If you’ve ever sat down in my office you know I’m not firmly against dairy. In fact, I’m pretty pro cream, good cheese and full-fat greek yoghurt (notice the trend here?)). The fats found in these diary products are instrumental in feeding our brain and maintaining the integrity of our cell membranes. It’s hugely important. But the dairy aisle has a rising star, and that star is kefir. Kefir is a fermented, yoghurt-like beverage that’s a powerhouse of good probiotics. It’s just guilt-free, gluggable, superfood goodness that also happens to be great for your gut!
When it comes to fermented foods, you’ve probably heard about the health benefits associated with them. They’re great for your skin, can cut down on bloating and you get the best bang for your buck in your GI system. Most fermented foods are known as superfoods and the probiotics (and even some prebiotics) found in these foods help feed the healthy bacteria that are in your digestive tract. This ensures that your digestive tract is primed to break down the food that you put into it.
How is this done? Kefir grains are grown to become an active colony of bacteria and yeast. That colony can then be used to ferment cows milk, coconut milk or even water. Those grains then consume the naturally occurring sugars in coconut milk or cows milk to ferment the product! Milk kefir does tend to have a probiotic value that’s significantly higher than many water kefir products (56 strains versus 10-15 strains) so if you don’t have a lot of fermented foods in your diet it may be best to start with a water kefir and work your way up to a milk kefir. Why? Because if your digestive tract isn’t used to it you won’t feel so great if you have a lot of probiotics all at once. This is also the reason you should slowly increase the amount you drink with kombucha as well!
In terms of which products I love, one of my favourites is The Cultured Coconut. Why? Number one is that they’re a local business – owned and operated in Halifax, NS. Though for all of you Ontario peeps their Coconut Kefir is available at The Big Carrot in Toronto and the Natural Food Pantry in Ottawa! Number two is that they use a coconut milk as their base (but they use a milk kefir grain to ferment). By the time the fermentation is done there’s no milk product left in the kefir – and you get all the healthy fats also associated with coconut milk. It’s the best of both worlds and the sisters who run the business are a great nod to Halifax’s booming entrepreneurial scene!
So there you have it, diary’s new rising star is this powerhouse blend!