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Thoughts and Habits That Changed Everything

Time for Change

Easter Kefir

In March 2010 I was turning fifty years old and facing down demons in my life. Our home was going on the auction block on my birthday. I was fighting fear and had two voices in my head. One was filled with hope, the other with panic and fear. Looking back on this time, I remember it so vividly. Months of fear slowly began to turn to hope and for no other reason than I stopped listening to the voice of fear and started to believe that no matter what, I was guided and loved and it would be ok. It was in this trying time that I started my blog. Helping people made me feel better and kept me distracted, and lo and behold then everything began to change. Slowly, the tide turned and not because I was making any money but because I had decided to replace fear with love and all of you helped me do this. So many people were tuning in and reading my blog and trying these wonderful foods and getting better.  I would get letters of healings and to this day I cry when I get them and whisper a prayer of gratitude for each and every person.

We didn't lose our home. Through all of that, I found my way to you - hundreds of thousands of people who would become my heroes in a symbiotic relationship centered around cultured foods and the bacteria that I love so much. I think we really need each other - even the parts where we struggle and reach out. So my brokenness brought me to you and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Last week I got this post on one of my YouTube videos, confirming to me once again how much we all need each other.

"Hello Mrs. Donna Schwenk, I'm a soldier who suffered a severe injury during my service. Apart from the physical injuries, I also suffered from major depression. Late last year, I came across a kombucha/cultured drink from the grocery store and realized it really helped improve my stomach issue. I started drinking it every day and, to my surprise, I found out and believe that it really helped me with my mood as well as a lot of other issues. I was curious about making kombucha at home and I came across your videos on YouTube. I immediately was drawn to your energy. I ordered the tools to make Kefir right after watching your videos that night. Now I have started my first batch of Kombucha and Kefir. A lot of the things you mentioned in this video really resonate in me. Thank you for sharing your story and sharing your knowledge about cultured foods. I am emailing your video to the behavior of health providers in my previous chain of command. I hope this will help the fellow soldiers too. The universe wants the best and brightest in all of us through amazing ways. I respect you for putting such positive energy and amazing knowledge out here. May the universe give a thousand times back the joy you have given to the world."

Cheers! 

Mylo ~ lifeisbeautiful

Habits

A habit is something you may not know you are doing; but once you realize you are doing it, then it becomes a choice and you can stop doing it or keep it going. So why don't we stop doing things that bring negative consequences into our life when we do them? Perplexing, isn't it? You just know somewhere deep inside that if you could just master a few areas in your life then you could live up to the potential you have inside of you. Once you keep practicing things, they become automatic; and when faced with a decision, you are always going to choose the thing that will bring you the most relief in the moment - unless you retrain yourself to do the opposite, or get so mad at yourself - or sick, and then a crisis will make you change. I see this again and again, but there is another way. A kinder, gentler approach and it involves reaching beyond what you presently live out every day. It is the little things we do each day that make up the fabric of our life. We all want something miraculous to change us, but that is seldom how it is. Thirteen years ago, I never dreamed I would be eating and making these foods and teaching others to do the same. My life consisted of my just getting through the day because I felt so awful. Trying to survive and take care of my family, my needs were on the back burner; but I got gentle nudges that felt like someone was trying to help me.  I was constantly being reminded that I was so much more. I would read books and listen to lectures online and I would ache inside. I wanted to change and be well, and not just my body but my spirit was so hungry and I didn't know what to do.

Asking For Help

Easy Kefir Pots

So I begged for help from a deep place in my soul. "Take the desire away or help me change and show me the way." A few weeks later, I found kefir and slowly things began to change. I started rituals every morning. I would make and consume kefir every morning and then a few months later kombucha, and then cultured vegetables. I wasn't adding huge amounts of cultured foods. I was just slowly replacing them for some of the things I used to eat and drink, and then my whole diet began to change and I felt so, so much better. Then as I felt better, the world around me started to change. Little things began to mean so much to me. The kindness of strangers holding doors for me. My husband, and the way he would go across town to find my favorite blend of iced tea and hold my hand while we looked at lawn furniture. Watching my oldest daughter, Maci, heal and so many of my children's friends. It was as if healings were happening all around me and life took on a new meaning. My life was now filled with helping others and the pain I went through had a new meaning. It wasn't all for naught.

"We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act but a habit."

Aristotle

Seek answers and fully expect to receive them

When my body healed, my heart opened and one night I had a very vivid dream. I was sitting on a shore by the water and I was talking to a wise old man and asking him questions. "Why had I been so sick and what does all this mean?" He looked at me with his kind eyes and said, "Often someone will allow themselves to become sick so they can seek the answers. They will find the answers and share them with others so they can be well, too." Then I woke up and wrote it down and never forgot it.

The longer I write my blog, the more I open up and want to share with you who I really am, so I can help you, too. I ask questions and seek answers every day of my life, fully expecting to receive them - and I always do. Nobody gets there alone. We all help each other and doing little things in your life can make a huge difference. I have little things I do every day that shape the foundation of my life. Many years ago it started with making kefir. I couldn't find the happiness and joy I was seeking when I was so sick I didn't want to get off the couch. So as little and insignificant as it sounds, making kefir every morning was the starting place for me. How could a food start a spiral of events that would lead me here and make me think I could help people who were suffering?  I am still that girl who sat at home and watched other people change their lives and would hurt inside because I wanted to do the same but didn't know how. This was how I did it, so simple anyone could do it one day at a time. Did I become sick so I could help others or was it just a dream? The longer I live, the more I know that nothing is a coincidence. I know that we are very loved and guided, but we have to ask for help. It is like following breadcrumbs that lead us to the life our heart is longing for.

I hope this year will be a new start for you, with things that will change you from the inside out. I pray I can help you find your new start and stand in the gap cheering you on until you find your way. It's what friends do for one another.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson
Berry Kefir Smoothie Bowl
This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy kefir. It makes a thick and creamy kefir that you can serve in a bowl. I love to add a spoonful of nut butter, coconut flakes, and a few nuts or hemp seeds. The options are endless and it's a great way to enjoy kefir for breakfast. I can't tell you how many times I have this each week with a cup of coffee. It's my go-to breakfast that not only tastes fabulous but gives me billions of probiotics to start my day. ~Donna
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  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until thick and creamy. You may have to stop the blender and stir the contents if the fruit gets stuck and stops blending.
  2. Serve immediately.
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How To Make Kefir Donut Holes

I'm always looking for recipes that give us healthy foods that are fun to eat and also help feed our good bacteria. It's also important that the recipe be easy to make and not time-consuming. These donut holes are gluten-free and have lots of healthy fiber-rich ingredients. Not only do these treats have probiotics from the kefir, but they have lots of prebiotics too. You'll be changing your microbiome with every bite. Learn about all the prebiotics that feed your bacteria below the video!

Watch the video:

The Prebiotics in Kefir Donut Holes

Potato starch

Potato starch is a different type of prebiotic called a resistant starch. A resistant starch is not digested in the stomach, so it reaches the colon intact. It “resists digestion.” What’s interesting about this is that it doesn’t raise your insulin and you don’t really get any calories from it, but your beneficial bacteria digest and ferment it. This changes your gut flora in a spectacular way.1 Once this special resistant starch reaches the stomach and small intestines, one of your beneficial bacteria (specifically Bifidobacteria) latches on to it. Normally they die in the small intestine, but because they're hitching a ride on the starch, they attract and clean up stray harmful bugs and viruses and allow the large intestine to dispose of them.

Walnuts

Walnuts (and most nuts and nut skins) are rich in fiber which feeds the probiotic bacteria that live in the gut. Researchers say that you can reshape the gut microbe community in your gut by adding walnuts to your diet. Not only that, but eating walnuts has been associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk, slower tumor growth in animals, and improved brain health. 2  Research led by Lauri Byerley, PhD, RD, Research Associate Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine stated, "We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacillus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic."

Oats

Oats are a wonderful prebiotic food for your bacteria. Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan as well as some resistant starch that's also in potato starch. Beta-glucans are sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and foods such as oats and barley. Beta-glucan from oats has been linked to healthy gut bacteria, lower LDL cholesterol, better blood sugar control, and reduced cancer risk. 3, 4, 5, 6 You may have heard that having oats every day is heart healthy and for good reason. Your microbes love them too.

Dates

Dates are a rich source of dietary fiber and polyphenols - and they're prebiotics too! Recent research on dates and other fiber-rich foods found that dates fermented by the lower gut modify the gut flora and increase beneficial types of bacteria. There was a significant increase in the growth of Bifidobacteria and also increased Bacteroides. Eating whole dates led to the production of Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These special fatty acids help keep us healthy through a range of mechanisms related to gut barrier function, glucose homeostasis, immunomodulation, appetite regulation, and obesity.7 Dates are a yummy way to feed those hungry microbes!

Chocolate or cocoa

Chocolate (or cocoa) is considered a prebiotic that is rich in polyphenols. Cocoa also has an effect on the microbial ecosystem of the gut. Chocolate was shown to play a role in different human diseases and disorders and its role could be through modulations of the intestinal microbial species. Studies done consuming cocoa have shown an increase in the gut microbes Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. A significant decrease in Clostridia, which are a class of the Firmicutes, was noted. According to the same study, these changes in the bacterial population were accompanied by positive changes in other biological markers such as triglyceride and C-reactive protein concentration.8  Chocolate is good for you!!

Kefir Donut Holes

History of Kefir, Kombucha, and Fermented Vegetables

We all have trials and struggles throughout our lives and often these struggles have brought me to my knees. But without fail, each and every one of them has been a blessing in disguise. The pain turned to wisdom and I found myself so grateful for the struggle that brought me so much pain. Standing in the middle of the storm, all I can do sometimes is pray, quiet the voice of fear, and believe in the still, small voice that says, "Don't be afraid. Hang on, help is coming!" It so happened to me almost two decades ago when I first found cultured foods. Desperate to find answers for my family and myself, I went looking for help with the ailments that were plaguing my family. I was wandering around a health food store looking for answers in the supplement aisle and then went to the book section and pulled two books off of a shelf. I sat down to read them and one of the books opened to a page entitled, "Kefir."  I started reading about this ancient food and I picked up the other book and it too fell open, and I jumped when I saw the words on the page that said "kefir." Right at that moment, a store employee saw me reading that book. He stopped, turned around, stood in front of me, and said, "That’s the most important book you will ever read. You should pay attention." Chills ran over my body and I bought both books and this drink they called kefir. I brought all three items home, and the health of my daughter and I quickly improved drinking kefir, and so did the rest of my family. I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning researching this probiotic drink and all it could do, and it took me down roads that I never dreamed would change my life in such a dramatic way.

