Our family has a lot of gut issues and toxins, so we don't drink the kefir as a drink. We just take a bit in an effort to provide some microbials back to our guts for healing. One teaspoon of milk kefir or water kefir is tons more probiotic benefit than any bottled probiotic.

The homemade milk kefir has 56+ different beneficial microbials strains. The gut has about 1000 different microbial strains. Traditionally, our foods introduced many more microbial strains than they do now, which helped to keep a balance in the gut. Nowadays, we have preservatives in food, antibiotics in food, sterilized foods, antimicrobial cleaning products, antibiotic overuse, steroids, etc. And we don't eat the foods raw as much; raw foods have beneficial microbials. So, the more *different* strains of microbials introduced, the more gut balance potential.

Candida albicans develops to sequester mercury out of blood circulation also. So, candida overgrows in the presence of toxin exposures also. Antibiotics also kill off the competing microbials, thus the candida overgrowth takes hold.

Inadequate stomach acid allows "pathogenic" bacteria to survive to colonize in the gut also. Antacids are the bane of our health. Well, antibiotics are. :-) The first step in gut microbial balance is adequate stomach acid.

Water kefir has about 30 different beneficial microbial strains. Commercial store-bought kefir has about 10 different beneficial microbial strains, more than most bottle probiotics. But, commercial kefir often has added sugar for flavor. When making the kefir, the sugars are consumed by the microbials. But, commercially, they add sugar back in.

Commercial yogurt has about 7 different beneficial microbial strains. (They add strains intentionally for benefit. Bifidum is one to look for, if you purchase commercial whole food probiotics.) Homemade yogurt strains vary, but each starter has somewhat limited different strains, usually about 5-7 different strains. Having different sources of microbials in our food is optimal.

Fermented foods add more *different* microbial strains. Each (raw or fermented) vegetable or food offers its own different microbial strains. The goal is more different microbial strains to allow diversity and balance in the gut, so that candida and other pathological microbials are kept in balance.

So, taste isn't our main concern. Milk kefir is slightly tart/sour, to me. I add a tablespoon of milk kefir to smoothies or yogurt and it is tasteless. Salad dressings and dips could be made with milk kefir plus some herbs and spices for variety. Water kefir is easily added to juice and retains microbial benefits, without taste change. Again, we just add a tablespoon a day. Or, if I forget for a few days, busy or whatever, we'll drink a 1/4 cup of the water or milk kefir. Ds only drinks the kefir mixed into something else with flavor.

I think water kefir tastes like lemonade cider, tangy.

Making milk kefir creamy requires more attention than I give. :-) You have to rebrew every 24 hours continuously and raw, grass-fed whole milk makes it amazing. The tending is not necessary for huge significant microbial benefits, however.

There is no inherent benefit of drinking tons of kefir over introducing more *different* strains of microbials, per my understanding. I believe that learning and making fermented veggies is easier and more beneficial, for the time invested.

Kombucha has about 10-15 different beneficial microbials. Not all kombucha has s.boulardii, which kills off candida (releasing the mercury back into blood circulation). So, kombucha is cautioned in pregnant and nursing mamas.

Kimchi is fermented Chinese cabbage, radishes and cucumbers pickled in a solution of garlic, salt, and red chili peppers. I just read, "The microorganisms involved in the fermentation of kimchi include approximately 200 species of bacteria and several yeasts. " Wow!!
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-193478661.html
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Kimchi+lactic+acid+bacteria+have+anti...

Here is a tutorial about making it easily. http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/ATG/data/released/0275-JeanineNa...

Commercial kimchi: http://ksci.kisti.re.kr/search/article/articleView.ksci?articleBean...

Pro-biotics are recently associated with anti-obesity and traditionally with long life.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670069/

Kimchi recipes:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Traditional-Napa-Cabba...
http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/pickles/recipe-kimchi.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/quick-spicy-kimch...
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008/02/a_kimchi_recipe.html
http://chetday.com/kimchirecipe.htm
http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/kimchi-kaktugi

I really want to make kimchi now!!


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Comment by Brandy Lance on December 5, 2010 at 4:10pm
Thanks for this post Pat. I have a family of 4 and all of us have varied food sensitivities. I noticed you mentioned that your family only has 1 T a day because of your gut and toxin issues. Can you tell me why that is? I just started making kombucha and my 2 small boys love it. I would like to start some water kefir as well (my ds2 has a milk sensitivity so I thought starting w/ the water kefir would be better) but now you have me considering if drinking the two each day would be too much given our toxins our gut issues. I've also been told that children shouldn't have too much of these things. Would you please share your thoughts? I want my family to be healthy and the last thing I want is to make them worse off in some way. Thank you!
Comment by Sarah Cortes on December 11, 2010 at 5:44pm

I have never heard of the candida mercury association! Wow, that's so interesting I just skimmed over everything I could find online.

Comment by Aischa Ibnouzahir on December 27, 2010 at 10:56am

Kim-chi.... I just bought a glass jar of it from the store. It's not what I expected. Pretty raw and crunchy, but also a shocking zing or bubbly zap---Is that normal?

I'm afraid it has gone over the hill.

Comment by Sarah Cortes on December 28, 2010 at 4:39pm

Yea, what you describe is normal.  Watch out for rancid, garbage-y smells.  Also, in case youre introducing a type of bacteria that your body may not be cultured to, I would advise to eat very small amounts (anywhere from a bite to 1-2 oz a day) for about 3 days.  See how you feel.  My negative reaction to first eating too much (about 8 to 10 oz) of a (veggie) ferment that I think I must have not been cultured to was that I got the runs really bad for a day.  I gradually worked up to 8 to 10 oz or so.  Not sure what'd happen if I ate more, but am always satisfied with that amount. 

I have heard similar reactions are common to drinking unpasteurized milk until your body cultures to it.   Of course some people's bodies never adjust, because of another issue, like intolerance.

 

Pat, I'd like to hear your take on my reaction to this, I keep meaning to write up a description and a question about it, but haven't gotten around yet.

Comment by Crystal Palmer Bull on January 4, 2011 at 2:19pm
Comment by Pat Robinson on May 20, 2012 at 4:26pm
Comment by Steve Norton on April 23, 2013 at 11:30pm

>Our family has a lot of gut issues and toxins, so we don't drink the kefir as a drink./p>

You might try Emu oil to heal your gut problems. See:

 

Emu oil may help in common bowel diseases

http://www.healthcanal.com/alternative-therapies/37719-emu-oil-may-...

Here is what most interested me in the article: 

“Laboratory experiments by Physiology PhD candidate Suzanne Mashtoub Abimosleh have shown that emu oil accelerates the repair process, following disease-causing injury, by stimulating growth of the intestinal 'crypts'. The crypts are the part of the intestine that produces the villi which absorb the food.

"Longer crypts and villi mean a healthier bowel that can better absorb food," says Research Leader Professor Gordon Howarth, Cancer Council Senior Research Fellow with the University's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.”

 

“A series of laboratory studies showed emu oil treatment:

  • produced greater elongation of intestinal crypts (indicating enhanced recovery and repair) and reduced the severity of damage in intestines affected with ulcerative colitis;
  • significantly decreased acute intestinal inflammatory activity in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced gastrointestinal disease;
  • decreased acute inflammation and improved repair of the chemotherapy-damaged intestine.”

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