Kefir is boosting my immune system

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mbofov, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    About 2 or 3 months ago I started making my own kefir, and now drink about a cup a day. I make it using powdered goat's milk I get from Vitacost, and got kefir grains and instructions from kefirlady.com - it is extremely easy to make.

    Anyways, I've noticed recently that I am getting sick less and getting over being sick noticeably quicker. Before starting the kefir I was getting sick at the drop of a hat, and getting sick each time I crashed and taking forever to get over it. I think the kefir is really giving my immune system a boost. I've read several places that something like 60% or 70% of the immune system is in the gut so this makes sense. Before I started making kefir, I did eat yogurt 3 times a week or so, but I think this stuff is much better. And I took probiotics before, but they never helped much either. The home-made is cheaper than buying it in the store plus I don't add sugar etc. so is more nutritious.

    Health food stores do sell a form of dry kefir grains but they are not as good, you can only make 5 or 6 batches with them. The stuff from kefirlady.com are live kefir grains and just keep growing (you have to eat the extra or give them away or just keep making bigger batches!)

    This is huge for me. I've tried most herbs recommended for boosting the immune system with little results. Do go slow when you first start drinking it. I started out drinking 2 cups a day and my lower digestive tract let me know pretty quickly that it was having trouble adjusting (diarrhea). But I cut back to 1 cup a day and within a few days everything was fine, and still is.

    I can't recommend this enough -

    Mary
  2. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I have been seriously thinking about doing this, but have a few concerns....

    -the space needed (it sort of sounds like it can kind of take over once you get it going, and I don't really have anyone to give extra to & I truly have no extra room here at all)

    -the cost (not of the grains, but of the milk, coconut milk, whatever you choose to feed it with)

    -the work required (some say that it really takes very little, but others seem to make it sound like kind of a lot and at this point, I really do not have any extra energy for anything - I do not eat anything that requires much cooking/cleaning)

    -the fact that my body got really, really messed up with probiotics (I know that sounds weird, but at the time nothing else had changed and as soon as I stopped taking them I felt substantially better, resumed taking them and felt worse, stopped and felt better....then a month or so later, I found an article by a respected CFS doc - sorry can't rememebr who off hand - that explained that one of the probiotics - I think it is acidophiles - can actually cause problems for some people with CFS bc it can increase the amt of H2S in our bodies, as well as the amt of lactic acid....that totally fits with how I felt on it)(since then I have also read a of a few others who have had similar problems)

    -the taste (I have not tried it, but I do know that I do not like the taste of plain yogurt at all, but I don't want to have to add a bunch of unhealthy stuff to kefir to make it tolerable)

    anyway, considering that my stomach has been getting so bad over the last several months that I now am extremely limited as to what I can manage to eat w/o having it come back up, I have been thinking that maybe kefir would be good to try to restore some balance internally....but for the reasons I just mentioned I am a little hesitant

    anyway, not trying to hijak this thread, but any input from anyone who has been making kefir would be welcome
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I'd be interested to see how your girlfriend makes her kefir - could you ask her for the recipe? I love coconut ....

    Mary
  4. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    1. It does not take a lot of space. I have a tiny (very tiny) kitchen. The only space it takes up is enough for a quart glass (or even smaller) container. Yeah, the kefir grains grow, but to keep them in check you can eat the extra ones or if you have no one to give them to and don't want to eat them, then toss them. You don't have to keep making more and more kefir. I just make one cup a day, and when the grains start to multiply, I just eat the extra. They're growing slowly right now, I think because it's been so cold. They multiply quite a bit faster in warm weather.

    2. I use powdered goat's milk because am allergic to cow's milk and the powdered is cheaper than fresh (from Vitacost). Whatever you use, you can make a small amount. Again, I just make a cup a day, so it's not too pricey. If you can tolerate milk, then the daily cost is 1 cup of milk.

    3. I make it daily. I don't have extra energy. All that's required is to strain it daily (pour it through a colander or strainer), and then I wash out the original container and put new milk and the old grains back in. Then you drink or refrigerate the kefir you've made until you're ready to drink it.

