Kefir: is it worth it?

I went to a fitness retreat in Thailand about 18 months ago. It was an amazing place with a private beach, a good crowd and loads of fitness. Actually to be fair the fitness part (i.e. the main reason for being there) was quite gruelling. But the location and food made up for the sweatiness of hiit sessions, yoga and circuits. Anyway, the point of this long introduction thingy is that I was introduced to kefir by the PT who also did a lot of nutritional advice. I had never heard of Kefir before and to be honest the thought of fermenting milk made me feel a little sick once I knew how it was made. It was quite tasty though, I usually don’t like healthy things, so I thought I’d give it a go when back home in Scotland.

The benefits

So for those who don’t know, kefir (from milk kefir grain thingies) is a fermented milk drink. It’s pretty much like a thin yoghurt in consistency. It tastes a little sour but in a good way and it is full of probiotics. I get that there are probiotic drinks you can buy – but loads of them are really not that great. Kefir is meant to be one of the best ways to get healthy gut bacteria and it also has quite a bit of protein. Apparently it may also help with lowering cholesterol, stimulating the immune system and even potential anti-inflammatory effects. I’m not sure I believe all that, but I do believe that probiotics are a good thing. My mum also swears by it since she first started taking it when I got back from Thailand. The reason she has been taking it since that time is that I couldn’t keep up with the commitment of making it. So I passed the grains/culture over to her. Almost like when children commit to a pet then the parents have to do all the work. Yep…commitment to Kefir is, well, commitment.

How to make Kefir

I bought the grains, got the glass containers, made sure my spoon was plastic (it doesn’t like metal), had a bit of muslin for the top and got a suitable plastic sieve. 300ml of organic milk later and all I had to do was wait a couple of days before straining it through the sieve and into a glass. (1/2 did a day and it keeps for 1-2 weeks in a fridge).

The thing is though (refer to commitment issues noted above) that you need to keep it going. You can put the culture into a hibernation like state in the fridge for a couple of weeks but it isn’t advised to do this too often. So being a single (and clearly commitment free) person, taking care of my Kefir is quite honestly a pain in the you know where.

Why try again then?

Even writing this makes me not want to do kefir. But I will. Why? Well I know it really does have benefits and surely I can manage the commitment. I did have two cats (sadly passed away) and managed the commitment of caring for them. I know it’s not the same and also that I shouldn’t overly worry about this (without sounding a little mad). So I got some milk kefir back from my mum and am on it. I still think it tastes ok. I add things to it (chopped up fruit) to mix it up a little. I know it will be good for me. At this age I also am up for trying anything that may help with the start of hot flushes. Well…try anything except give up coffee and alcohol. So I’ll give Kefir a bash for a while; at least it’s something that’s not bad for you. I hope it’s worth it.


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