Support Bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.
So, what is the difference between kefir and yogurt? Which is better? Kefir is far superior, but yogurt has its benefits too. I read once that yogurt is like wine and kefir is more like champagne. It has more pizazz! To state it simply, yogurt felt like the first learning step in my cultured food life. I loved frozen yogurt as a child and my dad took me to the health food store many times to get a scoop of it. It was here that I discovered how cool health food stores were with their unique and healthy foods. I loved eating yogurt and breaking the curd with my spoon as I scooped it out of little containers. Little did I know it was just the beginning for me. Then I met Kefir when I needed it the most. Kefir has more strains of beneficial bacteria and good yeasts; over 50 in homemade kefir, while yogurt only has 7 to 10. Kefir bacteria act like a SWAT team entering into the colon and attaching themselves to the colon, pushing away other harmful substances. It has been said that antibiotics cannot kill kefir – it is that strong. Yogurt, on the other hand, is food for the bacteria in the colon. Yogurt only lasts 24 hours while kefir lasts indefinitely. Yogurt helps to ensure that good bacteria grows and remains stable so it, too, is important. From my own self-experimentation, I have found kefir to be of great benefit for certain afflictions. I noticed, on at least ten different occasions, that when I would switch from kefir to yogurt, I would start to experience joint pain in my right knee after about three weeks. As soon as I would switch back to kefir, within two days the pain would go away. I try and have kefir daily, but it has been many years since I have experienced any joint pain even if I don’t consume kefir regularly. What ever was causing the pain has healed and I live pain free.
Even lactose-intolerant individuals can tolerate kefir, because the “good” bacteria have digested the lactose in the milk. For example, the actual lactose left in kefir is 1% or less. So, kefir is 99% lactose free.
The true carbohydrate count for kefir and yogurt is actually different from what is stated on the packages of most national products. When labeling a food product, the government makes manufacturers count the carbohydrates of food “by difference.” That means they measure everything else including water, ash, fats, and proteins. Then, “by difference” they assume everything else is carbohydrate. This process works differently with fermented foods; but there is no way to compensate consistently for what bacteria can do, so they don’t account for this. When you make yogurt, and kefir, the milk is inoculated with the lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria use up almost all the milk sugar, called “lactose,” and convert it into lactic acid. It is this lactic acid which curdles the milk and gives the taste to the product. It is why it tastes sour and tart because the sugars are gone. Since these bacteria have “eaten” most of the milk sugar by the time you buy it (or make it yourself), the nutritional analysis is not really accurate and by the time you eat it, there is very little carbohydrate left. It is the lactic acid which is counted as carbohydrate. Therefore, you can eat up to a half cup of plain yogurt, or kefir, and only count 2 grams of carbohydrates. Kefir has slightly less than yogurt.
The other great thing about kefir is the amount of good yeasts. There is not much said about yeasts but they are extremely important. It is the good yeasts that put the fizz in kefir. They dominate and kill and control pathogens in the gut. They are the SWAT team I was telling you about. They clean house and strengthen the gut, making it harder for pathogens to dominate and parasites to exist. So, drink your kefir and have your yogurt too. These will strengthen your whole immune system.
I have kefir starters and yogurt cultures for sale in my store and I offer a sharing site too. Here are a few of the kefir starters and yogurt cultures I sell, and some of them can be made on the counter – no yogurt maker required.
- One lemon frozen (Place in your freezer for at least 3 to 4 hours ahead of time)
- 1 cup of kefir, yogurt, or kefir cheese.
- With a small micro-plane grater or zester, zest your frozen lemon into your smoothie, yogurt, or a bowl of kefir cheese. Add as much or as little as you like. The flavor goes a long way.
- It's delicious drizzled with honey or stevia if you want a sugar-free option.