Tag Archives: probiotics

HOW TO MAKE DAIRY FREE KEFIR

A few weeks ago on Intstagram I shared that I have been making my own almond milk kefir and a few people asked me to write a post about how I make it.

I am a fan of eating probiotics because they do wonders for you gut.  A few months ago I tried adding dairy based lactose-free kefir in to my diet and to be honest it constipated me in the worst way.  Because of that I began to research dairy-free kefir alternatives and came across The Cultured Food Life blog which is a wealth of information.

I was and still am shocked at how easy it is to make kefir if you follow a few key steps and avoid using anything metal.  When I first started making kefir my results were hit and miss and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that I was either stirring the mixture with one of my metal chopsticks or using mason jars with metal lids…I later learned that using metal is a no no because the kefir culture reacts poorly to it.

In order to avoid metal lids I ordered THESE jars from The Jar Store (such good prices) and haven’t had a problem since, though I will say that pouring the kefir out of these jars can be a little messy (live and learn).

Almond Milk Kefir How to Recipe Numbered

METHOD

 (IMAGE 1) Pour 4 cups non-dairy milk (I use almond milk) into your glass vessel along with 1 packet of freeze dried Kefir starter (like THIS one) and 1 tsp of sugar.  Since we are not using dairy based milk that contains sugars, you need to add some, but don’t worry about any extra carbs because the culture will eat the sugar.  Stir using a wooden or plastic spoon.

 (IMAGE 2) Place the lid on the vessel and allow it to sit on the counter for 12-24 hours until it looks like image 2.  How long it takes for the kefir to mature will depend on how warm it is, etc.  Once the kefir is done place it in the fridge.

 (IMAGE 3) This is what the kefir looks like after it has been in the fridge for a day (it thoroughly disgusts my kids!).

 (IMAGE 4) Stir-up the kefir and you are good to go.  I use it mostly in smoothies, but have also used it in my homemade protein bars.

 

It is really simple to make more kefir.  When you have about 1/2c of kefir remaining, add 1 tsp of sugar, 4 cups of non-dairy milk, and leave it out on the counter again.  It will take a few hours more for the kefir to cure since it started out cold from having been in the refrigerator.  I can make kefir this way 5-6 more times before starting the process all over again with a new packet of freeze dried starter.

I have used several brands of yogurt/kefir starter and they all have worked well.

I am interested in trying to make kefir with real kefir grains because once you have those you can use them indefinitely.

Happy culturing!

 

 

image above of different types of non-dairy kefir is from Cultured Food Life.

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Filed under Breakfast, Drinks, Gluten Free, Nuts, Recipes, Smoothie, Smoothie / Shake, Vegan

ASK GRETTIE – All About Probiotics

This is my most recent Ask Grettie Column for Chic Vegan…

I have been hearing so much about probiotics lately.  I understand their value, but am wanting some more information.  How do I choose a good probiotic?  So many of them have soy in them and I generally try to avoid soy.  Your thoughts?

~ Sirica

Hi Sirica!

Probiotics are very beneficial.  I personally take them multiple times a day and give them to my family as well.  Our gut is a large part of our immune system and according to Brenda Watson, “[T]he gut is the root and core of our total general well being.  It’s the place where food is broken down into the building blocks of our cells.  It’s the first line of defense against invading pathogens and infectious diseases.” Our bodies are filled with bacteria…some good, some bad.  With probiotics we can tip the scales in our favor by introducing large amount of GOOD bacteria that will overrun the bad.

There are many different ways to ingest probiotics:

1.  Fermented foods

The existence of fermented foods predates recorded history.  So many cultures utilize fermented foods in their diets such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and yogurt (I favor the coconut milk variety).  Eating fermented foods is a great way to obtain beneficial bacteria.

2.  Probiotic drinks

Good Belly and KeVitaare two companies that have burst onto the probiotic scene.  My one criticism of Good Belly is that they add sugar to their drinks.  KeVita on the other hand does not since it’s drinks are sweetened with organic stevia.

