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 Carolyn Sayles on August 8, 2010 at 8:58pm
Where does one get grains to start making water kefir?
I've never even heard of it. My family likes kefir made from milk and I have made it at home in the past when our children were small.
I know that the more 'cultured foods' a person eats, the healthier one is.
Have you heard of Sally Fallen's cookbook where she uses Dr. Weston Price's ideas to put forth healthy recipes? The woman's amazing!
I had the opportunity to listen to a talk she gave at a little farm in the middle of Wisconsin a couple years ago and she impressed me greatly.
Thanks for holding this blog area to help others in their health choices.

I've been struggling myself with an oxolate problem. It started with little blisters that itched and oozed and ached for over a year before I finally found a blog someone wrote about the same thing happening to them when they ate too many peppers.
Ah, ha, I thought! A friend gave me a pepper mill months before my hands began this process and I'd been sprinkling my food liberally with huge grains of pepper since I love the taste of fresh ground.
I gave it up pronto, but still my hands were sore.
So, I searched more and found other foods that also caused the
same reaction, blisters on the skin. I eliminated them as well, but
it wasn't until I found and followed a Low Oxalate Diet that I finally
started to feel relief from pain.

Blogs are amazing.
Keep them coming.
Carolyn
Comment by Pat Robinson on August 8, 2010 at 9:26pm
Welcome Carolyn,

Cultures for health has dehydrated kefir grains which she can ship out. They are about $15. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/Kefir-Grains/

You could check on our "Sharing Cultures" group also to see if someone near you has some to share. But, it is too hot to mail them for another month or so. http://heal-thyself.ning.com/group/sharingstartercultures

Fascinating about blisters on hands and black pepper. My husband has an issue off and on with his hands itching/drying. I figure it is all the gluten/dairy he eats. The dairy is variable and the dryness comes and goes. So, yours was associated with oxalates?

I am very aware of the Weston A. Price Foundation and all the wonderful research they have available about whole foods!



Pat
Comment by Carolyn Sayles on August 9, 2010 at 4:06pm
Thanks much for getting back to me, Pat.
I'll hang onto that web page for a month
and order grains at that time.
I wondered about dairy myself when all this
started with my hands. I had cream
in my coffee, made custards with cream and eggs
and stopped it all to use soy instead. But soy
made my hands even worse...very high in oxalates.
Are there certain fruits or vegetables that your husband
seems to crave and eat a lot of? That was the clue for
me.
If you're interested, I'll send a long a couple of web sites
that spell it out.
http://www.ohf.org/docs/Oxalate2008.pdf
http://www.seekwellness.com/incontinence/low-oxalate-diet.htm
http://www.vulvarpainfoundation.org/vpfoxalate.htm

My search was also started when I wondered what was causing so
many kids these days to be autistic, ADD, ADHD, etc. As a teacher
who's been in the classroom for years, I knew this was not a good thing.
My theory is two part-too many vaccines given (>30 as opposed to the
7 or so given when our kids were young...with minute amounts of mercury in them for preservative, but still 30!) and poor nutrition tied in with allergies and intolerances to foods.
Do you have any thoughts on the subject?
Carolyn
Comment by Pat Robinson on August 9, 2010 at 5:20pm
Yes, here is a bunch of info about allergies and gut healing: http://heal-thyself.ning.com/group/asthmafood/forum/topics/boy-do-i-need-some-help-with

Some of it is specific to asthma. But, basically it is just a cascading problem. Starts with food intolerances, then allergies then asthma, then autoimmune issues. Adequate stomach acid is critical!

Dh mostly craves meat and wheat. He eats veggies, few fruits. I've read about oxalates but feel it is more a concern with nutrient deficiencies and adequate detox pathways, including gut microbial balance.

Pat
Comment by Carolyn Sayles on August 10, 2010 at 11:56am
What do you think started the cycle
in the first place?
Comment by Pat Robinson on August 10, 2010 at 12:37pm
We have nutrient-deficient soil (due to commercial mono-crops) and sterilized, pasteurized processed foods with artificial preservatives; and toxins in our environment (antimicrobials everywhere and antibiotic overuse and in our meat); and eat in a rush and don't chew our food; and 40% of Americans take antacids and have inadequate stomach acid; and and 40% have MTHFR gene polymorphisms which impair their detoxification ability; and America has 3x the WHO "necessary" C-section rate and babies don't get the vaginal flora at birth; and for 80 years the ADA has been inserting the second most toxic heavy metal into millions of teeth.

Some combination of those things messed up our health. I'm a feminist and capitalist, but I could probably say our health downfall started with WWII industrializing our food supply and women in the work force selecting processed and artificially preserved foods out of necessity of time constraints, if I wanted to start a big ole' controversial thread, lol.


Pat
Comment by Carolyn Sayles on August 10, 2010 at 6:53pm
Wow! You sound like me!
I keep telling my husband that I'm a nut about nutrition because
someone has to be.
Keep doing what you can for your family.
It's what we do.
Carolyn
Comment by Smitty's Clan on August 22, 2010 at 6:46pm
Thanks, Pat for all this info. I LOVE kefir, and will drink it by the glassful, but it's hard on my teeth! The acid! Any ideas to combat this? I cut WAY back because of the damage my poor teeth are sustaining. But, it sounds like even a tablespoon of it a day will do me good! I'll get back to that.

I can relate to the dry skin on the hands, the blisters and itchy patches. Before I came to realize I was gluten intolerant, I had a LOT of trouble with it. I have to still be careful when mixing feed for my critters, because the dust from barely will get me going pretty bad, and I can only use whole wheat flour for my family's bread. The brands that mix the barely and wheat flours make me sick just from working with them! But, if I am careful, I can happily make wheat bread for everyone else here, no problem.

Strangely enough, I have found I am allergic to goat milk, but not raw cow milk. I don't much like water kefir, and only my son will drink it here, so we don't keep it going. Son and I like the milk kefir, and everyone likes the yogurt. Best way to get the kefir into everyone is a smoothie. It's good to know even a small amount is beneficial!

I want to make Kimchi as well, but hubby SWEARS he hates it, so I'll have to make a small batch, in case I end up being the only one to eat it. I have found, top of the list for my own health issues (along with keeping away from gluten) is making sure I get enough probiotics! It makes a HUGE difference for me!
Comment by Jo Pedranti on August 27, 2010 at 9:52pm
Great info!
Until a few years ago I didn't know you could make your own kefir. Drinks like kefir and soured milk are popular in my home country Sweden. It is even served at day cares.
Comment by Tracy Liebmann on September 16, 2010 at 2:26pm
Hi...My milk kefir is finally ready. How much per day should I have? I know to start slow...but how much is optimal? Thanks!
:-)

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