Little did I know that kefir would become my best friend and constant companion and I would become its voice for the billions of healthy life-giving microbes that are contained within it. It has a long history and this ancient food found its way to me when I needed it most. There is always help for all of us on this journey of life no matter what the problem may be. There is guidance supreme that lays within our hearts and all we have to do is ask for it. Our bodies are masterpieces made with precision and grace, and each of us is made with trillions of bacteria that compose more of our body than anything else. All around us we find bacteria  - one of the most dominant organisms on this planet. Since something loved us so much to create us this way, I made it my never-ending quest to find the rhyme and reason as to why nobody was really talking about this. What has occurred has been a journey back in time that has healed me, consoled me, and given me tools to live in this world that is ever changing. Never did I think the answers to my prayers lay inside a mason jar that was filled with billions of living organisms. But this is how the answers came to me. There is a blessing in every challenge, a door of opportunity for everything that brings us pain. And now I've lived long enough to see this truth. Here are the stories about the origins of the foods I love the most in this world.

Ancient Foods With Wisdom

History Of Kefir

One of my favorite things about kefir is the many stories, legends, and history behind it. It has been around for thousands of years and the stories are many, as are the mystics behind this food. It would make a great documentary! One of the first stories I heard dates back to the time of Abraham. It is there in ancient scrolls found in Turkey that the patriarch Abraham credits his long life to this fermented milk. Another story passed around said that the manna that fell from the sky to feed the children of Israel was actually kefir grains; and still another legend, told in Turkey, is that kefir was given to Noah from an angel to sustain him. Even Marco Polo mentioned kefir in the chronicles of his travels in the East.

The most documented story about kefir took place in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Legend has it that the prophet Muhammad claimed that the grains were a gift from Allah. He then gave kefir grains to the people and taught them how to make kefir. The “Grains of the Prophet” were guarded carefully since it was believed that they would lose their strength if the grains were given away to the wrong people, allowing the secret of how to use them to become common knowledge. Throughout the centuries, people occasionally heard strange tales of this unusual beverage which was believed to have “magical” properties. The people in the Caucasus Mountains have been drinking kefir for over a thousand years, and they are known for routinely living to well over 100 years old. Not many people outside the Caucasus region used kefir, and it was mostly forgotten about for hundreds of years until news spread of its use for the treatment of tuberculosis. Russian doctors believed that kefir was beneficial for health and the first scientific studies of kefir were published at the end of the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, the kefir grains required to make milk kefir were extremely difficult to obtain.

Nikolaj Blandov

Russian doctors wanted kefir grains, so in 1908 a committee of Russian doctors, determined to get some grains, came up with a plan. They contacted the head of the Moscow Dairy, Nikolaj Blandov. He had connections in the Caucasus Mountains where the dairy made some of their cheese products. They sent a beautiful employee named Irina Sakharova to the court of a local prince to see if she could entice him to give her some grains. The prince was quite taken with her but had no intentions of giving her kefir grains, so instead, he kidnapped her for himself. However, Tsar Nicholas II was not happy when he discovered what the prince had done, and he ruled that the prince was to give Irina ten pounds of kefir grains to repay her for the insults she had endured. The precious kefir grains were taken back to the Moscow Dairy, and the first bottles of kefir ever manufactured commercially were offered for sale in Moscow in September 1908. By the 1930s, kefir was made and sold on a larger scale and the rest is history. In 1973, the Minister of the Food Industry of the Soviet Union sent a letter to 85-year-old Irina Sakharova thanking her for bringing kefir to the Russian people.

Scientists can’t duplicate kefir grains

Kefir grains are so unique that scientists can’t duplicate them. Even though they know exactly what’s in kefir grains, they can’t make the real thing. Scientists have all the ability and technology in the world to alter molecules and make drugs; but they can’t create kefir grains, no matter how hard they try. Which adds even more mystery and intrigue to their origin. Kefir seems to have been around since time began and has written its own story on my heart and the lives of my family and friends. I’d like to believe that kefir came to me just like it has to the many people throughout time. And just like the prophets, patriarchs, and pioneers, I will carry on kefir's legacy. The stories are quite astounding, and they still continue to grow, but none have meant more to me than my own story. Kefir came to me when I needed it most and my books and website are the results of this miraculous food.

History Of Kombucha

Kombucha was the second probiotic food that changed me from the inside out. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is sweeping the country and it, too, is an ancient drink. Kombucha has been around for centuries, probably a few millennia. There are different stories about how Kombucha came into being.

The first story told was about Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who brought kombucha to the Japanese Emperor in AD 414. The Samurai, warriors of ancient Japan, were said to carry it in their wine skins as it gave them energy in battle and was a much-coveted drink.

Other stories written throughout history have been told about a fermented, vinegary beverage that filled the travel flasks of Genghis Khan and his armies. From Asia, it traveled to Russia and the rest of Europe. The most definite recorded history of kombucha began in Ukraine and Russia during the late 19th century.

Kombucha tea was attributed to saving Nobel Prize winner Alexsander Solzhenitsyn’s life while in exile in Siberia as documented in his book “Cancer Ward.”
During the Second World War, the Russians were combatting an increase in cancer rates across the country. However, two regions were discovered to be nearly cancer free and this prompted a full-scale investigation.
What they found was the people in these two regions had been drinking Tea Kvass (kombucha) ever since the Czar had introduced it hundreds of years before, and many claimed it was the fermented tea that had kept the people in this region cancer free.

In the 1960s, Swiss research confirmed the health benefits of drinking kombucha. They claimed that kombucha was beneficial for the gut in a similar way to yogurt. This fermented tea has a long history and after two decades of drinking it, my own life experience, the research and hundreds of stories that come to me through emails and posts have convinced me. I have written countless articles with research flowing in about this miraculous fermented tea. I encourage you to check it out for yourself, and not just to believe me. Your own life and internal compass will guide you and then you will know for yourself what is best for you.

History of Fermented Vegetables

The third ancient food that you may eat often, but may not know much about, is fermented vegetables. The earliest record of vegetable fermentation dates back as far as 6000 BC in the Fertile Crescent—and nearly every civilization from the Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Belarusian, Latvian, Estonian, Indian, Asian and African has included at least one fermented food in its culinary heritage.

The process of fermenting vegetables has been used for thousands of years in a number of cultures as a method of food preservation. Without clean water and healthy cleanliness practices, fermenting foods became a way to flood the food with healthy bacteria and keep out pathogens. Not only did it preserve the foods for months on end keeping them safe, but it also allowed them to keep their foods through the cold winter months.

Vitamin C and kraut

One such story of fermented vegetables starts with a sea captain by the name of Captain Cook. Captain Cook was one of the first people to make cultured sauerkraut a healing modality. When he took his first vessel and crew on a long voyage in 1768, a violent storm arose. The waves tossed the ship about violently, and many crewmen were injured. To save the men from gangrene, the ship’s doctor made poultices of the cultured cabbage on board to apply to their wounds. Cook was one of the first ship captains to recognize that a lack of vitamin C in a sailor’s diet (due mostly to a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables) caused scurvy, a terrible disease that killed millions of sailors in those times. Captain Cook always sailed with barrels of fermented cabbage (7,860 pounds of sauerkraut, to be exact) which he insisted the sailors eat. Scurvy was never a problem on his ships because the cultured cabbage contained lots of vitamin C. This is good news for you, too. We all need lots of vitamin C on a regular basis and fermented cabbage is a fantastic way to get it. Our immune systems are hungry critters and will gobble up vitamin C and cry for more, especially when we’re stressed or fighting an infection or virus. Vitamin C doesn’t last very long in the body, so we need lots of it and cultured vegetables have tons of vitamin C. Your immune system will thank you if you feed it cultured vegetables regularly.

The Trilogy

These foods have been keeping people well throughout history and they helped preserve their foods without refrigeration - and preserved them perfectly. Now they're helping me, and thousands of others, to stay healthy in this fast world we live in. They are simple to make, delightful to eat, and I love them because they made me well and continue to keep me healthy and sane in this world that is crazy-fast paced. Is something trying to reach you and help you? Well then, if you're reading this, it most certainly is. And let me tell you, it will keep showing up in your life until you listen. Believe me, I see this all the time. You might as well give in cause it's gonna stalk you. Bacteria are all around you, inside and out, and it's about time you started paying attention to these microbes. That's why I'm here to help you connect with them and live a better life.

"The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well." Hippocrates

Kefir the Champagne of Yogurt

Kombucha the Wonder Drink

Veggies Made with Microbes

Listen To My Podcast

Walking in the footsteps of those who lived hundreds of years before us, hear the legends and myths of cultured foods. These foods changed my life and health, they were profound stories of wisdom that felt like a hand reaching from the great beyond to help me in the here and now. Listen and find out how this wisdom can change your life too.

12 Holiday Recipes Made With Kefir!

12 Holiday Recipes Made With Kefir!

I made a series of videos for my Biotic Pro Members called The 12 Days of Kefir. These 12 videos are all about making holiday Christmas recipes with kefir. It was super fun (and crazy) trying to film it all in a couple of days. It was so intense filming these videos that my video guys nicknamed it "The Beast"! It was an adventure for sure.

Try making 12 recipes in two days, shooting 12 videos, changing your clothes and dishes for each video, trying to remember the recipes, cleaning up after each take, and setting up for the next. Whew! It was intense. But I love Christmas and kefir, and I wanted you to learn to put kefir in your holidays.

"The 12 Days of Kefir" is available exclusively to my Biotic Pro Members. However, I'm giving away the videos on the 1st Day and the 12th day to everyone absolutely free!

So click the link below to begin watching the 1st and the 12th Day. If you'd like to see more, you can become a Biotic Pro Member and see all of these videos plus more than 35+ additional videos and classes for one month starting at $10.00. In this series we made recipes like Kefir Snowtherland, Kefir Cheese Ball, Creamy Kefir Broccoli, Kefir Lemon Yule Log, and Kefir Rice Pudding.

12 Day Of Kefir Videos

You may view The 12 Days of Kefir in my Advanced Milk Kefir course
I really hope you enjoy them! They were a blast to make!

On the 1st Day of Kefir

12 Day Of Kefir Recipe Cards

The 12 Days of Kefir videos and made them into recipe cards! We also have the 12 Days of Kombucha recipe cards too!

12 Days of Kefir Recipe Cards

12 Days Of Kombucha Recipe Cards

Christmas is fun for me and I want to stay healthy, be happy, and spread the fun through the holiday season. I want to help you do the same!

Which is Better – Water Kefir or Milk Kefir?

