live kefir grains, often for only the cost of shipping. You can also get Kefir grains from this site. Just click here to go to the shop page for more information. Most health food stores also sell freeze-dried Kefir a nice one-time drink. Kefir is wonderful when drunk alone and as a healthy addition to any shake. My personal favorite is:
½ c. Kefir
½ c. fresh water
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp blueberries
1 Tbsp omega 3 oil
1 Tbsp protein powder
What better way to start your day than with this ancient, health-giving drink. Now that the secret is out everyone can enjoy the benefits of Kefir.