    4. I did fine on probiotics, so had no real problem with the kefir, apart from some diarrhea the first couple of days. You might react differently though since you responded badly to probiotics. You could try buying some kefir from the store and see how you do with it, although I don't think it would be the same as kefir you make yourself because of added sugar, etc. If you do make it, I would go slowly, maybe start wtih drinking 1/4 cup a day to see how you do.

    5. Re taste - well, with nothing added, it does taste pretty much like plain yogurt, which I don't mind. So you would have to add something, maybe fruit? to make it palatable for you. You wouldn't have to add a lot of stuff.

    As a Kefir Expert of almost 3 months standing, I can attest to the truth of the foregoing! To be honest, I am surprised at how easy it is. From what I've read, it's a lot easier to make than yogurt.

    To get the grains from kefirlady.com costs $20. It was worth it to me.

    Mary
  5. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    Hi Mary - You actually don't want to wash out the container each time you make a new batch of kefir. Just dump the grains back into the used container and add more milk. Believe it or not, you will get better kefir this way. I wash out my jar about once a month. Some people don't even do it that often. I learned this tip from Dom.

    You can buy kefir grains for much cheaper than $20. A lot of people will just charge for the cost of postage, and others will give away the grains for free if you pick them up locally.
  6. cynicaldog

    cynicaldog New Member

    I first tried kefir a few months ago when I bought a bottle at of Lifeway brand at Trader Joe's. I liked it but didn't want the expense of buying it premade on a regular basis, so I did some reading and ordered some grains from an eBay seller. I think I paid a total of $11 including postage for fresh grains (as opposed to dehydrated). I only received about two teaspoons of grains, but they're enough to ferment two quarts of milk. My partner and I try to drink kefir on a daily basis, but with only two of us one batch lasts about three days.

    AuntTammie, I wouldn't be at all concerned about the grains taking up too much space. You only require a tiny amount of grains to make kefir, and they don't multiply all that quickly. It's not like they'll take over a room or anything :) If you end up with extra grains, you can eat them, toss them away, feed them to a pet, put them in a compost pile, etc. Regarding the kefir-making process being work, I haven't found it to be time-consuming or tiring. I use a two-quart canning jar, put in milk, add the grains, and let it sit loosely covered in my oven (at room temperature, which is in the low 70s most of the time) for about 18 hours. When it's thickened I run the entire batch through a strainer, pouring it into another jar, and putting it a lid on it before it goes into the fridge. I then take the reserved grains out of the strainer and either start a new batch of kefir in the first jar (without rinsing it the jar or the grains), or put the grains in a small amount of milk (about 8 oz.) and put them in the fridge to hibernate. I don't spend more than 5 minutes on a batch of kefir -- the the grains do most of the work!

    As for taste, well, if you don't like plain yogurt you probably won't like kefir -- it's pretty sour and cheesy. However, it's a great base for fruit smoothies. I can drink it plain, but my partner hates it unflavored, so I toss it in the blender with a ripe banana, some frozen strawberries, and some sweetener. I'm sure it's got a lot of calories, (especially because I sweeten it and make it with whole milk), but it's also full of protein and fiber and vitamins, and it's really filling. There's no reason it can't be made with skim milk for fewer calories. Can you buy some kefir at the grocery store to try it? Lifeway brand is pretty easy to find, and they make tons of flavors (and their website has a coupon, http://www.lifeway.net/CustomerService/UserAccount.aspx).

    I think the most difficult thing about kefir is getting a feel for when it's ready. I over-fermented my first few batches and accidentally made kefir cheese (like a tangier cream cheese), so I ate it on crackers. My first batches were either too thin and runny or too thick and sour, but it turns out I was using too little milk. When I increased the amount of milk I managed to turn out a fabulous thick kefir, like a milkshake. Timing is key -- every batch is different depending on the room temperature, and letting the milk sit just a couple of hours too long can make a big difference in taste and consistency. I don't want to give the impression that there's "right" or "wrong" kefir -- the variations in consistency are only relevant to personal preference. Making smoothies with the kefir will cover all kinds of "mistakes" :)

    I've loved learning to make kefir and yogurt. I can't say I've felt as good as mbofov, but I haven't been drinking it for as long. There's tons of information about kefir online, but other than basics like "don't store it in a metal jar", and "don't ferment it with the lid on or it will carbonate", you really have to learn through doing, tasting, etc.

