Cherry Kefir Quick Smoothie

Sometimes I want a healthy snack that is in a drink format.  Especially if I am in a rush I can drink a glass of something while I change clothes, feed the cats, put out the garbage and then run out the door to my second job.  So a liquid snack is welcome.  I don’t want to drink ensure; not even sure it is safe for me so I thought of kefir. pots 003

I make my own kefir, a fermented beverage that is usually made with milk although you can use coconut water or even plain water, I think, in creating it. It is chock full of healthy probiotics that everyone could use in making a healthy environment in your gut, especially we celiacs. You can buy kefir at the grocery store in a bottle; a bit pricier than making your own.  They sell fancy flavors of kefir.

But my plain kefir can be boring after a while. I like to mix it with fruit juice like pineapple juice.  Then, the other day I had a brain storm and took some Ocean Spray Cherry Juice Cocktail (about 4 ounces) and mixed it in my blender with a banana, 2-3 ice cubes and some of my kefir (about 4 ounces); magically transforming the bland kefir into a fancy cherry smoothie.  cherry kefir and winter wonderland 001The resulting tall cold glass of pink yummy stuff was so much more healthy than soda or Gatorade and as quick to make as most smoothies.  The cherry juice drink has 55 calories for 4 ounces and your kefir’s calories will depend on what kind of milk you made it from.  The banana’s calories depends on it’s size; not much regardless. No added sugar by me either. Regardless, it is healthy, tasty and a great change of pace.  Try one made with your favorite juice beverage.  Let me know of any good combos you create!

Kefir: Do Your Tummy a Favor

This post is for my friends who want to have a healthier gut. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like a barrel of fun or like a tasty food such as I usually blog about but I really have to say it can be both of those things. A number of months ago I was reading about ways to make your gut healthier. FYI: this is especially important if you have celiac disease as the digestive system is all messed up by it. A lot of people with celiac take probiotics on a daily basis. So do other folks with a variety of digestive disorders. Probiotics help keep beneficial flora and fauna in your gut. Most folks are purchasing expensive probiotics pills plus they have to keep the pills refrigerated and to remember to take them daily. Some seem more effective than others and you are relying on that company to give you what they claim is in their product. Too many negatives for me.

So, I decided to go another route. There are actually several ways to improve the health of your gut. Besides the aforementioned probiotic pills, you can eat a number of foods with beneficial elements for your gut. One that is easy and really healthy is kefir. I make kefir every few weeks; it is a fermented dairy beverage. Think yogurt and buttermilk get married and kefir is their cute baby! It is thick and sour. I like it with some juice added. Don’t be scared if it curdles a bit when you add juice; still tastes great!

To make it I got some dehydrated kefir at a health foods store; Fry’s Better Foods to be exact. I hear you can even make kefir with coconut, almond or soy milk.

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Just poured into the glass jug.  Now ready to ferment!

How? Easy peasy: I heat a quart of milk near to boiling, 2 percent works great but you could make it luxurious with whole milk. Let it cool to about 75 degrees, scoop out a cup of milk and mix that well with the packet of dry kefir. Pour back in and stir to blend. Pour it into a glass pitcher, put a covering of plastic wrap on top and let it stand on the counter top for an entire day. Yes, a full day unrefridgerated. It will not look much different until the last couple of hours when the milk mysteriously begins to thicken. Put it in the fridge after 24 hours and chill well. Drink some every day. It makes a nice filling afternoon snack.

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The great thing about kefir is that the probiotics in it stay in your gut for a long time. Most if not all probiotics in foods, for example: yogurt, disappear from your gut within a day. Not so for kefir; that’s really great for your digestive health. Some say it is a valuable tool in avoiding leaky gut. I say it tastes great, feels good in my tummy and if you make it yourself it is not that expensive. A box of the freeze dried stuff costs about $8-9 and makes several quarts. Just a quart of milk and you are in business. You can buy it in most grocery stores; between $3 and $7 a quart. As you know I tend to be a do-it-yourself kinda gal so I started making my own kefir a few months ago.

I made some yesterday. It doesn’t take much more then 4-5 active minutes to make it; rest is time for the milk to cool to the right temperature and a day for it to culture. It is worth every bit of effort for the good it will do for your tummy. Do your gut a favor, make some kefir…seriously.

Next week I will give you one more way to help your gut stay healthy in this season of overeating and excess.