Kefir may not be something that’s on your weekly shopping list yet, but if you’re a yoghurt lover, you struggle with an unhappy tummy or you’re looking for an alternative to probiotic supplements, you should consider making homemade coconut water kefir.
Kefir (pronounced ke-fear), is a fermented probiotic drink made by using kefir ‘grains’ and a sweet liquid. It’s been around for centuries, originating in the Caucasus mountains. It’s a mineral-rich drinks (thiamin, B12, calcium, folates and Vitamin K2). As a probiotic beverage it works to balance the important good bacteria in the gut, keeping your tummy happy, and bolstering the immune system. While conventional medicine is still often cautious on promoting the benefits of probiotics, there is a growing school of evidence on the benefits they can have on the digestive system in particular.
You can pick up probiotic supplements easily these days, but as a believer in the ‘food as medicine’ philosophy there’s something I love about being able to get what we need from nourishing food choices instead (more on that in a gut-healing post, to come).
Kefir ‘grains’ don’t get their name because they are an actual grain, like wheat. The term refers to the look of the starter culture. The starter culture contains bacteria and yeast that work in symbiosis, activated when mixed with a sugary liquid (in this case young coconut water).
You’ll find kefir made from cows (Babushka) and goats dairy (Nimbin Valley) or even coconut water (Peace Love & Vegetables) in the cold section of your supermarket or health food store. But for more adventurous types, making your own water kefir is the way to go. It’s easy to do, paleo-friendly, lower calorie and lactose free (depending on your starter culture). The finished product is easy to drink alone or mixed into your morning smoothie.
I bought a Mad Millie Kefir Kit for this kefir making experience. The kit includes a jar with shaker, cheese cloth, and two packets of freeze-dried culture (with 8 strains of live culture). The method is very simple; clean the jar and cloth, pour in the water from about 3 young coconuts, add started culture, shake it up. The brew ferments for about 24 hours and it’s ready to drink. I added a little vanilla to flavour mine.
Below is a delicious shake I created to show you how easy it is to incorporate a little kefir into your diet. Some shy away from fermented drinks (other than beer or wine of course), but if you’re sensitive to the taste, it’s simple to get around that by using it in one of your favourite recipes.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.