3.  Probiotic capsules or powders

I recently attended the Natural Products Expo West and was able to talk to many probiotic manufacturers.  I learned so much from them.  Many of the brands that have soy in their products actually were able to win me over by explaining that their probiotics are “grown” on fermented soy and do not use.  I am a person who tries to limit the soy in my diet, but I do see the benefits of including fermented soy in one’s diet and I do so about once a week.

Here is what New Chapter has to say about the soy issue:

Although true soy allergies are very rare, many people have difficulty digesting unfermented soy. Whole, unprocessed soy contains nutrient blocking factors, such as phytate, which interfere with its potential benefits. Fermented soy, on the other hand, agrees with almost everyone, even people with soy sensitivities. Probiosis of soy also changes isoflavones from inert forms into their activated aglycone genestein, dadzein, and glycitein forms.

Yes. New Chapter’s Probiotics deliver non-GMO organic soy in its fermented whole-food form, similar to miso, tempeh and natto. Unlike unfermented soy or isolated soy components, these traditional soy foods have been consumed for thousands of years and are associated with the health and longevity of traditional Asian cultures.  Many research studies suggest that regular consumption of fermented soy is associated with numerous health benefits, including the maintenance of normal cell growth in breast tissue.*

Yes. A recent peer-reviewed scientific review of fourteen clinical trials examining the effects of soy on the thyroid concluded that in the absence of an iodine deficiency, there is little evidence that soy foods or soy isoflavones adversely affect thyroid function and that “hypothyroid individuals need not avoid soy foods.” In fact, some studies suggest that soy may actually promote normal thyroid cell growth. To help ensure healthy thyroid function, our Probiotic Nutrients™ contain a whole-food form of iodine.

I have had a lot of exposure to probiotic capsules and powders and recommend the following (each of which I have tried):

Renew Life Ultimate Flora, New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora, Ortho Molecular Ortho Biotic, ThreeLac (great for candida issues), and probiotics by Klaire Labs.

Your body may go through an adjustment period when beginning probiotics which can range anywhere from a little gas to more frequent bowel movements.  If you have a lot of symptoms, scale back and take less until your body adjusts.  I recommend starting slowly and building-up from there.  For example, if a bottle states that the dose is 2 capsules, use 1 capsule for a few weeks and then add in the second capsule.

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at askgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, Gut Health, Published Work, Vegan, Vegetarian

PRODUCT REVIEW – KeVita Probiotic Drink

I was given a sample of KeVita’s Mango Coconut Probiotic drink at the Natural Products Expo West and have become a real fan.  I really enjoy the subtle fruit flavor of the drink and the yogurt essence that the probiotics and fermentation give it.  Since the drink is fermented it has a slight bubble to it, but not nearly as violent as the carbonation in soda.   

All of KeVita’s drinks are raw, dairy free, nut free, soy free, gluten free, and vegan.  Many of the drinks are organic as well.  Per KeVita:

Our first three flavors are certified organic, the coconut flavors are certified as made with organic ingredients, which means they are made with at least 70% organic ingredients. We use certified organic cold plant extracts, sweeteners, fruit purees, flavors and Certified Organic KeVita™ Culture.

 

What is KeVita™?

KeVita™ is an organic probiotic superdrink.

KeVita™ is made using a fresh new approach. Water or tea is combined with Certified Organic KeVita™ culture, a blend of beneficial bacteria, healthy yeast cultures and a small amount of organic cane juice.

KeVita™ contains a highly absorbable strain of probiotics originating from kefir derived cultures. For thousands of years these cultures have been cherished for supporting beneficial digestive flora.

KeVita™ is…

  • filled with 20 billion naturally occurring live, active probiotics per bottle, at time of bottling
  • available in 6 luscious flavors
  • refreshing and thirst-quenching
  • 3 flavors certified organic, 3 flavors made with organic ingredients
  • dairy, gluten and soy free.
  • made with LOVE in small batches in Southern California

KeVita™ contains active cultures so keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy!

I have not tried their first three flavors (Lemon Ginger, Living Greens, and Green Tea), but have heard great reviews about those flavors as well.

I would definitely suggest giving these drinks a try…especially if you are a soda addict since this is a MUCH healthier alternative.

For more facts about KeVita click here.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Product Reviews, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian