Organic Kefir from Pinehedge Farms
Delilah had an upset stomach last week, so she’s been getting Kefir daily with her food, and she loves it. I’ve now started adding it to everyone’s food, since it is such a rich, healthful and relatively inexpensive way to add nutrition to their diets, and to support immune and digestive function.
Kefir is currently getting a lot of buzz as a so called super food. Similar to yogurt, Kefir is made by fermenting milk (goat, cow, sheep or even coconut) with a bacterial and yeast starter known as ‘kefir grains’.
From an Article on Kefir for Culinary Students -
Yogurt is made by culturing fresh milk (previously boiled and cooled) with a bacteria starter. The starter, usually containing two or three beneficial bacteria, comes from a previously made batch of yogurt. Yogurt must ferment in an environment warmer than normal room temperature (about 110 degrees), for a fairly specific amount of time (about 8 to 16 hours), in order to develop properly. The culture bacteria in yogurt have only a limited lifespan and must be renewed regularly with new culture.
In contrast, kefir is made by culturing fresh milk with live kefir grains. These grains are actually colonies of more than 30 bacteria and yeasts that are bound together in a stable, symbiotic relationship., Kefir ferments at room temperature, and has a wider range of acceptable fermentation periods (from about 12 hours to two days). Kefir grains stay alive and robust indefinitely. They also grow in size and number during the fermentation process. After the milk is fermented, the grains are filtered out and added to new milk for another batch of kefir.
Kefir has some really interesting health claims, some documented, some not. Of prime benefit is the fact that the beneficial bacteria found in Kefir actually colonize the digestive tract, aiding in digestive function and in fighting harmful bacteria. The culture in yogurt, on the other hand, must continue to be eaten daily to get the benefit of their digestive bacteria and enzymes.
For dog breeders, Kefir’s effects on folic acid production are interesting. Kefir itself is naturally rich in vitamins B1 and B12, and is also a wonderful source of biotin, another B vitamin which has been shown to aid in the absorption and functioning of other B vitamins, including folic acid, and to
‘significantly increase folic acid content’.
There is speculation that kefir can also aid with milk production, which makes it very useful to have on hand for after bitches deliver, and it has been shown to aid in lactose digestion. Kefirin, an active ingredient in Kefir, has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol.
It has also been shown to suppress an increase in blood pressure, and to be a natural source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid known to have ’calming effect’ on the nerves (both vital concerns during pregnancy, especially when dealing with small brindle beached whales who are currently fuming with hatred for all of mankind).