Grains of Goodness – Kefir
Kefir originates from the Caucasian mountains and the grains are made up of a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a mix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. These wonderful fermented grains contain an abundance of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Kefir also contains a rich and diverse range of microflora – an abundance of different species, not just one.
Nourish Kefir’s founder Deborah Carr started the business in September 2006, initially sourcing a producer of traditional kefir from Slovenia, and importing it into the UK under her Nourish Kefir label. She tells Thrive magazine about her passion for kefir and what motivated her to get going in the first place.
“My journey with kefir began in April 2006, when I started making my own at home. I had been suffering for years with IBS, and crohn’s disease, but then came across kefir by chance through a friend. It was completely new to me, but I was keen to find out if all of the information about kefir being good for digestive problems was really true? I wondered if drinking kefir could help too. It worked, better than anything else I had taken or done to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of bowel disease, and has helped me to return to a ‘normal’ life. After years of restricted foods I can eat a normal diet, I don’t need to avoid or cut out anything, it’s fantastic”!
“The business really started out of the idea that if kefir could help me it could help others. My journey with healing has been long and complicated, I think it is probably like this for many people. Digestive issues are unpleasant, exhausting, emotionally frustrating and complicated. People need to find solutions specific to their own needs that enable them to keep on living their lives and hopefully kefir can offer at the very least something natural to try”.
How do you make kefir?
“Although we were importing, I had always wanted to produce the kefir myself, and needed to learn how. People tried to put me off saying it would be too difficult to do! In some ways they were right, it has been a huge challenge; learning how to commercially produce kefir from live grains, to start a dairy with all the production equipment, to keep spreading the word about kefir and so on. Looking after the kefir grains is a joy, and has been a massive learning curve for me. They are wonderful living micro organisms that need to be looked after to grow and multiply and change! And of course our customers’feedback is so rewarding”. “There are many scientific studies that have been completed, around the world, investigating the effects of kefir on many aspects of health and its effects on differentdiseases, but in particular for the gastro –intestinal tract. As long ago as 1907 the famous scientist Elie Metchnikoff wrote about kefir in his 1907 book “The prolongation of life” as one of the possible reasons why the people of the Caucasus mountains were living more than 100 years”!
What’s special about kefir?
”Although we are not permitted by the EU to mention health benefits, what we can say is that kefir contains a rich and diverse range of microflora – an abundance of different species, not just one. It is a natural, organic food – it starts off as milk that is fermented with cultures to transform it into kefir. It’s slightly sour taste makes it acidic – but alkaline forming in the body. You can drink it morning, noon or night, with or without food. I enjoy it poured over muesli for breakfast, I always add extra walnuts and cacao nibs – it’s delicious!
Though I probably enjoy most the first sample of a new batch of kefir. It’s always wonderful to see the vessel full of kefir, all smooth and perfect, and I take a small scoop out and try it. I am still in awe of kefir, it truly is the miracle milk for me”!
Nourish kefir – www.nourishkefir.co.uk