People often ask me about water kefir and milk kefir and which type of kefir I think is more beneficial. Water kefir is a non-dairy kefir that is gaining in popularity. Many people start with this method of making kefir because it’s so easy and fun and they want a non-dairy option. It’s made with fruit juice, vegetable juice, coconut water, an extract, or even just sugar and water. A culture is then added and the mixture is fermented. As is the case with dairy kefir, the good bacteria eat the sugars out of the juice and create probiotics, plus they unlock additional vitamins and minerals. These are a great replacement for store-bought sodas. In addition to the probiotics, the kefir in the soda eats much of the sugar, so you don’t have to deal with the adverse effects of sugar that soda often promotes. There are no chemicals or artificial ingredients in kefir soda. And as a bonus to those of us who crave bubblicious beverages, the kefir creates naturally-occurring carbonation.

Which Is Better?

Water kefir finished

Which One Has More Probiotics?

While I stand by water kefir as a great replacement for store-bought soda, I’ve learned a few things from my own experience. You can decide for yourself what’s right for you. I really like water kefir, but I love milk kefir. There are only 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts in water kefir versus 50 in basic homemade milk kefir made with live grains or with Easy Kefir. Check out the charts below to see the good bacteria and yeast in water kefir and milk kefir. I drink milk kefir every day and water kefir I drink more in the summertime, holidays, and special occasions. I always have lacto-fermented beverages in my fridge, be it kombucha or kefir sodas. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for, but milk kefir I do have every day.

Find The One That Suits You


I feel that milk kefir (either non-dairy kefir or dairy kefir) has helped me more than water kefir, but many people have claimed water kefir helped them greatly by repopulating their gut with good flora and made them feel great. I really want you to get probiotics into your body in anyway you can. Eat and drink cultured foods and find the one that most appeals to you and let your own body show you the way. I am seeing more and more stores serving water kefir and this thrills me. Probiotic lacto-fermented beverages are a much-needed change from the last 50 years of high fructose beverages that harm our bodies and cause addictions and cravings. The good news is that water kefir tastes great and is bubbly too!

Bacteria And Yeasts In Water Kefir Crystals

Species Lactobacillus

  • L. brevis
  • L. casei
  • L. hilgardii
  • L. hordei
  • L. nagelii

Species Leuconostoc

  • L. citreum
  • L. mesenteroides

Species Acetobacter

  • A. fabarum
  • A. orientalis

Species Streptococcus

  • S. lactis

Yeasts

  • Hanseniaospora valbyensis
  • Lachancea fermentati
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Zygotorulaspora florentina
water kefir crystals in jar

Bacteria And Yeasts In Milk Kefir Grains

Species Lactobacillus

  • L. acidophilus
  • L. brevis
  • L. casei subsp. casei
  • L. casei subsp. rhamnosus
  • L. paracasei subsp. paracasei
  • Lb. fermentum
  • Lb. cellobiosus
  • Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
  • Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
  • Lb. fructivorans
  • Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
  • L. hilgardii
  • Lb. helveticus
  • L. kefiri
  • Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
  • Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
  • Lb. parakefiri
  • Lb. plantarum

Species Streptococcus

  • St. thermophilus
  • St. paracitrovorus

Species Lactococcus

  • Lc. lactis subsp. lactis
  • Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
  • Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris

Species Enterococcus

  • Lc. Ent. durans

Species Leuconostoc

  • Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
  • Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
  • Leuc. dextranicum

Yeasts

  • Dekkera anomala / Brettanomyces anomalus
  • Kluyveromyces marxianus / Candida kefyr
  • Pichia fermentans / C. firmetaria
  • Yarrowia lipolytica / C. lipolytica
  • Debaryomyces hansenii / C. famata
  • Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
  • Issatchenkia orientalis / C. krusei
  • Galactomyces geotrichum / Geotrichum candidum
  • C. friedrichii
  • C. rancens
  • C. tenuis
  • C. humilis
  • C. inconspicua
  • C. maris
  • Cryptococcus humicolus
  • Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis
  • Kluyv. bulgaricus
  • Kluyv. lodderae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
  • Sacc. pastorianus
  • Sacc. humaticus
  • Sacc. unisporus
  • Sacc. exiguus
  • Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
  • Torulaspora delbrueckii
  • Zygosaccharomyces rouxii

Acetobacter

  • Acetobacter aceti
  • Acetobacter rasens
kefir3

Recipes To Make Kefir

How to Make Milk Kefir

Recipe to Make Milk Kefir

How to Make Water Kefir

Recipe for Water Kefir.

How to Make Non Dairy Milk Kefir

Recipe to Make Non Dairy Milk Kefir.

Kefir

Kefir — Put A Lid On It!

When making milk kefir, many people have been taught to use a cloth and rubber band over the jar. This is one of the most common things that cause problems. When a cloth is used to cover a vessel for kefir, there is a risk of cross-contamination with wild yeasts in the air or even from other cultures, or foods nearby. Cross-contamination can affect kefir by changing the color or taste. Sometimes there is a discoloration on top of their kefir, for instance, a pink color that is a result of fermentation and yeasts that are accumulating in the kefir culture. Cross-contamination can also cause an off taste that is strong and yeasty tasting. Cross contamination is not bad and will not harm you, but it is best to always use a lid so that you can eliminate these problems. The best method is to use a canning jar with a plastic lid. Using canning jar with a metal lid, a clamp-down jar or even tightly sealed plastic wrap over a jar are all methods that work too. I have always done this and never have a problem with my kefir – even after almost two decades of fermenting.

Cultured Vegetables

Cultured Vegetables — Put A Lid On It!

I often make fermented vegetables using a canning jar with a lid, but there are many methods and vessels you can use to make cultured vegetables. There is a lot of information going around on the Internet stating that you should only use an airlock jar to ferment vegetables.  The controversy around the canning jar method is that it doesn’t seal well enough to remove the oxygen, creating an anaerobic environment for the fermentation and therefore doesn’t produce enough good bacteria to create all the health-benefits of fermentation.  In addition, there are some reports that suggest this method is not safe. I have been making and eating these foods for the last 17 years and I will shoot straight with you.

Cultured Vegetables — Made Safe

Generations of people have been fermenting foods for thousands of years without special vessels or fancy equipment. If your vegetables are submerged under the water or brine then they are in an anaerobic environment and are perfectly fine and safe – period! Don’t let anyone try to convince you that you have to buy fancy equipment in order for your fermented vegetables to be safe. This story – that a simple, inexpensive method of making cultured vegetables is not safe – just breaks my heart, because it scares people and keeps them from reaping the millions of benefits from these foods. You can make these foods in canning jars, clamp down jars, crocks or airlock vessels. I want you to make these vegetables and discover the benefits. Don’t be afraid.

What I Use

A canning jar with an airlock lid is what I use the most to make cultured vegetables. I have so many of these lids and I think they work great to make cultured vegetables. I also like that they come in a variety of sizes and fit well in my fridge. I have also used canning jars with plastic lids in all different sizes. You can use jars with metal lids but I prefer the plastic lids.  If the ferment touches the lid, a plastic lid won't leave a metallic taste. Also, it is better for you not to have metal touch the food during the fermentation process. You can also use clamp down jars or crocks but whatever you choose make sure you put a secure lid on it to seal out the air and allow it to ferment properly.

Kombucha

Kombucha — Cloth And Rubber Band

Always use a cloth and rubber band when fermenting kombucha, unless you are second fermenting or storing your kombucha, and then it will be in a bottle with a lid and preferably a flip top bottle. These work the best when storing kombucha because they let the gases and pressure escape without losing the carbonation. During the initial fermentation, you should always use a cloth and rubber band. Kombucha is aerobic and requires oxygen to ferment properly.

Your Body and Food. You can't win together if you don't work together.


I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to feel good, I had to have kefir every day. It seems to work best for me to have kefir in the morning, but sometimes I have it other times too. I've kind of played around with different ways to have it and found these four breakfasts give me lots of energy. Each one has different components I use to give me the nutrients I need. I have many reasons I always consume kefir.

  • Kefir helps my blood pressure stay in the normal range1,2
  • Kefir helps my blood sugar stay regulated3
  • Kefir helps detoxme, and keeps my hormones in balance.
  • Kefir helps my digestion stay at peak performance and keeps my immune system running strong5
  • Kefir gives me a crazy amount of nutrients and probiotics - 50+ probiotics - that's over 40 times the amount found in yogurt.6
  • Kefir keeps my skin looking great.7

I did an experiment and tried going without kefir for two months but cut it short when I started gaining weight, got indigestion,8 and experienced a host of other problems. Check out my article to learn more. I Stopped Eating Cultured Foods ~ Here’s What Happened! Kefir has many transient bacteria strains which means they are strains that aren't permanent guests in your body, so having kefir regularly is a must for me.

These four recipes are the ones I use most, but this is always subject to change as the different seasons come about. Here are the reasons, recipes, and methods I use to make kefir not only taste good, but also supply my body with super nutrients to keep me running strong! Kefir is breakfast for champions!

My Favorite 4 Kefir Breakfast Recipes

lemon kefir curd

Lemon Curd and Kefir

I love lemons, but I really love lemon curd! Its usually full of sugar but I devised another way to make lemon curd so I could have it on a regular basis. It takes about eleven minutes to make and I keep a jar in my fridge at all times. Lemons are superfoods and my microbes love the pectin, a form of soluble fiber in lemons. Lemons are loaded with vitamin C which is pretty impressive at 187% of the daily value, making it a superinfection fighter and immune booster.  It helps with inflammation relief and is a natural diuretic. Lemons are very low in calories and you want to zest the skins of lemons anytime you can. The skins have up to ten times more nutrients than the juice! They can pack a wallop. You will love this recipe! It's so easy and yummy - you just scoop some curd into your glass of kefir, stir a little, and oh my it's so good and easy!

Lemon Curd and Kefir

kefir and berries

Super Energy Berry Kefir

I do a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout three times a week. This workout involves a series of short bursts of activity with even shorter rest periods. It takes about 20 minutes and keeps my muscles strong, growing, and pumping out youth hormones. I love these workouts but they kick me into high gear and I need extra nutrients. I need a combination of fats, protein, and slow carbs in a meal or I struggle all day and wind up starving and wanting to eat the house apart! One thing I've learned about my own body is I need more protein and good fats. I need carbs too, but I'm careful what kind I eat and how much. I like adding protein powders to my kefir but I'm super picky about what kinds I use. I found one that actually is sweetened with stevia and tastes so good I don't have to add anything else to make my kefir shake taste good. It is made with a lot of integrity. This is the protein powder my family and I use constantly. If you want a fast kefir shake in the morning, check this out.

I love this fast breakfast recipe for many reasons. Adding berries to kefir means you're getting lots of antioxidants and polyphenols, which help fight chronic disease and they give me tons of energy! They're higher in fiber compared to other fruits and they're rich in vitamin C. Berries may also help regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Human studies suggest that eating berries may protect cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals 9,10

Berries have huge anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is your body's response to infection or injury. However, certain lifestyle choices such as unhealthy food choices and lack of exercise can cause inflammation too. Inflammation is believed to be a contributing factor in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Berries can help you reduce inflammation and give you sustained energy throughout the day. This meal is so easy to make and rich in so many things your body needs. It takes less than 5 minutes to make, and it will make you feel fantastic!

