Lifestyles

Local Flavour: Have no fear of Kefir

Ladner health food store owner Halina Kwiatkowska swears by Kefir milk, which is a commonly popular drink in the Caucaus region of the Black and Caspian Seas. She says the milk is 10 times more beneficial than drinking milk or yogurt.  - Adrian MacNair
Ladner health food store owner Halina Kwiatkowska swears by Kefir milk, which is a commonly popular drink in the Caucaus region of the Black and Caspian Seas. She says the milk is 10 times more beneficial than drinking milk or yogurt.
— image credit: Adrian MacNair

When Halina Kwiatkowska moved to Canada from Poland many years ago she immediately gained weight and felt tired and lethargic. She realized it was due to her change in diet from natural foods to processed ones.

She had always lived with healthy foods in Poland, learning from her grandmother to use natural ingredients in food and use herbs as medicine. It didn’t take long for her to return to her roots.

“I don’t really have any other way of living,” says the owner of Ladner’s health food store, Parsley, Sage & Thyme. “This is it for me.”

Her customers to come to her not just for healthy foods but for “super foods,” those products that are exponentially better for you than anything else.

Halina says they’re called super foods because they are rich in nutrients and uncontaminated by human civilization. Many have been harvested in regions of the world that are either uninhabitated or far away from people.

Among that list are the acai and goji berries, chia seed, and maca root.

Kefir milk can be added to that list.

Originally thought to have been discovered in Turkey by shepherds who accidentally allowed kefir grains to ferment their milk inside their leather bags, it was the Russians who discovered their health benefits and promoted its use.

There are more probiotics in kefir milk than any other health drink, including milk and yogurt. That’s because kefir has between 10 and 50 strains of beneficial bacteria.

The bacteria live in the digestive tract helping to break down, pre-digest, and assimilate nutrients into the body in the same way as naturally occuring bacteria.

“I grew up drinking kefir, in Poland you buy it in the grocery store,” says Halina.

Anything that is pre-made is likely to have preservatives. Those people who are sensitive to foods or have allergies can eliminate the potential for contamination by buying raw ingredients, she says.

To try kefir for yourself visit Parsley, Sage & Thyme in Ladner at 4916 Elliott St.

Kefir Starter

1. Use best quality milk you can buy. Heat 1L milk to 80 degrees C or just before the boiling point, then cool it to about 20-25C.

2. Dissolve 5g (one packet) of Kefir Starter Culture in a small amount of the cooled milk in a cup. Pour back into the litre of milk and mix well.

3. Pour the inoculated milk into a clean container, cover and let stand at room temperature until curd forms, about 24 hrs.

4. Refrigerate about 8 hrs to stop the process

5. Stir to liquefy and ENJOY!

Always store Kefir in the refrigerator.

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