Can anyone tell me what you use to make non-dairy kefir? I'm on the candida diet and I do eat dairy kefir and organic plain yogurt. I like to get raw milk for these two things but I can't always get to SC to get it. I'm feel like getting off dairy would help with the candida.



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Julie, I have water kefir grains, you are welcome to some. Water kefir is easy and delicious.

I personally, believe that dairy kefir has more benefits for candida and allergies, unless you have IgE anaphylactic reactions to dairy. The enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics and nutrients in raw milk are additive above what water kefir provides in (somewhat) lesser amounts. Dairy kefir has more probiotics than water kefir.

I drink both though. And you could do that. My cabinet and refrigerator get a bit full with all of my concoctions culturing. LOL

Just come by whenever it would work for you. We get four gallons of milk from Atkins dairy farm in York Co, and it lasts 3+ weeks unopened.

Also, some folks have made coconut water yogurt. I'm not sure how that works. Accessing non-dairy yogurt starter is challenging, I believe. But, some folks open probiotic capsules- I'm not keen on this idea for various reasons. Also, you can make coconut water kefir with water kefir grains which is my favorite after milk kefir. Coconut water, especially young Thai coconut is extraordinarily nutritious. Home Economist and EarthFare both have coconuts. Kefir has 3x more probiotics than yogurt.

We're doing a "Probiotics" presentation on the April 22nd at EarthFare also. Love to have you come and share your experiences!

Do you have a yogurt maker? A mama on MDC sells many different dairy yogurt starters which can be made on the counter, without a yogurt maker, even. (She has milk kefir grains, water kefir grains and starter kits for anyone new to making cultures.) Matsoni yogurt is supposed to be particularly helpful for candida, I've heard.


I'm glad to hear that you think milk kefir is even better. It encourages me to take the drive back out to the dairy farm. I have made coconut kefir with a kefir starter from Body Ecology, but I get very constipated on it. I don't know why. It's delicious though! I thought there might be one made with juice or water like you said, but if the raw milk one is better, that's what I'll use.

I don't have a yogurt maker but I would really like to make my own, so thanks for the info. I would love to get some kefir grains from you. I know I was going to do that before and never got to your house. Maybe I could come by some time next week?

I would also like to come to the Probiotic presentation. Could you tell me what time it will be?

Julie :)
You are welcome to come by anytime. Just give me a call to be sure we're home.

The probiotics presentation is from 2-4pm.

I'm confused. Are you using kefir starter with the milk? Come today for real grains!! 3x more probiotics from real grains.

If you culture for 24 hours, there is more chance of constipation, if culture for 48+ hours, more chance of loose stools. I believe I have that right. You only need to consume 1Tbs a day to get HUGE benefits of the milk kefir. If you use real coconut water, more chance of loose stools due to the potassium, irrc. The stool issue is with large quantities, not small amounts, per my understanding.

If you are only consuming 1 Tbs a day, is there a convenient way to keep your kefir grains in small quantities? I started with some kefir a couple weeks ago but made too much too fast and got overwhelmed by it. My grains are in the fridge now, awaiting my return of confidence.
I used the kefir starter with coconut milk and raw milk. Both of them constipated me. I cultured for 36 hrs., so maybe I'll try for longer. I also consumed more than 1 Tbsp a day.

I'll try for next week to pick up the grains.

Thanks, Pat.. :)
After you make milk kefir, just leave it all together in the refrigerator to slow down fermentation. It just gets creamier. Maximum about a week's time, then make a new batch. Cook with the excess.

You can make a smaller volume, just add less milk next time. :-) It'll ferment a bit faster in the cupboard, maybe 24 hours, instead of 48. Then store in the refrigerator. You can use the kefir in place of milk when cooking/baking. The proteins are more easily digested than if they were not cultured. But, heat kills off the probiotic benefits. The net is still more nutritious than uncultured milk.

Water kefir is a bit trickier because the grains reproduce so rapidly, ime. And it'll get alcoholy-tasting sitting with the grains in the refrigerator, as it uses up the sugar. Similarly, you can use the water kefir in place of water when cooking, baking, making broth, gravy, pancakes, sauces, etc. I use it in smoothies, in juice, to soak rice, beans, grains; make popsicles, hummus, nut butter, etc. Heat kills off the probiotic benefits, but it is still more nutritious than water.

This thread has about 500 uses for kefir:

Thanks for all the info on kefir! There's a lot in that thread, and so many health benefits from the kefir! I'm excited to make some good stuff.