Super Energy Berry Kefir

apple kefir smoothie

Apple Nutty Kefir Shake

This is my super fast breakfast meal and I enjoyed it while I was writing this post. This is the one I make when I have a lot of things to get done and I want something fast and filling. I also like this in the summertime because it's cold and cools me off after a workout. I love the nut butter and it has a soothing effect on my brain. Nut butters contain a compound called beta-sitosterol that fights the effects of stress. Beta-sitosterol is a chemical found in plants and often called a plant sterol. It can be found in nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables and is often used to make medicine. Studies of endurance athletes used beta-sitosterol to normalize high cortisol levels, lower inflammation, and improve immunity.11 So the next time your stressed, try this kefir shake and see if it helps. It works for me!

Apple Nutty Kefir Shake

grapefruit kefir

Einkorn Toast & Grapefruit Kefir

This is my super comfort food breakfast. First of all, if you haven't heard about einkorn bread then you're missing out. It's helped so many people who struggle with gluten allergies and it will give you tons of protein and more vitamins and minerals that just about any other bread. I'm in love with this ancient grain and it has helped me so much. This bread makes wonderful toast. Feel free to add your favorite topping: nut butter, jam or kefir cheese along with some honey.

Grapefruit kefir is the easiest kefir you'll ever make. You just squeeze a grapefruit into your kefir and there is no need to sweeten it. The grapefruit makes it taste crazy good. Grapefruits have not only vitamin C but also vitamin A. Diets high in vitamin A and fiber can fight off the effects of seasonal allergies by boosting your immune system. The fiber in the fruit gives your gut bacteria the fuel they need to make short-chain fatty acids, which help control any allergic reactions. Meanwhile, the vitamin A helps those same fatty acid cells continue to function properly. My daughter came up with this super easy recipe when she wanted a super-fast smoothie. She had an abundance of grapefruits from my grapefruit trees so she squeezed some of the juice into her kefir and voila! Delicious and the easiest way to get your morning kefir.

Einkorn Toast

Maci's Easy Grapefruit Kefir

Kefir is a living food that tends to have a mind of its own. It ferments differently in the winter than the summer, so understanding the process can make a huge difference. I'm sharing seven tips to help you make great summer kefir. These special kefir microbes have taught me more about who I am than just about anything else I have ever encountered. I think drinking kefir first thing in the morning works best for me - especially in the summertime. It's a fast breakfast and I love it so much. I love to take a grapefruit and squeeze the juice into my kefir. I can't tell you how good this is first thing in the morning. I flood my body with C and B vitamins along with a cup of coffee or chai tea and a slice of sourdough Einkorn toast and I'm off and running. I love this breakfast and it helps me so much. It gives me so much energy and I feel full and satisfied It takes just minutes to prepare. Here are the seven tips to help you make the best Summer Kefir!

7 Tips For Summer Kefir

Kefir ferments in 24 hours at 69-73 degrees, but raise those temps and have a lot of fluctuations, and it’s going to take your kefir less time to ferment.

1: Use Fewer Kefir Grains

One tablespoon of active grains can ferment 2-6 cups of milk - maybe even more in summer temperatures. The warmer your kitchen, the faster it will ferment. Make sure you aren't using too many grains vs. milk. If you want to slow down the fermentation, then remove some grains (use the extras to blend into a smoothie) and this will help slow down your fermentation time.

2: Use More Milk

Same tip as above just in a different way. Instead of reducing your grains you can always increase your milk until you get the desired ferment time. I try to aim for 24 hours so I'm only making kefir once a day. Think of it like this: the microbes are eating the milk sugars or lactose out of the milk and converting this food source into a probiotic. The more lactose they have, the longer it takes them to convert or ferment it.

3: Ferment For Less Time

I always try to aim for 24 hours to ferment my kefir. This is so it is easier on me and I'm not making kefir more than once a day. BUT the 24 hours is a guideline and kefir can take less time in warmer temps or if too many grains vs. milk are being used. If your house is extremely warm (closer to 80), your kefir is going to finish faster no matter how many cups of milk you use. So you'll need to strain it sooner rather than later. You get the most probiotics from kefir if you don't over ferment. The microbes will die as they run out of food, so a longer fermenting time is not better. However, this does not apply to second fermentation where you add a prebiotic (food for microbes). This does add more probiotics, since kefir has been given another food supply.

4: Keep In A Cooler

If your house is too hot, place your kefir in a cooler, without ice. Using cold milk from the fridge will help slow the kefir fermenting time down and allow your kefir to ferment without the high heat. This will help your kefir to be more creamy and won't separate into whey and curds as quickly.

5: Keep In A Cooler Room

You don't have to keep your kefir in the kitchen. My kitchen is often the warmest room in my house because I often cook in the summer. So feel free to move your kefir to a dining room, a spare room, or even an extra large pantry. Just make sure it is well ventilated and always use a lid on your jar when you're making kefir.

6: Make Larger Batches At Once

If you are using Easy Kefir packets. After your first batch you can make larger batches of kefir at once. This means you only have to make it once or twice to have enough for the whole week, making it a bit easier in the summer when the kefir ferments quicker and you don't have time, or aren't able, to "catch" it every day before it over ferments.

7: Give It Some More Food

Adding a prebiotic to your kefir gives it extra food, and this can help slow down the fermentation time. You can add a prebiotic to it such as Prebio Plus. This will keep it from over fermenting, and give it a creamier texture.

Summer Kefir Keeps You Shining! 🌞

kefir for breakfast

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Certain foods and sources available in the summer time have nutrients that super charge the immune system. Check out my favorite cultured recipes and summer foods that are fun, easy to make, and oh so good for you!

Fermented Asian Salad Video! 📹

Cultured Asian Salad

Feed Your Microbes

This salad is one of my very favorite cultured meals. It's perfect for summertime and a wonderful way to change your microbiome from the inside out. I try to eat fruits and veggies at every meal. It is one of the best ways to stay balanced and it's fantastic for lowering inflammation, balancing your hormones, and keeping those little microbes in your gut fed and happy. Microbes love the fiber in fruits and veggies and it makes them grow and multiply and this is a very good thing. So let's break down this meal. Prebiotics are food for your bacteria, think like fertilizer for your gut microbes. Probiotics are the different multi strains of microbes themselves.

In each ingredient, I'll let you know what you're getting in this tasty meal.

  • Kefir Nut Butter: prebiotics and probiotics
  • Soba Noodles: prebiotics
  • Zucchini: prebiotics
  • Red bell pepper: prebiotics
  • Cultured Carrots: prebiotics and probiotics
  • Green onion: prebiotics
  • Crunchy Rice Noodle: resistant starch, a different type of prebiotic

Every ingredient is feeding your microbiome! Enjoy your food and let it work for you. You are what you eat, every last bite!

"The food you eat can be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison." Ann Wigmore

Fermented Asian Salad
You're going to love this fresh fermented salad. Loaded with tons of probiotics and fresh and fermented veggies, this is heaven in a jar. Kefir nut butter sauce makes everything taste fantastic. Make this ahead of time, take it with you in a jar, and you'll have the most satisfying lunch or dinner. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, which is a gluten-free seed. Buckwheat has been consumed in Asian cuisines for centuries, and it’s becoming more popular around the world, partially because of its health benefits. It has been shown to lower the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, plus it’s a good source of many healthy nutrients such as manganese and magnesium.~Donna
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Ingredients
Peanut Dipping Sauce
Fermented Asian Salad
  • 3ounces Soba Noodlesor you can substitute your favorite pasta
  • 1cup zucchinithinly sliced or shredded or spiralzed!
  • 1/2cup red bell pepperchopped
  • 1/2cup Cultured CarrotsShredded
  • 1small green onionsthinly sliced
  • 1/2cup Crunchy Rice Noodles
Servings: serving
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Instructions
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  1. Whisk all ingredients together, stirring until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight jar.
Fermented Asian Salad
  1. Pour 1/4 cup of your Peanut Dipping Sauce into a quart jar.
  2. Add the cooked soba noodles to the jar.
  3. Add the zucchini, pepper, Cultured Carrots, green onion, and then rice noodles.
  4. Top with a lid and put it in the fridge for later, or shake vigorously to combine the dressing with the vegetables and enjoy!
CulturedFoodLife.com

Do you like recipes? Become a Biotic Pro member and get access to lots of different recipe ebooks! You'll get a different one each month. Here is the schedule:

In 2001, I was battling hypertension and diabetes. It was then that I started drinking kefir and I noticed an interesting occurrence. It seemed that when I drank a glass of kefir every day my blood pressure would go down; and not just a little, but quite a bit. It would put me in the normal range. When I would stop drinking kefir, my blood pressure would start to creep up after three days. So I started doing experiments on myself to see if it was the kefir. After many, many trial runs I was convinced it was the kefir. I have never been one to just accept without knowing the reasoning behind anything, so I began searching for answers.

A couple of months later, I was reading a book called Bacteria For Breakfast  which described fermented milk products and how they lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. To combat hypertension doctors often prescribe what is known as an ACE-inhibitor, a drug that helps decrease the tension in blood vessels, thus decreasing blood pressure. What the study discussed in Bacteria for Breakfast found is that some strains of probiotic food1 produce their own ACE-inhibiting substances during the fermentation process.

Kefir And Blood Pressure

ACE-Inhibiting Substances In Kefir

While most bacteria produce lactic acid, they also produce ACE-inhibiting substances during milk fermentation, Lactobacillus helveticus, which is found in high concentrations in kefir. Lactobacillus helveticus was identified as the most effective ACE-inhibiting substance.  The study indicated that it worked on an enzyme in the stomach much like an ACE inhibitor drug will do to naturally lower blood pressure.

Another study, done in April 20182 by Auburn University in collaboration with the University of Vila Velha in Brazil, studied three groups of rats to determine how kefir reduces high blood pressure.

They classified them into three groups.

  • The first group had high blood pressure and consumed kefir every day for 9 weeks.
  • The second group also had high blood pressure but did not receive kefir
  • The third group did not have high blood pressure and they were not given kefir

After nine weeks, the rats who had received kefir had lower levels of endotoxins, lower blood pressure, and improved intestinal permeability.  This describes the way materials pass from inside the gastrointestinal tract through the cells lining the gut wall into the rest of the body. The consumption of kefir also restored four different bacteria that were not present in the gut. The microorganisms that populate our guts have been shown to communicate with the brain. Kefir's effect on gut bacteria appears to reduce the levels of inflammation in the central nervous system and signals the brain to lower blood pressure to healthy levels.3
According to these researchers, "Our data suggest that kefir antihypertensive-associated mechanisms involve gut microbiota-brain axis communication during hypertension."

Kefir Can Make An Impact On Your Health!

For years, kefir has lowered my blood pressure as well as the blood pressure of many others, but now I know why and how it works. I love it when a food can bring you back into balance. These beautiful cells in our body know how to be well if only given the right tools. Now I am not telling anyone to get off their medication. What I am suggesting is that you add some kefir to your diet, then monitor yourself and see if it has the same effect on you. Powerful microbes that lived in me and all around me were enhanced to work better when I drank my kefir. I'll never go without my kefir, it's my favorite food!

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."Hippocrates

Here is How to Make Kefir.

Here are the two methods for making kefir. You can pick the method that suits you – the benefits are the same in both methods.

Kefir Made with Live Kefir Grains

Here is the recipe to make kefir with live grains.

Kefir Made with Easy Kefir

Here is the recipe to make kefir with Easy Kefir powder packets.

References:

  1. Y. Hata et al. “A Placebo-Controlled Study of the Effect of Sour Milk on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 5 (November 1996): 767–771.
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180425131909.htm
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696190/

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Kefir was the first cultured food I ever tried. The first thing I noticed was how it helped my blood pressure. Research is now finding more evidence of the same. I love kefir and the many things it can do. Listen to learn more!

Cocoa Kefir Krunch Puff Breakfast Video! 📹

Favorite Breakfast Topping

Coco Kefir Krunch3 copy

This is my daughter Holli's favorite breakfast. I make extra servings of the crunch topping and store it in a jar for her to use whenever she makes her morning smoothie. This was the recipe that really changed her more than any other recipe. My family is like everybody else. I can preach to them about how wonderful these foods are and make them for them, but I want them to discover for themselves the power of microbes. Life is the best teacher, and I want them to have the experience of finding foods that change them so they'll reach for them again and again without my insistence. Holli started noticing if she didn't have her morning smoothie she had trouble going to sleep at night, and she would get terrible breakouts. When she started seeing the change in her skin and sleep she started getting up every morning and making a smoothie without me encouraging her to do so. That was just the beginning of her love affair with cultured foods. Now, armed with kombucha, a kefir smoothie, and a few pieces of the cultured veggie Jicama if You're Sicka-ma every day, she has made herself a believer in the power of cultured foods. If she's not feeling well, she knows which foods work the best and reaches for them. Wanting my family to be healthy helps me create recipes I know they will love. I have always told my family that the food and recipes I create are my love made visible. This was one recipe I made mostly for Holli and I hope it will help you love cultured foods too.

This recipe has a crunchy millet topping. Have you ever tried millet? I only knew it as an ingredient in the bird food I use; but not long ago, I saw puffed millet at the health-food store. It was a cereal! I grabbed the box and turned it over to look at the ingredients and saw it had only one ingredient: millet. I started adding it to recipes—topping things with it—and my daughter Holli fell head over heels in love with it. Which is great because it’s gluten-free and has lots of magnesium.

coco crunch topping

If you can’t find puffed millet, there’s also puffed amaranth, which is almost the same texture. Or you can make your own, just like you would popcorn. All you have to do is put a cup of millet in a medium-sized saucepan with a lid, place it over medium-low heat, and shake it around every once in a while. Soon enough you’ll start to hear the grains popping. Once the popping begins, it takes about 15 to 20 seconds for all of it to pop. You’ll know when it’s done because the popping stops abruptly.

Check out the recipe and video, and love foods that love you back – and watch what happens. The microbes in cultured foods know how to keep you healthy, happy, and strong. Just you wait and see!

Cocoa Kefir Krunch Puff Breakfast
Just you wait till you try this recipe. I'm not sure if it's dessert or breakfast, but we like to have it in the morning and especially in the summertime. The millet topping is just the best and you'll want to make extra to keep on hand. Millet is gluten free and has lots of magnesium and makes the best crunchy topping! Give this recipe a whirl and wow your family. ~Donna
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Ingredients
Servings: serving
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Instructions
  1. Take the bananas out of the freezer and let thaw for a few minutes if you don’t have a powerful high-speed blender.
  2. Place the puffed millet, maple syrup, cinnamon, and cacao nibs into a small frying pan. Stir until well combined, then turn up the heat to medium. Stir from time to time, toasting the mixture until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat, transferring it into a bowl to cool.
  4. Combine the bananas, kefir, cocoa powder, vanilla, stevia, and potato starch in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, much like ice cream. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, let the bananas thaw for a couple of minutes before you blend.
  5. Pour the banana-kefir mixture into a jar and top with the puffed millet mixture.
Recipe Notes

Make sure to peel and slice the bananas into chunks before you freeze them.

CulturedFoodLife.com

Probiotic Kefir Nut Butter Video! 📹

Nuts Are Prebiotics

Kefir nut butter2

This recipe is in my new book Cultured Food in a Jar. I only make recipes that are easily incorporated into my life because I'm crazy busy and I want recipes to care for my body and busy microbes. This recipe fits the bill. It has only two ingredients and it's so easy to make. And, it tastes just like nut butter—you can’t even tell that there’s kefir mixed in—which is why I love it so much. You can use this any way you’d normally use nut butter. Stuff it in celery—fermented or regular. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Spread it on apples or other fruits. Whatever you want. You’re sure to love its creamy texture.

Nuts are also prebiotics: food for your bacteria. Substances in the nuts, and also in their skins, have been found to boost the good bifidobacteria and lactobacillus in the gut. Did you know that your good bacteria lower your cholesterol by using cholesterol as a food source? Did you know these good bacteria also reduce inflammation and protect your heart by keeping away endotoxins that can get into the bloodstream? Endotoxins are found in disease-causing bacteria that can penetrate a weakened gut lining. When endotoxins are released, our immune system sends out an alarm and creates inflammation throughout the body. You need to feed your bacteria lots of fiber-rich foods like nuts or your healthy bacteria starve to death inside your gut and then you wind up with leaky gut and a host of other problems. This recipe is the perfect way to accomplish the task and have a delicious probiotic treat. I hope everybody will start eating kefir nut butter. You can do this, right? It's so easy and filled with billions of probiotics. Check out the video and recipe!

Kefir Nut Butter
This recipe has only two ingredients and is so easy to make. And, it tastes just like nut butter—you can’t even tell that there’s kefir mixed in—which is why I love it so much. You can use this any way you’d normally use nut butter. Stuff it in celery—fermented or regular. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Spread it on apples or other fruits - whatever you want. You’re sure to love its creamy texture.~Donna
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Servings: serving
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  1. Mix the nut butter and kefir together with a spoon until smooth and creamy.
Recipe Notes

Storage note: This can be stored in the fridge for two weeks or longer. The kefir will continue to eat the sugars out of the nut butter and will result in a tarter taste over longer periods of time.

CulturedFoodLife.com

Seven Probiotic Foods to Always Keep in Your Fridge

7 Probiotic Foods

When it comes to cultured/probiotic and fermented foods, I am officially obsessed. Not everyone is going to make as many of these foods as I do; but once you get started, it's an exciting journey! Here are the top seven probiotic foods I ALWAYS have on hand, and why . . .

Seven Probiotic Foods For Your Fridge

Strawberry Kefir

Kefir was the first cultured food I tried, and it has become my go-to food when I need extra help. I use it to prevent colds and flus or any type of sickness. When I'm struggling with anxiety or stress, kefir calms me down. Researchers have established a compelling link between gut bacteria and mental health 1 and believe you me, I'm a believer. Nothing calms me like kefir, and I just couldn't do what I do without its help. When I've taxed my muscles through exercise, kefir gives me a boost with 14 grams of high-quality protein in each cup. Its anti-inflammatory properties help my body recover quickly and supply the vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks of health. When I need a quick meal, kefir is what I reach for and the reason I have hundreds of kefir recipes in my books and blog. I eat a lot of kefir! There is a lot of science behind the power of the 50+ microbes in kefir. It has more probiotics than any of the other cultured foods, it's the easiest to make, and it's the most versatile. If I had to choose only one cultured food, I would choose kefir because of its huge benefits and because it's my personal guardian angel.

Kefir Cheese

Kefir Cheese is something I use constantly. If something calls for cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt, I substitute with kefir cheese. You can make kefir cheese overnight if you have milk kefir on hand, or some health food stores sell kefir cheese as well. You can use kefir cheese to top your potatoes, add extra creaminess to an ice cream recipe, add to soups and tacos, make dips, and more! Kefir Cheese has many of the same benefits as kefir, and don't throw out the whey because this has benefits, too. Check out this article:

43 Ways to Use Kefir Cheese!

Kombucha Fruit

Kombucha: This is the main drink in our house. It has replaced our soda addiction and we are forever grateful! Kombucha's unique probiotic properties allow for more diversity in the diet and assist the body in cleansing the liver. It also supplies you with acetic acid which helps with joint pain and digestion. It has one of the most researched and used probiotics, saccharomyces boulardii, that can't be killed by antibiotics. Kombucha is a tart and bubbly drink that is unique and delightfully delicious.

kraut-and-caraway

Sauerkraut: You can get up to 700 mg of vitamin C in one cup of fermented sauerkraut as opposed to the 60 mg in cabbage alone. We add sauerkraut to many foods. A spoonful has more probiotics than an entire bottle of probiotic supplements. Nothing is more effective on an upset stomach or even food poisoning. A spoonful of the juice works quickly. When you feel the relief, you'll wonder why everybody doesn't know about this wonderful home remedy. A jar can last over a year in the refrigerator and remain perfectly preserved. Add a spoonful to sandwiches, wraps, on top of your stir fry, or alongside your meat and veggies! We even have dips and sauces with cultured veggies, so check out my books and recipe section.

Fermented Garlic

Fermented Garlic: These garlic buds will last months in your fridge. You can use them in hundreds of recipes (the juice as well) and they will knock out a head cold ASAP! Garlic is also a prebiotic, so it provides extra benefits as well. You just peel a bunch of cloves and throw them in a jar, cover them with water, salt, and a culture - and you're done. It's easy, and the juice can be added to salad dressings and sauces to make them probiotic!

Water kefir finished

Water Kefir or Kefir Soda: This is a wonderful substitute for soda pop.  It's a naturally carbonated drink that has probiotics, enzymes, minerals and very little sugar compared to conventional sugary sodas. I love how you can change the flavors and please all your taste buds. We have three ways to make this drink, one made with water kefir crystals and the other two ways are made with kefir whey, or a kefir culture package. Pick the way that suits you, and keep your favorite flavor in the refrigerator.

kombucha mayo2

20 Second Kombucha Mayo: This recipe is in my new book, Cultured Food in a Jar, and I wanted everybody to have this recipe because it’s quite life changing to make your own mayo. I can’t count the times I needed mayo, went to the store, stood in the aisle, looked at the ingredients on all the jars, and just couldn’t buy it. Soybean and canola oils, along with chemicals and preservatives, made me cringe and I would wind up buying healthier versions of mayo at the health food store. But they were super expensive. So, I found a way to make my own and it only takes 20 seconds and is crazy good!

While consuming a wide variety of cultured foods is ideal, these seven staples cover a lot of ground and give you plenty of probiotic diversity for different meals!

Listen To My Podcast

Loaded with probiotics, these six foods are in different food groups and bring health and well-being to the body in a myriad of ways. Join me to find out what they are and easy ways to incorporate them into your daily life today!

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Helen Keller

I have had seasonal allergies since I was twelve or thirteen years old. For months in the springtime, I locked myself inside the house and turned to drugs and steroids that harmed my immune system. This seemed to be what everybody did and I did the same because I had nowhere else to look.

After I discovered the power that cultured foods held for me, I went on a search-and-destroy mission to fix and heal these springtime allergies that made me feel like the world was coming to an end. It took me seven or eight years to work with my body to understand what was actually happening. The process of healing was a long one because there was much to learn and I continue to do so.

Your Immune System And Allergies

Pollen

When your body has a reaction to pollen, your body sees pollen as a foreign invader and then overreacts by sending out inflammatory substances to compensate. Allergic symptoms are often nothing more than the body’s reaction to stress. The cells in our bodies have previously learned how to successfully cope with whatever stresses we presently have. It is already built into our genes, chromosomes, and DNA.

Grandfather of Allergy

Britain's oldest physician, Dr Bill Frankland, is 105 years old and has been dubbed the “Grandfather of Allergy.” He is best known for inventing the pollen count and getting the news media to report it locally. Frankland discovered that an allergic reaction is due to a malfunctioning immune system. This discovery has helped many in the treatment of allergies. His life reads like a novel. He was in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1941 and was sent to Singapore just seven days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. A year later, he was sent to the notorious Changi POW camp where he suffered as a prisoner for 3 1/2 years before he was set free. In 1979, he cared for the brutal leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. “I got a call to see the new president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. They told me he had an allergy and he was being treated with various desensitizing injections,” Dr. Frankland told the Daily Mail. “But he wasn’t allergic at all — his problem was that he was smoking 40 cigarettes a day.” Dr Frankland told Hussein if he wouldn't quit smoking he wouldn't work with him anymore. He added, “I heard some time later that he had had a disagreement with his secretary of state for health, so he took him outside and shot him. Maybe I was lucky.”

Vitamin C trains our immune system

I have learned a lot about my immune system's response to pollen.  My research in this area is ongoing, and has me constantly amazed at how our bodies talk and communicate with us. When my adrenal glands are overworked and exhausted by the stress of life, I've discovered ways to support them and then I begin to heal. One thing I have learned is how vitamin C trains our immune system to function properly. Vitamins B and C are both water soluble which means they dissolve in water, and these vitamins and nutrients dissolve quickly in the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues, but the body cannot store them. When you're under stress and your body is reacting to pollen, your adrenals will use up these vitamins fast and cry for more! You need vitamin C, and lots of it throughout the day, when you're struggling with pollen. Not just any kind of vitamin C, but whole foods that have lots of vitamin C. If you supplement with vitamin C tablets and don't take it in a natural form, it can be hard on the kidneys, so I caution against this. One of the ways to accomplish this is to eat cultured foods - especially cultured vegetables. High in vitamin C, I have cultured veggies as a snack, with meals, or by themselves throughout the day to keep my hungry adrenals healthy and fed. Kefir has vitamin C as well as B vitamins which are also nutrients needed by your adrenals. I have lots of extra options and fun ways to get extra vitamin C — see recipes below.

OJ in stores is not real!

One of the things I want to teach you if you have pollen allergies is to ditch sugar. It will make your allergies a thousand times worse and diminish your immune system as well. Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and harmful bacteria and keep your immune system strong when it thinks it’s under an attack from things such as pollen. White blood cells need to contain 50 times the concentration of vitamin C as would normally be found in the blood around it. Sugar or glucose has a very similar chemical structure to vitamin C; so when you eat sugar, your cells hungrily take in the sugar thinking it is vitamin C. The 50% concentration of vitamin C in your cells starts to drop and your immune system’s normal capabilities are reduced by 75%. It can take four to six hours for the vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to go back to the normal concentration and to be able to function at the highest level again. So it’s not a great idea to eat any kind of sugar, and especially if you’re suffering with seasonal allergies, because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job.

Your cells think sugar is vitamin C

One of the things I want to teach you if you have pollen allergies is to ditch sugar. It will make your allergies a thousand times worse and diminish your immune system as well. Vitamin C is used by white blood cells to engulf and absorb viruses and harmful bacteria and keep your immune system strong when it thinks it’s under an attack from things such as pollen. White blood cells need to contain 50 times the concentration of vitamin C as would normally be found in the blood around it. Sugar or glucose has a very similar chemical structure to vitamin C; so when you eat sugar, your cells hungrily take in the sugar thinking it is vitamin C. The 50% concentration of vitamin C in your cells starts to drop and your immune system’s normal capabilities are reduced by 75%. It can take four to six hours for the vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to go back to the normal concentration and to be able to function at the highest level again. So it’s not a great idea to eat any kind of sugar, and especially if you’re suffering with seasonal allergies, because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job.

Healthy Gut Flora and B Vitamins

Another key component in keeping your immune system running strong is to supply your adrenals with not only Vitamin C but B vitamins too. Healthy gut flora will synthesize B vitamins, enzymes, and proteins so that we are never depleted. When the gut flora is out of balance, this production is impaired and you won’t be able to properly absorb B vitamins. It is crucial to be aware of the importance of probiotics in your diet to help repopulate healthy gut flora allowing you to get all the key vitamins your body needs. B and C vitamins are abundant in cultured foods – kefir, cultured veggies, and kombucha. In contrast, processed foods and sugars deplete B and C vitamins and spike insulin in a dramatic way, adversely affecting your adrenal glands.

I noticed when I first started eating cultured foods that my allergy symptoms were greatly reduced, but they did not go away completely. Each year that I ate these foods, I noticed that the time I had my allergies was shortened – by about one week each year. What started out as two to three months of symptoms eventually was only three to five days of symptoms. This was a huge improvement, but I still needed to add extra vitamins and cultured foods during allergy season to keep everything running smoothly.

Ginger apple shots for allergies

I work hard to keep allergies at bay, but if ever I have a flare up I do a ginger shot! I learned this from “The Juice Master,” Jason Vale, who claimed he got rid of his severe hay fever with ginger shots. I tried it and it worked for me too! The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger work with your immune system to reduce a histamine response. Try the ginger shot recipe if you need results fast. It works!

Don’t bring back symptoms

Eating processed foods or sugar and neglecting to nourish my adrenals will bring back symptoms and this reminds me to stay the course. Taking walks outside and smelling the flowers is something I am very grateful for. Nothing is impossible and I found answers to this forty-year seasonal ailment that now allow me to go outside and not be a prisoner in my own home.

Below are a few of my springtime allergy prescription recipes. These are the foods I consume that keep me strong, especially in the springtime. Don’t you just love food and the body and how they work together? We need each other, we need food that nourishes the body, and we need to listen to this body that gives us constant feedback on how we’re doing. It’s the sweetest way to live your life.

New eBook for my Biotic Pro Members!

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? For many people, it's seasonal allergies. However, there is hope!!! We have a new eBook: Cultured Foods for Allergy Season. Check out 30+ recipes for the foods that Donna makes that helped her conquer her seasonal allergies! You need to be a Biotic Pro member to get it, so sign up today!

Click Here to Download

Pick foods that your body will love and you will shine from within.🌞

Here are 3 of the recipes that you can find in my Cultured Foods for Allergy Season eBook:

Listen To My Podcast

Seasonal allergies are caused by your immune system overreacting to something that it thinks is harmful but is actually not. There are many ways to support your immune system, and this one nutrient can change the way you feel in 30 minutes. Tune in to find out what it is and why you should have it too!

What to Do With Your Cultures While You’re on Vacation

cultures refrigerator

Your cultures (kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and water kefir) are all living organisms and need to be cared for just like a pet. I love them like family, and have found ways to take care of them when I go on vacation. The good microbes in the cultures eat the sugars out of the culture, and you want to be sure they have plenty to eat so the culture won’t die. It is a living colony of microbes and needs food, just as you do. Here are the cultures and how you can store them for limited amounts of time.

Storing Your Cultures

kefir grains on vacation

Milk Kefir Grains

Storing kefir grains for a week: Place your kefir grains in milk. If you have 1 tablespoon of grains, store them in at least 2 cups of milk, 3 is better. I like to make sure that they have plenty of food to eat. If you have more grains, add more milk accordingly. Then you place this in the refrigerator. This will last for one week. Coming home: When you return home strain off the milk that the grains were resting in and discard (you can also give this to pets!) and put them in new milk to make kefir.
The grains will be a little slower making kefir when you first take them out of the fridge. The cold slows them down a bit, but the second time you make kefir they will be back up to speed.

Longer than a week: If you're going to be gone for more than one week, then I recommend you freeze them in milk. Store them in a jar in the amount of milk you regularly use, leaving a little room at the top for expansion when it freezes. Store in a glass or food-grade plastic jar with a lid and place in the freezer. You can store this for several months and they should be fine. They will take a little while to wake up when you remove them from the freezer, but once they thaw, strain them and give them fresh milk After a few days of making kefir, they should be fine. You will need to discard the milk they were stored in. Freezing kefir grains should only be done once in a while. Freezing and thawing them continuously can diminish or kill them, but once or twice a year should be fine.

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha Starter

Storing your kombucha and SCOBY for a week or month: Kombucha is one of the easiest ferments to store while on vacation. Make a fresh batch of kombucha with your SCOBY and keep it in a jar on your counter for up to a month. You can double the sugar in the recipe if you're going to be gone for several weeks.

Storing SCOBYs. You can store extra SCOBYs in a jar with a lid in starter tea (from the previous batch) using enough tea to cover the SCOBYs. Place on your counter for up to a month. Check out my Scoby Hotel recipe:

SCOBY Hotel

Sourdough Culture

Sourdough Culture

Storing your sourdough starter for a week or two: If you are storing your sourdough starter in the refrigerator, you should feed it right before you leave. Make sure when feeding it to follow the right ratios of 1-1-1. You should only use equal portions of flour, water, and starter. If you use too much starter, you won't have enough food for the starter. For instance, let's say you have 1/2 cup starter - then you need to feed it 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. If you have 1 cup starter than you need to feed it 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. If you don't want this much starter, discard some and use the remaining amount, and feed it equal portions of everything.  This will last for a week before you need to feed it again. If you're going to be gone for longer than a week, then you'll need to double the amount of flour and water. This should last another week. When you return, feed it once in the morning and once at night for three days to revive it. It should then be strong and ready to use again to rise your bread.