    (btw, I'd be happy to offer to mail grains to people if/when mine grow enough to share, but I don't have enough to spare yet. If you're still interested in kefir in a few months, feel free to send me a message to ask for grains!)
  7. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Thanks for the tip. I thought you were supposed to wash it daily. One less thing to do!

    I did try getting some grains from a website which had a long list of people who said they would give the grains away, for the cost of the postage. I e-mailed 3 or 4 of them and no one responded, so I ended up going with kefir lady - it was easier on me than to keep e-mailing hoping someone would respond.

    Mary
  8. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    Thanks for all the info....very good to know, and I think I will get some from the store first to see how my body handles it.....if it works, then I'll contact kefirlady and get some of my own
  9. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    thanks for the info.....I will definitely have to try some from the store to see how my body does with it, but if it's ok, then I think I will be making my own

    I had to laugh about your "taking over the room" comment.....from some of the things that I have read online elsewhere, i was starting to get the impression that the growth could kind of get out of control (maybe not quite that bad, but still....like I said, I do not have much space, so it is good to know that that won't be a problem)
  10. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Let us know how it goes if you give it a try. I still do get sick too much (e.g., every time I crash, which is too often), but I do get over it quicker now. A bug used to linger on average 2 weeks every time I crashed (so I would literally be sick almost all the time), and now I seem to get over it in a couple of days, and I just don't feel as sick as before, not as tired. So I hope with continued use, I'll keep improving. Also am going to start low-dose naltrexone this week, will be interesting to see what that does for my immune system too.

    Aunt Tammie - my sisters and I laughed a lot when I talked to them about taking care of the kefir grains, how you have to feed them, almost like little little pets, so then when you have to eat them, well, you can imagine ....

    Mary
  11. kat0465

    kat0465 New Member

    i also got my Grains from the kefirlady mary, and have been doing well on them. i didnt get the flu when a lot of friends & family were suffering with it.

    it s really easy to do if i can anybody can! when my grains grow a lot i freeze them until i can find someone to give them to. so if anybody is interested in some, let me know. and ill send them for the postage with some simple steps to making kefir.

    i have extra out the wazoo at the moment, also i find that when i drink at least a cup a day i am not bothered by constipation.

    i know it's not a good subject, but i suffered with it because of pain meds & some other things, i tried everything.but kefir is the only thingk that keeps me regular
    Kat
  12. kat0465

    kat0465 New Member

    better yet,i'll send them to you free, just sent what you think would be the postage(a couple dollars) to the WPI institute, or the pocket mony fund thing.

    whichever one you want to send to for research:)ill put them in the nail tomorrow :)
    Kat
  13. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    just bought some from the store....if my body does ok with them, I will start growing my own "little pets" (LOL Mary)

  14. juanc

    juanc New Member

    Mary,

    I understand that kefir grain does not grow when one uses powdered goat's milk to make kefir.
    What is your experience? Do you buy the goat's milk in bulk to get a better price?

    Thank you,

    Curt
  15. juanc

    juanc New Member

    Mary,

    I understand that kefir grain does not grow when one uses powdered goat's milk to make kefir.
    What is your experience? Do you buy the goat's milk in bulk to get a better price?

    Thank you,

    Curt
  16. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Kefir grains do grow with powdered goat's milk. That's what I use. I buy it from Vitacost, so not really in bulk but a lot cheaper than in the health food store (it's about $7.50 for a can which makes 12 cups)

    Mary

  17. juanc

    juanc New Member

    Mary,

    Thank you for the information. What is the ratio of powdered milk to water that you use on your kefir preparation?

    thank you,

    Curt
  18. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I follow the directions on the can - two scoops (scoop is enclosed in the can) of powdered goat milk for each cup of water. Sometimes I add a little more powder just for the heck of it.

    It is a little tricky to dissolve, like all powdered milk. I first stir it and then use a rubber spatula to sort of mash the remaining lumps into the water until it's dissolved. It works pretty good.

    Good luck!

    Mary