Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated in the Black Caucasus Mountains of Russia. When the Russian government noted that the inhabitants of these mountains lived to a very healthy and vigorous old age, they sent an armed party into the mountains to retrieve some of the precious kefir grains used to make this unique microbiotic beverage. Due to the health benefits of kefir, it is now a billion euro industry in Russia and Eastern Europe. Kefir has only recently come to the UK, where it is now available to buy online.
Kefir is a tart, fizzy beverage similar to drinking yoghurt in texture and consistency, but much more powerful and better for you. Whereas yoghurt has “transient bacteria” that are killed by the digestive process, kefir has “non-transient” bacteria that survive the digestive process and powerfully impact the gut microbiome.
We’ve tried to give as much information as possible below, however, if you still have any questions please ask them in the comments box below and Shann will answer them 🙂
How do we make our kefir?
We make our goats milk kefir in the UK by fermenting pasteurised goats milk with live kefir grains, which look a bit like tiny squashy cauliflowers. Kefir grains are actually synergistic constellations of helpful yeast and bacteria and cannot be manufactured – they only grow organically from other kefir grains. They are living organisms, and will continually grow and divide indefinitely if you look after them properly.
To make it easier to understand, think of kefir as a little farm in a jar. We consider our kefir grains to be like little herd animals, just like our goats! We feed them what they like to eat – which is goats milk – and they give us their beautiful product – which is the drinking kefir.
On the farm we ferment our kefir in 50-litre stainless steel vats, similar to a microbrewery process. We add the kefir grains to the goats milk, allow to ferment for 24 – 36 hours, until the pH drops under 4.6, strain out the grains, and bottle the drinking kefir. The grains are retained, and fed more fresh milk, in a continuous fermentation process. We are licensed and regularly inspected by DEFRA and Environmental Health.
Why is our goats milk kefir so special?
We perform regular microbiology tests on our kefir to ensure that it remains perfectly safe and pure. Microbiologists have noted that our kefir is “microbiologically immaculate.” Because it is made with pasteurised goats milk, it can be consumed by pregnant women, infants and elderly people with compromised immune systems without anxiety.
If you are lactose-intolerant, don’t worry! The finished kefir is completely lactose free, as all lactose is consumed during fermentation. This means that kefir is one of the only dairy products that many lactose-intolerant people can enjoy.
As kefir grains are living organisms, they have unique bio-profiles. Our kefir grains are fed exclusively with goats milk, and therefore are unique to us and our farm, and are not for sale. We cannot vouch for the efficacy or power of any kefir besides our own, which has undergone extensive testing at Aberystwyth University. We took our advice in making our kefir from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, creator of the highly successful GAPS Nutritional Protocol.
Kefir nutrition can benefit both your gut and your skin. We suggest simultaneously drinking the goats milk kefir and applying it topically to the skin, in the form of our soaps and lotions.
What bacteria does our goats milk kefir contain?
In recent years, scientists across the globe have been examining the health benefits of gut bacteria. Research and knowledge in this area has exploded; we are discovering more every day about how these microbes can help improve health and prevent disease.
Lactobacillus is one of the most well known of these beneficial bacteria. Our goats milk kefir contains two separate strains of this powerful beneficial bacteria.
Researchers have found evidence that lactobacillus can help with intestinal problems, respiratory infections and some skin disorders. Some research suggests that it may even help with weight loss.
At the 2015 Congress of Dermatology, probiotic skin lotions were suggested as a solution to the harm done to the skin microbiome by harsh chemicals, sterilised skincare and the wear and tear of environmental toxins.
The combination of applying kefir internally (drinking kefir) and externally (soaps and lotions) can boost your skin’s ability to refresh and renew itself.
We work in association with Prof Jamie Newbold, Head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University. (link http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/ibers/ ) Prof. Newbold has done extensive testing on our goats milk kefir and established that it contains the following beneficial strains of bacteria and yeast:
- Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens strain ATCC 43761
- Lactobacillus kefiri gene for 16S rRNA, partial sequence, strain: NRIC 0586
- Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis strain Lor-MGB-YQ-2(1)
- Leuconostoc garlicum strain B/C-2
- Leuconostoc lactis gene for 16S rRNA, partial sequence, strain: ZU 9
- Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Saccharomyces exiguus
- Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Kluyveromyces lactis
- Ascomycota Pezizomycetes Pezizales Ascobolaceae Saccobolus
- Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Pichia fermentans (T)
Ongoing testing and studies on our kefir are currently being performed at Aberystwyth University, as we work with scientists and the Innovation Sector of the Welsh Assembly Government to explore the potential health benefits of this powerful multi strain microbiotic not only for humans, but also for horses, dogs and chickens.