We all know what coconut milk is, but what about kefir? You’ve probably heard this word come up once or twice if you’ve joined the health food community. But have you heard of “coconut milk” and “kefir” together?
If you’re like plenty of other people, trying strange-sounding new products may terrify you. But what if I told you that this probiotic drink had great benefits for your gut health? Gut health is something a lot of people struggle with due to dietary choices and other factors, including stress.
So, what exactly is kefir and how do you make it using coconut milk? What benefits will it give your body? We’re going to give you the lowdown, let’s get started.
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What Is Coconut Milk Kefir?
The word “kefir” originates from the word “keyif.” Keyif is a Turkish word that means “good feeling.” You’ll see why after we discuss its benefits.
Similar to kombucha, which is made from tea, kefir is also fermented but made with a milk base. Close to yogurt, which we know has health positives, kefir contains numerous yeasts and healthy bacterias that are useful for your gut.
It’s rich in protein, calcium, B vitamins and, most importantly, probiotics. When you hear “coconut milk kefir,” it’s nothing extra fancy. It’s still the same fermented drink but made from coconut milk rather than dairy milk.
When making kefir, you use kefir grains and infuse them with your milk of choice, ours being coconut milk. Now you’re curious about how it’s done, right? We get into that further below so stay with us.
What Are Kefir Grains?
Kefir grains are the grains used to aid in the fermentation process. They’re said to have originated in the Caucasus mountains and come with quite the back story.
Some websites tell a tale of the prophet Mohammed gifting the people of Caucasus these grains and warning them not to share. He warned that if they shared with anybody, the healthful properties would vanish. Eventually, the Russians convinced them to share and it has become a Russian staple ever since.
While we can’t verify the backstory and legend that surrounds this mysterious super grain, we’re sure glad it exists.
How to Find Kefir Grains
I don’t think any of us are planning on taking a trip to the Caucasus mountains anytime soon, so where can we get these grains? There’s no need to pack your bags and board a plane.
Due to the surge in popularity of probiotic beverages, these grains are now widely available. You’ll find them at health food stores and also big chain stores, like Target or Walmart. The upside is that they’re not very expensive to buy either.
If you’re thrifty and you don’t want to keep buying kefir grains when you run out, there is a way to make your own. While you won’t be able to grow them in your backyard, there is a way to multiply the grains in your own kitchen.
Benefits of Drinking Coconut Milk Kefir
Because coconuts are already a hub for nutrients, using coconut milk to make kefir only increases the benefits that are already there.
Here are some other benefits of coconuts:
- Dietary fiber. Fiber is important for feeling full and controlling your weight.
- Copper. Copper isn’t just in pennies. It works with iron in your body to form red blood cells and aids in iron absorption among other things.
- Selenium. Selenium helps aid in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, and DNA synthesis. It also helps protect against oxidative stress and damage.
- Iron. This is important for blood cell production and oxygen delivery to your cells.
The milk itself gives your body a fair amount of sodium and healthy sugars, along with a hefty amount of potassium. Important for fostering proper bone health, potassium helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
The kefir will also have plenty of probiotics for you. If you’re struggling with gut issues like diarrhea or IBS, consuming probiotics can help alleviate it.
Your body is full of bacteria, both healthy and unhealthy. Because there’s no way to get rid of all the bad bacteria, probiotics offer good bacteria that help balance everything.
They can also help relieve and prevent infections in the bladder, vagina, and respiratory system.
To top it off, it’s great for anybody who is lactose-intolerant or struggles with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It’s naturally gluten-free and, because you’re using coconut milk, it’s dairy-free too.
Importance of Probiotic and Fermented Food
The process of fermentation was originally created to preserve food for longer periods of time. However, more recently, people have realized the immense health benefits fermented foods can have on our gut health.
Some of the more popular fermented foods and beverages are kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Each has its own ingredients, but they all go through a similar process.
Fermented foods and beverages are made from controlled microbial growth and enzymatic conversions of different food components. They form a substance with a gelatin-like texture where live organisms can grow. This is where the healthy bacteria comes from.
As mentioned already, when you consume probiotics, your intestinal system improves due to the balancing of bacteria in your body. It has positive effects on your immune system as well, because of the balancing aspect.
Other benefits of including probiotics in your diet are enhancing the availability of nutrients in your body and reducing lactose intolerance.
Studies have shown that consuming probiotic and fermented food may help decrease several common health problems. This includes bowel issues like constipation and diarrhea, bladder infections, and even eczema in children.
As gross as the idea of fermenting food sounds on the surface, these benefits certainly outweigh any negativity associated with it.
How to Make Your Own Coconut Milk Kefir
Despite its exotic-sounding name, kefir is actually really easy to make at home by yourself. All you need are these ingredients:
- A quarter cup of kefir grains.
- 2.5 cups of coconut milk.
That’s right, two ingredients and you’re practically done. It really can’t get much easier than that.
Some other basic equipment is needed in order to properly make your own kefir:
- Stirring spoon.
- A glass jar.
- Something to loosely cap off the jar. This can be a paper towel, coffee filter, or a small piece of cheesecloth.
- Rubber band. You will need this to hold the cloth cover in place.
If you choose to use the lid of the jar, be sure not to screw it on too tight. This will ensure proper air flow into the mixture.
Once you have everything you need, just dump the coconut milk into the jar and mix in the kefir grains with your spoon. After that, you’ll want to let your kefir ferment for 18–24 hours in a dark space, to allow the probiotics to do their work. Once it’s sour, store it in the fridge.
How to Incorporate Kefir Into Your Diet
While some may take to kefir right from the get-go, other people may need some more time for their bodies to adjust. It’s possible you might need to build up a tolerance to it before consuming it on a regular basis.
Do you like the texture and consistency of yogurt, or other foods, like cottage cheese? If not, kefir may take some getting used to it. All’s not lost, though.
If you aren’t used to consuming probiotics, we recommend starting slowly. Drinking too much can lead to bowel issues, such as diarrhea or constipation. It may also induce vomiting.
There isn’t much scientific information on the correct consumption of kefir, so you should consult with your doctor if you’re worried about intolerance.
We suggest 4 ounces in the morning before you have breakfast. You can gradually build up your intake until you’re able to drink an 8-ounce glass.
If you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, like gas and bloating, just know that they’re only temporary. You’ll probably feel these if your normal diet doesn’t regularly include probiotic foods, like yogurt.
These unwelcome symptoms should only last a few days, up to a few weeks. If you’re feeling extreme discomfort, though, it’s worth consulting with your doctor.
Once you’ve built up your tolerance, we suggest drinking an 8-ounce glass every day to keep your gut healthy.
The Kefir Rundown
As odd as the process of fermentation and kefir-making sounds, it’s not much different from making other probiotic foods we know. Plus, the benefits are numerous.
We like kefir because it offers a new way of introducing healthy bacteria to your gut. It can also be mixed with just about any fruit or grain to make a yummy breakfast or lunch option.
Not only will it do what we just mentioned, but it’s also dairy and gluten-free. This is a major plus for all you lactose intolerant and celiac-sensitive people out there.
What are your thoughts on kefir? Are you sold or not so much? We want to hear your opinion, yay or nay.
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