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Kefir
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Does anyone use "real" kefir (not the packets, but the real growning grains) for their recovery and intestinal health? I am loving what it is doing for me even though it has been only a few months and it takes awhile for the probiotics to take hold in your intestines and clean them out. Just wondering if anyone else has more experience with this wonderful stuff.

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Lisa,

I don't use Kefir at all but started looking it up after reading your post. I'm looking hard for some natural solutions to general GI health issues. I was treated with a lot of antibiotics years ago for a tonsil infection and don't think my GI tract has ever recovered. Plus, now I find out I should never have been eating gluten and I also have MS.

So you think its been good for you? Is this something you buy in the healthfood store? What brand do you get? Lots of questions, but I'd love to hear what you've found with this.

Jen

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Jen,

Hi, sorry it took my so long to check back to the site and find out you had posted on this. The answer is YES, kefir has helped me more than anything else I have done to improve my situation which is very much like yours. No, you don't have to buy anything...good news eh? The only money you might have to spend is shipping to get some of the culture "grains" sent to you, people in the kefir community share their extra grains as they grow. I don't have any extra right now or I would send you some, tomorrow when I have some time I will post the link so that you can request some if you would like. Health food stores sell packets of dried culture that is only a few strains of bacteria/yeast that are contained in traditional kefir, it is expensive and does not have the ability to grow but loses strength quickly. There may be some of the benefit over and above yogurt but probably not much.

Kefir cultures milk into a kind of drinkable yogurt, but tastes very unique, odd at first but by about the 2nd or 3rd drink people are usually addicted. It has a taste somewhat like yogurt but with so many more strains of probiotics there is also a yeasty taste (kind of bread like, great when you miss homemade bread) and a little bite as well...I always want everything sweetened, but this I crave plain and I mean CRAVE it.

As to specifics of how it has helped me, my depression and SAD are gone, my sleep is much better, my immune system is gaining strength all the time (finally!), my nerves are sooooo much better, anxiety too, my hormonal imbalances are recovering (Maca is an herb that works wonders in that department as well if you have problems in that area, balances the whole system, thyroid included), my digestion is doing good and I am fine with dairy again. The dairy digestion is a large part of Celiac as you probably know, kefir "pre-digests" the milk so that you can get the nutrients out of it as well as adding the probiotics to your intestines to restore your digestion and immune system. Fab stuff! I can't say enough about it! I was looking for something to help with my Candida originally, I have been told that it takes about 6 months for the probiotics in kefir to colonize the intestines and kick the Candida out, I have been drinking it since July 1st and I am doing so much better all around I can't tell you, it did take a couple of months to really start seeing good improvement but I noticed some right away.

Hope this helps, gotta go now, more tomorrow.

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I concur. Kefir is great. My wife made some from the grains this summer but then we decided to go dairy free. I spent 10 days on IV antibiotics last year because of a ruptured appendix. My gut was a mess after not eating or drinking for a week. When I came home, I drank a lot of kefir. We didn't make it then; we just bought it at the the health food store. I really liked the raspberry flavor on breakfast cereal. All I can say was that it felt like it was helping.

My first appointment with a GI doc about my gluten intolerance is tomorrow. If he or she says it's OK, we will probably make kefir again. I don't think it was very hard.

If there is a health food store near you, it might be worth buying a quart just to check it out. It's refrigerated so you might not be able to mail order it.

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O.k. guys, the link to the Yahoo Health discussion board that is kefir dedicated:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Kefir_making/

If you post a need for grains (which are the "real" culture that grows, so once you have it and take care of it properly you are in business for life!) people will respond with grains they can send you and let you know what they need for shipping and handling. Or if you prefer you can contact the gal that sent me mine, her name is Jennifer Youngblood email is jharyou@sbcglobal.net and she sent me both kombucha if your familiar with that, and kefir culture, I sent her $10. Best ten bucks I ever spend in my life!

There is plenty of info on the kefir board but here are a few interesting facts:

If you like yogurt but worry about the gluten content, or just want to make your own, a lot of people are using Kefir grains now. These work like magic. You have these "grains", which look like pieces of rubber popcorn but are actually a "mother" colony such as is used in making vinegar. You put the grains in a jar, add milk (any milk) and cover with a piece of cloth and a rubberband. No heating, no sterilization. Let it sit for 2 days. Instant yogurt-drink! It is much, much easier than yogurt, and the probiotics in it are better. It colonizes the gut (which yogurt doesn't) and protects it. The grains are infinitely re-usable: they multiply, in which case you can give some to your friends (kind of like friendship bread).

It is VERY strong and you need to take just a little at first, esp. if you don't eat yogurt usually, but then you can use all you make. I use it in smoothies (it makes GREAT smoothies) and for recipies that call for yogurt or buttermilk, and salad dressings. Added to cookies it makes them very soft and nice. You can also strain it and make cheese, or use half-and-half and make sour creme. You can buy kefir at some health food stores, but again, it costs more and really, it is EASY to make. It REALLY works on gut problems: much, much more so than yogurt. It also has a lot of vitamins that are not in milk, esp.B vitamins and vitamin K. Kefir keeps fine at room temperature even, so it travels well.

Both kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products, but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there.  But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match. 

    Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

    Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. 

    Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, invalids and the elderly, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders.

    In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with healing and maintenance functions. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also offers an abundance of calcium and magnesium, which are also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly profound calming effect on the nerves. Kefir's ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

    Kefir is rich in Vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin which aids the body's assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity.   

Ohio State University News Release

For lactose intolerant adults, drinking fermented milk either eliminated or drastically reduced symptoms related to lactose intolerance. Researchers think that microbes in this fermented milk

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Hi Lisa,

the day i have read your post, i got on e-bay and i ordered the kefir grains, as well as the water kefir grains and the kombucha tea.

I already knew what probiotics could do good for me since i started to buy bio-k + livings probiotics, a company based in my location. One intake equals like if i would have eaten 100 yogurts. And it surely helped me, in particular for not having anymore problems with fruit acidity and to have a better absorbtion.

since, i did a batch of kefir and water-kefir, the doms kefir recipes that we can found on the internet. water kefir taste good, it taste like juice.

on the other hand, the original kefir that i made with goat milks (because twice the amount of lactoferin and caprylic acid than cow's milk). i would say i definitely need to improve the recipe because it does not taste good. At least, i know it is damn good for health since jordan ruben say he healed himself with goat milk probiotics. And may be making his home kefir was the thing.

so thank's again for thoses tips, you probably are the one who helped me the most with your intelligents posts.

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LUAP,

Ohhh, I am so glad! It is nice to hear that someone else is getting the results I have gotten, it has been the most helpful to me as well. I don't know about you, but after all the mulitude of things I have tried in my life it is nice to be finally finding out what you need to get things turned around...I thought I was doomed to being disabled for the rest of my life and now I am taking on life again. Amazing!

I hope your life keeps getting better and better and that all of us can find our way back to health.

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Another place to look for Kefir (pre-made, the milk version) is at Asian food markets. My wife (native of Russia) grew up on the stuff and finds it imported/stocked at the local Asian market.

For those beginning to do their own cooking, asian markets are also a great place to find those "unique" flours such as tapioca, potato, rice, etc. They are in larger quantities and MUCH cheaper than those little packages found at HF stores.

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Good info Greg, know of any Asian markets online? I am in Montana...not much of an Asian population here unfortunately and I can't find any place that sells those flours at a better price.

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Good info Greg, know of any Asian markets online? I am in Montana...not much of an Asian population here unfortunately and I can't find any place that sells those flours at a better price.

Sorry, can't help you much with an on-line Asian market, maybe someone else might chime in.

Are you in a rural area in Montana? Here's the only reason I ask: A poster on another Celiac board lives in a rural area in southern New Mexico (my state). She says there's a rural Co-Op market in the area where she finds all kinds of flours (gluten-free) in bulk. Don't know if this will help, just passing it along.

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Where do you get gluten-free Kefir grains?

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You've got great responses! Just chiming in to say, we make kefir (water kefir and dairy kefir) as well as kombucha, yogurt, and fermented veggies. You can order grains from Cultures for Health or you can get them from someone in your area who makes kefir. People are usually happy to help.

We've found probiotic foods to play an important part in our healing process. I don't think these foods alone would have helped the situation much, though. We changed our diet in more ways than just this - all whole, organic foods, no grains, lots of broth, only specific carbohydrates, etc. We're using the GAPS diet.

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Does anyone use "real" kefir (not the packets, but the real growning grains) for their recovery and intestinal health? I am loving what it is doing for me even though it has been only a few months and it takes awhile for the probiotics to take hold in your intestines and clean them out. Just wondering if anyone else has more experience with this wonderful stuff.

My partner spent many years suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and physicians were completely unable to help him. I am a nurse. Two years ago, I read an interesting article about research being done with kefir and IBS symptoms. The results were promising, and since he had tried everything else without success, I thought that we should give it a shot.  I bought kefir at our local natural foods market and had my partner drink a four ounce glass every day for six weeks. It worked like a charm! We were both amazed at the complete turn around. He stopped drinking the kefir and did fine for a while, but then had a slight relapse about six months after his "cure".  We once again did the six week treatment and he has been completely free of IBS symptoms since that time! Considering that he had spent 25 years with horrible symptoms and uncontrollable diarrhea, the turn around was phenomenal. He no longer takes daily doses of Immodium and Lomotil and has been completely free of IBS symptoms for about 2 years now.  Regarding Celiac disease, I have read that kefir can lessen the severity of bowel symptoms, but I haven't seen anyone claiming that it will cure the disease.  I have a friend who has just been diagnosed though, and I am going to recommend the kefir six week program to him to see if it helps.

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It seems like kefir cured my celiac.  I had an endoscopy scheduled that for various reasons took 3 months to get done. In those 3 months, I ate gluten daily.  The endoscopy studied healthy cilia, and the biopsies were normal. I was a confirmed celiac with blood tests and a prior endoscopy.  I am not sure it's cured, but I have no symptoms and all the fastest were normal. This is my favorite time of year for makingkefir, it comes out so luscious and creamy. 

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I hope you're still staying gluten-free, Prescott. The kefir may have helped speed the healing, but there IS no cure for celiac. It's possible that the damage done from three months on gluten didn't show in the endoscopy but believe me, if you keep eating gluten it will eventually.

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