About two years ago, we learned about a radical cookbook and a very interesting dentist. Back in 1939, Dr. Weston A. Price, from Cleveland, Ohio, wondered why his patients were getting more and more tooth decay (teeth being a picture of the body’s health) than he’d ever seen in his practice of over twenty years. This began his search for the answer. During the next ten years, he studied many different remote peoples in Europe, Africa, the Himalayas, Texas and Alaska. What he found were many similarities in what these tribal people ate. It all led to learning how much more healthy our ancestors really ate and then learning how we, in industrial societies, could enjoy this same healthy diet. Sally Fallon later published his research along with her own recipes in her book, “Nourishing Traditions.”
What grabbed our attention most was that the diet Dr. Price discovered was the way God originally designed for humans to eat – whole foods – from His earth. Among these were fermented grains, raw milk and dairy, organ meats, fermented drinks, and many other nutrient-dense foods!
One fermented drink we found to be easy to make is Kefir (pronounced kee-fer or ke-FEAR). This Russian beverage is not only a good source of acidophilus (a beneficial intestinal bacteria) but it is also a refreshing summer drink or soothing tonic for an ailing stomach. Other benefits include boosting the immune system and relief from nausea, diarrhea, Candida and thrush.
It can be made inexpensively from raw or pasteurized milk in a couple of days right on top of the refrigerator! An added bonus we later found out was that even those who’d been allergic to milk and milk products, for most (if not all) of their lives, could now drink Kefir with no allergic reactions and were feeling better as a result. It is also used to prevent sickness and boost the immune system rather than buying acidophilus capsules.
Now comes the fun part! There are two kinds of Kefir: one made with milk, and one with water. Milk Kefir is similar to yogurt but a little tarter, whereas Water Kefir tastes like a fizzy white grape juice. At first, when my brothers wouldn’t touch the Milk Kefir, we discovered Water Kefir and they loved it!
1 Tbsp. Kefir grains or 1 pkg. Kefir powder* (Kefir grains multiply over time, so share yours with a friend! That’s how we got started.)
2 cups fresh whole milk, nonhomogenized and preferably raw
If milk is cold, place jar in a pan of simmering water until milk reaches room temperature. Add Kefir grains or powder to milk, stir well and cover loosely with a cloth. Place in a warm place (65-75 degrees). If you’re using grains, stir vigorously occasionally to redistribute the grains. Every time you stir, taste the Kefir. When it achieves a tartness to your liking, the Kefir is ready. Pour the Kefir through a strainer into another jar to remove the grains. Use the grains to make another batch of Kefir, or prepare them for storage by rinsing them well with water and placing in a small jar with about 1?2 cup filtered water. They may be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer for several months. If left too long, they will lose their culturing power.
Juice of 1 lime 1 Tbsp. Kefer grains or 1 pkg. Kefir powder 1 quart filtered water 1/4 c. sugar
Place Kefir grains or powder, sugar and juice in the jar. Add water lastly. Stir or shake well to distribute grains. Place in a warm place (65-75 degrees) for 12 hours to two days. (You can leave it longer according to your desired tartness.) Strain into another glass jar and enjoy!
NOTES: Once Kefir grains have been used to make Water Kefir, they cannot be used for Milk Kefir. Try experimenting with how long to leave this. It tends to get fizzier (and more delicious-tasting) the longeer you let it sit.
* Kefir grains or powder is available for purchase online, and perhaps your local health food store. We got ours from a friend. Just do a search for “buy Kefir grains” or “buy Kefir powder.”
There are also a bunch of sources (for many things, not just Kefir) at www.westonaprice.org – the research done by Sally Fallon and others about Dr. Price’s findings. Reference in writing this article (as well as the Milk Kefir recipe) was made to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig. Also, http://www.wellnesspathways.com/handouts/kefir.pdf.