Storing your sourdough starter for longer. Dehydrating your starter for longer storage is the best way to make sure you always have a sourdough starter.

Check out this recipe:

Dehydrating Your Sourdough Starter

water kefir fermenting

Water Kefir Crystals

Storing water kefir for one to two weeks.  Prepare a sugar-water solution: for each 1/4 cup of water kefir grains, you will need to use 1/4 cup of sugar and one quart of water to make your sugar-water solution. (Just as you would if you were making a new batch).

If you have more grains, adjust accordingly by adding more sugar and increasing the water. So for instance, if you have 1/2 cup of grains, then add 1/2 cup of sugar and increase the water to 8 cups and so forth.

Place the grains in the sugar water, place a tight lid on the container, and place it in the refrigerator. This will keep for at least 2 weeks in your fridge.

Longer than two weeks: If you’re going to be gone for longer than two weeks, double the sugar. (No need to double the water.) When you return, strain your water kefir grains and discard the sugar water solution they were in, giving them fresh sugar water to make a new batch of water kefir. Your grains will be a little sluggish but after a few feedings, they will be up and working again. Giving them a little bit of molasses also helps (1 – 2 tablespoons per jar is perfect) and will keep your water kefir grains really happy!

kefir

One of the first things I noticed when we started drinking kefir was the help my husband received with eliminating his acid reflux. It was quite surprising to me since he popped antacids like they were candy. But fast forward sixteen years and I've had so many, many people tell me they've gotten off their prescription drugs for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and every one of them told me kefir was what accomplished the task.

A man named John came up to me after one of my classes and said, “I take a glass of kefir every day before I go to work—without fail. I don’t sweeten it. I just drink it straight. I wanted to thank you because it allowed me to get off all my medication for acid reflux. I feel like a new man after years of struggle with this.” Then he smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Kefir is powerful medicine for acid reflux, and you should tell everybody who will listen.” I am heeding those words because I have heard time and time again how much kefir helps people who are struggling with acid reflux.

Kefir And Reflux

Inflammation And GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctions, allowing the contents of the stomach to flow up into the esophagus. Some speculate that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the stomach causes undigested food to ferment. In turn, this fermentation causes gas to build up, eventually forcing the contents of the stomach up into the esophagus. This is what creates the symptoms of burning and pain commonly associated with acid reflux. Inflammation is one of the main culprits of GERD. Excess acid in the esophagus causes inflammation resulting in pain and irritation of the esophageal lining.

One 2014 study looking at the effect of probiotics on GERD involved 589 infants: the number of episodes of regurgitation, the number of minutes of inconsolable crying, and the number of bowel movements. The infants who received the probiotics had less crying time, fewer episodes of regurgitation, and significantly less constipation than the control group. 1

Antacids Cause More Harm Than Good

Lactobacillus is an important probiotic as it converts lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. The production of lactic acid makes the gut acid, which inhibits the growth of bad bacteria and other pathogens. When the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria gets out of balance many health problems can start occurring. Taking antacids may temporarily stop stomach acid production thus relieving heartburn, but this can allow the ratio of good bacteria to harmful bacteria to be disrupted creating more problems with GERD along with a host of other problems.

Cultured foods, especially kefir, have anti-inflammatory properties and can ease the symptoms of inflammation. If you are experiencing these symptoms, one of the first things you should do is add kefir to your diet to restore balance in your gut. Kefir is packed with the Lactobacillus bacterium plus 50 other probiotics. These probiotics change your gut flora and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.

If you read one of my previous posts, I Stopped Eating Cultured Foods ~ Here’s What Happened!    you know that one of the first things that happened after a few weeks of no cultured foods was I got the worst heartburn! It was awful and it started coming on and off every few days. I was really surprised that this would happen. My body really needs its daily kefir and anytime your body gives you a symptom, it's a warning sign. You should heed the call and pay attention to these cries for help that your body sends you. Once I went back to having kefir every day (1-2 cups daily), my symptoms vanished and no more acid reflux.

Can H. Pylori Protect Against Acid Reflux?

Another insight about reflux deals with the pathogenic bacterium H. pylori. Until recently, H. pylori has been put forth as a “bad” bacterium, but now an interesting twist in its story has been discovered: H. pylori protects against acid reflux. As I have said throughout this book, we are seeking balance, so it doesn’t surprise me that H. pylori can be helpful if it is kept in check.

Martin J. Blaser, M.D., elaborates on the research around H. pylori in his book Missing Microbes. He says that, when present in large numbers, this bacterium can cause ulcers and even stomach cancer in some people. But H. pylori also helps regulate stomach acidity, which plays a large part in the symptoms of GERD. When an ulcer occurs, the standard treatment is using antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori, which heals the ulcers but also raises the acidity of the stomach. Blaser and his colleagues found that the patients without H. pylori were eight times more likely to have acid reflux. 2 So the treatment that eliminated H. pylori worsened acid reflux and even esophageal cancer.

So what to do? Balance your gut with prebiotic and probiotic foods - especially kefir. Keep H. pylori in check by adding lots of beneficial microbes that allow all your bacteria to work for you. If you have lots of good microbes, the ones that might get out of hand will stay in balance. It’s not as hard as it seems, and you will find that a lot of problems will simply vanish when you change what you eat. Kefir and cultured foods plus whole, real, natural sources of nutrition will allow your body to do what it was designed to do: heal itself.

Kefir has eliminated acid reflux in many people I have met, including myself and my husband, and the studies that continue to surface give me great hope that soon cultured foods and probiotics will be seen as a viable treatment for this ailment.

Here is How to Make Kefir.

Here are the two methods for making kefir. You can pick the method that suits you - the benefits are the same in both methods.

Recipe
Kefir (Using Easy Kefir)
This method uses Easy Kefir powder packets. It's made from freeze-dried kefir grains. It's very easy to make, and is the way I made kefir when I first started.
Recipe
Kefir (Using Live Kefir Grains)
Kefir grains last forever if you take care of them and they can last for generations. Kefir grains are not really grains but rather combinations of good bacteria and yeasts that infuse your milk or non dairy milk with over 50+ good bacteria and good yeasts. They look like little pieces of cauliflower and feel a little rubbery. They’re tough little guys and you can pull them apart, and they just grow more. Kefir grains are a little like having a pet. You have to feed and take care of them but that’s easy to do and I can show you how. If you need more help, check out our Faq's about kefir page.

References:

  1. F. Indrio et al., “Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional Constipation: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” JAMA Pediatrics 168, no. 3 (March 2014): 228–233
  2. M.J. Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, New York, Henry Holt Publishing (2014): 123–9.

The Tale of the Disappearing Kefir Grains

Kefir Grains

kefir grains

We make a lot of kefir. We drink it every day along with making kefir cheese and kefir sodas, so we make it daily. As usual, my husband and kids were helping me make kefir on April 1st, 2014. As I poured out the jugs into the strainer, no kefir grains appeared. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and panic started to wash over me as I went through every jug I had looking for kefir grains, but no grains anywhere. Then I saw my husband snickering in the corner and I saw the words APRIL FOOLS come out of his mouth. He had hidden the grains in other jugs where I couldn’t find them. May God Have Mercy on His Soul.

Kefir has been one of the most important things in my life. Before kefir, I felt like I wasn’t living anymore, only existing and kefir changed all of that. Not only did it make me feel better than I had ever felt in my life, but it opened doors and showed me gifts and talents I had that lay dormant. I felt too bad to do anything extraordinary, I was just existing, never knowing that a whole new life was waiting for me where wellness was the order of the day. Discovering my trillion microbes was a game changer, and feeding and caring for my invisible helpers has been an exciting journey. I have more recipes for kefir on my site than anything else because I do love it so much.

Kefir Lemon Pudding Cake

I have one recipe I make constantly and wanted to give it to you. It's one of my favorites and it is very simple to make. It has the texture of Greek yogurt with a lemony flavor and it's so simple to make. I've created a new Spring cultured recipe book for my Biotic pro members and this recipe is included in it as well.

Recipe
Lemon Kefir Creme
I eat this dish all the time. It tastes and looks like Greek yogurt. I have it often for breakfast with fresh fruit, and it's fun to serve it with pancakes or eat it by itself, it's so so good. Eating kefir and lemons gives me lots of vitamin C and B's. This helps strengthen my adrenals and lemon peels and their zest contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself. Lemons are health rejuvenators in eradicating toxic elements in the body and flooding the body with nutrients it needs to stay healthy..

Each month I have a new recipe book for my members along with the courses, lessons, health topics, live chat, menu planners, videos and more on my site. These recipes are extensions of the way I live my life and I'm constantly making new ones.

Here is my new Spring Into Health ebook for members to download and one of the recipes for everybody to enjoy. We add new eBooks monthly because we make so many recipes and because we want to find new ways to help our bodies enjoy the foods that keep us healthy.

If you would like to become a member and get the Ebook as well as other benefits, you can find that info here: Become a Biotic Pro

Members - get the eBook here:

Download Spring Into Health eBook

These are my other eBooks that hopefully you were able to get this past year:

I also have tons of free recipes on my site for everybody. You just need to get started and I have what you need. Sometimes we need help to feel good, and your trillion unseen helpers just need a little tender loving care.

"Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes a matter of opportunity."

Hippocrates

Kefir Cheese and Whey


I make a lot of kefir cheese. I use kefir cheese in place of any recipe that calls for cream cheese, sour cream, or  Greek yogurt. It's very versatile, and the length of time you strain it will determine how thick it becomes. Making kefir cheese is one of my favorite things to do with kefir—and it’s a great way to sneak kefir into the diets of picky eaters because it tastes much like cream cheese. We have 43 different ways to use kefir cheese in dips, salad dressings, kefir ice cream, soups, and more! I make it regularly and use it constantly. You can also use the leftover whey to make cultured vegetables and kefir soda, and we have  9 ways for using your extra kefir whey too.  

Kefir cheese is 99% lactose free

The curds (or the cheese) portion of kefir contains most of the fat, casein, and vitamin A, but whey also contains a lot of beneficial properties and they both contain probiotics. Kefir cheese is loaded with calcium because it is so concentrated. The good lactic acid bacteria in kefir eat the lactose (milk sugars) out of the milk, lower the pH, make it tart, and cause the milk protein to thicken. The digestion of the lactose as these bacteria ferment milk makes kefir easily digestible. Kefir is considered a pre-digested food. The bacteria make probiotics from the sugars and also make it 99% lactose free.