Julie :-)
>>>Accessing non-dairy yogurt starter is challenging, I />
I've read that GI Prostart is a good non-dairy brand--not sure though!

>>>But, some folks open probiotic capsules- I'm not keen on this idea for various reasons. br />
If you have time to elaborate (or links to share) I'd love to know why Pat!

I've been culturing some coconut milk yogurt since last night for the first time, based on some info I've found online. I used a non-dairy probiotic capsule b/c I didn't have any starter. River has been tolerating coconut milk and oil really well (yay!) so I thought I'd try this...

Lauren :)
Short version, unless you boil the coconut water, which destroys a LOT of enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics inherent in the coconut water, you risk a pathological bacterial overgrowth, especially in the early stages with the potential for contamination, when the acidity isn't low enough to retard the "bad bacteria".

The addition of dehydrated, transported, exposed to air, bottled probiotics are MUCH less viable to recolonize the gut than water kefir grains, which are significantly superior in quality and quantity of probiotic benefits.

Basically, capsuled probiotics create a poor facsimile of yogurt, which has less probiotic benefit (and the detriments noted above), than just making and taking a tablespoon of REAL kefir. :-)

Here is a copy of an old post of mine about the myriad of benefits of REAL kefir.

This is an informative article "Selection Criteria for Probiotics": Basically, most probiotics are not viable all the way to the gut, due to heat destruction during transportation and storage, acidity in the stomach, and low viability powders and capsules, and yogurts without billions of "Active Live Cultures".

This link discusses specific brands of different probiotics:

Also, it is important to rotate probiotics otherwise "probiotic resistance" could develop, I've read. Don't use single strain probiotics exclusively; and DO rotate them every 4-7 days. The Probiotic Solution champions the "pulsing and rotating probiotics".

Sacchromyces boulardii is a "good" yeast which lives in the gut longer and displaces candida. It is in kombucha.

I prefer whole foods which are naturally cultured or fermented: kefir or yogurt from cow, goat, coconut, almond, hemp seed milk, etc. And fermented foods. Bubbies brand sauerkraut and dill pickles are easy to add to the diet. Plus, kombucha, which actually displaces and replaces candida albicans in the large intestines. Kombucha caution with mercury fillings, amalgam issues.

"Homemade yogurt that is fermented for 24 hours, will have an average concentration of 3 billion cfu/mL of yogurt. If you were to eat a small bowl (500 ml) of 24 hour fermented homemade yogurt, you would receive 1.5 trillion beneficial bacteria - 100 times more bacteria than a 15 billion capsule.

Furthermore, freshly made kefir can have an average microbial count as high as 10 billion cfu/ml. This includes a mixture of various bacteria and yeast strains. This means that a 500 ml glass of homemade kefir could contain as many as 5 trillion beneficial microorganisms or even more!"

"Both kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products... ...but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. (37+ beneficial microbials)

It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy.

Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, invalids and the elderly, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders."

Oral administration of milk kefir and soymilk kefir for 28 days significantly increased the fecal populations of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, while it significantly decreased those of Clostridium perfringens.

Milk kefir and soymilk kefir also significantly decreased the serum OVA-specific IgE and IgG1 levels for both groups, but not those of the IgG2a analogues. Consumption of milk kefir and soymilk kefir suppressed the IgE and IgG1 responses and altered the intestinal microflora in our supplemented group, suggesting that milk kefir and soymilk kefir may be considered among the more promising food components in terms of preventing food allergy and enhancement of mucosal resistance to gastrointestinal pathogen infection.

Research published by the Society of Chemical Industry reports kefir contains bacteria which could help reduce allergic responses. The research indicated that feeding babies kefir may help to protect against some food allergies.

Thanks for the info Pat!

>>>you risk a pathological bacterial overgrowth, especially in the early stages with the potential for contamination, when the acidity isn't low enough to retard the "bad bacteria".br />
Would you know if something had gone wrong (by smell and taste)? I've heard that if something went wrong when fermenting veggies, you would *know* because of the oder and flavor (if you dared taste it). Is it the same case w/ yogurt? Or could you mess up and not know it?

Thanks again for your help! I just made coconut milk yogurt and it was soooo yummy, and tangy, and just plain yogurt-y. I added some to a burrito (as one would sour cream) and it was super exciting!


Lauren :)
My understanding is that growth of pathological organisms depends upon salinity and ph, not taste or smell.

Basically, horrible smell could tell you it isn't safe. But, no smell doesn't assure safety. The process is the important variable.


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