How to Make Kefir Cheese and Whey

9 Ways to Use Extra Kefir Whey

Whey The Liquid Gold in Kefir

Listen To My Podcast

Whey has been called liquid gold, and it has been used throughout history to help with many diseases. It's a superfood that can help with a myriad of ailments. Kefir cheese has many wonderful properties too. Let me show you the many properties and ways to use this wonderful food!

43 recipes for kefir cheese

Go ahead and make some kefir cheese, it's really easy to make. You'll just need a strainer, coffee filter, and some kefir. Scroll down to see the 43 recipes!

Acorn Squash with Wisdom Kraut
Apple Kefir Dressing
Blueberry Pecan Kefir Pancakes
Brownie Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
Chocolate Lavender Pots of Kefir Creme
Coconut Almond Kefir Ice Cream
Coconut Kefir Ice Cream
Cranberry Kefir Delish
Cream of Vegetable Soup (Thanksgiving Soup)
Creamy Kefir Broccoli
Cultured Gringo Dip
Garlic N Kefir Cauliflower Mash!
Gingerbread Bars with Kefir Frosting
Grinchy Kefir Smoothie
Kefir & Kombucha Fruit Salad
Kefir Cheese Ball
Kefir Claus
Kefir Festive Pie
Kefir Fruit Dip
Kefir Guacamole
Kefir Kraut Dip
Kefir Lemon Yule Log
Kefir Pistachio Pesto
Lemon Kefir Dressing
Lemon Kefir Ice Cream
Parmesan Crisps with Kraut and Cheese
Peanut Butter Kefir Ice Cream
Peppermint Kefir Frosting
Peppermint Kefir Ice Cream
Pepperpot Soup
Popeye Kefir Ice Cream
Probiotic Pickle Poppers
Pumpkin Kefir Cheese Ice Cream
Red, White, Blue and Cultured Too!!
Ron's Kefir Onion Dip
Root Beer Float
Spicy Kefir Veggie Dip 🌶
Sprouted Strawberry Scones with Lemon Kefir Topping
Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream
Baked Sweet Potato Topped with Cultured Goodness
The Fairest Salad in the Land
Tuscan Zucchini Dip
Whipped Kefir Topping

"Condiments are like old friends-highly thought of, but often taken for granted."

Marilyn Kaytor

We all eat condiments. They are easy to make, but most people just buy them.  Why don’t you let me help you make them in as little as five minutes? They will have billions of probiotics and are perfectly preserved for months. You will love them, your family won’t know they’re eating billions of good bacteria, and people will think you’re especially talented that you make your own condiments. Trust me, this is true.

Put the mayo on your sandwiches, dunk everything you love in mustard and ketchup, and learn to make your own salad dressing – and watch how it improves your health. You won’t believe how easy it is and how crazy good these condiments can be.

Probiotic Condiments

Mustard

Many condiments were originally fermented many years ago. The Romans were the first to experiment with mustard. They mixed grape juice (known as “must”) and ground up mustard seeds, and called it “burning must” (mustard seeds are hot!), or the two Latin words “mustum ardens” – hence the name must-ard.

Ketchup

Ketchup was originally a Chinese sauce made with fermented fish and spices called ke-chiap. There were no tomatoes in this sauce until a British scientist and horticulturalist, James Mease, revised it in 1812. He referred to tomatoes as “love apples.” His recipe contained tomato pulp, spices, and brandy.

Check out my Cranberry Ketchup in my new book Cultured Food in a Jar, plus 17 more condiment recipes that you will love! 💓 We have dipping sauces, kefir sour cream, kefir nut butters, kefir powdered cheese for popcorn, and lots of salad dressings and more. I love probiotic condiments! They’re so fun to make and eat.

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise was said to be the invention of one of the great chefs of France. Marie-Antoine Carême was the personal chef of the Duke de Richelieu in 1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon, his chef was creating a victory feast that included a sauce made of cream and eggs, or what we call mayonnaise.

Salad Dressings

Salad dressings date back to ancient times. The Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing and European Monarchs served enormous salads in the great courts with as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, with many exotic green ingredients. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that prepared dressings were showing up for purchase. Until then, you had to make them at home, which is easy to do. I can show you how to make them cultured, too. We have lots of dressings – French (seen in picture below), Caesar, Lemon, Apple, and Billion Bioticland Dressings (aka Thousand Island). They’re so easy to make!

20 Second Kombucha Mayonnaise

One of my very favorite condiments is  20 Second Kombucha Mayonnaise. I can’t live without this now and always have it in my fridge. It lasts for at least a couple of months or longer and because it’s so good, I put it in so many things. You eat condiments all the time, so make ones with probiotics and stop buying the ones with preservatives and additives. I have a 20 Second Kombucha Mayo video that will Change Your Life. Commercial mayonnaise can be loaded with all kinds of things that aren’t good for you and you can have mayo in 20 seconds with my recipe. Check out the video!

Listen To My Podcast

Years ago, condiments were all made by fermenting them. The probiotics preserved them while improving the consumer’s health and digestion. Learn how you can make these delicious condiments, too.

Here are sixteen condiment recipes, and I have many more recipes in my book. Don't buy the ones at the store when you can make ones that your family will love. It's an easy and delicious way to sneak probiotic foods into your family's diet.

Check out more condiments on my recipe page. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Apple Kefir Dressing
Billion Bioticland Dressing (Thousand Island)
Cultured Ketchup
Fermented French Dressing
Fermented Garlic
Fermented Jalapeños
Fermented Sweet Peppers
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
Kefir Caesar Dressing
Kefir Nutella
Kombucha Mayonnaise
Kombucha Marinade
Kombucha Vinegar
Lemon Kefir Dressing
Mustard
SCOBY Garlic Dressing

I’ve received several emails from people who have been greatly helped by cultured foods in regards to kidney health. More and more medical research is showing great benefits to using probiotics for kidney health. New probiotic supplements have been developed to specifically treat the kidneys, and there have been remarkable results. Certain strains of probiotics can gobble up urea, uric acid, creatinine, and many other toxins that are not being eliminated by underperforming kidneys. As the healthy bacteria grow and multiply, they consume more and more of these poisonous substances, reducing the serum uremic toxin levels in people with compromised kidney function. 1

It was quite a surprise when people started emailing me about cultured foods helping them with everything from kidney stones to not needing dialysis. This was thrilling to me because I never knew there was a connection. Not only are people seeing improvement in kidney function, but they are also seeing that cultured foods can help prevent kidney stones.

Here’s one of my favorite emails about cultured foods and kidney health:

I wrote to you a couple of months ago desperate for some help. My kidney doctor had just told me that my kidneys were functioning at 20 percent and I needed to choose which form of dialysis I would prefer. It was a death sentence to me. I have had several health problems through the years, and this was heading for a crash really soon!

I had asked you if you had ever heard of anyone who had tried this cultured food and drink way of life with any results of repairing kidney function and you told me not that you had heard of, but you gave me encouragement to try it anyway. In my grief and despair I decided to do just that. Donna, I went back to the kidney care doctor just recently and he just kept shaking his head and said he didn’t understand how or why this way worked, but that not only had I lost weight in the two months since I last saw him, but my kidney function went UP 10 percent!!!!! Yay God!

He said he had never heard of this happening before. The nurse came back in after the visit and said in all the years she had worked for him she had never seen him speechless like that. All this, Donna, after only doing it for approximately 1 1/2 months!

Kidneys And Probiotics

How Kidney Stones Form

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the urinary tract when there are high levels of certain substances such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid.  For about 80 percent of the Americans who have kidney stones, this substance is calcium oxalate. While this is naturally found in urine, calcium oxalate and the other substances found in kidney stones do not normally cause problems because they are at a relatively low concentration. They usually pass through the body and are disposed of in urine. However, when they reach high concentrations the body isn’t able to pass all of them, so they form into kidney stones. There are many ways to treat kidney stones, including surgical removal or the use of shock waves to break up the stone into smaller, passable pieces, but these treatments don’t address why they develop in the first place.

Bacterium that helps degrade oxalate

There is one bacterium naturally found in the digestive tract, Oxalobacter formigenes (O. formigenes), that has been shown to degrade oxalate, thus preventing kidney stones. Its levels vary depending on gut acidity and salts, and in some individuals, it cannot be detected. It is also very susceptible to commonly used antibiotics. In one study, adult volunteers who ingested a dose of O. formigenes had a reduced concentration of oxalate in their urine.2 While it is not known if O. formigenes is in cultured foods, another study showed that bacteria strains in cultured foods could be just as effective at reducing oxalate concentrations. This was seen in a four-week study in which six patients with major risks for kidney stones received a daily probiotic containing L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. brevis, S. thermophilus, and B. infantis—all of which are found in cultured foods. The results showed a great reduction of oxalates in all six subjects.3 Another study, done by the California Dairy Research Foundation and Dairy and Food Culture Technologies, got similar results in a study of ten people. 4

Another Life Touched

Just this week a woman posted on my FB page at Donna Schwenk’s Cultured Food Life regarding her golden retriever who was experiencing kidney failure. It warmed my heart and made me thankful for foods that can help heal and make us well – not only ourselves, but our furry friends too.

Donna, My healthy 7-year-old golden retriever fell really ill all of a sudden in October 2017.

He was so weak he couldn’t even get up, total loss of appetite (which isn’t him at all).

We rushed him to the vet. The vet ran a series of tests on him and diagnosed him with Stage 4 kidney failure. We found it so hard to believe that just 24 hours earlier he was so healthy and happy and now he was suffering from end-stage kidney failure.

The vet didn’t know what caused it or how this could have happened to our dog but basically told us that there are no treatments for such an advanced stage of kidney failure in animals and we will just need to try to keep him as “comfortable” as possible from now on. The vet also informed us that she has never seen any pets recovering or surviving Stage IV kidney failure. So we were told to be prepared for the worst.

However, I knew in my heart that kefir would heal my dog. As soon as we brought my dog home from the vet, we immediately fed him milk kefir using a syringe as he had no appetite whatsoever. The very next morning, we took our dog back to the vet for a check-up and the test results showed that his kidney functions had improved a little.

We were so encouraged by this – we continued feeding him kefir a few times a day for a week and by the end of the week, we took our dog back to the vet for another check-up. The test results showed that his kidney functions were back to normal! This was just after a week of taking kefir daily. The vet was dumbfounded. We were so, so, so happy and thankful and grateful for the kefir miracle!

Our dog has remained healthy ever since that “health scare” and we continue to feed him kefir.

I love these foods for all they can do and I hope that someday soon they will help you in a way you will never forget. I’m gonna go give my dogs a hug, and thank my kefir that sits on my kitchen counter for all it does for me day in and day out.